Increase Sales Revenues by Automation

Anwesha Roy

How automation has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency

Increase Sales Revenues by Automation

Automation has the potential to dramatically improve our efficiency in a number of operational areas. Way back in 1989, Harvard Business Review observed that automation has successfully cut direct labour costs to just 8-12% of total production expenditure in a manufacturing company. The same could be applied to marketing and sales as well, which at that time occupied between 15% and 35% of total corporate expenditure. Fast track to 2021 and sales automation has incredible potential to not just save your bottom-line expenses, but also to unlock new revenue opportunities.  

6 Tasks to Automate for Higher Sales Revenues 

A recent McKinsey report found there is immense potential to automate tasks inside sales functions. These include:  

  1. Strategy and planning – Analyse historical and real-time data to simulate sales/talent scenarios and run forecasts – automation potential 29%  
  2. Lead management – Automatically qualify leads, prioritise them, action follow-ups, and convert customers or upsell to existing customers – automation potential 13%  
  3. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) – Assess requirements and availability to auto-recommend ideal product configuration, set pricing, and formulate the quote – automation potential 43%  
  4. Order management – Check on available credit levels, invoices, shipping, procurement, and other order-related services – automation potential 50%  
  5. Post-sales engagement – Automate customer follow-ups and the handling of routine requests, such as spare parts, maintenance, etc. – automation potential 40%  
  6. Administrative support – Eliminate manual effort for iterative tasks in sales data analysis, sales training, the creation of sales collaterals, etc. – automation potential 25%  

Importantly, these recommendations are based on existing technology maturity and companies do not need any major disruption in order to gain from them. As these numbers suggest, over 30% of the sales function can be automated. Companies would be able to boost their revenues, thanks to more optimised effort utilisation, fewer errors, and shorter lead times.  

The State of Automation in Sales 

But despite this clear potential, automation of sales tasks is lagging far behind that of other departments. For example, McKinsey found that IT functions report the highest level of automation in an enterprise, followed by finance and supply chain management. Sales rank #6 on this list of ten automatable functions.  

To address this, it is vital that companies:  

  •  Adopt a mindset of standardisation – Sales is still perceived to be a uniquely human function, with a lot of variance creeping in from one team member to another. In addition to talent, companies must value standardisation and non-discretionary judgement to increase automation readiness
  • Start with low-hanging fruits – Tasks like sales data entry, automated follow-up emails, and the like are easy to automate, and would even be a welcome break for team members who would now be free for value-adding tasks. Instead of more sophisticated applications like AI-based lead scoring, these should be automated first
  • Build an integrated application landscape – An integrated landscape would allow cross-application workflows, thereby making automated processes better tuned for value addition. It would also enable data exchange across platforms for automated decision-making

Over time, automation coupled with cognitive technologies has the potential to uplift human capabilities, ultimately transforming the sales experience for customers.  



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