The sales team is a critical part of any company; without their contribution, even the best product or service will not convert as well as it should. However, similar to other functions, sales has its demons to fight—price objections from the leads, poor quality leads, and so on. There are some common bottlenecks in a typical sales funnel, making the reps unproductive and disinterested. And that’s where automating the sales approval workflow can make all the difference.
Benefits of automating sales approvals
When everyone in your company fully understands how their actions affect other departments, that obviously leads to faster response times and increased team satisfaction rates. Here are four benefits of automated sales approval workflows:
1. Simplified CPQ process
CPQ stands for Configure Price Quote – the process sales reps follow to determine the price of their offerings and produce a quote for the potential client.
Automating CPQ in Salesforce (or any CRM you use) helps your sales reps set up pricing rules and discounts using software and generate error-free quotes and custom proposals. This also means they do not have to wait for manual approvals from different departments to formulate a quote. This helps speed up the sales cycle.
2. Greater efficiency all around
Time of the essence. That is so true for the sales team—especially when closing deals. Having no system or a slow approval workflow process significantly impacts their performance.
For instance, your sales reps may want a specific brochure designed by the marketing team. Or, they may need the finance department’s approval to give a bulk discount to a new franchise client. Regardless of the nature of work, automation helps sales reps reduce the time spent going back and forth for approvals and close deals efficiently.
3. Better customer service
Is it a valid excuse to tell a potential client that a particular transaction is pending approval? Absolutely not! They are not bothered with the internal matters of your company and can change their mind not to go ahead with the deal if it takes too long for you to get back to them. With an automated sales approval workflow, such delays can be wholly evaded.
4. Consistency in processes
It is a fact—consistency enables you to minimize uncertainty and quickly respond to changes in the market. When your sales approvals are automated, you can reduce errors and bottlenecks. In addition, a proper process helps onboard and train new sales reps by leveraging technology—resulting in greater transparency, trust, and control.
5. Enhanced organizational transparency
Automated sales approval workflows boost sales rep productivity and efficiency and foster collaboration among different departments. It also helps create a work environment that is healthy, cordial, and positive.
How to optimize your sales approval workflow
Now that you know the reasons why automation is necessary for your sales team, here are the various stages where you can make your workflow effortless and systematic—with minimal learning hassle:
1. Lead outreach and qualification
In this stage, your sales reps typically reach out to leads that have come through your marketing initiatives. This could include website visitors who have filled out a contact form, downloaded a whitepaper, and so on.
Whatever the source of the lead generation—the details of the leads enter into a CRM system. The leads then get routed to a sales rep who engages them via email or over the phone to qualify them. Finally, the sales rep can prioritize demos from high-value leads and follow-ups on existing deals, as that will positively affect the bottom line.
This is a rather time-consuming process. Moreso, many of the leads may turn out to be irrelevant. Therefore, instead of manually emailing the new contacts in the CRM system, you can automate the process by setting up recurring email campaigns. You can also use scheduling tools such as Calendly, allowing leads to book a time to speak with your sales reps.
This saves your team time and reduces the number of leads that actually complete the form and get on a call with you. Suppose your sales reps are responsible for finding and verifying the email addresses of potential leads and the initial outreach along with giving demos and closing deals. In that case, they should prioritize demos and follow-ups on existing deals, as that will positively affect the bottom line.
2. Product or service demos/presentations
In this scenario, your sales reps demonstrate to the leads what your offering does and how it can minimize their common pain points. Such meetings always vary—based on the sales rep’s presentation tone and voice and the lead’s interests and needs.
Moreover, your sales reps have to spend anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes on a demo, and they may have to host a demo 4-5 times for every potential client before closing a deal. Is that time well spent? No. Instead, record a video giving a proper demonstration of your offering.
Using tools such as Chorus, you can better understand how your sales calls fare, including the USPs discussed, questions asked, and competitors mentioned.
When you have relevant info at your fingertips, you can train your sales reps to adjust how they handle demos, how they communicate, what tone they use, and how they respond to queries in a pre-recorded video. Automate this stage by including a link when leads book a demo in the email sent out.
Enable your sales reps to spend more time following up with prospective clients and closing deals rather than showing your demo—with the help of automation.
3. Proposal submission
In this stage, your sales reps prepare and send proposals outlining the pricing for your product or service, deliverables, and next steps so they can sign an agreement or contact the company for further information.
Based on factors such as your offering, RFP process, and deal size, the proposal could be either a simple quotation or a copious document comprising all essential details. Regardless of the case—it would help if you used a sophisticated all-in-one solution like DealHub for managing the creation, editing, and signing of documents.
Crafting a proposal typically requires your sales reps to coordinate with other departments. A solution enabling everyone to add their input in real-time ensures no information gets overlooked. Besides, when the proposal is sent to the potential client, you can receive real-time notifications on when the document is opened, viewed, or commented on.
What is more, your sales reps do not have to manually follow up with the potential client via email. They can drive urgency with auto-reminders on the solution.
4. Contract management
Contracts have been around for decades. How else would one create an agreement with their client to do business together without them?
But often, they are considered lengthy and time-consuming, filled with jargon impossible to fathom, and requiring numerous revisions until they are signed by the client.
To prevent delays in closing the deal and unnecessary chaos amongst both the sales team and the client, it has a reliable contract lifecycle.
First things first—automate the process of contract drafting using a tool like Woodpecker and quickly add client details—error-free! After the contract is drafted, get a sign-off by the sales and the legal leadership before sharing it with the client.
However, in this scenario, it can be pretty frustrating for the sales reps when the legal reps take time to review the contents of the contract. That is where automated contract review and approval tools such as Lawgeex can come in handy.
Legal teams are responsible for setting restrictions on contracts – for instance, the payment cycle cannot be more than six months long. If the details are all good, then the contract gets automatically approved.
If not, the tool notifies the legal team about a discrepancy. It saves them from reading the entire contract, which saves time. This accelerates the approval workflow and helps your sales reps convert more leads – faster.
Automated approval workflows help optimize your sales and quoting process and support your sales reps to work efficiently. Automation plugs in revenue leakage and enforces accountability and timely compliance, thereby improving how you communicate and do business. Is that not your goal at the end of the day?