Sam works for Company-X as a B2B sales consultant. His job is to convert leads that are captured via a digital signup form on their company website. Every time a website visitor fills out the form and submits it online, Sam is notified with all the information. Then, he copies the information into a spreadsheet and follows up with the leads manually. Every time he follows up, he makes an update on the Excel file. He keeps doing this until a lead gets disqualified or a sale is closed.
Now, this process might sound easy but if you look deeper, you will find a lot of manual tasks in this process that make it so time consuming and resource hungry. Not to mention that this simple business development process works well when there are only a couple of salespeople working with a distinct list of clients. Imagine, however, 10-15 salespeople working in the same spreadsheet and overlapping clients. It’s highly likely that they will lose track of follow-ups and make a huge mess out of it. Now, also imagine that Company-X is getting hundreds of signups every day!
Scary, isn’t it?
In this digital era, if you do not have a streamlined business development management system in place, it’s only a matter of time before your entire sales and marketing process will start seeing stars.
Now, what can Sam do here to increase his efficiency? Hire more people to do the manual tasks, track business development activities, and streamline data after follow-ups? That’s definitely not a good decision from a business point of view because no matter how many additional resources you add to a disorganized business development process, it will eventually fail.
That is, unless you have a proper business process automation strategy and highly effective business process automation platform.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation, in brief, is a systematic approach to capture, store, organize, and nurture leads with zero or minimal human intervention. It generally requires a set of digital engagement tools to execute the strategy.
Confused? Let’s bring Sam back into the picture.
Remember what is Sam’s first task is when a visitor signs up? He has to copy the lead’s information from the email and record it in a sales spreadsheet. Ideally, it would take three or four copy/pastes to copy over one lead’s information. Now, what if the signup form is connected to a central contact database and every time someone submits the form, it will automatically record all the information in the database in addition to sending the confirmation email to Sam? This means one less manual task for one lead, so if there are thousands of incoming leads in a week, thousands of minutes can saved!
That’s just one example of a working business process automation system. What about automated engagement? Back to Sam again! Ideally, Sam would send an initial engagement email with some interesting content for the lead to explore before he reaches out with a pitch or a demo, right? Sending a personalized email takes time and doing it again and again eats up most of the time for a salesperson. Now, what if Sam could set up a system that automatically sends a highly-personalized thank you email to someone who just signed up? That email could have visual elements with highly engaging content Makes an impression, doesn’t it?
Basically, you can automate almost every single step in a business development process and make it so efficient that you can deal with thousands of leads without allocating more resources to the process.
But for that, we need to come up with a business development process automation strategy and learn about the appropriate tools to make that happen. It might sound way too much for a marketer in terms of technology being used, but we can assure you that it is easier than the manual process.
We have built an easy five-step guide for building a business process automation strategy for you to try out.
Let’s start then, shall we?
Setting Up A Business Development Automation Process
Step #1 Creating an automated digital form
The front-face of the whole system is a digital form. Generally, a digital form is used to capture information from visitors. However, you can also put advanced elements in the form to make it an automated one. Now, you can build a form from scratch but that can be a lot of work. Instead, you can use a digital form builder software to create a form. With a powerful form builder, you can simply drag and drop elements, edit content, and add CTA buttons to build a visually-appealing form. Then, you can extract the form links either to embed the form on your website or landing page, or make the form pop up automatically on the page after a visitor spends a set amount of time on your website. You can use multiple online forms for multiple marketing campaigns. In that case, you also have the opportunity to pre-set the source of the lead by adding a hidden element in the form.
Step #2 Creating an automated thank you email
The second step is creating an automated thank you email that will be sent to a form submitter as soon as they hit the signup button. Again, building such a system from scratch will take a huge development and IT work. But, with a dynamic email builder software, you can easily create engaging email templates. You can even select areas of the email to personalize so every responder will get a highly personalized email based on the information they submit. You can connect the email software to the form builder software to send the thank you email automatically once the form is submitted. Not a single task is done manually here.
Step #3 Creating a central database
Creating and maintaining a lead database is quite important. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult for any salesperson to track those leads. Again, it’s not wise to use a disconnected database or spreadsheet to automatically store the leads’ information. You can use a powerful CRM system to organize all leads in a systematic manner. All you need is to connect the form to the CRM database, and every form submission will create an entry in the CRM contact database, gathering leads from all your marketing campaigns.
Step #4 Creating a sales pipeline
A central database is good for storing and separating leads. But, if you want to nurture them systematically and efficiently, you must create a sales funnel or pipeline. A sales pipeline consists of multiple sales stages. Depending on the status of leads, they are placed in different stages. For example, our salesperson Sam can create a sales pipeline that has five stages: Captured, Contacted, Unqualified, Qualified, Closed. The Captured stage contains all freshly obtained leads acquired via the form. The Contacted stage’s leads are the ones whom Sam has contacted. Unqualified leads are simply bad leads. The leads who show promise of turning into customers are placed into the Qualified leads stage. Finally, if a lead is converted, they are moved to the Closed stage. Using such a system, a salesperson/sales team can easily keep track of their leads and see the business development process easily and take manual measures if they need to.
Step #5 Connecting sales pipeline with digital form
Finally, it is important to connect the pipeline with the digital form. Why? Imagine, you have multiple marketing campaigns and they all require multiple pipelines. If you do not connect a sales pipeline to the digital form, then you will have to copy every lead manually and place them into the first stage of each pipeline manually. A HUGE amount work to do. But, connecting the sales pipeline in a way so every lead is placed in the first stage automatically will slash this tedious work.
Now, once you are done with all these steps, you have a complete business development automation process like this:
With this process, you can automate nearly every task between capturing a lead to closing the lead as a sale.
Great idea! What now?
If you find this process interesting, you can always create one for your business. However, as mentioned before, building all parts of this process from scratch is a heavy job. On the other hand, if you are using various digital tools like form builder, email blaster, CRM, etc., you are spending a lot of money. Not to mention the amount of technical tasks you need to perform to streamline and integrate all these tools together. Even a simple integration issue can break down the whole process.
What’s the solution then?
SimplyCast anticipated this issue and created a complete business process automation solution for business developers. With our in-house automation technology, we have streamlined our form builder software, email marketing software, and CRM system to create a full-proof solution that automates nearly every task related to capturing, storing, nurturing, and closing deals.
The best part? All these tools are under one single platform, so you do not need to worry about streamlining these tools. You are also saving money are resource by not using multiple platforms!
Our solution is 100 percent ready to go and fully customizable based on your needs. Depending on your business requirements, our consultants can help you to design a perfect business development management strategy solution using our business process automation platform.
Why wait? Speak to our experts today! Click the button below to request a demo of the solution today!