Your sales reps are being robbed of valuable hours in their workday by tasks they don't need to be doing. The most important thing your reps can do in a day is talk with potential customers, yet most inside sales systems are not set up for that.

Most reps come to work, open their CRM, look at their lead list, prioritize who they're going to call first, dial the number, make the call, manage messaging, go back to their lead list, and do it all over again.

With this approach, reps are losing significant amounts of time in each step, therefore hindering them from actually talking with leads.

How do you prevent this? You automate as much of your sales process as possible.

Sweet Fish Media interviewed David Hood, CEO of VanillaSoft, about the critical areas in your sales process that need automation. Here's what he shared.

1. Call Automation

You might be asking yourself... Is there an actual problem with our current sales call process? Do we really need automation? The answer is absolutely.

Automation is about providing a faster way of enacting things that you were already going to be doing. Through automation, you're simply providing tools to make the process easier and quicker.

Research from a study at the University of Ottawa shows that sales reps only make an average number of 8-10 calls per hour. That is a major problem when it comes to inside sales.

It takes an average of eight contact attempts to close a deal, and most sales reps only attempt twice. On top of that, only half the leads that come across a sales rep's desk are being followed up with. It takes an average of eight contact attempts to close a deal, and most reps only attempt twice.

Reps are always focused on the next lead, but if they don't proactively nurture, follow up, and stay engaged with their existing leads, they are leaving big revenue on the table.

With call automation, you're taking away those parts of the sales process that reps don't need to spend time on.

Here are the four main areas to automate:

  1. Automated dialing: Your reps do not need to manually punch in phone numbers key by key. Automate this with click-to-call or progressive dialing.
  2. Voicemail drop: Companies spend a ton of time leaving voicemails. Look for technologies that allow you to leave an automated voicemail and move on to the next call.
  3. Logical branch scripting: Break out of the outdated paper system and use technologies that bring data to a rep's screen. This makes things interactive and easier to maneuver.
  4. Data collection: The harder it is to collect data, the more time it takes. Data is valuable and a necessary element of growth. If you have to do it, just automate it.

2. Email Automation

With email automation, you don't want your reps sounding like robots. That's why David broke down email automation into four levels:

  1. Individual emails: Make it easy for your reps to have access to editable templates they can send out with one click.
  2. Trigger emails: Look for a system where, if you left a message, for example, it would trigger the system to automatically send out an email you've designed for that process. With processes like this, the reps don't need to be involved at all, which frees up tremendous amounts of time.
  3. Lead-nurturing emails: Based on call data and other info, set up an automated system to drip out emails to keep those contacts connected with your company.
  4. Email Blasts: Keep a system that allows you to send out email blasts to a set group of contacts based on specific criteria. The system should also feed data back into the sales queue, so reps can take action.

Email automation frees up a tremendous amount of time for your reps. Through this, more time is spent in quality conversations and less in doing things that could be handled through technology.

3. Cadence Automation

Next up, is cadence automation. It's difficult for sales reps to know which leads to prioritize and how to increase their productivity enough to follow up with everyone.

As the sales leader, you need to automate parts of the cadence flow, so reps can focus on what they do best--reaching out and engaging in quality conversations. While leads from different sources require different cadences, there are proven strategies that dramatically improve your ability to close a sale.

Use tools that help strategically stack the follow-up for your sales reps. At the end of the day, your reps are your most important assets, so automate as much as you can for them.

4. Referral Automation

Asking for referrals is a time-consuming task. You want to make sure that you're utilizing your expansive networks to the utmost potential.

This is why I started my company Outro, which allows you to search on specific demographic criteria such as titles, company size, and location to describe your ideal referral.

You then can reach out to the people that know, like and trust you and ask them if they would be willing to make referrals for you. If yes, the tool then analyzes their network based on your set criteria, and presents a list of contacts that would be perfect for them to refer you to.

Outro displays an editable core message for them to use. This way, your company messaging is clear and they can still add their flavor to the referral message.


If you can automate as much of the process as possible, your reps and balance sheets will be happy. Take advantage of the technologies available and automate every step you can.