I love all kinds of automation. It’s one of those geek-out things where even the simplest solution gives me such a feeling of satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about adding a messenger bot to your website to help answer questions… incorrectly. I am talking about the automation you implement into your business where your customer stays top of mind, their experience with your business is improved, and the pressure on your team is relieved.
Automation comes in many forms, but for us today, in how we are looking at it, it means creating pre-built systems that trigger automated actions by the user without needing help from someone on your team.
For me, I look at automation from more of a mindset perspective.
This means that, when implementing automation in your company, you should always think about how it will lower friction for your team and help them stand out even more in the eyes of your customers. Automation should never replace people. It should augment them even more.
The key to automation has and will always be about time. So you need to ask yourself three questions to justify if your time is even worth exploring:
- Will this save my customers time?
- Will this save my team time?
- Will it save me time?
If you answer yes to all three, then implementing that solution is definitely worth exploring.
What I want to explore in more depth today is specific to Sales Automation. How can you design a frictionless funnel that ensures new leads contact the appropriate employee at your company, receive attentive care during onboarding, and convert to paying customers?
The Sales Funnel
The key to having a good sales funnel that will benefit from automation is determining what style of interaction you need with your customers that will result in the most success for your business. Once you know what that is, you build your funnel around it, and this is where automation comes into play.
Your funnel can be fully automated until that crucial interaction where the person steps in to seal the deal. This is exactly the flow I was talking about earlier, where the automation you have in place should make your team front and center.
These are the essential things you need to have in place to help build an automated sales funnel:
- A Landing Page
- You can make it as pretty as you like but focus on its functionality. Your landing page should effectively direct your customers to the actions you want them to take.
- Online scheduling tool
- Make sure the system you pick has a two-way sync with the personal calendar system you use. For example, I use Gmail, so my online scheduling tool syncs with it to ensure no double bookings happen.
- CRM Software
- Analytics: make sure the system you choose has a robust analytics tool that is customizable to fit your business and not a pre-built platform that you must cater to. Custom reporting is key to analyzing the success of your sales funnel.
For us at Smiledog, everything is about the phone call. It’s where we have the most success. This is what our high-level sales funnel looks like:
- The Consultation Call (phone)
- The Assessment Call (Zoom)
- The Onboarding Call (Zoom)
The most important touch points are all handled by a specialist on our team. The rest is handled by automation on the back end to ensure the process is seamless and easy for the client.
The Consultation Call
Here is an example from our sales funnel highlighting the automation we have built around getting the initial consultation booked in.
The whole process of booking your initial consultation with us is frictionless and easy. In fact, 4 quick steps take 15-30 seconds to complete. This quick, efficient booking process results from hundreds of tests to ensure the automation works correctly. We noticed the following optimizations helped us reduce friction and increase conversions:
- Clear CTA’s
- “Grow Your Business with Smiledog” explains the outcome for the customer by clicking that CTA.
- Simple Forms
- 2-5 data points. We use: First & Last Name, Email, Number & Interested Service
- 2 call lengths options
- It helps fit more personalities. The person who likes it short and sweet as well as the person who is more comfortable diving into the details.
- Lots of available booking times
- Potential customers want to choose the best time for them, not you. So make plenty of available options for them.
The Assessment Call
The assessment call is the second phase of our sales funnel. It’s a “two birds one stone” type of approach. It allows us to:
- Establish more expertise to increase the potential customers’ confidence in us.
- Audit the clients in-depth to determine if they are the right fit for our service.
- The assessment call is not done every time as some clients want to move quickly, so we use this as a 2nd phase when clients need more data to help with their decision.
Here is how it works:
- Once the initial consultation call is coming to a close and the prospect is still “on the fence,” we offer them a more in-depth free consultation via zoom. More often than not, they like how it sounds and ask how it works.
- We explain the structure of the assessment.
- We explain that it is a customized live two-way demo.
- They will show/explain to us how reception currently works at their end.
- We then show/explain how we can make that work for them virtually.
- Follow up immediately post consultation.
- They receive an email with information about the assessment and a booking link so they can choose a time to complete it right away.
You’re probably thinking, where is the automation?
Well, that comes into play in the follow-up stage. We use sequencing to follow up with prospects who have not yet had the chance to book their assessment.
Sequencing is a process that allows you to create automated flows, where each flow has a unique step that is strategically timed to happen based on the criteria you set. An entire sequence can be customized to do what you want when you want. They can automate task reminders, emails, and team notifications and really help you scale sales and marketing funnels.
Remember that email I mentioned that we send out after consultation calls? Well, that is an automated feature we added to optimize our sales funnel, and it has 5 automated check in’s attached to ensure we get the customer booked.
They are pre-built messages strategically timed to go at the highest open rate times of the day with a quick reminder and booking link to have the prospect schedule the free assessment they agreed to.
The best part about sequencing is that the flow continues until we get a reply or it ends. Meaning our team doesn’t have to manually remember to check in and only needs to act when the lead replies or the sequence stops.
The automations we built on the backend let us put the action into the customer’s hands so we can free up our team’s time to handle a higher volume of what matters and converts the most: the phone call.
The Onboarding Call
The onboarding process has the same approach as the assessment call, and we put the action into the customer’s hands with automated sequence follow-ups.
As soon as the assessment is finished, we send the customer everything they need to get started.
- A quick clickable link to their intake questionnaire
- Automated electronic agreement sent directly to their email
- Direct link to book their full onboarding call
These steps are quick and easy for the customer as all it requires of them is to click the links we send and follow the steps. For us, it’s all pre-built, integrated with our CRM, and ready to send, saving time on both ends.
How can this help your business?
Really what I am trying to emphasize here is how the automations we have built are all focused around the interaction that gives us the most success with our clients: the phone call. For us the phone call highlights the best part of our business; our team, and that is why we have the most success with it.
So for your business, the key to owning your sales process is truly narrowing down what exchange with your customers will yield the highest return, then automating the funnel around it.
You are an expert at what you do, so you need to ensure that you give yourself the best chance to show off your knowledge to any prospect who comes through your doors. If you need help balancing your sales funnel, then our virtual reception service can help you catch leads so you can focus on closing them.