Make sure that sales automation helps salespeople instead of hindering them.

Teams have more sales automation tools than ever to streamline, optimize, and maximize their ability to bring in revenue, but Board of Experts member and Metal Mafia owner, Vanessa Nornberg, cautions care with too much automation, tech assisted shortcuts, or aggressive sales pitches that replace good old fashioned know how.

“[Sales automation] sounds enticing in principle, for who doesn’t want to exceed goals, deliver the max, and do it all in record time?  But the reality is, there is a price to pay for this need for speed–and a steep one. Bad things happen when we rush–details are ignored, opportunities are missed, and mistakes are made–and in business, those all cost money.”

Instead of putting full emphasis solely on high output, Vanessa recommends moving slower, but with clear purpose – a strategy that down the road yields both higher revenue and better customer experience. She offers three tips for encouraging your sales team to slow down and replace the sales pitch with a sales home run.

  1. Reconsider an auto dialer – Auto dialers can double the number of calls that a sales person makes, but according to Vanessa, “salespeople lose 3 important opportunities in the process: time spent dialing gives them a chance to clear their heads from the previous call, shake off burnout, and research their next prospect.”
  2. Don’t automate the decision making process – That goes for both sales person and prospect. Marketing should work in tandem with sales, not replace it, and sales teams should have the room to truly engage with their prospects. “Give your salespeople both the directive and the leeway to follow-up in a manner that is relevant.” After all, the best way to close deals is to discover what your prospects truly need.
  3. Don’t pitch. Discover. –  “Ask your salespeople to make every call with one intention: to learn more about the customer.  If they start from the principle that their job is to uncover the needs of the prospect, they slow down to listen.” Put your team’s focus on discovery – listening closely to discern the customer’s needs. It’s a much better strategy than a pre-packaged sales pitch.

While sales automation technology promises to greatly streamline how your sales force works, the key is not to rely on these tools over skills and training. They should enhance, not replace.

You can read Vanessa’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.