Can You Automate Your Sales Pipeline Without Compromising Quality?

October 8, 2021

Automation has become a part of today’s reality. 

As technology evolves, isn’t it mind-blowing to see how artificial intelligence and machines continue to automate our everyday tasks? 

But, can machines replace the human-touch? To what extent can we rely on automation? The questions can go on and on. 

Although we might not yet have resources to answer these questions with precision, there is an important one we need to focus on: why automate?  

Simply put, the essence of automation is to increase efficiency and productivity

A smart automation can easily perform a repetitive and replicated task without the need for human labor. 

I personally advocate that technology and human-driven approaches shall complement one another. 

Instead of being a source of competition, businesses should utilize automation to reduce the tedious and manual tasks to focus better on what matters most for the company’s growth. 

...and this will evidently pave the way for well-crafted lead generation strategies.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence have scaled up even more in recent years, for this article, I will channel my focus specifically into the importance of maintaining high-quality personalization in sales automation tools. 

Here are the concepts I will be covering in a nutshell. 

  • Leveraging AI & automation to optimize workflows
  • Hyper-personalized targeting and outreach
  • Conversation-focused sales approach
  • Importance of A/B testing and experimentation
  • Minimum reliance on databases

Before we jump in how your sales team can utilize automation, let’s talk about the first stage of the sales pipeline: prospecting. 

What is Prospecting? 

Simply put, prospecting is the research process to acquire new clients that will eventually buy or subscribe to your product or services once they enter into your sales funnel. 

As with many other administrative tasks, manual prospecting involves countless hours of research, database-digging and outreach, which becomes an overwhelming & unproductive act for most sales teams. 

As a matter of fact, approximately 42% of sales people reported that prospecting is one of the most valuable stages of the sales process, yet also the one they struggle the most. 

This picture gets even darker when we tap into email prospecting. 

Email prospecting requires persistent communication, which can take up to eight email correspondences to get some sort of “yes,” and sadly, sales reps tend to stop trying after the second attempt. 

On top of that, as a sales manager, you are challenged with gathering data on prospecting, creating tailored content, testing email templates and training your sales team.  

After all, in order to convert prospects into revenue-generating customers, you need to analyze the industry pain points in-depth and target companies that will truly need your solution. 

Where to Start? 

To get started and ease up the workload, ask yourself: what are your operational pain points? What can you do better to make the sales pipeline more efficient? What is your approach in email prospecting? 

This way, you can calculate hours and resources spent in manual prospecting, and take a deep dive into the quality of your sales emails to understand your roadblocks.

The purpose is to eliminate the tedious, repetitive tasks. 

... and you will see that your sales team will be much more motivated to focus on creating meaningful conversations with your prospects and closing deals once this burden is lifted. 

This is where automation comes into play, and trust me, you will be starstruck. 

These complex machines can sort through thousands of data points, bounce from one data source to another and test out various campaigns to get the spot-on ICP in the snap of a finger. 

For instance, at Ubico, our prospecting engine can find contact information from the most up-to-date data sources and also goes through an intensive data pipeline to ensure the accuracy of information. 

The prospecting engine is powered by our AI that is able to sift through historical conversational data in your inbox and find patterns to identify your best customer segments. 

Doesn’t it sound fascinating? 

How and Why to Automate? 

Automation is critical for practical value for sales teams by automating, augmenting and supercharging the way they work, and far from replacing the human-touch. 

In fact, automation will be a catalyst between you and your potential buyers while sorting out the tedious prospecting and engagement processes with minimal human intervention.

In doing so, it evidently brings up the question of compromising the creative aspect of your sales outreach strategies. 

That’s why we are here to shed light and tell you that it doesn’t have to be the case. 

At Ubico, we work with any B2B company with no particular industry in mind. It’s possible to think that this might create challenges in personalization.

Well, not really. Let me explain how.

We designed an AI machine that is dynamic and as I said earlier, keeps learning from the historical data. 

While setting up your targeting profile for the first time, we provide you the opportunity to set up Custom Criteria

Wait, what does that even mean?

Hyper-targeting with Custom Criteria 

The main purpose of setting up custom criteria for your targeting is to save your company a serious amount of time and resources.

...and to give your sales reps some peace of mind (because they are awesome!).

That is, we can automate what a human would do vs. what a database would provide. 

For example, you can hyper-target specific companies that have certain types of website features (request a demo, newsletter, call etc.), or might have attended a recent funding event/webinar, or hired a VP of sales within the last X amount of time. 

...or, at the very least, we provide you the option to target sub-industries such as FinTech. Simple is that. 

Here is a mini screenshot of some of the many criteria types you can hyper-target using our smart prospecting machine. 

Once our AI works its magic in matching your business with the right buyer profile, the ball will be in your court to strike a balance. 

Now, it’s time for humans to shine. 

Hyper-personalization with Variables

When nurturing high-value clients, generic emails are not only ineffective, but can also be risky for your brand domain. Uh-oh, we don’t want that, do we? 

At Ubico, we always encourage our clients and assist them to create reusable, quickly customizable email drip sequences. 

We don’t want you to get remotely close to phishing or scamming your high-quality prospects.

In short, we enforce hyper-personalizing your email outreach. 

Our platform allows you to play around with your email templates by specifying industry, company, prospect’s title, pain points and so on. 

The good thing is that we have a bank of templates and engaging subject lines for you to use right off the bat. 

Oh wait, did I say engaging subject lines? Yes, they are crucial if you want to step up your email outreach game. 

Subject lines are like the devil in the details, aka your biggest opportunity, to attract your buyers. 

...and yes, you do need to hyper-personalize them as well. 

Because if they aren’t strong enough, your prospects will not even bother to open your email. So, adopt the best practices to get creative: personalize, ask questions and make an exclusive offer. 

By creating automated email drip sequences, you will be shooting out a series of emails at predefined intervals to each prospect. Day 1, day 4, day 25, day 876, you tell us the number! 

Jokes aside, this will all be automated. 

Quick note: Providing a heightened level of personalization in B2B is also about respecting boundaries and a customer’s time. 

How we respect this is as follows. 

Custom criteria is set, email sequences are set, you launched your email campaign.

Once you start getting responses from your prospects, we collect and categorize the responses as bounced, out of office, interested, not interested, not now, forwarded, objection and opted out. 

This information is a goldmine for our AI learning capabilities, as we can turn on & off the conversation and know when the sales team will jump in to take over the conversation.  

This is how the conversational data helps us to know when to keep communicating, and when to leave customers alone. 

Experimentation and Testing

Alright, you know how it goes. Sometimes, no matter what you do, in sales, you just need to do a bit more. 

That’s why we encourage you to always perform an A/B testing and don’t get defeated if your prospects tell you to back off or ignore you for a while. 

Keep in mind that finding the right balance in your sales strategy can be a mental challenge for anyone. So, experiment until you find that sweet spot: the right persona

Keep creating new templates and sequences for different stages of the buyer’s journey and different personas, and read on the best practices on personalization and outreach. 

We wrote on The Importance of Personalization in B2B Today, take a leisurely stroll there for some more tips and tricks. 

If your sales cycle heavily relies on outbound campaigns and not yet on inbound leads through advertising and marketing, you need an exclusive human-touch along with a robust email outreach strategy to cultivate the leads generated by your AI platform. 

Take it easy. 

As with any process of automation, it’s best to start small and work up to using more complex and fully-featured systems. 

Consider the time spent in training and adjusting your processes into these new systems. Choose one that wouldn’t overwhelm your daily operations & budget. 

As said earlier, most companies still didn’t revolutionize their sales funnel with automation, but soon, this is becoming the standard to stay competitive.

Final Words on Automation & Human-touch

Alrighty! Curtains are closing. 

I summarized why automation is an essential step to take to scale up your client base and minimize the resources spent in your sales funnel. 

In this sense, automation becomes a gateway to productivity, especially when integrated seamlessly and effectively into already-existing procedures. 

That being said, what types of tools you decide to adopt will depend on the size of your team and your key performance indicators. 

Automation is there for you to ease up your complex and lengthy lead generation efforts by identifying responsive clients and creating analytical reports regarding marketing campaigns.

The key to effective prospecting and lead engagement is finding a strong balance of automation and personalization. 

That is, let the machines take care of all the mundane work, and your sales team focus on crafting more creative approaches to nurture leads your automation tools have already sorted. 

All in all, the short answer to our initial question is that automation doesn’t have to compromise quality. 

At Ubico, we specialize in AI B2B sales that turn your organization into a data-driven machine. 

By reaching out to us, you can start crafting a more promising buyer’s journey with quicker response times and more engaging interactions.

Hit us up, we are happy to take good care of your sales pipeline! 

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