Smart implementation of sales automation software will improve your customer experience, shorten your sales cycle, and increase profits.
Yet, so many manufacturing companies overlook the software’s pros in favor of doing things the “way they’ve always been done.”
The numbers don’t lie. When implemented correctly, sales automation software increases revenues by 168%. This article breaks down the clear benefits to help you decide if sales automation software would make a wise investment for your company.
- What is Sales Automation Software?
- 5 Benefits of Sales Automation Software
- Create an Engaging Customer Experience
- Shorten the Sales Cycle
- Close More, Bigger Deals
- Ease Your Engineering Team’s Workload
- How to Tell If It’s Time to Implement Sales Automation Software
What is Sales Automation Software?
Sales automation software comes in many guises, from software that automates CAD and design to CPQ (configure, price, quote) and CRM (customer relationship management).
No matter the automation, sales automation software strives to achieve one goal: to systematize manual sales tasks. In turn, this makes your team members’ lives easier and lets them concentrate on needle-moving, revenue-generating priorities.
(For further reading, here are the six most effective types of sales automation software.)
4 Benefits of Sales Automation Software for Manufacturers
The list of pros is long, but we’ve cut it down to four strong contenders across various software options:
1. Create an Engaging Customer Experience with CRM
When you automate CRM, you organize ongoing information and interactions with customers and interested leads, making it instantly accessible across departments.
Having all of your customer information in one centralized repository lets you address inquiries and concerns in a coordinated manner. You can provide highly personalized, meaningful experiences across touchpoints which lead to robust and enduring customer relationships.
Nurtured customers who feel satisfied with their purchases are more likely to turn to you for repeat business (and, as we all know, repeat business is better than new business.)
(The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is right around the corner, and two-thirds of consumers are demanding personalized buying experiences. Don’t let them down.)
2. Shorten the Sales Cycle with CPQ
CPQ is a sales automation software that enables manufacturers to sell engineer-to-order (ETO) products faster.
With CPQ, sales reps can configure highly complex products in real-time, calculate accurate prices, and instantly generate quotes. Because everything runs according to preprogrammed product rules, there is no room for manual error.
All of this automation eliminates the need to flip through thick product catalogs to configure the perfect product. It also gets rid of endless email chains between customers, sales, and the shop floor.
In addition to quotes, the most robust CPQ software auto-generates CAD files, technical drawings, BOMs, and CNC cut sheets, freeing up hours of your teams’ schedules and getting products into customers’ hands faster than the competition.
3. Close More, Bigger Deals with Guided Selling
Guided Selling uses AI to “guide” sales reps through the path to purchase, making AI-driven recommendations along the way designed to increase win rate and deal size.
With Guided Selling, your company is no longer reliant solely on fallible human beings. Reps don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing, suggesting the incorrect product, or limiting themselves to the narrow band of product options they actually understand. The system simply finds selling opportunities on its own.
Your sales team can concentrate on nurturing relationships as they close bigger deals without even thinking about it.
4. Ease Your Engineering Team’s Workload With CAD Automation
For many manufacturers, the engineer-to-order process looks like this:
- A sales rep works with a customer to design a custom product.
- The sales rep records the intricacies of the custom product in written descriptions and sketches, sending this to engineering.
- Engineering must decipher this (often incomplete and mistake-ridden) information and either make minor changes or reject it entirely, sending sales back to the drawing board.
- Once the customer, sales, and engineer have settled on a viable product (from a commercial and engineering standpoint), the engineer creates technical drawings and CAD files and sends the relevant information to the shop floor.
- The production team on the shop floor manufactures the product.
CAD automation takes the guesswork and back and forth out of the engineer-to-order process, saving engineers hours of valuable innovation time.
This is what the engineer-to-order process looks like with CAD automation:
- A sales rep works with a customer to design a custom product according to predetermined product rules.
- The sales automation software takes the configuration (pre-validated according to the rules) and auto-generates CAD files before sending them to engineering.
- An engineer receives the CAD files and validates them with a click or makes any minor adjustments before sending them automatically to the shop floor.
Questions to Ask to Determine Which Sales Automation Software to Go With
We just touched on a few sales automation options, but there are many more from which to choose. Meeting scheduling automation, workflow automation, product information management software (PIM); the list goes on.
When weighing up your options, ask yourself these basic questions:
- What is my sales team struggling with the most?
- Where are my sales teams’ bottlenecks?
- If my sales team could change one thing about their tasks, what would it be?
- Which tasks actually benefit from a human touch?
If you’re drawing a blank on any of the answers, go straight to the source. Send out a survey to some of your sales reps, or interview them directly.
The Bottom Line
The best sales automation software has benefits that extend beyond sales to engineering and the shop floor. With Epicor CPQ, an all-in-one solution, manufacturers gain instant access to a suite of sales automation benefits, including guided selling, CAD automation, integration with CRM, and the best configure, price, quote functionality on the market.