The Transformative Benefits of Sales Automation

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    Sales automation, once a futuristic concept, has become a standard part of modern sales strategies. The pace of automation has been rapid, transforming the industry as Rolodexes gave way to CRM systems and tracked emails replaced printed and mailed quotes.

    Today, we’re on the cusp of another seismic shift. Self-service, 3D product configuration, virtual and augmented reality, and, of course, AI are reshaping the landscape. The potential for sales transformation is unprecedented.

    This article explores how automation is revolutionizing sales. We’ll look at how technology streamlines workflows, enhances customer engagement, and boosts revenue. You’ll learn how these advancements can empower your sales team and what returns you can expect on your investment.

    What Is Meant by Sales Automation?

    Sales automation refers to the use of software to automate and streamline sales tasks and processes, augmenting human salespeople’s capabilities rather than replacing them. 

    A McKinsey & Co. study found that over 30% of sales activities can be automated, improving efficiency and effectiveness. This percentage is increasing exponentially as sales automation tools become more sophisticated and better integrated into everyday business systems.

    The Scope of Sales Automation with CPQ

    Sales automation encompasses a wide range of tasks, from lead management to post-sale follow-ups and analytics. Rather than relying on multiple separate systems, smart businesses are streamlining their process with all-in-one solutions like Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software. This approach allows for automation of the entire sales process from start to finish. 

    Let’s examine the various steps involved:

    Product selection

    CPQ guides customers through a series of questions to determine the best product fit for their needs. This process saves time for sales representatives and ensures customers receive personalized recommendations based on their specific requirements.

    Pricing calculation

    CPQ’s automated pricing engine dynamically adjusts prices based on volume, customer type, live market conditions, and other factors. This ensures consistent and optimal pricing across all sales channels (in-person, online, distributors, etc.), reducing human error and maximizing profitability.

    Quote and Proposal Creation

    CPQ’s automated quote generation tools quickly produce professional, accurate quotes based on selected products and pricing. These systems incorporate customizable templates and approval workflows to streamline the proposal process and maintain brand consistency.

    Sales Order Automation

    CPQ seamlessly transfers quote information into orders, reducing data entry errors and expediting fulfillment. This automation also triggers inventory updates, shipping notifications, and invoicing, creating a more efficient end-to-end sales process.

    Integration with Other Sales Automation Tools

    CPQ software often serves as the core of comprehensive sales automation systems. Cloud-based solutions like Epicor CPQ can easily integrate with other tools to create a cohesive ecosystem:

    • CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Your central database for customer information and interactions
    • Lead Management: Ensures quick assignment of leads to appropriate sales representatives
    • Outreach Automation: Creates and schedules personalized email triggers, sequences, and sales calls
    • Analytics: Provides real-time reporting on sales performance, trends, and opportunities

    By combining CPQ with these additional tools, businesses can create a powerful, end-to-end sales automation system that enhances efficiency and drives growth.

    The Benefits of Sales Automation

    Sales automation is revolutionizing the industry:

    How does sales automation drive these improvements? Let’s explore the key benefits:

    Increased Efficiency

    Sales and marketing automation offers immediate, tangible benefits by dramatically increasing operational efficiency. It handles routine, time-consuming tasks like product configuration, pricing, quote creation, and data entry, freeing sales representatives to focus on high-value activities requiring human expertise.

    Integration with CRM and ERP systems minimizes manual data entry, saving time and reducing human error. Automated systems can send timely follow-ups, set task reminders, and nurture leads without constant intervention, ensuring no prospects slip through the cracks.

    Enhanced Accuracy

    Sales automation reduces error risk by automating calculations and data transfers. This is crucial for areas like pricing and quoting, where mistakes can be costly. 

    CPQ systems manage complex pricing structures and product configurations, ensuring accurate quotes consistent with current policies. This is particularly valuable for businesses with large product catalogs or customizable offerings.

    Improved Lead Management

    Lead scoring systems analyze factors like demographics, online behavior, product selections, and engagement history to prioritize opportunities. This ensures sales teams focus on the most promising leads.

    Automated nurturing campaigns deliver tailored content to prospects at optimal times, keeping them engaged throughout long sales cycles and moving them efficiently through the funnel.

    Accelerated Sales Cycles

    Sales automation significantly speeds up the entire process, from initial contact to deal closure. Automated systems instantly respond to inquiries or alert sales reps for quick follow-ups, which is crucial for winning business in competitive markets.

    CPQ automation reduces quote creation from hours to minutes. CAD and design automation generate 3D renderings and technical drawings in seconds. Automated approval workflows expedite special pricing or customized offerings. Integrated e-signature capabilities dramatically reduce the time from agreement to signed contract.

    Reduced Costs

    Automating repetitive tasks allows businesses to scale with fewer additional staff, lowering personnel costs. Increased efficiency and accuracy minimize costly errors and rework, further reducing operational expenses.

    Automation improves lead qualification and targeting, focusing marketing budgets on the most promising prospects. Streamlined processes and faster sales cycles decrease overall cost per sale.

    The Ripple Effect: Beyond Sales

    While sales automation primarily enhances sales activities, its impact resonates throughout the organization. From improved customer experiences to better interdepartmental collaboration and increased scalability, let’s explore these far-reaching benefits.

    Enhanced Customer Experience

    Sales automation systems are revolutionizing customer interactions. By collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data, businesses can tailor their marketing campaigns and customer support to individual preferences and needs. This personalization creates a cohesive and engaging customer journey from initial outreach to post-sale support. 

    Effective automation enables timely, relevant communications at key touchpoints. For example, prospects can receive targeted follow-up emails with pertinent information immediately after downloading a whitepaper. Customers might get automatic check-in messages a week after using a product configurator. When implemented thoughtfully, automated interactions demonstrate attentiveness and care—qualities that modern buyers increasingly value. 

    This personalized approach isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s becoming essential. A Forrester study for Adobe found that 72% of B2B customers expect fully or mostly personalized content when using products and services. By leveraging sales automation, businesses can meet these expectations and significantly enhance the overall customer experience.

    Cross-Departmental Collaboration

    Sales automation doesn’t operate in isolation. Its benefits ripple out to create stronger connections and efficiencies across various departments. 

    Marketing: Sales automation bridges the often-challenging gap between sales and marketing teams. By providing shared access to customer data, interaction histories, and performance metrics, sales automation fosters better alignment between these crucial functions. 

    Finance: Sales automation software integrated with finance and operations systems creates a seamless information flow. This enables automated order processing, invoicing, and inventory management, increasing efficiency and reducing errors. 

    Engineering: CPQ software can generate CAD files and documents needed on the shop floor to manufacture configurable products. The result is a streamlined end-to-end sales-to-manufacturing workflow, reducing time-consuming back-and-forth interactions.

    Scalability and Growth

    Sales automation empowers companies to drive exponential business growth. As organizations expand, sales automation tools enable them to manage a significantly larger volume of leads and customers without proportionally increasing sales staff. This enhanced efficiency is crucial for scaling operations effectively at a time when skilled labor is hard to come by.

    The flexibility and data-driven insights of sales automation facilitate expansion into new markets and the introduction of new product lines. As businesses grow more complex, advanced sales automation can handle intricate workflows, multi-stage approvals, and complex product configurations, supporting your organization’s evolution.

    Enabling E-commerce and Self-Serve Capabilities

    Research from McKinsey & Co. shows that the modern B2B buyer is tired of high-touch sales techniques and ready to take the buying process into their own hands. 

    To meet these changing preferences, businesses are turning to sales automation. This technology is crucial for enabling e-commerce and self-serve capabilities, allowing companies to offer customers independent purchasing options and 24/7 access.

    The Impact of CPQ

    CPQ software takes self-serve and e-commerce to the next level by streamlining the configuration and quoting process for complex products. Key features include:

    1. 3D Visual Configurator: Sellers can embed this tool into their website, allowing customers to design and customize products interactively. Customers can see a real-time 3D representation of their customized product as they make selections.
    2. Product Rules: CPQ systems incorporate rules to ensure customers only create viable product configurations. These rules guide customers through the process, preventing incompatible selections and ensuring the final product meets all necessary specifications.
    3. Instant Quoting: Once a customer has configured their product, the CPQ system can instantly generate an accurate quote and any required supporting documents.
    4. E-commerce Integration: CPQ systems can integrate directly with e-commerce platforms, allowing for immediate checkout after configuration.

    By implementing these self-serve capabilities, B2B sellers can cater to the preferences of modern buyers while streamlining their sales processes. 

    The Future of Sales Automation

    Sales automation technology is rapidly evolving. Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize business sales processes, driven by technological advancements and changing market needs. Virtual and augmented reality create immersive sales experiences, allowing customers to visualize products in lifelike settings before purchasing. Let’s look at the impact this groundbreaking tech is having.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Two distinct approaches have emerged in sales automation: Narrow AI and Generative AI. Each offers unique capabilities and applications for streamlining sales processes.

    Narrow AI, also known as weak AI, is designed to perform specific tasks within a limited scope. Examples might include lead scoring systems, automated email marketing triggers, or basic chatbots with predefined sales responses. These tools excel at handling structured data and following predetermined rules, making them efficient for routine administrative tasks but limited in their ability to adapt to new situations.

    Generative AI, on the other hand, represents a more flexible and robust approach. Trained on vast amounts of data, large language models from companies like OpenAI and Anthropic can produce human-like text, engage in open-ended conversations, and tackle a wide range of tasks. In sales automation, this translates to more dynamic and personalized interactions with potential customers.

    The impact of generative AI is already being felt across various roles and industries. For instance, it’s helping copywriters draft content and computer programmers write code, with tools like Jasper and GitHub Copilot boosting productivity by 50% or more. 

    Harvard Business Review suggests that this technology can offer similar benefits to salespeople, such as negotiating for sales reps, drafting personalized emails, and even generating entire marketing campaigns. 

    Virtual and Augmented Reality

    Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) is transforming sales by aligning with self-service and remote work trends. These technologies allow businesses to showcase products virtually and customers to explore from anywhere, making expensive showrooms unnecessary,

    VR/AR reduces purchase anxiety by enabling “try before you buy” experiences and product visualization in “real-world” environments. Customers are empowered to control their buying journey, fostering deeper connections with products through virtual exploration and customization. The result is often increased deal sizes and lower return rates.

    Both businesses and customers benefit from efficiency gains. Companies can streamline product demonstrations without physical prototypes while customers enjoy a more interactive decision-making process. This leads to more flexible and scalable sales strategies, reducing costs and improving the overall experience.

    Epicor CPQ exemplifies this transformation with its integrated VR/AR capabilities. Customers can now configure and experience products in lifelike scenarios, making informed decisions without in-person demonstrations.

    Sales Automation Case Study (Frameless Hardware Company)

    To illustrate the benefits of sales automation, let’s look at the real-world example of FHC, a custom glazing company. FHC leveraged Epicor CPQ’s sales automation capabilities to transform its processes. See how their experience compares to yours. 


    Frameless Hardware Company (FHC) is a leading manufacturer and supplier of custom glass and glazing products for the architectural and fenestration industries.


    1. Complex Custom Product Configuration: FHC’s products involve countless combinations of dimensions, glass types, finishes, and hardware options. Their manual, spreadsheet-driven process couldn’t adequately handle this complexity.
    2. Lack of Visualization: FHC was unable to show customers lifelike visualizations of custom products, creating doubts and potentially losing sales opportunities.
    3. Siloed Systems and Data: Departments worked within disconnected systems, leading to time-consuming and error-prone manual data transfer between sales, engineering, and manufacturing.
    4. Inefficient Quoting Process: Large quotes used to take 1-2 hours to process and enter into the system.

    Sales Automation Solution Implemented

    FHC implemented Epicor CPQ to overhaul its sales strategy and process inefficiencies.

    Key Features Used:

    1. 3D Visualization and Dynamic Pricing: Intuitive 3D configurators with live, lifelike visualizations and dynamic pricing reflecting pre-defined rules and fluctuating costs.
    2. Seamless Data Integration: Pre-built connectors and API integration capabilities to consolidate formerly fragmented systems into a single source of truth.
    3. Automated Quote Generation: Streamlined process for creating accurate quotes based on complex configurations.
    4. End-to-End Workflow Automation: Automated transfer of verified designs from sales to production without manual re-entry.


    1. Accelerated Quoting: Large quotes that used to take 1-2 hours now take only 10-15 minutes to process and enter into the system.
    2. Streamlined Engineering: 90% of orders no longer require manual engineering work. Manual tasks that previously took engineers half a day can now be completed in minutes.
    3. Enhanced Customer Service: Team members can now configure products without specialist knowledge, making the FHC sales team more productive.
    4. Increased Revenue Potential: Sales and engineering teams can focus on revenue-generating activities and complex, high-value projects.
    5. Improved Customer Experience: Customers can now get pricing instantly without waiting 48 hours for a quote.

    Lessons Learned

    1. Importance of Visual Configuration: Lifelike 3D visualizations significantly enhance customer confidence and engagement in the sales process.
    2. Value of System Integration: Unifying previously siloed processes into a single workflow dramatically improves efficiency and reduces errors.
    3. Power of Automation in Complex Environments: Automating intricate processes like custom product configuration can lead to substantial time savings and increased accuracy.
    4. Significance of Real-Time Data: Providing instant pricing and product information enhances customer satisfaction and win rate.

    In Summary

    Sales automation offers numerous benefits that can transform your business. It improves efficiency and accuracy, accelerates sales cycles, and enables data-driven decisions—powerful     tools for modern sales teams. Embracing automation frees valuable time, enhances customer satisfaction, and drives sustainable growth.

    As we navigate the intersection of automation and AI, the future of sales is both exciting and challenging. The most successful companies will be those that use automation to amplify human ingenuity. By freeing time for creative problem-solving and relationship-building, automation allows businesses to fully capitalize on their workforce’s unique skills and insights.

    Emily Stevens

    Emily Stevens

    Emily is a marketing professional with knowledge across branding, digital strategy, and creative content. She enjoys educating her audience on the benefits of products and how their ease and use can help with efficiency and problem solving.