It seems half the world is worried about the takeover of automation – a future in which humans are all but replaced by machines, driven to boredom and poverty.
The other half is looking forward to a future in which we sip on Mai Tais by the poolside as convenient machines take care of everything for us.
In the meantime, we have a golden age of synergy between man and machine.
No, not cyborgs. Human sales reps backed with the power of automation.
In this article, we’ll discuss sales automation software tools that every sales rep should be using.
Table of Contents
- What Is Sales Automation?
- The Best Sales Automation Software Tools
- What Does Sales Automation Software Let You Automate?
- Benefits of Sales Automation Software
What Is Sales Automation?
So what is sales automation, exactly?
Sales automation is about automating various tasks related to a salesperson’s job – in other words, allowing a machine or algorithm to complete those tasks.
The Best Sales Automation Software Tools
Let’s take a look at some of the best sales automation tools currently available:
Yes, I know I’m biased. But seriously, it doesn’t get more automated than “set it and forget it” which is exactly what EmailAnalytics lets you do.
Here’s the thing. Sales is all about delivering a phenomenal experience to prospects before they become customers. How do you do that? Well, one way is to be super responsive and helpful when they have questions. Consider these stats:
- 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
- Following up within an hour increases your chances of success by 700%.
- Salespeople spend an average of 13 hours per week on email.
So yeah, response time is super important.
Do you know how quickly your team responds to emails? Probably not, because there are very few tools that measure email response time. EmailAnalytics does!
It’s a sales automation tool because all you need to do is sign in by authorizing access to your Gmail or Google Workspace account. And that’s it – you’ll start receiving a daily email report that tells you how many emails you received and sent each day, as well as your email response time.
You know the saying: That which gets measured gets improved.
Of course, if you want to dig deeper you can – you can set any date range you like. You can apply filters to your email data, and you can compare trends over different periods of time.
Best of all? You can easily track your team’s email activity and response times if you’re a sales manager. Consider it “improving response time through accountability, thereby increasing sales.” True set-it-and-forget-it sales automation.
Every sales team that uses email to communicate with prospects should be using EmailAnalytics.
Apollo is a sales engagement platform that automates multiple components of the sales outreach process:
- Finding email addresses within your target audience
- Performing email outreach
- A/B testing and reporting on results of that outreach
- Multi-channel sequences & task management
I primarily use Apollo for its huge filterable database of leads, complete with email and phone contact info. It’s a downright steal at $50/mo.
And the LinkedIn extension gets you unlimited email addresses from LinkedIn search results, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, providing a basically endless supply of email addresses for your cold email outreach campaign – all for $50/mo.
It’s not the most highly-featured, but it’s the best deal of all the sales engagement platforms I’ve tested.
MeetAlfred is a fantastic tool for LinkedIn B2B prospecting. It can automatically send connection requests to people from any LinkedIn search results page (including LinkedIn Sales Navigator search results). It can automatically send LinkedIn messages in a sequence you define, at a cadence you set.
And it can perform multi-channel outreach sequences and touches, including via email and Twitter.
If you’re a B2B firm looking for B2B leads on LinkedIn, MeetAlfred is the best option for LinkedIn outreach.
Intercom is a swiss army knife of sales tools. It lets you schedule email sequences to new leads and customers, pushing them toward a sale.
It can automatically welcome all new website visitors and steer them into a conversion funnel using its on-site chat box. And it provides a highly customizable CRM that lets you create unique events, statuses, and other variables to trigger unique actions when certain conditions are met.
This all leads to a highly customizable, personal experience for new leads and prospects, which boosts conversion rates at the middle of the funnel and gets more leads into the top of the funnel.
All completely automated.
Mailshake is my preferred email outreach tool. You can use a tool like Apollo’s Chrome extension for LinkedIn, combined with LinkedIn Sales Navigator to gather a list of email addresses for cold outreach.
Then, you can import those email addresses into Mailshake and let the fun begin. Mailshake lets you conduct A/B tests on your outreach and makes it easy to see which variants are the winners.
Mailshake handles the email sends completely automatically from your email accounts, drip-feeding the emails out over the course of the day, between your scheduled work hours.
It detects replies and automatically removes people from your sequence when a reply is detected. It handles unsubscribes, bounces, and everything else you’d expect from an outreach automation platform.
It sets itself apart because of its integration with email list-cleaning software Voila Norbert, which automatically scans and cleans your prospect list before you send any emails.
This ensures that you never have to worry about sending emails that’ll bounce and could get your email address in a spam trap or blacklist.
Reply.io is like the Rolls-Royce of sales automation platforms. It enables multi-channel sequences including LinkedIn, email, Twitter, SMS, and more. Use it to automate your cold outreach sequences, A/B test them automatically, and track campaign results.
So why is it ranked lower than Mailshake, Apollo, and MeetAlfred?
Because it’s more expensive, and offers probably a lot more than you need. It gives you a ton of capabilities, but has a higher learning curve due to the overwhelming amount of functionality it has.
Lemlist is another sales automation platform like Mailshake and Reply.io. Its UI is a little less friendly to navigate than Mailshake’s, but it’s fine after you get used to it.
One thing that sets it apart is its “Lemwarm” feature which is the main reason I’m including it in this list. The “Lemwarm” feature automatically sends and receives emails with other users of Lemlist throughout the day.
This is key to keeping your email account “warm” and looking natural to email algorithms, which keeps you off blacklists and spam lists.
Of course, you can also use it for its intended purpose of conducting automatic cold outreach via email, as well as A/B testing and reporting.
EmailAnalytics Visualizes Your Team's Email Activity
- 35-50% of sales go to the first-responding vendor.
- Following up within an hour increases your chances of success by 7x.
- Salespeople spend an average of 13 hours per week on email.
Unbounce is, at its core, a conversion optimization platform. You can use it to design landing pages and easily A/B test them to see which versions perform best.
It’s easy to integrate with WordPress websites (via a WordPress plugin) and super intuitive to use. Plus, conversion optimization testing is fun! (if you’re a nerd like me, anyway).
Aside from its landing page conversion optimization functionality, it also enables you to design and A/B test pop-ups on your site. I like to use the exit-intent popup.
It also lets you put up top and bottom bars and test their conversion rates. Basically, if you want to create and A/B pop-up CTAs and landing pages, all automatically, roll with Unbounce.
Clickflow is a sales automation tool that lets you automatically test different title tags and meta tags for your content to see which variations drive more clicks in organic search (ie, Google).
This not only helps you drive more organic traffic to your pages by testing what title tags perform best, but it also actually helps boost your SEO rankings for pages.
Because studies have shown that higher click-through rates result in higher SEO rankings. So by testing and optimizing your page titles and descriptions, you’ll not only get more traffic from the resulting higher conversion rate – you’ll also get more traffic from the resulting higher SEO rankings!
Calendly is a delightful sales automation software that makes it super easy to schedule meetings or book demos.
As a salesperson, you know that when you can get a prospect on the phone or in a face-to-face meeting, your conversion rate skyrockets. Calendly removes all the friction to getting that meeting or call booked.
All you need to do is send someone your Calendly link and it’ll give them available meeting times on your calendar, complete with time zone detection and conversions, calendar event creation, automated follow-ups and meeting reminders, and a lot more.
And it has a handy website integration that adds a little “Book a demo” button to your website so that prospects visiting your site can easily book a demo with you. It’s wonderful!
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is, in itself, not really a sales automation software tool. But it does enable many of the other tools on this list.
Think of it as a B2B leads database. You’ll need one of the other tools on this list to use it to its full potential (ie, the LinkedIn email finder Chrome extension from Apollo), but it’s the data source from which you’ll get all your prospects and contact info.
So while it doesn’t do anything on its own automatically, it’s an important piece of the sales automation process. See our definitive guide to LinkedIn Sales Navigator for more help!
What Does Sales Automation Software Let You Automate?
It’s easiest to understand the value of sales automation once you understand the core features of sales automation software.
These are some of the most common elements:
Before you gain new customers, you need to find leads and prospects. Sales automation makes it easy.
Lead enrichment and scoring.
Once you start collecting information on new prospects and leads, you can find out more about them – and eventually assign them a quality score to help you better understand your chances of completing a sale.
Cold email automation.
Is cold email a big part of your strategy? If so, you’ll never have to write an introductory email again. With the right automation technology, you can reach out to thousands of people automatically.
Drip email campaigns.
Even better, you can use sales automation to automate an entire email drip campaign, sending multiple follow-up messages to the people who don’t reply to your initial invitation. Sooner or later, you’ll get some bites – and your human sales team members will be ready to step in.
Similarly, you can use chatbots to automate certain types of conversations with prospects. You can feed them more information, help them feel comfortable, then step in with a human being when you’re ready to push them to the next stage.
Sales is a team exercise, so occasionally, you’ll need to make an effort to rebalance workloads. With the right sales automation platform, you can automate task assignment and delegation to keep all your team members appropriately busy.
Sales call automation.
It may not seem like it, but the time it takes to look up a prospect’s information, dial the phone, and initiate a call can really add up. Automate this and you can save hours of time every week.
Deal management and closing.
The right tools can help you submit proposals, finalize deals, book meetings, and close more sales efficiently.
On top of that, sales automation tools can help you generate automatic reports, detailing success rates and sales metrics that clue you into the effectiveness of your strategy. With an analytic approach, you can use these to improve your efforts and close more deals – or at least stop wasting time.
Benefits of Sales Automation Software
There are several key benefits of sales automation software tools:
The biggest benefit is saving time. Let’s say it normally takes you about 10 minutes to draft an email to a prospect, and you write to 10 new prospects a day, costing you 100 minutes or a little over an hour and a half.
If you can automate this, you’ll save almost 6.5 hours every week, amounting to almost a full workday. Imagine what your salespeople can accomplish with an extra day every week!
Time is money, right? Saving hours of time means you’ll accomplish more with fewer resources. That can add up to massive monetary savings.
It’s not just about saving time and money, either. Sales automation has the power to improve the consistency of your strategic performance. In a traditional environment, your salespeople might all have different perspectives, philosophies, and approaches.
They’ll vary in their execution. They’ll forget about certain responsibilities. They’ll deviate from set workflows.
But machines have no feelings or deviations. They do what they’re programmed to do – and they don’t make mistakes.
Reducing response times.
You know how important it is to nail down a fast response time with a prospect. Automation makes it possible. Instead of keeping all your salespeople on permanent standby, you can automatically reply to certain incoming messages.
Reducing “lost” leads.
Tired of leads slipping through the cracks? Remember, sales automation technology is incapable of the same errors that plague us simple human beings. You’ll have fewer lost opportunities, which leads to a cascade of other benefits.
Gathering more data.
With sales automation, you’ll have a kind of digital paper trail, tracking every move you make (and helping you measure your results). You can figure out exactly where your strategy is working and where it needs more support – so you can gradually tweak it to your liking.
Maximizing the effectiveness of limited resources.
Sales automation is great when you’re working with a limited budget or just a few team members in your department. You can do the work of a major organization since you won’t have to expand your team to do it.
That said, sales automation is also incredibly useful for businesses that are planning to scale up. Because most of your automated rules will function the same at small and large scales, you won’t have to change much as you grow.
Ready to get started with that sweet, sweet sales automation?
EmailAnalytics is here to help.
In case you missed it above, EmailAnalytics is an analytics platform designed to help you and your sales team members accomplish more.
It’s got in-depth visual breakdowns to show you exactly how you spend your time while emailing – and all the data you need to make better decisions in your sales department.
But don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself! Sign up for a free trial of EmailAnalytics today!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.