Sales automation software aims to streamline your sales workflow, allowing you to close deals faster.
But what is sales automation software? What types are there and which do we recommend? This guide covers everything you need to know.
What is sales automation software?
Sales automation software is the technology used to automate the sometimes monotonous tasks that are key to building simple and profitable sales journeys. It can cover Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, email marketing software and lead generation software.
Automating tasks reduces the workload for your sales team, helping them to focus more on closing deals and generating more revenue.
Sales automation also allows companies to automate the relationship between marketing and sales teams, stay ahead of the curve and nurture client relationships where it matters most.
What are the types of sales automation?
Sales automation provides sales reps with the opportunity to close more deals without sacrificing human interaction. The most common type of sales automation tool is customer relationship management software, like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 or HubSpot.
Nuanced tasks, such as providing contact information, scheduling meetings and writing emails can also be automated to save time and enable salespeople to focus on the right tasks.
Often, sales automation platforms are cross-functional and empower various aspects of the sales journey. An example of this would be the developments in cloud-based CRMs and new built-in AI functionality, which can automate a few contextual processes within your sales operations.
The various types of sales automation may include:
- Prospecting. Using a sales automation tool can help to find and filter prospects. For example, it could identify prospects related to a company's products or services much faster than a manual process. It allows reps to identify leads at scale with relevant prospect suggestions.
- Lead enrichment. To generate quality leads you need B2B data such as industry, company and job title. This process can be streamlined by using a data enrichment tool.In order to build a pipeline, you need full and correct data, so sales reps can focus on reaching suitable leads.
- Email scheduling. Creating personalised emails can be streamlined with a sales automation tool. For example, if a prospect has seemingly gone cold, but is still showing interest in your website, it may be worth setting up an automated email reminding them that the door is not closed. Sales email automation software can be extremely helpful in guiding prospects through the sales funnel and gaining trust over time.
- Meeting scheduling. Some platforms will let you send your public calendar link directly to prospects, this allows them to choose a time and book a meeting directly in your calendar. This eliminates the need to back and forth with scheduling and reduces the chance of no-shows.
- Deal management. This involves tracking every stage of a deal in order to streamline the closing process. A deal management tool allows you to organize, track, maintain, prioritize and analyze deals, regardless of where they are in the sales pipeline.
- Sales contract automation. Sales teams want to create, share and get sales agreements signed quickly to capture revenue and close their deals. Automating certain elements of the contract workflow speeds up sales cycles by reducing manual work and friction.
What are the benefits of using sales automation software?
Sales automation tools reduce friction in the sales process, benefitting the sales team members and the business as a whole.
There are numerous benefits to implementing sales automation software, such as:
Increasing productivity and efficiency
Reducing the number of manual low-level, time-consuming tasks from your workflow allows sales reps to do more with their time. Automating these administrative and repetitive sales tasks can increase productivity. For example, Sales automation tools can handle tasks like data entry, lead qualification and follow-ups.
Improve lead generation
Identifying who is actually likely to buy for your business can help you identify where energy is best spent. Instead of focusing on every customer that interacts with your company, sales can nurture warm leads and move them down the sales funnel.
Maintaining a strong relationship with prospects after they become clients is key to retention. Automation can make it easier to maintain customers, as maintaining key data gives you a better idea of how to upsell and maintain relationships. For instance, if a client’s level of product usage drops below a certain predefined level, the appropriate workflow can be triggered to try and re-engage the account.
As the above suggests, knowing how prospects and customers are interacting with you is key. Data can empower sales teams to make decisions that work for that deal at that time and do what they need to do to push a deal through. Using a CRM to capture, centralise, and clean data is a key tool for success.
Improve customer experience
In 2024, customers expect fast and efficient service. Automation can ensure that customers quickly receive the sales collateral that they need to make a decision. On top of this, you can deliver proposals and cost quotes fast, moving negotiations forward.
In theory, all of the above will boost sales. Automating your processes streamlines the process and creates a unified approach across the sales team. Automating your sales workflows reduces the risk of error and takes redundant tasks off your team members’ to-do lists.
The 11 best sales automation tools in 2024
It’s good to know how these tools can help you, but which are the tools you should be using? The list below highlights some of the most popular and hidden gems of the sales automation software world.
Salesforce is perhaps the best-known CRM tool in the business. Built for small, medium and enterprise businesses, Salesforce is a scalable platform that allows workflows to be automated.
Salesforce allows users to automate:
- Forecasting. Creating accurate forecasts and templates that simplify data analysis. Salsecloud provides a real-time view of a sales team’s forecast and uses collaborative forecasting to make quick updates.
- Inspect pipelines. Sales teams can manage their pipelines with a single view of pipeline metrics, opportunities and week-to-week deal changes. Members can see insights from call recordings, emails, cases and close date predictions in the same place.
- AI assistance. Salesforce now uses AI in sales workflows to automatically generate such sales tasks as composing emails, scheduling meetings and preparing for the next interaction with a prospect.
Using Salesforce means that teams no longer have to jump between a fragmented stack of tools. Salesforce integrations are also a key feature, meaning it can seamlessly integrate into your existing tech stack.
Salesforce helps people to connect better with their customers through automation, from generative AI to real-time data through its interactive CRM.
Over 2,000 reviews of the software mention the ‘sales process’ with independent G2 reviews stating:
Sales cloud has transformed the way in which we manage all sales reps in our face-to-face channels.” - Independent review, G2
Its complex price structure and the fact that businesses need modification and integrations make it too expensive for start-ups and smaller enterprises” - Independent review, Capterra
2. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics is considered the other leader in the CRM space, produced by one of the top five most valuable companies in the world.
The Microsoft Dynamics 365 product suite is part of a comprehensive set of tools built to perform practically every aspect of business management.
Naturally, Microsoft Dynamics also integrates with the full suite of Microsoft products, including Word, Excel and Outlook. This makes it a valuable option for businesses that rely heavily on these products for day-to-day operations.
Like Salesforce, it provides a complete view of your customer base. This includes features that predict customer intent, improve lead generation and qualification, and enrich customer relationships.
Dynamics 365 Sales provides us with a powerful set of tools and capabilities to streamline our sales processes, enhance customer relationships, and make data-driven decisions - Independent review, G2
The initial setup and implementation of Dynamics 365 can be a bit complex and time-consuming, and there is a bit of a learning curve for new users - Independent review, Capterra
Hubspot Sales Hub was built into the wider HubSpot CRM platform. With ‘Hubs’ for marketing, operations, CMS and sales, Hubspot offers solutions to increase leads, accelerate sales and simplify processes. Its Sales Hub features automation at all levels, from creating sales contracts to tracking and closing deals.
It lists its most popular features as:
- email templates
- lead management and prospecting
- sales automation
- call tracking
- deal pipelines
- meeting scheduling and
- Hubspot AI
HubSpot is often considered by those who already use the platform to assist in other areas of their business, such as marketing. It offers a wide range of automation at a range of price points, making it a highly suitable option for smaller and mid market businesses looking for multifunctionality.
Hubspot Sales Hub is actually ranked in the top 50 Sales tools of G2 and boasts a 4.4-star rating, in addition to its 4.5 Capterra rating.
One independent review did comment on its forecasting ability compared to Salesforce, so that is worth bearing in mind.
It could be better in terms of forecasting. That's a thing Salesforce does very well and Hubspot lacks in that department - Independent review, Capterra
Gong is a revenue intelligence platform that captures your customer interactions across phone, web conferencing and email.
Gong records any time your team interacts with customers or prospects. It saves your team time by understanding what was said in these interactions. The AI-enabled tool is able to process the full context of customer interactions, from key topics and top questions to action items and relationship dynamics.
Like the CLMs above, Gong alsp integrates with around 100 other platforms. This streamlines data and boosts productivity.
Gong is rated 4.7 out of 5 overall on G2. More specifically, the revenue management tool is rated 9.3 for ease of use, 9.3 for quality of support and 9.1 for ease of setup. This makes Gong the best-reviewed software provider for customer service.
Using Gong offers invaluable insights for improvement without the need to be on every call - key in a high volume, fast-moving sales function - Max Baldry-Steen, Senior Account Executive at Juro
Salesloft is a leading AI-powered revenue workflow platform that aims to help sellers and sales teams drive more revenue.
Salesloft is branded as a one-stop shop for sellers to execute all of their digital selling tasks, communicate with buyers, understand what to do next and get coaching and insights set to win deals.
Salesloft covers a lot of ground, boasting capabilities in:
- sales forecasting
- lead management
- sales acceleration
- sales tracking
- sales automation
- call recording
- cold emailing
- sales training
- call tracking and
Salesloft is rated 4.5 out of 5 overall on G2 and is scored 8.5 out of 10 for ease of use. It actually ranks higher than market leader Salesforce on both counts, but some independent reviews criticise it for having a ‘challenging learning curve’.
That said, another reviewer praised the platform for
The ability to create effective outreach cadences and having data analytics into testing email campaigns is absolutely crucial - Independent review, Capterra