Beginner Level Sales Automation
So today I want to talk about beginner level sales automation for companies that sell a high ticket product/service B2B (SaaS, Consulting, etc.).
As an entrepreneur time is your most valuable asset. Maximizing this scarce resource is going to make the difference between building a successful startup and having to return back to a 9 to 5 grind.
Introducing automation into your sales process is a way to get back precious hours in your day. Automation is going to be critical to achieve the sales velocity you’ll need to keep your budding business afloat in the early days.
I’ve had many clients go back and forth with me wondering if spending the money to fully build out a software stack is worth it, especially when many sales activities can be manually done for free. Manually executing these tasks are going to take hours away from your day, and sap your willpower.
Willpower is a finite resource, you only have so much of it per day. You need to preserve it as much as possible so that it can be leveraged for the more difficult activities and decisions you need to make for your business.
If you cut corners on automation in an attempt to save money, the price you’re going to pay is tapping into that limited daily supply of willpower. That means less product development, poorer business decisions, less revenue, and a lot more stress.
Currently I spend $3,000 annually on my software stack. This stack is more than enough to consistently generate 30k monthly per sales rep using it.
The first thing you’ll need to do is find a home for all of your sales data. A CRM will help record all of your conversations and will keep you organized while reminding you when to follow up.
You need to remember that your CRM is a LONG TERM investment. Although it may seem tedious to be constantly updating, logging activity, and tracking deal progress, It’s going to become an ABSOLUTE GOLDMINE for you in the years to come.
When it comes to CRMs, realistically there are only two options:
For the vast majority of all small business owners it makes the most sense to go with HubSpot. Here’s three reasons why:
It’s free: as a small business owner you don’t need most of the paid features of HubSpot, you can get by with just the free version.
It’s intuitive: most founders don’t have a lot of previous experience with CRMs, HubSpot is great because it’s much easier to use than most other options.
It’s flexible: starting with HubSpot allows you the freedom to either progress your business with the paid version of HubSpot, or make the transition to salesforce later down the line.
Ultimately, Salesforce is the best CRM for most companies selling a high ticket product/service but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to use in the early stages. That is because:
It’s complex: Salesforce’s greatest strength is that it’s a highly complex and customizable platform. In the early stages of your company however, you simply don’t need the complexity and advanced features that Salesforce provides. You’ll end up paying for features that you can’t utilize given the fact that you haven’t nailed down your sales process yet.
You could buy one of Salesforce’s beginner packages, such as Salesforce Essentials ($25 per month). But this package simply gives you all the features that you’d be getting with the free version of Hubspot. So what’s the point of paying for features that you can get for free?
Therefore it makes more sense to use HubSpot until your company begins to scale, and you’re beginning to build out a sales team. Salesforce is more for companies that have a better thought out and more complex sales process, which is when a more customizable solution is required.
I’ve been using the free version of HubSpot for the past year as my CRM, I’m not looking to upgrade it anytime soon.
#2: Prospect Database
A prospect database is important because it’s where you find and research all of the prospects that you are targeting.
There are two options when it comes to picking a prospect database solution:
If you’re using just the free version of LinkedIn to find prospects please stop. Do yourself a massive favor and spend a bit of money to get SalesNavigator. This tool allows you to filter out any unwanted leads from your LinkedIn searches, saving you hours every day.
If you’re planning on ONLY running email campaigns for your outreach you might want to use Apollo. This platform has a search feature that works very similarly to SalesNavigator, in fact it has a few filters that SalesNavigator lacks allowing you to get even more granular with your searches.
The downside of investing in Apollo vs. SalesNavigator is that you won’t be able to run LinkedIn automation off of Apollo, as these tools are geared towards integrating with SalesNavigator.
Both of these platforms have free trials and I suggest you use this time to take an in-depth look at both of these platforms, and decide which one works best for your business.
It can make sense to have both Apollo and SalesNavigator. As an example, I personally run both email sequences and LinkedIn sequences for my business. This allows me to get the sales velocity I need in order to consistently generate revenue.
Having both LinkedIn and email sequences running allows me to double my outreach output, providing me with a lot more sales conversations.
#3: Scraping Tool
A scraping tool is what you’re going to use to capture the relevant contact information of your prospect, so that you can begin to send them outreach.
Again there are only two options for this in my opinion:
In addition to being a prospect database, Apollo also allows you to scrape the contact information of your prospects. In terms of scraping tools that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them, Apollo is by far the best scraping tool on the market.
Not only is it the most accurate at guessing email addresses, it also provides you with the phone numbers as well. So if your planning on mixing in cold calls with your email outreach then this platform is a must.
Apollo also allows you to scrape all of this contact information in bulk. With just a few clicks you can scrape entire pages of contact information from your prospect database. This is something that not a lot of other scraping tools on the market can do currently. PersistIQ has begun to build out features to mimic this but currently it’s not nearly as good as Apollo (I’ve tried both side by side).
It makes sense to go with PersistIQ if you’re just starting to dip your toes into email marketing. PersistIQ will give you a scraping tool with the free version of it’s platform, the downside of that being that you’ll have to manually scrape prospects one by one.
Hopefully in the future PersistIQ will improve their bulk scraping tool, until then Apollo is more efficient to use.
#4: Sequencing Tool
Finally you’ll need a tool that allows you to send your prospects automated follow-up messages.
Most of your email conversions will happen in either the first or second message you send to your prospects. With that being said, there’s still quite a lot of revenue to be made from leads converted after the 5th cold outreach touch. In my previous sales role, prospects converted after the 5th touch resulted in over $100k of closed revenue in 2019 alone.
So remember there’s a lot of money to be made in following up with unresponsive prospects; therefore you need a platform that automates this for you.
Both PersistIQ and Apollo have sequencing tools built into their platforms. Neither one of them are either better or worse than the other when it comes to sequencing specifically. Again the major benefit of using Apollo is the time you’ll be saving with the scraping tool that it comes with, as this process is much more manual if you’re using PersistIQ.
In terms of LinkedIn Automation, I recommend using Octopus CRM. This tool will allow you bulk connect + bulk message prospects (you shouldn’t be messaging prospects until they’ve accepted your invitation to connect). It’s particularly useful if you’re using it in tandem with SalesNavigator, as this ensures that you’re connecting directly with prospects in your niche.
SalesNavigator: $65 per month.
Apollo.io: $99 per month, $79 per month if you buy the annual package.
PersistIQ: $49 per month, $29 per month if you buy the annual package.
Octopus CRM: $22 per month, $15 per month if you buy the annual package.
My clients have been consistently generating 10+ qualified sales meetings per week using these automation tools. The only time investment being 20-40 minutes per day adding new prospects and bulk executing certain tasks.
You can accomplish this too, so long as your messaging and targeting is tight.
And of course there’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to building out your software stack and achieving more automation in your sales process.
Feel free to message me, comment below, and/or send me a friend request if you have any other questions!