This sponsored post is produced in association with Peter Stern, CRO, Autopilot. 

Talk to any sales rep in the tech world, and you’ll hear about the gap. It’s the gap between marketing and CRM. While maybe not as big as the Grand Canyon, that gap is big enough to hold the mile-high frustrations of countless sales representatives who’d love to spend more time selling and less time in task management.

The gap is understandable when you look at where the focus has been until now. Marketing automation has been honed for years with platforms like Marketo, Eloqua, and today’s platforms like Autopilot making the jobs of marketers more efficient and streamlined. But these platforms are intended to build and execute multi-channel campaigns. They remain the turf of the marketing team.

At the same time, CRM tools like Salesforce and their competitors help sales teams manage pipeline and forecasting. For sure, they incorporate automation, but generally speaking, these automated capabilities do more to support organizational management rather than the real sales work of interfacing with customers or prospects. They simply don’t do a good job of automating outbound prospecting.

Reducing the grunt work of sales

Here’s the reality: For many sales reps on the front lines, conducting day-to-day business through a CRM means countless numbers of tasks that need to be manually implemented. And after each individual task, the sales rep needs to create and schedule an additional follow-up task. All these distinct activities end up compounding one another and chewing up huge amounts of time, from tracking leads to managing email, scheduling follow-ups, and reporting. Not only does productivity get beaten down; so does morale.

Now, imagine the grunt work taken out of the sales rep’s job. Imagine that he or she can stop being a taskmaster and spend more time creating opportunities, qualifying leads and closing business. This is where sales automation comes in, the third spoke on the CRM/marketing automation/sales automation wheel. 

Entrants in sales automation like the platform CoPilot are designed to automatically engage prospects through outbound drip campaigns created by the sales team then automatically follow up based on behavior and deliver only engaged prospects into the sale’s person’s inbox.

Redefining productivity 

The hopes for sales automation are big. Some suggest it will change how sales professionals define a productive day. For example, those in sales have long been taught that a good sales rep can perform 50 to 100 activities per day. Advocates of automation see a world where that can turn into 500 or even 1,000 activities per day — but where most of these tasks are automated, increasing the number of warm leads and freeing time for meaningful engagement with prospects.

There’s also the hope that sales teams can apply learning based on tracking and outcomes. Let’s say a top-performing sales rep is getting a 48 percent open rate when the rest of the team is averaging 33 percent. With automation, the vision is to leverage the most compelling content and automate the hell out of it.

The ultimate driver is for increased revenue and company growth. That’s hard to argue with, and it’s my belief that sales automation will become one of the essential factors in getting there.

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