When it comes to business, your sales funnel is the most valuable tool you’ve got. It provides you with a framework for gathering all the details you need to convert leads.

These days, most customers make buying decisions online. In light of this, an automated sales process caters to the market. It integrates with your digital marketing strategy. At the same time, it makes things more efficient for your staff.

Automation helps streamline the sales process and improve productivity. It also ensures your leads stay organized.

The Four Phases of the Buyer Journey

As a business, your chief concern in sales and marketing is to move potential customers through each different phase of the buyer journey.

Do this well, and they’ll convert to paying customers. Do it poorly, and they’ll convert with the competition.

If you’re looking at automating your sales process, you should know that 77% of CMOs swear by it, citing revenue growth as the reason.

When automating your process, there are four key phases in the buyer journey you need to address:

The Awareness Phase

Most often, potential leads find you while researching a problem or need they have. Social media, your website and your blog are all important channels of communication. Ads, email campaigns and strong search engine tactics are also strong choices.

Automation in this phase lends structure to your marketing. From creating buyer personas to automating social media posts, it makes marketing easier. You can also gather and segment leads in your CRM for better targeting.

The Interest Phase

This is where a potential customer has decided that they’re interested in knowing more about you. Nurturing that interest is vital to conversion.

White papers are great for providing customers with resources and solutions. As are blog articles, eBooks, checklists, and a wealth of other content offerings.

Automation in this phase helps you generate content and send it out. It also helps you analyze how well your current content is engaging customers. This equates to assessing how effective your strategy actually is.

The Decision Phase

During the decision phase the customer has gotten to know you a little. They’re getting close to making a decision about converting to a paying customer.

This is when the sales team needs to ramp up its efforts and reach out with plans to address your prospect’s needs and close the deal.

This is a particularly vulnerable phase as you’re fresh in your prospect’s mind. In this phase, any delays or failures in your current system could cost you the customers. Automation helps carry out contact in a systematic way.

In this phase, integrations with your CRM and outside sales tools can be useful.

You can also use automation to generate documents and track your history and interactions with each customer. This way you’re assured to provide the best service possible going forward.

The Action Phase

There’s no room for error when you’re closing the deal. This is where automation kicks into high gear and get things moving. From sign off on pricing to service agreements, recurring billing cycles and more, automation keeps things in line.

Automated workflows around pricing and other approvals is good practice here. Automate proposals and quotes, forms, invoices and customer account summaries, to name a few.

The more you automate, the more conversions you’ll see, and the happier your customers will be.

So Should You Automate?

Automating your funnel steps help speed and efficiency in every step of the process. This in turn ensures great customer service and higher conversions.

With the right system, you’ll have access to all the facts and figures you need to track your business and be sure you’re on par with your business goals.