How Sales Automation is Killing Your Business #MarketingTip

First let me say that sales automation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is a bad thing when used in an annoying way.

The idea behind sales automation is that there is a set process for following up with prospects, and rather than having to remember to follow-up and customizing the follow-up, it can all be automated. Sales automation can be emails, voicemails (or robot-automated voice calls) or even regular mail.

The basic idea is that people aren’t always great at remembering to send the right message to the right person at the right time. Automating it takes the human element out, which can both be good and bad.

The good part is that it saves tons of time and effort. 80% of your sales emails are the exact same, so why not just have a standard follow-up process?

You have to be very smart about what you automate or you risk annoying most of your audience – especially those looking for something specific.

Here are a few examples of automation gone wrong (and the lesson learned):

  • When I was buying a new car 2 years ago I knew the exact car I wanted. I emailed 5 dealerships with the specifics of what I wanted, asking for a quote and stating that I was planning to buy at the end of the week. Three dealerships ended up putting me into their “Automated Sales” process, sending me random sales messages and incentives to stop in and look at their cars without ever answering what I already asked. I don’t think that a human even read the contact form I filled out. This wasted my time and was highly annoying. Plus for MONTHS and YEARS after they continued to send me automated emails. AUTOMATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A HUMAN TO RESPOND.
  • I recently started getting automated recorded calls from the service station that I go to. The cheesiest recorded voice yells at me to get my service. This is HIGHLY annoying. I don’t think that good ever comes from calling people with automated messages. If it isn’t important enough for them to have a human call me, why should I waste my valuable time? Is there anyone in the world who likes these? Even if a few people respond positively, is it worth annoying the heck out of everyone else. RESPECT YOUR CUSTOMERS. IF IT WOULD ANNOY YOU IT WILL ANNOY THEM.
  • Consider how relevant and annoying your follow-up process is. I recently made a purchase from an office supply company. I ordered my supplies online and they were delivered. Success. Since my purchase, some sales rep keeps messaging me — he has both called multiple times and emailed me. WHY? To “connect”. That is all he says. He wants to schedule a call to “connect”. I don’t have time or an interest in “connecting” with a sales person who works at a company that I buy from on the internet for no purpose. IF YOU CONTACT SOMEONE CLEARLY IDENTIFY WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM. OTHERWISE YOU ARE UNNECESSARY SPAM AND ANNOYING NOISE. CONSIDER IF YOU HAVE A REASON. PEOPLES TIME IS VALUABLE.

At Boot Camp Digital we are very cautious of our follow-up process and try not to reach out to people who don’t want to hear from us. It is a fine line, and we constantly assess and revise our process to make sure that we aren’t annoying people with unwanted messages.

Have you seen automation done right or wrong? What do you think?

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