Why Sales Teams Need Automation to Maximize Efficiency in Today’s Marketplace

November 28, 2022

“Grow or die.”

This mantra has been written about, meme’d, put on t-shirts, repeated, dissected, lauded, and pilloried. It’s even the name of a company and a podcast.

However, since the original guide to management was published in 1973, the “grow or die” ethos still drives many of the world’s startups and early-stage enterprises.

For companies with ambitious growth plans, there is one team that is most often the engine behind the success: the sales or, in some cases, revenue organization.

Without the ability to scale the sales team (or “do more with less” in today’s economic environment), even the most product-driven business will have trouble achieving its growth benchmarks. At the same time, a sales team that can scale without hindrances becomes a perpetual motion machine: rapid growth drives satisfaction and recruitment, which drives more rapid growth. 

Rinse. Repeat. Grow. Rinse. Repeat. Grow.

In today’s sales organizations, doing more with less isn’t as simple as generating “more leads” and providing the basic tools necessary to be successful. Hyper-competitive markets and industries are now defined by innovation, with companies leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to increase efficiency, leapfrog competitors, and rapidly increase market share.

AI is a (really big) topic for another day. If you're interested in how artificial intelligence is changing the way sales teams operate and influencing the future of sales performance management, check out this whitepaper!

This article will focus on sales automation, specifically how it makes it possible for human talent to focus on their most important tasks, allowing them to grow their customer base more easily and blow through sales quotes. We’ll dissect the four most important strategies that will provide the building blocks for an agile, fast-growth organization.

Strategy #1: Robust data integrations

No single enterprise has all the tools they need to succeed in the current marketplace. But many of them have a lot.

Gartner’s infographic (below) shows the various components of today’s Revenue Tech Stack – one that is “essential to the predictable, efficient modern revenue organization.” It’s broken down into six components:

  1. Engagement
  2. Application
  3. Enablement
  4. Operations
  5. Infrastructure
  6. 3rd Party Data

So no shortage of software to help with revenue growth (across marketing and sales). However, if you find the “right” SaaS platform, oftentimes, you don’t need to buy more software so long as you can centralize the data via integrations.

For example, while companies may have previously agonized over whether to build or buy their CRM or data management solutions, it’s often faster and more affordable to choose established, full-featured services like Salesforce and Snowflake.

Robust data integrations enable expanding the total addressable market, relying on valuable first-party data to drive sales intelligence and refine campaign strategies.

Strategy #2: Systems built to handle volume

If your organization does not have a process to handle the ebbs and flows of sales volume (think: inbound leads), you are in trouble.

Doing more with what you have (or less, sometimes) is tricky without some sales routing system. This can come in many forms. A few examples include: 

  • An inbound form on your website that routes to your CRM, which auto-assigns to a rep and sends them an email and/or Slack message.
  • An on-site chat (or chatbot) to handle inbound inquiries. At CaptivateIQ, we use Intercom, a company that “provides businesses with a way to chat with their customers.” See the example below.

But there are many other options on the market. Choose the solution that works best for your team.

Routing systems for sales inquiries make it possible to answer questions quickly without manually sorting through and prioritizing incoming questions. This is the essence of a scalable, automated solution: the organization needs to have more people working on the ticketing system in order to grow. 

Strategy #3: Automated accounting tools

For a sophisticated sales organization with a nuanced commission structure, spreadsheets likely won’t be able to provide the functions needed to manage and administer compensation in a compliant fashion.

Today’s accounting teams must be able to control everything from roles and access to security and compliance to topline forecasting, with each reflecting waves of advanced data and analytics coming in real time. 

Phew. That’s a lot.

The bigger the organization, the more people (and thus data) are involved. Now we are talking regional segmentations – one of the many things a simple Excel sheet often cannot support. More importantly, even the most well-built spreadsheet can’t keep pace with a sales organization that constantly adjusts its goals in response to recent data insights or change management. 

Automated platforms make it possible to quickly update revenue and commission reports based on the overall budget and forecasting adjustments, eliminating tedious and time-consuming manual processes. The result is a system that can expand seamlessly to accommodate new employees, geographies, customer bases, and more — the necessary fuel for long-term growth.

The hyper-aggressive “grow or die” mindset will not fit every culture and organization. Yet regardless of goals or attitudes, a streamlined sales team makes it possible for any organization to outperform its expectations. By embracing automation, today’s businesses can put themselves on the fast track to growth and increase employee satisfaction in the process.

Strategy #4: Fine-tuned commissions

Commissions and other incentives have historically served as some of the ultimate drivers of sales growth. And we don’t see that changing anytime soon.

A team motivated by a well-designed commission program will rapidly exceed its goals and put its organization on a path to success. But what does it mean to have a well-designed sales commission program? How can a business take its commission structure from adequate to exceptional?

The right automated tools and data allow sales leaders to fine-tune their commission systems, using “what ifs” to ask questions about their process and receive a predictive result. For example, if an organization takes sales numbers from the previous year and changes a variable, how would it impact the overall results? What lessons from these experiments can be applied to their processes in the future?

This is exactly what CaptivateIQ is here for.

As Michael Duncan, Senior Manager of Revenue Operations (and ​​overseer/manager of Gong’s compensation program) shared:

Through its flexibility, transparency, and automation, CaptivateIQ has become an essential partner in scaling revenue operations for our fast-growing sales organization.

Read the full case study.

CaptivateIQ has helped hundreds of finance and operations teams move their commission management out of spreadsheets or outdated systems to achieve agile, accurate, transparent, and auditable commission calculations at scale. Our solution has empowered tens of thousands of reps with clear and actionable data to help them reach their sales goals.

Want to learn a few tips that will help you save time managing commissions? Download our whitepaper to get best practices from industry experts for reporting commission earnings and cutting administrative workloads.

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