Sales automation: the future of CRM software

Experts looking ahead: Joel Capperella

Joel ‘Cap’ Capperella is a solo-preneur in the business of helping small businesses raise their marketing and sales game. He brings over 20 years of experience in marketing of software and SaaS, working with both big fish like Oracle and with smaller startups. He’s an active contributor to some of the most influential business publications, such as The Huffington Post, and FastCompany. We sat together with Joel to hear his thoughts on the future of sales automation.

Sales automation is about having software take over sales management so sales people can focus on human contact, by Joel Capperella

What does sales automation mean to you?

That’s a pretty good question. To me, its mainly about making sales management less of a burden, time- and energy-wise. Sales automation is anything that makes it easier for the sales person to connect with potential customers, get them into the pipeline and subsequently accelerate the journey throughout the pipeline. It all boils down to removing barriers to connect, engage, listen and build relationships.

What is your vision of sales automation?

It should fit into the broader idea of having data serve people in an organisation and not the other way around.

CRM started as being mainly focused on sales management, with a lot of time and resources being invested in data over people. That logic is being reversed as data and algorithms are more and more working for people, instead of the other way around.

This is the direction sales automation should be taking: software should not only enable swift and well focused sales management, but more importantly CRM should also shift so that it is more focused on the human element of selling. The new CRM is about selling as if people mattered.

We’re seeing the same tendencies in HR. HR-software used to revolve around administrative tasks required to manage a workforce. Yet today, HR software is becoming more and more people-centered. It’s keeping employees engaged, connected and productive. It helps them do their jobs more effectively and manage their career development more personally.

To me, sales and people (HR) are connected like two sides of a circle. They seem opposed, yet are very related. You can’t make sales without employees and you can’t hire people without sales. Software that helps both sides, to put people at the centre and data at their service, will make the relation between people and sales in organisations all the more circular, as it should be.

What are your best sales automation tips/guidelines?

There’s so much information out there. And it’s becoming more and more everyday. Somewhere in that pile of data is the exact piece of information, often a combination of bits of data, that you need.

Use software that makes it dead easy to get to that one piece of information it, every time again. The real magic is to have multiple tools coming together in one place, so you can immediately use the information to get results.

Which sales automation tools are you using?

I’m currently using HubSpot CRM, not Salesflare, mostly because I got a very good deal on it. I have it integrated with ActiveCampaign, my marketing automation platform. I use Zapier to automate tasks between Evernote, Google Sheets and my CRM. For extra hands to help me with some design work, finding email addresses or something like that, I turn to Upwork.

Any tactics you would like to share?

I’m a big content believer. Content is a huge way to connect and engage, plus you can use it in all the different stages of the sales process. The key is to carefully measure what type of content is working best in different stages.

For example, I set automatic series of emails after a specific offer. For each one I will track the recipient’s reaction to it; how long it takes him or her to react, how often he/she opened the email, whether he/she visits my website and how long etc.

These metrics of engagement define how much time I will have to spend on a person to conversion.

What does sales automation mean to you? Tweet us at (@salesflare), with #salesautomation!