According to a recent study, 40% of people are working after 10 pm and 26% of work is completed outside of normal hours. Only a measly 2.8 hours per day is spent on productive tasks.

So, what are people doing with the rest of that time? Their days are consumed by checking emails, scheduling meetings, responding to chats, perusing social media, etc.

Based on these statistics (and the complaints we all hear from our coworkers) we can conclude that everyone would be overjoyed to add a few precious hours back to their workday.

A CRM system is great for organizing information and facilitating quick data analysis; but its automation capabilities also can help free up more time in your workday. Check out these seven tips for using CRM automation to free up more time.

1. Post Call Automation – Odds are, your company is using some sort of telephony system. Integrating that system with your CRM is one of the quickest and easiest ways to automate tasks associated with your calls. Integration of telephony and CRM enables call history tracking, logged call notes, automated reminders, saved call recordings, and call scheduling options.

2. Workflows for Standardization – It’s embarrassing to admit, but even we, a software consultancy that touts CRM best practices, had to ask interns to do data cleanup and standardization for us. If you’re not requiring CRM users to enter data in a standardized format, it’s going to make it nearly impossible to run accurate reports. One incident that comes to mind was when we partnered with a new CRM.

This software company had very specific capitalization rules and used an apostrophe in their name (They’ve since realized how nightmarish that was for SEO and changed to a new name, thank goodness!). Some employees were entering the name in all caps, some were entering without the apostrophe, some were entering in all small letters – it was a free for all! Running reports for that CRM was difficult until we all agreed to standardize how we referred to it.

Then, we used an automated workflow to make sure everyone followed the agreed upon rules. The workflow reduced our need for data cleanup and freed up everyone’s time by facilitating quick and accurate reports.

Aside from standardized data input, workflows are also great for automating updates. For example, you may create a workflow to automatically update a record and assign the right team member when an opportunity is converted. This cuts down on the manual action of converting the opportunity and keeps that prospect moving down the funnel more efficiently.

3. Automate Drip Campaigns – Sales gurus will often agree, you should reach out to a prospect 7-10 times before giving up on the sale. Drip campaigns automated through the CRM can help keep these interactions on track and increase the likelihood of connecting with that prospect.

4. Automate Internal Notifications – Keep team members on-point with notifications for major events. Has a deal been won or lost? Has an appointment been booked? Has a form been submitted? Contact status changed?

Which people on the team need to know about each of these tasks? Automate internal notifications to reduce manual communication between teams in email or chat. This way, everyone who needs to know about the action is instantly made aware and can start on next steps immediately. In addition, team members won’t need to log corresponding emails or chats associated with the actions.

5. Automate Common Sales Emails – Ever feel like you’re having email déjà vu? If you find yourself writing the same types of emails multiple times per week, it’s time to automate. Some of the most common sales emails may be welcomes to new leads, follow ups to unresponsive leads, demo request responses, meeting reminders, thank you notes, etc. Create templates in the CRM to make this process go faster but remember to A.) customize signatures and B.) add placeholder text for information you know you’ll need to personalize.

6. Consider Lead Enrichment Add-Ons – Not every CRM offers lead enrichment as a standard feature. However, one that does come to mind is SugarCRM. One cool thing they’ve done recently is add a built-in lead enrichment tool called Hint onto their platform. Hint aggregates data from across the internet to fill in the blanks on your user information. So, for example, if you only have the person’s name and email address to enter in your CRM, Hint will scour the internet to find their company, LinkedIn page, phone number, etc.

If you’re using a CRM without built-in lead enrichment, consider an inexpensive add-on tool compatible for your system. Lead enrichment limits the amount of research you’ll need to perform to learn more about your prospects, freeing up your time for more meaningful sales tasks.

7. Automate Report Generation – Set up your CRM reports to run once or twice a week to display crucial information on your dashboard. Whether that information is quarterly sales standings, sales call reports, team performance KPIs, etc. These reports also come in handy when you need data to back up a request, or for quick reference during meetings.

I hope these ideas got your creative juices flowing! If you’re struggling to use your CRM automation, contact us! We can help.

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