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Learn how to use the top 12 sales automation tools to complete manual tasks, save your team time and boost sales.

If you’re not using sales automation software yet, you’re wasting valuable time and money.

Imagine a tireless fleet of employees taking care of all the mundane, repetitive tasks that keep your business running. Meanwhile, your other team members are focusing on important projects, like closing sales. Working together, these teams ensure your business operations are coordinated and effective.

Don’t have the budget to hire a whole new team of dedicated assistants who can work 24/7? That’s where sales automation comes in.

Bonus: Learn how to sell more products on social media with our free Social Commerce 101 guide. Delight your customers and improve conversion rates.

What is sales automation?

Sales automation is the use of sales automation tools to complete manual tasks that are predictable and routine.

Think sending invoices and follow-up emails, or answering customer questions. These administrative tasks can take up a huge amount of valuable employee time. And they often need to be done monthly, weekly, or even daily.

Outsourcing these tasks to sales automation software increases the productivity of your team. And it costs a lot less than hiring a new assistant who happens to love repetitive labor. You can automate up to one-third of all sales tasks!

What are the benefits of using sales automation software?

In short, sales automation software increases your productivity and revenues. Businesses that use sales automation have reported a 10 to 15% increase in efficiency, and up to 10% higher sales.

Despite these huge benefits, only one in four companies has automated sales tasks. That means three in four companies spend more time than they need to!

If you’re one of them, here’s how sales automation can support your success.

Streamline and boost your sales pipeline

Automation tools can tackle important (but time-consuming) elements of the sales pipeline. Collecting customer data and email addresses? No problem. Sending personalized emails? A breeze.

Automation software can even make product recommendations and guide customers through check-out.

Ensure no prospects fall through the cracks

First impressions count. Forgetting to follow up with new prospects can cost you their business. However, if you’re sending all those follow-up emails yourself, it’s bound to happen.

Increase customer satisfaction

A human touch matters to your customers. Some business owners worry that they’ll lose that essential element if they rely on automation. But the right automation strategy can have the opposite effect. With more time, your team can provide faster, better support to your customers when it counts.

Your whole organization has the same data

Sales automation tools integrate with your customer service software to keep all the important details in one place. Centralizing sales data ensures your team members can work in harmony. That way you can build on one another’s efforts instead of stepping on one another’s toes.

Benchmark your performance

Below are just a few of the most essential tasks that sales automation can tackle for sales reps. At the end of this post, we’ve rounded up a selection of tools that can do all of these and more.

Data collection Prospecting

Fortunately, you can automate a personalized email for each prospect with the data you’ve collected. You can also customize triggers, like reaching out to prospects who RSVP to an event. This ensures that each communication from your brand arrives right when your prospect is most interested and engaged.

Lead scoring Scheduling

Scheduling a simple call can often feel as complex as scheduling a rocket launch. You need to consider calendars, commitments, time zones, statutory holidays, moon phases… the list goes on. Automating the meeting scheduling process is the way to go. You can send your prospect a single link, and they choose a time that works for both of you. Or let your customers schedule their own in-store appointments, using a tool like Heyday.

Email templates and automation

Email marketing offers the best bang for your buck, generating $42 for every $1 spent. But 47% of sales teams are still sending emails manually. Typing out each email and contact details to schedule a sales call is a huge waste of time. Copy-and-pasting is faster but sloppy. The best solution is an email template, which can be populated by individual customer data for a personal touch.

Order management

If you use an eCommerce platform like Shopify, automating order management is easy. There are a ton of order management apps that integrate directly into the platform. These can generate invoices, shipping info, and delivery updates.

And when the order is done, you can also automate a customer satisfaction survey!

Customer service FAQs

Automating answers to frequently asked questions is a huge time-saver. It also benefits your customers! They can get support 24/7, and receive answers faster. One company was able to automate 88% of all customer questions using Heyday’s chatbot! That also meant faster support for the 12% of customers who needed a human to take over.

Get a free Heyday demo

Social media scheduling

More than half of Instagram users log on daily. So do 70% of Facebook users and almost half of Twitter users. Your brand needs to stay active on social media to keep up. Fortunately, you don’t need to log in to each platform every day to post your updates. You can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite.

With Hootsuite, you can schedule posts at the best time for each platform, without spending all day on TikTok for work. (Instead, you can spend all day on TikTok for fun.)

This is a good time to remind you that any automation requires human oversight. That’s a lesson Drag Race learned after Queen Elizabeth II passed shortly before this tweet was sent:

As always, automation works in harmony with your team. You want to be monitoring your channels and engaging with audiences. And remember to delete any awkward pre-scheduled posts.

Proposals and contracts

Automation can even help you close a deal. Rather than typing out each proposal, automation software can pull key details from your CRM and use them to populate a template. It also minimizes the risk of human error.

These tools can also monitor the documents. You’ll get a notification when your customer has viewed and signed. Save even more time by automating reminders.


Regular reports are important for tracking your performance, but producing them can be a drag. Instead, use software tools with integrated analytics to measure your business activities. These can include your social media reports, chatbot analytics, or sales data.

The 12 best sales automation software for 2023

There are a ton of tools out there that promise to transform your business. Here are our picks for the most indispensable options.

Heyday also provides powerful built-in analytics to sharpen your business strategy. Learn more about your customers with each interaction, and direct your efforts for the greatest impact.

Get a free Heyday demo

Social media has never been more important— or more time-consuming if you’re posting manually. Hootsuite can do the heavy lifting of scheduling and posting to each platform. Plus, it provides you with the most important social media analytics. It also centralizes all your social media profiles into one clear, organized dashboard.

And as social commerce grows even more important, you can use Hootsuite to sell products right on Instagram!

Try Hootsuite free for 30 days!

LeadGenius helps sales and marketing teams connect with valuable prospects. With LeadGenius, you can automate data acquisition tasks using their Flow browser extension. This allows you to quickly find new potential customers, and update your existing contacts.

And with DataGenius, you can search the web for accounts and contacts that align with your target audience. That means less time spent searching for new customers, and more high-quality prospects. You know the phrase “Work smarter, not harder?” This is exactly what it means.

Overloop (formerly chúng tôi is a sales automation tool for outbound campaigns. It allows your sales team to scale up their prospecting efforts across multiple channels, and analyze their results. From there, you can create custom flows to maximize your results.

Your team can also use Overloop to automate recruitment and business development activities. Plus, it integrates with other automation tools for a unified workflow.

Where can you find new prospects? Well, the world’s largest professional network is a start.

Why do some interactions lead to a deal, and others to a dead end? With Gong, you can stop wondering. It captures and analyzes your customer interactions, yielding data on the most effective tactics and strategies. In short, it turns the art of customer engagement into a science.

Gong can help every member of your sales team become a star performer, by creating data-driven workflows to follow. Identify weaknesses in your sales pipeline and address them with clear, actionable steps.

Founded in 2013, Calendly exploded during the pandemic. (The sudden proliferation of virtual meetings might have something to do with it.) In 2023 alone, the user base grew by an incredible 1,180%!

It integrates directly with your calendar, so you can determine your windows of availability. You can also collect contact data and send follow-ups automatically.

84% of customers value experience as much as product quality. To stay competitive, you need to provide a top-tier customer experience. That’s why you need a CRM.

A CRM helps all your departments work together, by centralizing customer data. That means everyone has the same information, and can see what actions have been taken. From the customer perspective, it’s smoother, more coordinated support at every step.

Another superpowered CRM option, perfect for teams of all sizes. Hubspot Sales Hub coordinates each stage of your sales pipeline, allowing you to track and measure your team’s activities.

You can nurture customers and prospects automatically, using customized workflows. Spend less time enrolling prospects and sending emails, and increase your revenues and response rates at the same time.

For smaller businesses, Sales Hub has free and affordable monthly plans. You can scale up as you grow while spending your finite resources wisely.

ClientPoint lets you streamline the process of creating and sharing documents. These include contracts, proposals, and information packages.

With ClientPoint, you can also get analytics on each document and set up automated alerts and reminders to close the deal.

Odds are, your sales team does a lot of email outreach. Yesware helps you streamline and focus your efforts, by tracking the results of your communications. It integrates directly with your email client, so it doesn’t feel like an extra step in your process. In fact, you don’t need to change anything at all: Yesware gathers information for you, then makes it easy to share insights with your team.

Yesware also lets you save your best emails as templates, so you can duplicate your success. It also includes features like scheduling and email sending.

Zapier is an app for apps. It allows you to link one app to another, creating a continuous automated workflow. For example, you can automate personalized emails to new customers by creating a “Zap” between Shopify and Gmail. Or send weekly social media reports to your team by using Zapier to connect Hootsuite and Slack. With over 5,000 apps, the possibilities are almost endless.

Ready to add sales automation to your operations? Start with a Heyday demo to learn how conversational AI can boost your sales and customer satisfaction!

Get a free a Heyday Demo

Turn customer service conversations into sales with Heyday. Improve response times and sell more products. See it in action.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Boosting Your Holiday Sales Online

15. Create Urgency 14. Partner With a Non-Profit

Besides finding gifts for our friends and family, this is also the season of giving. Team up with a non-profit and donate a percentage of sales to that charity. It will make people feel better about purchasing something from your site since you’re giving back.

13. Bundle Products

Think of what Amazon does here. When you search for one product, Amazon will offer a couple of other suggestions that can be bundled together at a discount. You could also offer gift sets to stand out from other retailers. A nice move if you want to increase sales.

12. Email Previous Customers

11. Offer Holiday Bonuses/Coupons/Upsells

People enjoy being rewarded for being a customer. Offer a complimentary gift when you purchase a certain amount, coupons or something extra like free gift-wrapping to attract repeat customers.

10. Great Customer Service

People want to know that if there is a problem with their order or if they have a question regarding a product that they can reach a real, live person. Place your customer service number prominently throughout your site and have a live person on the other end of the phone. This is how Zappos became such a juggernaut.

9. Free Shipping

We all love freebies. And, does it get any better when you notice that a site offers free shipping? An essential move for people who are most-likely on a budget throughout the holidays.

8. Personal Suggestions/Experiences

Customers are constantly searching for gift recommendations or what the must-have item is this year. Offer consumers gift ideas through a list that was personally written by you or a ghost writer. Go the extra mile and share your own personal experiences with that product as well. Besides providing some personality, people may be more inclined to purchase a product if they know it’s been recommended by a real person.

7. Offer One Day Sale or Discounts

Pretty much every online retailer will be offering some sort of sale or discount during the holidays. So, this should be a no-brainer. If you don’t offer a one-day sale or end of year discounts, people will move on to a site that has the better deal.

6. Host Contests

Contests are a proven technique to gain attention. Whether it’s a wish list or caption contest, they are a simple and effective way to draw visitors to your site, which will hopefully result in more sales.

5. Use Social Media

There’s so much more you can do with social media than just informing customers that you have a website where they can buy stuff. Have a holiday flash sale via Facebook. Post hashtags on Twitter that link to discounts or coupons. Conduct a Pinterest holiday board contest. There a number of ways that you can use social media networks to bring people to your site for the final sale.

4. Make Sure You’re Smartphone Ready

The Google survey we mentioned earlier also discovered that three-quarters of smart phone owners will browse on their phones this season. Common sense, right here. You need to make sure that your site is compatible with smartphones. Whether that’s by having the correct size images or making sure that your checkout works properly, your site must be effective on these devices.

3. Offer Gift Cards/Certificates

Gift cards and gift certificates are big business, which is why your site must absolutely offer one. Be certain that your site has a section devoted to gift cards that is prominently displayed on the homepage. It also wouldn’t hurt for the card to be enclosed in a decorated box or envelope.

2. Feature Holiday Themes

Since everyone is in the holiday spirit, make sure that the graphics on your site are just as festive – just to remind people it is indeed the holidays! This could also be good chance to highlight some of your products, if you sell goods, right on the homepage. Also, make sure that all your social networks have holiday themed content. Tis’ the season.

1. Follow Social Media

Keep up with trends via social media. We’re not just talking about only Facebook and Twitter, but also Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. By following trends on social networks you’ll be aware of what items shoppers are searching for this season so you know what to push.

A Guide To What Is On The Dark Web

The dark web carries a strong reputation for danger: illicit content, hackers, data dumps, and more. But what is on the dark web might surprise you. It isn’t all black market dealings and stolen identities.

Has that piqued your interest? Read on to find out what you’ll find on the dark web—and if it’s worth visiting at all.

Table of Contents

What Is The Dark Web?

The dark web is a small part of the internet that isn’t indexed by search engines. You can’t access it using regular internet browsers, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. The dark web uses a network of individual nodes and strong encryption to protect data on the network.

The strength of the encryption and the difficulty of tracking online activity on the dark web make it the perfect online location for all manner of malicious and dangerous activities. As well as the bad, there is also good (or at least, safe) to be found on the dark web. 

Some major websites also operate dark web versions, such as Facebook, the BBC, and ProPublica. Sites like these let users access services without running into censorship, protecting user identity while visiting potentially restricted information.

To find out more, including how to access the dark web, check out our quick guide to navigating the dark web.

Dark Web Vs. Deep Web

A common misconception is that the dark web is the same as the deep web. The deep web refers to anything that isn’t accessible from a search engine. Although this sounds like the dark web, there’s a difference. The deep web refers to hidden information such as medical records, membership-only sites, confidential data, and so on. 

The dark web is a subset of the deep web that you access through a special browser, while the internet that you use every day is known as the “clear net.”

What Is On The Dark Web?

Content on the dark web covers a few key areas:

Dark web versions of clear net sites

Illicit or extremist content

Darknet markets

Hacking and other similar forums

Secure and anonymous hosting

Cryptocurrency related services

Each area contains several subsections, too.

Dark Web Versions Of Clear Net Sites

As mentioned above, some major clean net sites also maintain a dark web site. This is to make sure people living under restrictive governments can still access uncensored news, social media, or other important online services.

Illicit Or Extremist Content

As the dark web makes tracing the identity of individual users and the websites hosted upon it extremely difficult, a lot of extreme content takes host there. The range of extreme content covers many of the worst forms of content you can imagine (child pornography, terrorist violence, animal cruelty, and so on).

As such, we will not discuss the full range of illicit and extremist content on the dark web.

The most extreme forms of illicit content are locked in private forums. But you should not go looking for things you do not want to find the answer for.

Darknet Markets

Darknet markets are like the Amazon of the dark web, but are primarily involved in the sale of illegal drugs. Darknet markets attract a lot of attention from the authorities. The original darknet market, the Silk Road, is infamous. Its creator, Ross Ulbricht, is currently serving a double-life sentence for his conviction following the site takedown.

Make no mistake. Darknet marketplaces are dangerous.

Hacking And Other Similar Forums

The dark web is attractive to all types of hackers. You’ve probably heard the tales of hitmen and DDOS services for hire. The truth lies somewhere in-between. There are underground hacking forums where private data, malware, credit card details, personal identifying information, and much more are for sale.

Again, these hacking forums sound intriguing but are filled with people who scam and lie for a living.

Adding to this, many hacking forums are invite only and require you to know an existing member. The existing member may have to vouch for you, too.

Secure And Anonymous Hosting

Secure and anonymous hosting keeps the dark web ticking. The overwhelming majority of websites on the dark web demand total privacy. That means finding a website host that doesn’t care about website content, is based in a secure jurisdiction (with strong or non-existent data privacy laws and no extradition treaties), and will not hand over keys to the servers if the authorities come calling.

The combination allows secure and anonymous hosting providers to claim that they do not know what is on the websites, and therefore cannot be held responsible.

There are few truly secure and anonymous hosting services. Those that do exist and prove that they are secure typically have thousands of clients. However, this poses a different risk to dark web sites and users of those services: hackers.

In early 2023, Daniel’s Hosting, the largest free web hosting provider on the dark web, was hacked for the second time in 16 months. The hacker took 7,600 dark web portals offline, deleting the entire Daniel’s Hosting backend and database. Website hosts can move elsewhere, but like the darknet markets, it can become a game of digital whack-a-mole.

Cryptocurrency-Related Services

Bitcoin is the currency of the dark web. Some vendors accept other smaller cryptocurrencies, such as Monero, but for the most part, Bitcoin rules the roost. As a pseudo-anonymous digital currency, Bitcoin ties into the idea of privacy and anonymity that dark web services require.

There are other Bitcoin services, too. For example, you can find Bitcoin tumbling services which attempt to sever the link between Bitcoin’s digital transaction history and the user, further boosting anonymity. There are also countless cryptocurrency gambling portals, which may scam you, and just outright scams offering to double or triple your Bitcoin holdings for nothing.

The dark web isn’t all doom and gloom. 

Throughout the years, there have been multiple dark web social media services. These services include multiple incarnations of TorBook (named after the Tor network), Blackbook, TapIIN, and many others. The difficulty is maintaining a dark web social media network presence that remains anonymous. Furthermore, there is the ever-present issue that the site might disappear overnight, leaving you locked out of your account permanently. 

There are also dark web search engines, like Torch, that allow you to search for some types of dark web content. You won’t always get the search results you expect, however, as the dark web doesn’t index like the clear net and many websites don’t want you to find them.

Finally, you’ll find sites created by regular people to test their programming skills, or just out of personal interest. If that sounds like you, check out how to create your own onion site on Tor.

Is The Dark Web Safe?

If you are going to explore the dark web, you need proper security. Before accessing the dark web, check out the best antivirus and malware scanners to remove any virus.

How To Write A Sales Plan

A sales plan is a blueprint that sets specific sales goals for your business and helps your sales team achieve them.

For your sales plan to be effective, you should include realistic goals, tools to track your sales, future expectations, commission structure and relevant training programs.

A sales plan is a critical tool to help a business drive sales and navigate risks.

This article is for small business owners and sales managers who want to create a successful sales plan.

Every business needs a business plan as well as more detailed road maps that offer guidance to each department working toward that common goal. As the revenue-generating engine of your company, the sales department should be a top priority for this type of document, aptly named the “sales plan.” This guide introduces the concept of a sales plan and gives you all the guidance you need to create a sales plan that works for your business.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan details the overall sales strategy of a business, including the revenue objectives of the company and how the sales department will meet those goals. This may also include revenue goals, the target audience and tools the team will use in their day-to-day. In addition, the sales plan should include examples of the hurdles and pain points the team might encounter, as well as contingency plans to overcome them.

“[A sales plan] is essential to support the growth of an organization,” said Bill Santos, vice president of the ITsavvy Advanced Solutions Group. “A sales plan helps individual reps understand the priorities of the business as well as the measurements by which they will be evaluated.”

Business plans vs. sales plans

Business plans and sales plans are closely linked. A sales plan, though, should outline the actions that the sales department will take to achieve the company’s broader goals. A sales plan differs from a business plan, though both work toward the same end.

“A business plan is a ‘what’ [and] a sales plan is a ‘how,’” said James R. Bailey, professor of management and Hochberg Professional Fellow of Leadership Development at the George Washington University School of Business. “Business plans are where a firm wants to go. A sales plan is a part of how they can achieve that. A business plan is direction; a sales plan is execution.”

For example, a software company that developed a new mobile application might state in its business plan that the app will be installed by 1 million users within a year of launch, while the sales plan describes how that will actually be achieved.

How to write a sales plan

Every sales plan should suit the individual needs of a different company, so they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all sales plan; the one you create will be unique to your business. With careful planning, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you need to accomplish and a road map for how to get there. 

Chris Gibbs, vice president of global sales at Centripetal Networks, named some additional items that every sales plan should include.

Targeted accounts: Assign each salesperson a few key accounts to focus on, and grow from that base.

Targeted verticals: Sales teams might focus on specific market segments or verticals, such as a particular industry.

SKUs: Salespeople should emphasize certain SKUs or inventory items rather than get lost in a broad catalog of merchandise to sell.

Sales and marketing coordination: Sales and marketing teams should work together to create promotions to help generate sales.

Product road maps: Every company has a road map, and each product should have a road map that shows the plan and direction for a product offering over time to chart out when a product will launch and when it might sunset or be replaced by a newer model.

Forecasts: Sales forecasting is projecting sales volumes and expectations by comparing them historically to sales of previous years, and then conducting market comparison to determine where sales will fall against the competition.

“Sales plans are extremely important to ensure there is cohesiveness between product teams, sales and marketing,” Gibbs said. “In addition, they’re important for ensuring that timing of new products and/or new version releases coincide with sales objectives and forecasts.”

What are the steps to create a sales plan?

A sales plan is necessary for businesses of every size, from an individual entrepreneur to a Fortune 500 company. When you’re ready to actually write your sales plan, follow these steps:

1. Define the objectives. 

Clearly outlining your goals and stating your objectives should always be the first step in creating a sales plan or any other business venture. You should include the expected sales volume and any markets or territories you expect to reach. 

For example, let’s say you own a retail store selling household goods and electronics. If your purpose is to establish yourself as a trusted local retailer, ask yourself the following questions:

Who are your customers?

Are they in-store customers?

If so, are they purchasing anything or just browsing?

Are they online customers?

If so, how did they stumble upon your website? 3. Determine and outline the sales strategies. 

Sales strategies are the actual tactics your team will use to reach customers. They can include marketing channels as well as procedures for lead generation and client outreach employed by your salespeople.

Here are two examples of potential sales strategies: 

Use your POS system to retain customer information so you can track current and new customers.

Employ email marketing, text message marketing, social media, outbound call center services and direct mail marketing campaigns.

4. Define roles for the sales team. 

Each member of the sales team should be assigned clear roles, whether they vary from person to person or everyone performs the same functions.

Defining the sales direction of the team is crucial, as it shows the focus of the company and helps the team target and execute sales most effectively.

The plan of attack for the sales team should be communicated clearly by leadership, whether it is from team leaders or the CEO.  

5. Inform other departments of sales objectives.

A sales plan shouldn’t just update a company president or C-suite; it should inform the whole organization of the sales team’s objectives. 

Clearly outline your plan for the rest of the company to help them understand the goals and procedures of the sales team. Other departments become more efficient when interacting with the sales team and clients. This also conveys a certain level of quality and professionalism to the clients about the company.

6. Provide tools for the sales team.

Provide the tools each member of the sales team needs to achieve the stated goals, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. The best CRM software is customizable to meet a company’s needs, making it much easier for your team to use the software and work efficiently.

7. Detail how the department will track progress. 

Offer strategic direction and insight on how progress will be monitored. Having a quarterly review to assess whether the company is on target is just as important as the plan itself.

Markets change, and so should your sales plan. Keeping it up to date will help you capitalize on the market and achieve your goals. Tracking progress is made easier by the tools you use to collect data. That data will then have to be analyzed and presented in a way which all departments can understand and use for future growth. 

Key elements of a sales plan

Every sales plan should also include the following elements.

Realistic goals

You need to set achievable goals. Challenge your sales team, but don’t push too hard. Bailey said that these “deliverables” are among the key points to include in a sales business plan. 

“Deliverables need to be as specific as possible and moderately difficult to achieve – specific inasmuch as being measurable in a manner that is uncontested [and] moderately difficult inasmuch as making sales goals too difficult can lead to failure and discouragement.”

Midpoint goals also help build morale and keep the team working toward a larger goal. Instead of having one giant goal, creating smaller goals to achieve along the way will keep your team focused.


Set milestones that give you the opportunity to regularly determine whether you are on track to achieve your sales goals or need to make adjustments.

Sales tools

Tracking sales throughout the term is helpful, and you can employ tools to keep track of each team member as well as the department overall. It also helps establish a culture of accountability among salespeople.

“Tools can help, especially project management and CRM software,” Santos said. “Having a weekly cadence of update and review is also important, as it sends a message that ownership and updates are important.”

Clear expectations and a defined commission structure

Assign goals and responsibilities to each team member to make expectations clear. This is true whether or not each team member has the same goals.

“We meet with each individual to come up with a plan that works for them so that they can reach their goals,” said Leah Adams, director of client success at Point3 Security. “We measure results based on numbers. Each team member has his own plan and how they’re going to get there.”

It’s also necessary to spell out the commission structure in full detail.

“The only real difference is how sales count,” Bailey said. “In petroleum-based products … a few big clients are necessary. Compensation needs to be structured not just in contract value, but in graduated terms: Above $1 million, commissions move from 5% to 9%, and so forth. In smaller-volume enterprises, commissions might be front-loaded with higher percentages early, then graduated down. You have to reward what you want.”

Training programs

Along the way, some training might be necessary to maintain the momentum.

“What’s important to us is that we’re teaching these individuals to be the best salesperson they can be,” Adams said. “We help them do that by constantly training them and giving them knowledge of what’s going on in our industry. Everything stays on track because each member of the team knows their individual goal; though each person has a number, they also know the ultimate goal is for the entire team to hit.”

Adams said that an effective CRM keeps things organized and helps delegate tasks and responsibilities on a schedule that uses the company’s lead information.

Key steps to follow when devising a sales plan

Here are some best practices for creating a sales plan:

Refer to the business plan. The sales plan should directly address the objectives of the business plan and how those objectives can be achieved.

Advance clear objectives. The clearer the objectives are, the easier it will be to reach your goals.

Reference prior sales data. Chart sales over the previous few terms, and project the trend for the current term. New businesses can create sales projections based on expectations.

Outline the commission structure. This will help motivate your team and help you calculate anticipated costs.

Be clear about how progress is measured. There should be no dispute about this. If larger clients carry more weight than lower-volume buyers, that should be stated upfront.

The benefits of a sales plan

A sales plan keeps the sales department on track, considering the details of how they must operate to hit their targets and achieve company objectives. Because the sales team is the primary driver of revenue, it is an incredibly important document. [Related article: Adopting a CRM? How to Get Buy-in From Your Sales Department]

“It’s extremely important to have a sales plan in place, almost a must,” Adams said. “Without this plan, it’s almost impossible to get through the year and hit the company’s sales goals.”

It’s not uncommon to encounter obstacles along the way, however. A good sales plan accounts for that.

“Almost always, you’ll run into the speed bumps along the way, but with a plan in place, it makes it a whole lot easier to navigate through it all,” Adams said. “The sales plan allows you to adjust when necessary so the goal can still be hit. I strongly believe a plan allows you to stay in control and reduce the risk while being able to measure the team’s results along the way to that finish line.”

Key Takeaway

A solid sales plan helps you deal with unexpected events and acts as a benchmark for where your company is and where you want it to go.

Sales plan templates

Sales templates are helpful in that many of them are based on tried-and-true formats that have been used by businesses across several industries. They can also provide structure so that it is clear to each employee what their role and responsibilities are. 

Free download

Create your own sales plan by downloading our free template.

“A template helps plan each individual’s daily activities in a structured way,” Adams said. “If you know what each person is doing daily, it’s easier to help correct what’s going wrong. It helps with things like conversion rates, etc. Yes, these templates can be customized in any way a team’s manager sees fit, based on how he believes the team will perform better.”

Sales plans should be unique to the company; however, there are key components they should always include. Because there is somewhat of a formula, you can use a template.

Templates are extremely helpful, Gibbs said. “It creates uniformity for the team, as well as a yearly or quarterly sales plan to present to senior management.”

Gibbs added that templates can easily be customized to meet the needs of a particular business or sales team.

Keeping your team on track with a sales plan

Planning is vital for any business, especially when dealing with sales targets. Before selling your product or service, you must outline your goals and ways to execute them. Essentially, a sales plan enables you to mitigate problems and risks. When there is a clear plan of action, you will know how to proceed in order to attain your goals. 

Enid Burns contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Robotics Is More Than Just Automation

While numerous robots are intended for automating tasks, there are others that are intended to augment human capabilities rather than automate tasks. Robots are good at performing repetitive tasks on factory floors today, however, cutting-edge robotics will go past automation use cases. The next challenge is someplace in the middle of where we need to have robots that can settle on decisions all alone independently, yet additionally, have the option to have people tuned in. Automation is obviously a top reason behind organizations considering the utilization of robotic innovation within their business processes. Nonetheless, it is essential to understand that, while numerous robots are intended for automating tasks, there are others that are designed to increase human abilities as opposed to automate tasks. We will, in general, consider robots either robotic arms or autonomous mobile robots operating autonomously in business settings. Such devices regularly center around improving productivity and effectiveness in business operations. Then again, there are a few components of robotic technology that are centered around improving human security or giving humans increased strength, stamina, or accuracy. By including only a couple of robots one after another, smaller producers are setting up a triumphant establishment for giving the individualized offerings and services customers expect. All the more critically, they are cultivating a working environment culture that improves the ability and aptitude of each employee. One of the most clear utilizations of robotic technology that is intended to expand human abilities as opposed to automate tasks is in the region of surgical robotics. These devices are intended to be physically worked by a surgeon while expanding the abilities of the surgeon. One of the most broadly known instances of robotic technology for surgery is the da Vinci robot by Intuitive Surgical. The innovation permits a surgeon to remotely work the robot utilizing a 3D top quality vision system as well as various automated arms, each cable of being equipped with an alternate surgical tool. Getting robots to the business procedure doesn’t really imply that employees will vanish. Quite the contrary, job titles and duties should be rethought and, in all likelihood, raised. Via automating monotonous and potentially hazardous tasks and giving the data and abilities required to get work done well, employees can be retrained to work alongside robotics and do their jobs better and safer. Robots will work together with people to unravel immediate social problems across domains, for example, industrial safety, healthcare and disaster relief. In industrial safety, for instance, robots can be deployed in distant areas to maintain public infrastructure. According to Vijayakumar, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, “We face huge difficulties with regards to keeping up our foundation, for example, underground sewerage systems. We will find a good pace where it is genuinely inconceivable for us to take a look at the safety of these things.” In any case, it could set aside some effort to arrive even with the current pace of technological development, on account of the vulnerabilities of this real world, and the pervasiveness of noise and sensors in decision-making. “All things considered, we need to truly find a workable pace where we can exploit the best of the two universes,” he said. “Robots are truly adept at performing exact movement, while people are generally excellent at contextual decision-making.” Robots embedded with sensors permit the provider to screen the output capacity which opens up a completely progressively affordable approach to optimize working capital. As opposed to making a one-time, heavy buy and pursuing a month to month charge for on-call service, companies can use a service-level agreement with the provider that permits usage-based billing without owning the actual robot. Affordable, connected, intelligent, and adaptable robotics are opening the door to an unprecedented opportunity for small and midsize manufacturers. However, despite the fact that accessing and actualizing the innovation may appear to be clear, automating everything is never the appropriate answer. Costs will step by step increment to wild levels, particularly when one piece of the procedure breaks and triggers a glitch down the whole line.

Zapier Is A Free Automation Tool And A Ifttt & Microsoft Flow Alternative

In our busy schedule, we all need a helping hand that can assist us in different situations. To help you with your online works, there are few automation tools such as IFTTT, Microsoft Flow, etc. Now, here is yet another automation tool called Zapier that works quite similar to those automation services as mentioned above. In other words, you need to select an action and make a trigger that will be triggered at a particular time. The number of available Zapier apps is high enough to fulfill your demands. It is possible to create your Zap (Applets in IFTTT). Here is everything you need to know about Zapier, the automation tool for the busy person.

Zapier review

The workflow of Zapier is nearly the same as other automation tools. However, the interface, the steps to create a filter or Zap, etc. are quite different than other tools.

Free version limitations: Before getting into them, you should know that Zapier is not an entirely free tool. Obviously, you can use the free version for as long time as you want, but there are some premium options as well. The free version lets you build one-to-one connections with your apps and automate basic tasks. It allows users to process only 100 tasks per month and that too in every 15 minutes. In other words, if one Zap has run at 10 am, you cannot use another Zap within next 15 minutes. From 10:16 am, it would be working fine again.

If you are fine with this, you may want to get started with this tool. To start working with this automation tool, head over to the official website, and create an account. You can then look for several ready-made Zaps or Zapier Apps on the screen. You have two options. First, you can utilize those pre-made Zaps, or you can create your own, which will be more reliable and customizable.

Available apps in Zapier How to create a Zap in Zapier

It is very easy to create a Zap in Zapier. Although the steps to trigger the Zap is quite different, the process of setting up a Zap is quite similar to other tools. The main part is you need to select two apps, make a filter, choose an action, and launch it.

Now, you need to select a trigger. You can find a different list based on the chosen app. For example, if you have selected Gmail, you can find the following triggers.

New email matching search

New labeled email

New attachment

New Starred email

New thread

New email

The best part of Zapier is that you can connect multiple accounts. For example, if you want to get email attachments from multiple email accounts to your Google Drive, you can do so. Connect account(s) and don’t forget to hit the Test button. It will verify the authorization. In case, if you have any problem, it will be visible. Otherwise, you will see a Success text.

In the next step, you will be asked to test the whole thing. For instance, if you have chosen Gmail as the source, you may need to utilize Gmail according to the requirements. After testing everything, if you have got Test Successful message, go ahead. Otherwise, check if you have made any mistake.

Now, you need to select an app for action. This is where the data will be saved. Therefore, choose your destination app correctly using the search box.

After that, you need to choose an action. It will be different based on the selected app. If you choose Google Drive, you will get these following actions,

Create folder

Upload file

Create file from text

Find a file

Find a folder

Select an action and hit the Save + Continue button. Now, you need to authorize your destination account. Again, don’t forget to use the Test button. Now, you may get few options to customize the destination account. At last, hit the Create & Continue button. Finally, you will get an option to turn on the Zap.

If you want to activate the Zap right now, toggle the respective button to get started.

Zap management

On your Zapier dashboard, you can find all your created zaps. This is possible to do the following tasks,

Turn on or off

Run the Zap


Check version history

Copy the template

Delete the Zap

How to use pre-made Zap

It is much easier than creating the Zap on your own since the Zap is already created. You need to authorize your accounts, and that’s all! Therefore, first, select a Zap that you want to use, and hit the Use this Zap button.

Most of the ready-made Zaps have a small description so that you can understand it correctly. Hit the Create this Zap button, select trigger, action, authorize your accounts to run it. It would take no more than one minute to complete the setup.

Is Zapier a free tool?

Yes, you can use Zapier for free. However, there are some limitations to the free version. For example, you can use only 100 tasks per month. Secondly, you can run the second task after 15 minutes of running the previous task. To know more about all the limitations, it is suggested to read the entire article.

What is the alternative to Zapier?

There are mainly two alternatives you can use – IFTTT and chúng tôi Both of them come for free with some limitations. You can find almost all the apps, services, tasks, connections, etc., of Zapier in IFTTT and chúng tôi However, it is recommended to use all of them to know which one suits you the most.

Hope this automation tool will assist you to make the desired task and run then automatically. If you like it, you can visit the official website to get started.

Want to check out chúng tôi a similar tool?

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