Even though we’re a marketing and sales automation company, we’ve never encouraged people to “automate everything!” That’s because the goal of automation isn’t eliminating human contact. That’s usually not what’s best for customers and, by extension, companies.
Human touch is important. It will always be important. And, it actually becomes more and more impactful as companies pursue automation to cut costs. The more rare human interaction with a company becomes, the more your company stands out for its one-to-one communication.
Human contact at important moments can motivate a purchase decision, but that’s just the beginning. It can also create fiercely loyal, repeat customer who evangelize your company and product. Phone time and hand-typed emails can be a strong differentiating factor and the key to your company’s viral growth.
But human time and attention is expensive. Most companies — whether they’re one-man operations or enterprises — can’t afford to invest it in every relationship and that’s why automation is needed, if not critical. The trick, then, is strategically balancing automation and human touch to best serve the needs of the customer and company simultaneously.
To find this perfect balance, to know when to use what, you’ll need to understand what automation is really, really good at…
Humans versus machines
Automation’s biggest strength is that it can do something humans can’t — it can sift through nearly unlimited amounts of real-time data and then instantly react to key events. It can respond to your contact’s behavior and trigger processes… messages can be sent, deal records can be created, tasks can be assigned, people can be alerted, webhooks can be sent, and more. This ability to “listen” and quickly “react” makes automation uniquely well-suited for notifying someone in your company that human touch is needed. It can connect two people at the perfect moment.
Another of automation’s strengths is efficiently handling the tedious and time-consuming task of managing and organizing the important data associated with an opportunity. It can aggregate massive amounts of data, pull the needed information, and then organize it into a contact or deal record a human can review prior to contacting someone so that they can have a productive and helpful interaction.
It can also help with managing the massive amount of tasks associated with a sales team’s outreach. Sales involves keeping an enormous amount of balls in the air and sales automation allows you to keep any of those balls from dropping. Done well, sales automation is about creating automated processes that humans can rely on to bring them into the loop when they’re needed so they can stay focused on helpful conversations with prospective customers. A human can be notified they need to complete a task and when the task is complete automation can take back over. It can then bring them back to the opportunity when they’re needed.
The benefit of having an automated CRM tied to your marketing automation and email marketing solution is that a wide variety of data from the marketing process can be leveraged to inform and organize the sales process. Automation gives you the tools to spot buying signals, react quickly, and get up to speed prior to connecting so you can have the most positive interaction possible.
Automation’s weakness is that it doesn’t “think” (not yet, anyway), but it is great at “listening” and “reacting.” Leveraging automation then is about configuring your automation to “listen” to what’s important.