We all want servants

I think a lot about automation, and work in the trenches on it daily.

The value each of us actually want with automation is:

  1. Simplification, from tiny directions into broad strokes
  2. ideally, an outcome vs. process directions
  3. and eventually, prediction of likely desires based on unstated patterns

We’d all like a servant to just make us breakfast or dinner, chauffeur us to meetings, and handle our taxes.

A good butler (say, Carson in Downton Abbey), would learn the whims of his / her employer and implement them without even a direct request.

To know what the common people want, just look to the lifestyles of the wealthy.

In business, one can just look at more successful competitors and specifically their HR structure to get a sense for what the market needs.

Ideally, I should be able to tell my e-bot to get me real estate leads via any method possible with parameters of up to $100 per real live, non-induced, phone verifiable lead.

This of course, is a tall order for robots as of today, but where things are unquestionably going, because it’s what we (SwiftCloud / SwiftMarketing) are working on.

The outcome vs. process mind set is key, but in all real-world applications, parameters are required for any of this to be of value. Producing real estate leads at a cost of $800/each is pointless – unless your average listing is $1mil+ ($30k commissions). A robot that could take out a frozen meal and microwave it for you, then bring it to the table isn’t terribly valuable – the implied parameters include something good and preferably fresh.

To know the cost-per-lead, the robotics must know not just the ad spend, but the conversion ratios on landing pages and offers, have API access to traffic methods, and some API based method of running campaigns. For now, human oversight is required – though technically, just for the ad campaign itself, which could even be outsourced.

Ten years from now, coders like me will have figured out how to make what’s essentially a Von Neumann probe for money: self-replicating bots that run a lean-canvas experiment autonomously, figure out the profitable limits, and scale up a campaign via programmatic media. One could almost build this now using dropshipping and outsourced gig-economy workers for fulfillment, running programmatic split-tested media.

And so, it’s back to work for me. For today, I’m the servant, working toward building my own replacement army.

Sales Automation Consultant

Recently, I was doing some sales automation consultant work designing a workflow, and it got messy.

“Messy” in this case means “ambiguous”, and that ambiguity in a sales workflow costs time and performance, since it then means reps leave leads in “stalled” status, unclear as to what, precisely, to do.

“Stall Status” is as important in sales automation
as is zero in base 10 mathematics.

By distinctly clarifying, we can help engineer success, and create a platform for useful, powerful, and effective sales automation. Below is a series of steps that may help you work with any sales automation consultant – and these are not respective to any tool.

Paper & Pen is the best tool here.

And a few colored highlighters.

  1. First, map the steps of your general sales flow from “prospect” or “suspect” – someone who you think is a good match, but may have not even raised their hand and said they’re interested, through to paid, closed and referring you business as a raving fan.
  2. Add in the possible outcomes (i.e. left voicemail, and thus trigger a loop to call back 3x or 5x or 20x), also things like interested or not interested, need to sell an additional stakeholder (i.e. wife, husband, biz partner)
  3. Separate previous-dispositions from the next steps. In Swift CRM‘s configuration files, we have “stall status” as one possible outcome – file does not advance, client didn’t answer phone, didn’t review proposal, etc., so that disposition then triggers a loop – call back in a few days or pre-scheduled time. Currently, our CRM / sales automation software is configured on
    1. Next Steps – General steps to the sale – i.e. initial call, needs assessment, product-needs fit, verbal commit, paperwork, closed transaction, etc.
    2. “Stall Status” – some outcome happened that did not advance the file i.e. left voicemail. This is an outcome, but needs to be tracked – but it stalls the sale. Frankly, stalled sales is why you need a CRM, but it’s usually part of the game for any sale over a few hundred dollars.
    3. Simple “goto” style commands – if the prospect got the proposal, is she qualified and interested? Stuck on price? Ready to apply? If you don’t know your best next step, your sales reps have to slow down and invent their own flow. Our XML is simple logic like “goto 200”, but you just need to always clarify what is the next step. If there is no next step, then it’s move on to the next deal, or work on marketing.
    4. Note contextually relevant needs – usually the calendar. If a callback is requested, the specific date to call back is immediately scheduled. Looping call backs, with attempt-number-logging, can be built in – i.e. try 5x then abandon lead, which gets escalated to company “shark tank” anyone can later take over and is also incubated via email.

 

By clarifying previous disposition (left voicemail, 3rd attempt) from next step (confirm contract receipt) and “stall status” loop-triggers (deliverable X is not yet ready, credit repair, gathering funds, etc.) you can help your sales team close more deals.

 

Our deep philosophy at SwiftCloud is that software should conform to human patterns, not the other way around. Whether you call your clients “patients” or “borrowers” or “patrons” is how your software should look to you – and this includes the sales flow. Whatever your culture, don’t make your team conform to software.