This comprehensive guide will explore how to leverage robotic process automation (RPA) to optimize efficiency and productivity across 18 common sales workflows.
Introduction: The Powerful Potential of RPA in Sales
The sales function involves many repetitive, rules-based processes that can be automated by software bots. RPA offers a simple yet transformative way for sales teams to work smarter.
According to McKinsey, approximately 30% of sales activities have RPA automation potential. By implementing software bots for these tasks, forward-thinking businesses can:
- Boost sales productivity by 30% or more
- Reduce operational costs
- Improve data accuracy and consistency
- Enhance customer experiences
- Empower salespeople to focus on high-value activities
In this guide, we will dive into 18 impactful ways to apply RPA across the sales value chain, from strategy and lead management to order processing and customer service.
Sales & Marketing Strategy Automation
Crafting data-driven sales and marketing strategies involves continuous analysis of volumes of data. RPA excels at automating the collection and processing of such data to uncover strategic insights faster.
1. Monitoring Market Trends and Competitive Intelligence
Sales leaders need their fingers on the pulse of market conditions that impact customer behaviors and purchase decisions.
For example, RPA bots can automatically track:
- Industry sales forecasts
- Changes in customer demographics
- Competitor pricing shifts
- Economic factors like interest rate changes
- Buyer sentiment on social media
By programmed rules, bots can analyze trends in real-time data and create alerts for sales leaders about threats or opportunities warranting a strategy change.
One consumer electronics firm uses RPA to monitor competitor prices and inventory levels daily, allowing them to respond to market changes 29% faster.
2. Data Collection and Enhancement
Clean, accurate customer data is imperative for crafting targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
RPA bots can be scheduled to:
- Pull customer data from CRM systems, email records, forms, and other sources
- Identify and fill missing fields needed for analysis
- Filter out redundant, outdated or invalid data
- Structure data into formats ready for segmentation
This data hygiene process prepares quality data for targeted campaign development.
A 2022 survey found that 78% of marketing professionals rely on RPA for faster access to clean data for targeting.
Monitoring competitors‘ pricing and rapidly adjusting your own prices is critical – RPA bots make this possible on a daily basis.
3. Competitive Pricing Intelligence
RPA bots equipped with web scraping technology can be programmed to:
- Crawl pricing pages of key competitor websites
- Extract current prices across product categories
- Refresh compressed pricing databases on a daily schedule
Pricing managers can check the RPA-powered database to adjust their own pricing based on rules like maintaining a 5% margin advantage versus competitors.
One retailer using RPA web scrapers increased pricing competitiveness by over 15% in the first year.
RPA bots can leverage web scraping technology to monitor competitor pricing.
This ensures pricing stays competitive in real-time, maximizing margins.
Lead Management Process Automation
Managing leads is all about working top of the funnel to turn prospects into qualified deals. RPA can capture more leads and handle lead qualification at scale.
4. Inbound Lead Capture
Whether from website forms, email inquiries, chat bots, or tradeshow interactions, RPA can instantly intake prospect contact information and relevant data and upload it to CRM and marketing systems. No more manual compiling of scattered lead data.
One company automated lead capture from over 50 marketing sources, saving 15 hours of manual work weekly.
5. Lead Scoring
To prioritize inbound leads, RPA can be programmed to score leads based on attributes like:
- Firmographics (industry, size, revenue)
- Demographics (title, role)
- Lead source
- Past purchases
Scoring rules can be customized by product, deal size, region, or other parameters.
According to LinkedIn, leads scored by RPA convert 7 times more frequently than unscored leads.
6. Proposal and Content Customization
Based on individual lead data, RPA bots can create tailored collateral and sales proposals on demand by:
- Pulling relevant pricing, product details and case studies from CRM
- Personalizing content with the prospect‘s name, company and other details
An IBM case study showed RPA proposal customization improved conversion rates by 41%.
This level of personalization at scale improves conversion rates.
Order Management Process Automation
Converting qualified leads into satisfied customers means seamlessly managing each order from submission to fulfillment and payment – an intricate process with many moving parts. RPA helps coordinate it all flawlessly every time.
7. Order Data Capture
RPA bots can intake orders and data from any channel – phone, email, chat, ERP forms – and instantly log complete information into order management systems, eliminating human errors or delays.
McKinsey states that RPA data capture alone can reduce order processing costs by up to 25%.
8. Inventory Availability Checks
Bots can validate ordered item availability and flag potential out-of-stock issues by cross-referencing order details against real-time inventory data. This prevents overselling.
9. Delivery Scheduling
By linking order systems and logistics platforms, RPA can automatically estimate delivery timelines and set promised shipping dates based on stock levels and delivery rules.
10. Customer Credit Risk Assessment
RPA can run real-time credit checks with external rating agencies to ensure orders aren‘t fulfilled for high-risk accounts.
One retailer saw a 19% reduction in bad debt expenses after implementing RPA credit checks.
11. Automated Invoice Generation
Once an order is validated, RPA can instantly create customized invoices by compiling required customer, order, payment and tax information.
This eliminates manual work for billing staff and ensures accuracy. Some RPA systems like UiPath even support e-invoicing standards to connect with customers‘ procurement systems.
12. Payment Processing
RPA bots can trigger invoices, send payment reminders at due dates, and automatically reconcile payments received.
Bots ensure customers are billed on time and revenue is properly reconciled at scale. Staff only need to handle exceptions.
13. Sales Order Reporting
After an order is fulfilled and paid, RPA can seamlessly handle business reporting requirements like:
- Recording completed sales in finance systems
- Updating customer lifetime value
- Populating sales reports for managers
- Maintaining sales order archives
Post-Sales Process Automation
RPA continues generating value after the sale by automating critical post-sales processes around renewals, account management and customer feedback.
14. Subscription Renewal Management
For subscription businesses, RPA can automatically:
- Review upcoming renewal dates
- Identify renewals requiring special offers based on past purchase behavior
- Send customized renewal notices to customers
This prevents valued customers from churning due to overlooked renewals.
Studies show RPA subscription renewal management increases renewal rates by up to 22%.
15. Customer Service
RPA chatbots create a scalable way to address common post-purchase issues like:
- Order status inquiries
- Delivery questions
- Steps for product setup
- Accessing support resources
An intelligent FAQ chatbot answers repetitive inquiries, freeing human staff for complex cases.
16. Customer Feedback Analysis
RPA can email qualitative surveys to customers post-purchase and use AI like natural language processing (NLP) to automatically categorize open-ended feedback for reporting.
For example, airline Lufthansa uses RPA and NLP to sort customer feedback topics with 95% accuracy in real-time:
This transforms their ability to rapidly address feedback and improve experiences.
Sales Analytics and Reporting Automation
Business leaders rely on reports to drive decisions – RPA can compile insightful reports from disparate systems automatically.
17. Data Extraction and Consolidation
Reporting requires analytics-ready data – which is often spread across CRM, marketing automation, support and financial systems.
RPA bots can be scheduled to:
- Pull reports from each system
- Compile relevant reporting data into a unified database
- Continually append new sales data
This data foundation enables advanced reporting.
18. Automated Report Generation
With RPA-powered data pipelines, analytics platforms like Power BI or Tableau can automatically generate and distribute insights like:
- Daily sales reports
- Sales projections vs. targets
- ROI by product, region and channel
- Customer lifetime value trends
- Lead to customer conversion rates
- Sales representative performance
Providing on-demand visibility through automated reporting helps sales leaders optimize operations.
According to leading research firm Gartner, RPA improves sales reporting efficiency by at least 40%.
Realizing the Full Potential of RPA in Sales
As this guide demonstrates, RPA holds tremendous potential for boosting productivity, reducing costs, and driving revenue growth across the entire sales value chain.
From core sales processes like order and lead management to back office analytics, RPA delivers major efficiency and quality gains. Adopters are realizing substantial benefits:
According to McKinsey:
- RPA in sales improves productivity by 30-50%
- Reduces costs by 20-30%
- Increases data accuracy up to 100%
To assess the potential business impact for your sales organization, AIMultiple‘s RPA consultant matching service can connect you with an expert to discuss your use cases and build a roadmap for automation success.
The time for RPA in sales is now – over 30% of activities are prime for automation, freeing up human sales teams to deliver remarkable customer experiences.