Fix your sales-service handoff to enhance the customer experience

There’s no doubt about it: we’ve reached the age of automation, and today’s MSPs are using it to streamline their services in a number of ways. Whether it’s using email templates and workflow automation in CRM (customer relationship management) systems to eliminate hours of repetitive work from the sales process, or pushing customers to self-service portals for logging tickets, automation can allow you to eliminate the repetitive and redundant parts of a job, which in turn can improve employee satisfaction and increase productivity.

Automation can also help you find cost savings in a number of areas of your business. Find enough efficiencies, and you might be able to lower your headcount or retrain your employees for new roles.

Given these advantages, it can be tempting to automate everything. If one automated process is good, two will be better, right?

Not always.

Here’s the thing: automation misfires. Systems break. Employees make mistakes. Software gets buggy.

Automation will never be able to override human error. If your process now allows you to do more things faster, it stands to reason that a mistake will impact your business on a much larger scale. The thing that you praised when it allowed you to contact 500 prospects in two minutes? You will be cursing it when all 500 of those prospects receive the wrong email. Let’s take a look at the pluses—and pitfalls—of using automation to streamline your sales to service handoff.

Where automation works

Look, I am by no means saying that automation is a bad thing. Automating certain tasks can really, truly make a difference in your day-to-day life. When people ask me what should be automated, the answer is easy: any task that makes people bored and/or complacent.

Many MSPs use an automated quoting tool that integrates with their Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform. Automated quoting is great, because it really does allow your salespeople to get out of the drudgery of clicking over and over, and streamlines something laborious that may not always be worth the amount of work it demands (a prospect is not yet a client, after all).

Likewise, setting up a sales nurture email campaign can be a great way to warm up colder prospects and coax them back into the sales funnel. If a prospect is too early on in their buying journey, or if they’re still working out what exactly they need in order to solve their problems, keeping them in the loop with an automated email cadence isn’t a bad idea.

… and where it doesn’t

There are some major caveats to the examples listed above, however. Let’s look at the example of using quoting software first. Let’s say you use quoting software to fire off a quote to a prospect, and that prospect wants to go ahead and sign a contract. The contract gets sent off and e-signed, and the prospect signs on for an onboarding date. You got a new client and no one had to lift a finger, right?