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What is Sales Order Automation?

Orders Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.
In 2020, a McKinsey & Co report revealed that a third of all sales tasks could be automated. The result? Higher customer satisfaction, 15% efficiency gains, and a 10% sales boost.
Since then, the sales automation landscape has evolved dramatically, with artificial intelligence poised to revolutionize sales, from lead generation to customer service and engagement. These technological and business advances are propelling digital-first companies forward, giving them a competitive edge, no company can ignore.
This article explores all aspects of sales order process automation, offering essential insights and use cases. We’ll discuss the benefits, the challenges, and the growing importance of using sales order process automation as Millennials start to dominate B2B buying roles and eCommerce supplants in-person transactions.
Let’s start with a definition.

What Is Sales Order Automation?

Sales order automation (SOA) is the use of technology to streamline and automate the sales process, from capture to delivery.
By automating or eliminating tedious yet vital tasks like data and manual order entry, SOA enables the sales and customer service team to concentrate on higher-value activities, such as nurturing customer relationships and prospecting for new clients.
Sales order processing automation is essential for achieving timely, error-free tasks. It alleviates leadership concerns about omissions, human errors, or miscommunications in the sales management process. Customers experience a seamless, low friction purchasing journey, resulting in a more efficient and effective sales cycle.
The progression of SOA technology has been remarkable. Modern tools are far more advanced, alleviating persistent administrative burdens and operating at lightning speeds. They excel at capturing and harnessing sales data, converting it into priceless, data-driven insights.
When implemented correctly, sales order process automation can have a dramatic impact on a business. According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, business-to-business (B2B) sales leaders who embrace digital and sales order process automation experience up to five times greater growth than their peers.

Sales Order Automation Basics

Sales Order Automation (SOA) revolutionizes conventional sales processes by eliminating friction and delays. It streamlines your sales funnel, from the initial Awareness stage (where customers first recognize a need for your products or service) to the ultimate Purchase, identifying optimal triggers for future sales along the way.
Early SOA tools provided minimal advantages to sales teams due to their continued reliance on manual data entry. But modern sales process automation tools are fully automated. They can adeptly gather structured data, like a customer’s past purchases, and unstructured data–from spoken or written customer communications–without human intervention.
By diligently tracking each facet of the sales cycle, SOA reveals crucial insights, highlighting the historical efficacy of various processes and strategies. This visibility enables sales teams to understand the impact of distinct sales techniques across diverse demographics, regions, and seasonal campaigns, ultimately driving enhanced productivity and outcomes.

Sales Order Automation Optimizes Human Sales Resources

Robust enterprise SOA solutions automate the most time-consuming, error-prone, and inconsistent sales tasks, making salespeople more efficient and cost-effective. Below are some key examples.

Enhancing communication and outreach

SOA software can automatically track and record sales calls, transcribe voicemails, and extract meaningful information from various communication channels, making it easier for reps to manage their outreach.

Lead management and prioritization

SOA solutions utilizing machine learning algorithms can identify and rank qualified leads, personalize outreach, and create targeted prospect lists, enabling salespeople to focus on the most promising opportunities.

Streamlining scheduling and document management

SOA software simplifies scheduling by automatically organizing meetings, phone calls, and follow-ups. It also manages sales-related documents, making it easier for teams to locate and share information.

Order processing and inventory management

Sales order automation tools seamlessly push and pull order data order between different back-office systems, reducing manual data entry errors. They integrate with tools like your ERP system (enterprise resource planning) to automate inventory tracking and ensure accurate product availability.

Accelerating quotes and contract management

Sales order automation software speeds up the sales process by automatically performing manual tasks, generating quotes and purchase orders, and managing sales contracts, ensuring efficiency and consistency, and reducing the risk of missed deadlines.

Simplifying payment processing and compliance checks

Sales order processing automation tools automate the collection and processing of payments and verify customer data and sales transactions against relevant regulations, validation rules, and policies, reducing the risk of errors and non-compliance.

Data-driven sales forecasting and analytics

Sales order automation software uses machine learning algorithms to analyze and extract data, predict future sales trends, and auto-generate sales orders, performance reports, and dashboards, providing real-time insights into sales activities and trends.

Seamless CRM integration and collaboration

Sales order automation systems and tools automatically sync sales data and order forms with CRM systems. They maintain up-to-date and accurate customer information, facilitating collaboration between sales teams.

Sales Order Automation Enhances the Customer Experience and Boosts Self-Service

Sales order automation tools empower your employees to deliver an exceptional customer experience by streamlining and automating time-consuming tasks. Sales reps can then devote their attention to assisting prospects and repeat customers in closing sales, driving revenue growth.
Sales order automation also enables suppliers to deliver seamless, self-service online experiences, catering to the convenience, adaptability, and independence that customers demand in the modern marketplace. Customers can manage transactions independently, engaging with sales representatives solely at their discretion.
Below are some key benefits of sales order automation from the customer’s perspective.

Comprehensive product information and flexible purchasing options

Sales order automation software gives customers instant access to extensive product information and multiple purchase touchpoints. Greater transparency and flexibility empower customers to make better-informed and more confident buying decisions.

Effortless repeat orders

Sales order automation software simplifies repeat orders with “One Click” ordering features, saving your organization time, and fostering long-term loyalty.

Timely order confirmations, notifications, and tracking alerts

Sales order automation tools provide customers with transparent sales order data and confirmations. They alert customers to failed sales orders (often due to payment or inventory issues) and offer real-time tracking for shipped goods. By keeping customers “in the loop,” these tools enhance trust and loyalty while reducing unnecessary requests for information and updates.

AI-powered chatbots for seamless customer support

Sales order automation software deploys chatbots with natural language understanding capabilities, enabling efficient and seamless customer support, reducing wait times, and enhancing the overall experience of customer orders.

Machine learning for continuous improvement of sales processes

Sales order automation software uses machine learning to refine and enhance sales processes, increasing speed, efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction.

Sales Order Automation Facilitates eCommerce

We all know how crucial eCommerce is to our daily lives as consumers. However, many fail to recognize how rapidly B2B eCommerce is expanding. In 2023, an estimated 17% of B2B sales will be digital, amounting to $1.8 trillion. This figure is up from 13% in 2019.
Big-ticket B2B transactions often entail multiple decision-makers and touchpoints and require significant consideration time. To excel in B2B eCommerce, companies must leverage industry-leading sales automation tools that can navigate the intricate and prolonged B2B purchasing process.
These tools should automate complete buyer journeys and offer hybrid experiences that provide instant access to human sales representatives through live chat or one-click follow-up calls and email scheduling.
Sales order automation is even more critical for companies with high levels of repeat sales. According to McKinsey, 85% of those who lean toward human interaction for at least part of the initial sales process prefer automated exchanges for subsequent purchases, order tracking, delivery notifications, and returns.

Millennials Demand Fully Automated Sales Orders

The Millennial generation wields an impressive combined purchasing power of $2.5 trillion, and by 2030, they are expected to constitute 75% of the US workforce. As such, it is crucial for businesses seeking growth and success over the next five years to prioritize catering to the needs and preferences of this digitally savvy generation, who predominantly prefer conducting transactions online.
But it’s not just Millennials who prefer to self-serve. Far from it. Research suggests 83% of B2B buyers from all generations favor digital ordering and payment, and 87% research new purchases and suppliers online rather than seeking help and advice from a salesperson.
Given these compelling statistics, businesses must prioritize sales order automation and self-serve to remain competitive and cater to the evolving preferences of their customer base. A digital-first approach is the only way to succeed and capture a more significant market share.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

What is sales automation? It’s a technology that streamlines and automates the sales process from order capture to delivery.
By leveraging SOA, businesses can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales teams and improve the overall customer experience.
Here are three key takeaways from this article:
  • Sales order automation eliminates time-consuming tasks such as manual data entry and creating invoices and purchase orders, letting employees focus on high-value activities such as nurturing customer relationships and prospecting for new clients. This reallocation of resources drives business growth.
  • SOA tools have evolved significantly in recent years. They now offer advanced capabilities such as machine learning algorithms for lead management and prioritization, AI-driven chatbots, and seamless CRM and ERP system (enterprise resource planning) integration. These capabilities have led to more efficient sales processes and better performance.
  • Sales order automation is becoming increasingly important in modern business landscape, especially as Millennials dominate B2B buying roles and eCommerce becomes the dominant sales channel. By adopting SOA, companies can cater to the evolving preferences of their customer base and remain competitive in the digital age.

If you want to learn more about streamlining the way your business manages your sales process and customer experience and how we can help, get in touch with one of our automation experts at DocStar. You can also check out this recent article about the “lesser-know benefits of Sales Order Automation.


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