Ever wish you could hire a team of savvy sales people to stay in touch with your prospective clients and encourage them to take up your offer? When you put a few simple systems in place, you can create more leverage in your marketing so no need for expensive sales teams. Here’s how to build an automated sales force to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing.

Marketing automation tools allow you to keep you, and your products, programmes and services in front of potential clients. You’ll not only leverage your time and effort, but you’ll do it completely hands free so you can focus on your high-end consulting work with clients. All that’s required is a little strategic planning and you can build an automated sales force that does all the heavy lifting for you.

The first tool you’ll need is an autoresponder – a series of emails that go out on a pre-set schedule. These should be written to engage your audience and pull the right prospects further into understanding and using your expertise and getting to know you, like you and trust you.

Typically, an autoresponder series will have at least seven emails in it, and is used as a lead generating tool. You offer an opt-in on your website with (for example) “A No-Nonsense Guide to Up-selling and Cross-selling” or “Daily Productivity Tips.” When your reader fills out the opt-in form, they are automatically added to your email autoresponder list, and you have her attention with every email.

The key to a good autoresponder series is to write your emails with specific calls to action. This may be to read, watch or listen to more useful content from you, book a free consult or take a survey.

At some point, you should move to making an offer. Because it’s not enough to just give your prospects tips for being more productive; you have to also give them the opportunity to buy your products or services that help them further.

Done right, when you build an automated sales force using autoresponders, it can help keep the cash flowing even when you’re not actively working on your business. It works 24/7 doing the heavy lifting for you – it provides you with leveraged marketing that lead to sales.

The fastest way to get your autoresponder up and running is to use a long trusted email provider such as AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse or ActiveCampaigns, so you know your messages will get delivered. Which you choose depends on how you see your subscriber list growing. Several providers have a free service up to 500-2000 contacts, which gives you a way to test things out before monthly charges commence.

An autoresponder is simple to set up, and extremely affordable, but you’ll probably find some more intuitive to use than others, depending on your understanding of marketing terminologies and methods. Bear in mind that it might be cost-effective to you to go hire a VA who is experienced with autoresponders (and possibly other things too!). They could do the set up, run the whole thing or just help you out if you get stuck.

If you’re worried about writing email content, look back over your most popular blog posts and products or customer feedback. See what your ideal audience have found most useful. Posts can be repurposed as email messages to provide valuable content to your subscribers, with a natural upsell to matching products or services.

You can also create email copy by identifying the questions you’re most frequently asked in your consulting or coaching work. What conversations are you having again and again with the majority of clients, and what are your social connections and competitors discussing. These FAQ are your content nuggets and make great building blocks for a compelling autoresponder series that your readers will not only look out for, but actually read. And if they are engaging and you are educating, they will eventually move to enrolling (and buying).

As people move through your email series, you want to keep in mind that subsequent offers should be more and more valuable, with the occasional low-priced offer thrown in – that is: up-selling, down-selling and cross-selling.

In fact, if you’re using a more sophisticated system such as Infusionsoft or Ontraport, by tracking your subscribers’ interests and behaviours through tagging or labelling, you can easily move people between autoresponders, segmenting your list based on the actions they take. What this means is a higher level of engagement because what they’ll see is more relevant. They’ll see exactly the offers they want and need, and nothing else. It can make selling via email super productive, and best of all, completely automated.

Building automation into your marketing and sales processes helps create substantial leverage in your business. It makes perfect sense for people to engage with you through your written content as well as through other social networks, webinars, books and events.

If you want to learn more about how to build an automated sales force, my book Leveraged Consulting in the Digital Age is coming soon – download the free overview chapter here.

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