[ActiveCampaign Guide] 9 Steps To Implementing Sales Automation And Connecting Your Sales And Marketing Teams

Are you struggling to integrate your sales team with your Marketing Automation system?

If you have already implemented Marketing Automation and don’t know how to connect it to your sales team, in this article you’ll find a practical guide on how you can do it (and hopefully it will save you a ton of time and stress 😁).

When the Marketing process works, companies often find themselves in the following situation:

  • Reps are in a “spreadsheets nightmare”;
  • Reps don’t have a way to prioritize leads and therefore the time spent on calls is not optimized;
  • Reps don’t have an overview of how deals are proceeding;
  • The manager/entrepreneur doesn’t know how to facilitate the daily work and connect the sales team to the marketing team.

Tools like ActiveCampaign help you manage the sales team with Pipelines, Stages, Deals, and Tasks.

Here are the 9 steps to implementing Sales Automation effectively:

1) Map Out Your Process

Before you start mapping out your sales process, you need to make sure that it’s currently working and converting leads into customers.

Remember: Automation does not solve your business strategy problems!

I suggest that you keep the process very manual until there’s proof that it works.

When you have a steady flow of leads that are constantly converted into customers, you can proceed with mapping out the sales process.

Think of a typical sales cycle and list every action your team and the lead have to take. After that, label those actions with their owner.

2) Define Your Pipeline Stages

The second step is to cluster the actions you listed into stages.

Simply put, you need to find those patterns that help you to clearly define all the typical phases that a lead goes through.

To do so, go through the list and verify if each action respects the following criteria:

  1. Required: You want the action to happen in every sale, even if your team could skip it.
  2. Fact-based: The action is based on a specific fact, not on feelings (e.g. lead attends demo VS. enjoys it).
  3. Data-based: If an action can’t be recorded in the CRM, it doesn’t count.

If an action does not respect all those criteria, cross it off the list.

The structure of your pipeline and CRM have to reflect a typical sales cycle, there are other ways to customize the process.

Your team can now manage the opportunities by dragging the deal cards to the next stage as they proceed and with the Tasks feature, reps can automate to-do lists, set reminders, and manage their daily work.

TIP: 

Don’t create a stage in the pipeline for “Lost” or “Won” deals, use the field “Status” instead. It allows you to track in what stage the majority of deals are won or lost and it helps you to keep the pipeline organized since deals “disappear” when you change the status. You can then use the filters at the top of the page to see where the won and lost deals are.

Watch the video at the beginning of this article to see the tutorial on how to create Pipelines, Deals, and Tasks in ActiveCampain.

3) Define Criteria For Moving Deals To the Next stage

The third step is to define the criteria for moving the deal to the next stage.

Your team needs to know when the deal is “qualified” to be moved and these questions might help you:

  • What indicates that the rep has completed the role in that phase of the buying process?
  • Is there certain information reps need to collect from the lead?

TIP:

If you want to deepen these first three steps, I suggest that you take a look at the HubSpot Academy.

4) Define A Scoring System

A scoring system helps you to assign points to your leads and deals based on a set of rules and conditions.

You can basically assign points based on the actions (or inactions) the contacts are taking.

Setting up scoring systems helps you monitor your audience, prioritize contacts and improve sales & marketing efficiency.

These are some of the things that you can do:

  • Weighing the different sources. A lead magnet download is different than a contact us form submission than a webinar sign-up or a live event attendee, etc. If you automatically weigh those sources you can save time on routine tasks.
  • Monitoring lead engagement. You can automatically assign points to monitor website pages visited, emails opened or clicked, etc…
  • Adding leads to specific campaigns when they meet certain criteria (e.g. interest in a particular product/service, specific engagement with your business, etc…).
  • Adding leads to the sales pipeline when they reach a threshold. It helps you avoid routine tasks so you can focus on high-level activities.

and much more!

Read my blog post about Lead Scoring to learn how to set it up in ActiveCampaign.

5) Make Sales & Marketing Talk To Each Other

In this article, I’m not talking about the strategic alignment of Sales and Marketing. I’m talking about the technical implementation of how to put in communication these two areas.

If you have some marketing automations and a lead enters the pipeline, you may want to remove it from those automations and trigger the ones for the sales process.

How can you do so?

By combining goals and conversions, you can remove a lead from an automation and enter it into another one when certain conditions are met.

Moreover, if you set up conversions you can run reports about the touchpoints that led to those conversions.

That helps you to analyze marketing data and make data-based decisions.

Watch the video at the beginning of this article to see the tutorial.

6) Define Lead Assignment Criteria

At this point, you need to decide how deals will be assigned to your sales reps.

In the ActiveCampaign pipeline settings, you find the following methods:

  • Manual: you define the deal owner by selecting it manually;
  • Round robin: it will evenly distribute deals to your team members;
  • Round robin deal value: it will use a combination of round robin and deal value;

You can also create and assign deals inside an automation:

  • Create a specific trigger;
  • Create IF/ELSE steps if you need a conditional logic;
  • In each path, assign the deal to a different team member.

TIP:

Since building conditional logic inside an ActiveCampaign automation can get complicated very easily, to create advanced workflows I suggest that you use Zapier.

If you integrate it into your workflow, you can build a conditional logic that includes variables such as:

  • Geography
  • Language
  • Product/service line
  • Product/service type

In the video, I show you how to implement it in ActiveCampaign.

7) Set Up Your Integrations

At this point, you need to integrate 3rd party tools to enhance ActiveCampaign’s capabilities and manage specific parts of your pipeline.

EXAMPLE:

If you have a back-and-forth of documents, integrating a proposal management tool helps you manage that part of the process efficiently.

Moreover, it helps you to keep the main pipeline updated (e.g. if you send a proposal, you can automatically drag the deal card to the “Proposal Sent” stage).

You can integrate forms, call-scheduling systems, accounting tools, and many others.

8) Train Your Team

After you implement Sales Automation, I recommend you to do the following:

  1. Train your team one-to-one and record the calls so you can create video tutorials;
  2. Create a knowledge base:
    • Flowcharts that visually explain how to use the system;
    • Technical maps that visually explain how the system works and how the different tools talk to each other.

Too often people underestimate the long-term value of doing so:

  • It helps scalability and reduces the learning curve since it’s easier to onboard new team members;
  • It helps you reduce mistakes since your team can always refer to it.

9) Test & Refine

After the implementation is finalized, you need to schedule a testing period in which you monitor the system in action.

This is also the moment in which you refine the overall process based on the feedback you receive from your team.

It is not a static thing!

There is always room for improvement and optimization.


Outsourcing the implementation could be a good idea for your business.

In the last few years, I helped several SMEs to make the most out of Business Automation through digital project management services.

If you want to learn more, download the Business Automation guide with the 5 phases I follow:

Or fill out the application form to work with me:

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