Is sales automation costing you €5,000 per seller, every year?

Sales automation setup costs

Everyone seems to be talking about sales automation and digital transformation. It is a hot topic for sure, because many customers are now expecting a more digital buying experience from their suppliers and partners. For sales departments, sales automation makes sense in theory because it can improve sales efficiency and provide a better sales experience for customers. However, frequently the cost is completely underestimated, and many initiatives are abandoned.

A key decision when deciding to automate and digitise sales is whether to make-or-buy. For those companies who decide to “make”, a project must be defined, a team set-up with diversified technical and sales skills, software development completed and an operations environment set-up to maintain the software. Our research shows that a home-made solution typically costs a minimum of €5000 per user per year. A key complication is that many companies are unaware of the effort required to keep up-to-date with mobile and computing operating systems and security requirements. This is a key cost driver that is underestimated or even forgotten about.

The high investment required for a home-made solution leads many companies to “buy” rather than make. However, we have found that the costs can also quickly stack up, because there are many hidden costs. Many companies want to immediately integrate new software with their internal legacy processes and systems. This means that a project must be set-up with the right expertise and often additional external suppliers are required to perform the integration, leading to more complexity and cost. We have found that the “buy” option can end up having a similar cost to the “make” approach because of the many hidden costs and the time it takes to deliver all the integrations.

In both cases, a substantial investment is required to set-up sales automation to improve sales efficiency, however it can result in the opposite effect, decreasing sales efficiency and leading to a worse customer buying experience. The implementation time is often underestimated meaning that too much time is absorbed in non-sales related activities, leaving less time to convert leads into paying customers. Time is money, after all.

How is it possible to deliver sales automation at a reasonable cost and quickly?

A key mistake made is the insistence to use legacy processes and systems and to migrate data. Most companies have built up processes and systems over many years, that may have served them well in the past, however it is very unlikely to serve them well in a digital world. The trick with sales automation is to start small and to start fast. The best approach is to find a sales automation solution that really helps sellers sell. Step 1 is to onboard onto the product using the out of the box configurations. Once sellers are starting to use the software, step 2 is to start using the advanced configurations of the product. Step 3 is to consider the additional automation potential of the software by using simple industry standard plug-ins to exchange data between standard systems. Only once all users have a high adoption, should step 4 be considered, which is to analyse what integrations are needed with legacy systems, and to only use industry standard APIs to do this. To control costs, legacy processes and ways of working must be cut as much as possible. A good analogy is to think of a 20-year old apple tree that has grown out of control. Once it is heavily pruned and nurtured it will bear far greater fruit than before – legacy processes and systems should be treated the same.

The great news, is that Apparound is no ordinary sales automation software. Apparound has been built for sellers by sellers. It can be setup in minutes, resulting in improved sales productivity from day 1. Setting up Apparound can be achieved by sales and marketing operation personnel, using a simple Admin Portal. We will take care of the frequent operating system and security updates from Apple, Windows and Android, leaving you to focus on selling!

Find out how easy and economical Apparound is to setup and maintain by joining us, the first month is free.

Apparound Team
Apparound was founded in Pisa, Tuscany, in 2008 and is Italy’s only IT company offering an innovative solution for the digitisation of the sales process. With its cloud-based technology, the solution assists sellers all through the sales cycle: from pitching the marketing materials as digital contents (brochures, videos, etc.) to offer configuration through to the closing of the deal and the finalisation of the order with electronic signature; all through an extremely simple process, where all you need is a tablet or a smartphone, or otherwise a Web Client.