The Lead Cookie Sales Playbook: Automating the close

2 hours... That is roughly how long it used to take me every time I closed a new customer. 
Today it takes 5 minutes...

That is because I have automated our entire closing process and customer onboarding process. 

In this article, I am going to walk you through the closing automation I set up and provide you with a model of what you could do for your own company. 

The Automation at a high level

The Problem: Every time we sign a new customer, there are a lot of steps involved in getting that customer set up and working with us.

The Solution: Automate the crap out of it. 

So here is what our automation does.

The Input: Fill out a Google Form

The Output:

  • Sends an invoice to the customer

  • Adds customer to our central customer management Airtable board

  • Sends a Slack notification to key team members

  • Creates a new storage folder in Google Drive for customer

  • Creates new scripts and onboarding Google Docs for customers based on templates for that customer

  • Creates an Asana task for accounting to review and handle any custom billing requests for customer

One simple input that takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Tons of output... 

Here is how it works.

Step 1) Salesperson closes a deal and sends customer next steps email

In my last article on email scripts, I shared a simple script that sales sends to the customer after every deal is closed. You can see that script again below. This script is the same every time and is based on a simple text expander to make this quick and efficient. 

Hi _______,
{{Personalized introduction{}}
1) Watch this pre-onboarding Video
Before you fully commit, please watch https://www.leadcookie.com/onboarding to ensure you are aligned on expectations and understand what our service will be providing. 

2) Book your onboarding Call:
Once you do that, go ahead and schedule your onboarding call at {{Onboarding booking widget}}

3) Provide access to your LinkedIn
In order to make our onboarding call more speedy and efficient, we need you to reset your Linkedin Password prior to the call. To do that, please go to {{Private link}} and follow the instructions listed on this page. 

4) Pay the deposit by X date to receive a discount:
You will be receiving an invoice shortly for the setup fee. Please have this paid by X date to receive Y discount.

Step 2) Salesperson fills out Google form with customers information

After that email is sent, the salesperson fills out a Google form with the customers information.
> I have duplicated this form so you can see exactly what it looks like by clicking here. <
This form allows me to capture all of the needed information in one place to get that customer into all areas of our system correctly.

Screenshot 2018-12-21 10.51.30.png

Step 3) That Google form is connected to Zapier

If you are not familiar with Zapier, it is basically a tool that allows you to set up integrations and automations between different software tools.

So basically, this Google form becomes a trigger point for 7 automatic steps that happen after the deal is closed. 

Here is an actual screen shot of the Zapier automation, I will explain each step in more detail throughout this article.

Screenshot 2018-12-21 10.54.30.png
Screenshot 2018-12-21 10.54.45.png
 

Step 4) Set up customer in our invoicing software and create first invoice

You will see actions 2-4 are all different steps in the invoicing software we use which is Invoiced.com. It's a great tool and I love it! 

The first step is that Zapier takes the Google form inputs, and then creates a new customer in Invoiced.

Second, Zapier then goes and finds that new customer entry it just created.

Third, Zapier creates a new invoice for that customers downpayment based on the information and rates listed in the form. 

This step alone takes 30 minutes of work and compresses it down into about 3 seconds...

Step 5) Create Asana task for accounting

Whenever we sign a new customer, it's important for our accounting team to know anything specific about that customer or unique billing situations that may have occurred.

For example, they may want to pre-pay for 3 months to receive a discount.

Or they could be receiving a discount or some unique billing situation.

Based on the comments that I put in the Google form, an Asana task is generated for the accounting team to fill them in on the loop.

This stops me from having to manually go and communicate with my accounting on every new customer close and turns this into a standardized form that gives them all the information they need every time.

Step 6) Create a new entry in our customer management Airtable board

At Lead Cookie, we use Airtable for a LOT of stuff, and one of our main uses is to keep a centralized dashboard of all of our customers. 

This automation takes all of the information from this Google form and then loads it into our central customer management spreadsheet so we have all of their information in one place.

Step 7) Send a Slack notification to Virtual Assistants

Finally, we send a Slack notification with all of the details on the new customer to a specific "#pre-onboarding" channel that we have created in Slack.

We have one of our team members in this channel who has been trained to take that trigger as an input and handle a whole series of next steps which need to be done manually. 

Step 8) Virtual Assistant sets up customers folders and template documents

The Slack notification is the final automated piece from Zapier, but this sets off an entire additional series of steps. 

The first step is to set up new folders in Google Drive with the customers proper naming convention. 

Second, our VA then duplicates our standard "Scripts" and "Onboarding" documents, renames them and sets those up for that customer. 

This is a small step that used to take 10-15 minutes to do each time.

Step 9) Virtual Assistant sets up virtual servers

Next, we have trained our VA's on how to set up each customer on a location of our virtual server. We run all of our client accounts from Microsoft instances that are running in the cloud, and there are several steps with getting that customer set up and ready on each server before the onboarding call.

This is another 15 minutes saved here by having our VA handle this initial setup.


2 hours of work, condensed down to 5 minutes...

I used to do all of this by hand every time we closed a sale. Literally, ever new customer took 2 hours of my time to run through this entire process.

Piece by piece, I began automating, and eventually ended up at this system which now takes me 5 minutes.

The week that I am writing this, we closed 11 sales... 

In the past, that would have taken me 22 HOURS to do the post-sale work...

Today, it only took me 55 minutes.

Automation is powerful. 
It takes time to setup, but it's worth it.

I probably spent a good 6-8 hours getting this whole automation flow setup. It was hard and painful, but it pays itself off extremely quickly.

So when you find yourself doing repetitive work like this over and over again.
Figure out how to automate it and it will give you massive freedom in your time. 

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