Improving our Sales Processes with Automation

Data Modernization & Analytics

Learn about Steve, Caylent's internal slackbot who has evolved to automate sales processes, improve efficiency and enrich business decisions with data.

I always preferred The Jetsons to The Flintstones, simply because the idea of going to work, hitting a button, and letting automation run sounded like a really nice gig! 

I've spent most of my career finding ways to automate my job and really anything that seemed silly to do manually more than once. While the type of systems I automate has changed over the years from fleets of servers to business process automation, the principles are still the same. 

At Caylent, in addition to working closely with our sales team as a Customer Solutions Architect (CSA), I've spent time building automation around our sales process that's continued to evolve into a neat little project.

We have a unique Slack bot named after Caylent's favorite mascot, Steve, who plugs into our very heavy Slack usage to make our lives a little easier while maintaining important processes and standards. 

From humble beginnings as a closed-won announcer, Steve quickly evolved to:

  • Create purpose-built Slack channels to follow our standard process for our opportunity and project channels
  • Remind our sellers of important upcoming events for their opportunities
  • Celebrate our sales wins and delivery contributions to sales at the end of the week 
  • Improve the workflow for our CSA team while increasing visibility into our proposal review process
  • Track legal document approvals and surface any document to our leadership that has sat unaddressed for too long
  • Provide our delivery teams with more context about new engagements which sets them up for success in serving our clients

In addition to making lives easier by managing Slack channels and providing helpful information, Steve provides a mechanism for our leadership to gather metrics that wouldn't be possible otherwise. With Steve automating much of our process, we have timestamps of specific activities taking place during the sales process. Using tools like Amazon QuickSight, allows our leadership to use the data Steve collects to glean detailed information about more granular parts of the process. Questions like, what’s the average number of proposals per CSA or a number of proposals per opportunity are now answerable as a by-product of Steve managing the process. 

I'll use our proposal review process as an example, it was a manual process that required a CSA to manually enter data into one or more Jira tickets and then keep track of the progress of those tickets. A typical CSA likely has about 2 - 3 proposals in review at all times that they have to keep track of while often working 4 - 5 opportunities a week, it's a lot to keep track of!

Before our automation:

  • Jira tickets were filled out manually, usually in a slightly different way dependent on the CSA
  • We had no way to tie a proposal review to an opportunity ID in Salesforce
  • None of the process was visible to our sales team
  • We didn't have good metrics that we were collecting about the process
  • For projects spanning multiple practices, duplicate tickets would need to be created for each practice

The automation provided CSAs with a command in all opportunity Slack channels, that command would require the same information a CSA would normally need to fill out in a ticket. No new information was required from the CSA for this new process and in fact, it is an easier process to follow, even for new CSAs. 

After automating the process:

  • Every Jira ticket is filled out the exact same way and the automation handles duplicates for multi-practice projects without additional effort by the CSA
  • The entire process is now published in each Slack opportunity channel giving the Account Executives visibility they previously didn't have and providing CSAs the ability to keep track of the process without checking in on Jira or watching emails 
  • All proposals are tied to an Opportunity ID which gives us the ability to correlate proposal reviews with Opportunities giving leadership additional visibility into the entire sales process
  • Our process is better documented through code and reduces the ability for CSAs to make mistakes

I couldn't begin to guess how much time Steve actually saves the company but since he was built entirely on AWS with cloud-native services, he only costs us about $30 - $40 a month to run.

Let’s not forget the cultural value we get from having a company mascot working alongside the rest of us, when’s the last time your company mascot trolled you?

As we evolve Steve, we have big plans to get him further integrated into Caylent. We are continuing to hook him into new systems and ultimately, we would like to have him be part of the conversation. As Generative AI continues to evolve, we would like to bring some of that to Steve, and be able to ask questions of him mid-conversation. 

Imagine asking, “Hey Steve, what type of opportunities are trending in the last 60 days and what are projections for the next 60?” in the middle of a conversation with your marketing team while problem-solving where to put focus. 

For Caylent, it’s where we are heading next! Steve is already heavily integrated into life at Caylent and already provides a lot of value today. He has access to data sources and correlates them internally, he even generates data himself. Steve is the perfect platform to introduce AI into the equation here at Caylent and we are very excited about it!

Interested in introducing some automation into your organization? How about correlating your own data to drive better insights? Caylent can help, we have some practice doing it ourselves!

Data Modernization & Analytics
Jim Rosser

Jim Rosser

As a Principal Customer Solutions Architect (CSA), Jim partners with Caylent Account Executives to help set clients up for success in their AWS journey. When he's not working directly with clients, Jim is busy maturing our internal sales automation or mentoring peers on the sales and pre-sales team. Based out of Colorado, Jim can often be found enjoying the nature and greenery of the Rockies or enjoying a craft brew in downtown Colorado Springs.

View Jim's articles

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