How to Best Balance Human Touch and Automation in Sales - Sales Dev Hub - RightBound
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How to Best Balance Human Touch and Automation in Sales

Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

Too much pizza = stomach ache.

Too much sunshine = sunburn.

Automation in sales is no exception.  

Too much automation = impersonal customer experience.

The key is balance.  Moderation.  

While automation definitely should be used in sales, it needs to be used in a way that enriches the process, not detracts from or cheapens it.  Those who learn to use automation in this way will be the ones who thrive.

Here’s a list of ways (with examples!) of how to best put this into practice.

Identify Key Touchpoints

Building Rapport

Human touch is crucial in the early stages of the sales process when establishing trust and understanding customer needs. Automation can be used for initial outreach, but building strong relationships requires genuine human interaction.  

Example: After an automated introductory email, a salesperson should personally follow up with a phone call or a tailored email to build rapport and gather more information about the prospect’s needs.

Understanding Customer Needs

Many people do not trust AI yet.  According to a recent Forbes article, 75% of people would trust a human over AI in the relatively low stakes situation of picking out a work outfit.  The bottom line:  human interaction is essential for more thoroughly understanding a customer’s pain points, goals, and preferences. Automation can support this process by gathering initial data, but a human touch is necessary for in-depth exploration.

Example: Automated surveys or chatbots can help collect basic information about a prospect’s needs. However, a salesperson should engage in a one-on-one conversation to dive deeper into the prospect’s challenges and goals.

Handling Complex Objections

Addressing complicated objections or concerns requires empathy, active listening, and problem-solving skills, which are best delivered through human interaction. Automation can be used to provide resources or FAQs, but human engagement is crucial for complex issues.  According to a recent study by Cogito, more than half (53%) of consumers stated they prefer to chat with a live agent via the telephone when it comes to complex customer service questions or issues, while only 17% would prefer to use technology like live chat via a website or mobile app.

Example: If a prospect raises a concern about pricing or implementation, an automated email with general information can be followed up with a personalized call or meeting to address their specific objections.

Evaluate Touchpoints

Assess each customer touchpoint to determine whether automation or human interaction would provide the best customer experience.

Example: While customers may appreciate automated appointment scheduling, they might prefer discussing custom product configurations with a knowledgeable sales representative.

Personalize Automated Communication

Use Customer Data Effectively

Utilize information about customer preferences, behavior, and past interactions to personalize automated messages. This helps create a more human-like connection and demonstrates your understanding of their needs.

Example: Send automated emails that reference a customer’s previous purchases, abandoned cart items, or browsing behavior to provide tailored product recommendations or special offers.

Segment Your Audience

Divide your customer base into different segments based on factors like demographics, interests, or lifecycle stage. This allows you to send more targeted, personalized automated messages to each group.

Example: Create separate email campaigns for new customers and repeat customers, acknowledging their unique experiences and providing relevant information or offers for each group.

Implement Dynamic Content

Use automation tools to insert personalized content into your messages based on individual customer data, making each communication more relevant to the recipient.

Example: Include personalized greetings, reference specific pain points, or display content based on a customer’s industry or job role in automated emails or chatbot interactions.

Ensure Seamless Handoffs

Maintain Context Across Touchpoints

When switching between automated and human-driven interactions, ensure that customer data and interaction history are easily accessible. This prevents customers from having to repeat information and enables a seamless experience.

Example: Implement a CRM system that captures customer data and interaction history, allowing sales representatives to quickly access relevant information when engaging with customers directly.

Provide Clear Communication

Inform customers when they are being transferred from an automated system to a human representative. This prevents confusion and sets clear expectations for the interaction.

Example: When a chatbot interaction is escalated to a live chat with a human, send a message notifying the customer of the transition and providing the name of the representative they’ll be speaking with.

Optimize Routing and Escalation

Automate the process of routing customer inquiries to the most appropriate representative based on the issue, customer profile, or other factors. This ensures that customers receive personalized assistance without unnecessary delays or handoffs.

Example: Configure your chatbot to automatically escalate complex inquiries to the most qualified sales representative, ensuring a smooth transition and a more efficient resolution.

Integrate Systems and Channels

Ensure that your automation tools and communication channels are well-integrated, allowing for a consistent experience across touchpoints.

Example: Connect your marketing automation platform with your CRM and customer service tools, providing a unified view of customer interactions and enabling seamless transitions between automated and human-driven communication.

Train Your Sales Team

Develop Automation Skills

Provide training and resources to help your sales team understand how to use automation tools effectively and efficiently. This ensures they can leverage the benefits of automation without sacrificing the human touch.

Example: Offer workshops, webinars, or online courses that cover the features and best practices of your chosen automation tools, such as email marketing platforms or CRM systems.

Foster Collaboration

Encourage your sales team to work closely with marketing and customer service teams to create a cohesive customer experience. This collaboration ensures that automation and human interactions are aligned and mutually supportive.

Example: Organize cross-functional meetings or workshops where sales, marketing, and customer service teams can share insights, discuss challenges, and align their strategies for using automation and maintaining a human touch.

Set Expectations and Guidelines

Establish clear expectations and guidelines for when to use automation and when to prioritize human interaction. This helps your sales team strike the right balance and maintain a customer-centric approach.

Example: Create a flowchart that helps sales representatives determine whether to use an automated message or a personal interaction based on factors such as customer needs, inquiry type, or relationship stage.

Maintain Human Oversight


Identify key sales process stages where human judgment is crucial and ensure that automation doesn’t replace these steps.

Example: Leave complex deal negotiations and contract finalization to experienced sales reps who can assess the situation and make informed decisions.


Establish criteria for when an automated process should be escalated to a human team member.

Example: Automated customer support can handle common issues, but complex or sensitive cases should be routed to a human representative for personalized assistance.

Quality Assurance

Implement regular checks and audits of automated processes to ensure they maintain a high standard of quality and align with your sales objectives.

Example: Periodically review automated email campaigns to assess their tone, content, and effectiveness in driving engagement.

Customer Feedback

Pay attention to customer feedback about the sales experience and make necessary adjustments to maintain a human touch.

Example: If customers express dissatisfaction with automated support, consider increasing the availability of human support staff or reevaluating your support workflows.

Implement Chatbots Thoughtfully

Identify Use Cases

Determine which tasks and inquiries are most suitable for chatbot assistance, such as answering frequently asked questions or providing product information.  Most companies have not figured out how to do this well as a recent survey by Gartner revealed that only 8% of customers used a chatbot during their most recent customer service experience.

Example: Implement a chatbot on your website to help customers find information about shipping policies and return procedures.

Personalize Interactions

Use customer data to personalize chatbot interactions, making them more relevant and engaging.

Example: Greet returning customers by name and reference their past interactions or purchases to create a more tailored experience.

Monitor Performance

Regularly review chatbot performance and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and ensure the chatbot is effectively assisting customers.

Example: Track chatbot response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores to measure the success of your chatbot implementation.

Quick Wrap Up:  Human Touch vs Automation in Sales

Automation is here.  To stay.  

The key for companies moving forward is to find the sweet spot of how and when to balance it with human interaction.  Too much automation can make a customer feel as though they’re not important, while the complete absence of automation is quickly becoming a non-reality. The companies that are able to do the best job of blending the two will not only gain the trust of customers, but will save countless hours of manual work.  

This is a guest post written by RevPartners, a management and consulting firm that designs and executes revenue engines to supercharge their customers’ growth with services such as HubSpot Onboarding, RevOps as Service, and SEO/PPC. The RevPartners team orchestrates, optimizes, and reports on their client’s marketing, sales, and operations processes through automation and tools. RevPartners’ mission is to democratize revenue operations by making it accessible, consumable, and actionable in HubSpot.

Written by: Adam Statti