Beyond Marketing: Steps to Streamline Your Business Systems with Automation
Business automation might sound like a modern-day buzzword or a new shiny object that will complicate your life, right?
As digital marketing consultants, we talk a lot about the benefits of marketing automation. However, we also help clients think about the bigger business picture by leveraging the right automation tools across other departments in their business.
That’s why today’s article is Beyond Marketing…a series we publish that expands beyond your marketing department to help you, your business, and your teams have helpful tips for modern business development in a very digital world.
Business automation is really not that scary. And we don’t think it is a buzzword that will be going away anytime soon. As the world of business becomes more digital and we all shift to tools and software, there is a huge need to automate those repetitive steps in your business processes in order for your business to grow.
in today’s modern business world, there are thousands of softwares and tools you can use to automate your business. One of the biggest challenges is understanding which systems, tools, processes, and partners can help you reach maximum growth by leveraging automation.
Once your business learns how to streamline your systems so that they all work together, the benefits will be clear. Not only will you create more efficiency and reduce redundancy, but you will also be able to track business growth in a holistic way that allows you to see the true Return on Investment for every part of your organization.
So, let’s dive into the steps to streamline your business systems with automation.
- What is Business Automation?
- What are the Benefits of Business Automation?
- How to Get Started with Business Automation?
- What Business Automation Workflows Should I Be Using?
What is Business Automation?
Business automation is the tech-enabled process that allows for companies to optimize systems, increase productivity, improve workflows, and overall do more with less. It involves everything from operations, to sales, to social media management. If there’s a task that needs to be taken care of in your business, you can likely find a way to automate it!
You might be surprised to learn that you’re already using some business automation — even if you’re not familiar with the term. Have you ever gone on vacation and set up autoresponders for your email? That’s automation. Do you get alerts by text or email anytime a client views and/or pays an invoice? That’s automation!
There’s probably a lot you’re already doing but there’s also so much more you can tap into when you have the tools to do so.
What are the Benefits of Business Automation?
Last year, we wrote about how automation can be viewed as cold or inauthentic. This sentiment can keep business leaders from implementing smart automation strategies that streamline operations, sales, marketing, and more.
In reality, automating your business processes can help in a number of ways.
When done right, business automation is one of the most efficient ways to combat overwhelm, from tight-knit teams to large corporations, and streamline business, sales, and marketing processes for optimal results.
A few more benefits of business automation include:
- Reduces the need to multi-task. According to the work management platform, Wrike, constant task-switching costs companies up to 40% in lost productivity. With automation in play, repetitive tasks are taken care of automatically which frees up employees to work more on what matters and less on menial tasks.
- Optimizes operations management. From employee onboarding and training to communication and collaboration between different teams and departments, automation makes it easier to manage the behind-the-scenes of your business with processes that keep your entire organization on track.
- Attracts ideal clients… on autopilot. A well-thought-out automated sales funnel can capture high-quality leads then nurture them from prospect to client without the sales team ever having to lift a finger! When systems are aligned and can work with rather than against each other, you’re sure to see an increase in sales.
- Streamlines customer communication. It’s not just email that can be automated. Daily online interaction is a must for most businesses and automation can help ease the stress of social media by scheduling posts, tagging important replies, and delivering automatic reports to monitor analytics.
How to Get Started with Business Automation?
So now that you know the “why” for business automation. Let’s talk about how to get started with the basics of business automation.
To begin with business automation you and your team must be willing to take a deep dive into any systems, processes, and tools you’re currently using.
First, identify your core processes – Make a list of your daily tasks. Have your team members do the same. Step back and take a look at the tasks each person is doing that has repetition to it.
Whether internal or external, outline your processes from top to bottom to create a workflow map to help you determine what can be automated.
Next, determine what can be automated – While there’s a lot that can be automated, not everything should be automated. If you’re on the fence about what to automate in your business, start simple with email automation.
Email is the perfect vehicle to get your feet wet with automated systems. And, even if you’re not a marketing whiz, with the right email software (and the right digital partner) it’s pretty easy to set up.
Finally, understand how automation helps – The last piece of the puzzle here is more of a mindset shift. If you begin to implement automated processes but don’t heed the two steps above, you risk creating systems and processes that work against, not for, each other in your business. The best advice here is to take it slow. Adding steps to your automation stack gradually until you get a better understanding of business automation.
What Business Automation Workflows Should I Be Using?
There are countless ways to automate processes in your business. To know what business automation workflows you should be using really starts with your goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish with an automated workflow will help you prioritize where to start.
Here are a few workflows we love:
- Client Onboarding: Simplify your steps to onboarding a new client by incorporating automation. Automatically add clients to a CRM once their contract is signed ensuring the right department can follow up with any next steps.
Map out the exact client experience that you want to deliver. Then implement the tools to help you design the perfect onboarding sequence. Tools we use for client onboarding are:
- Accounting: Use an automated workflow to track invoices. For a new client, once an initial invoice is paid, add them to an email welcome sequence to further explain your brand or services.
For existing clients, you can send an email thanking them and/or add the payment to a spreadsheet for your records.
- HR/Employee Onboarding: Another way to use automation is with team onboarding. Filter applications based on questions answered, to send important documents or processes to a new hire after their contract is signed.
Also, keep track and send out gifts for employee birthdays or holidays automatically.
- Social Media Management: Many businesses already be using automation in the form of social media scheduling. Leveling up your automation even further with automated direct messages, chat features or customer service responses can take your social media strategy to the next level.
- Full-Funnel Automation: Any business with an online presence should have a sales funnel integrated into their systems.
Full funnel automation will help your business find the right traffic. Send that traffic to the right landing page with a client-attracting offer. Convert that traffic through an automated offer, form, or checkout process. Then update your systems for maximum customer retention.
Not sure where to start with automating your business systems? We’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to automation for your sales, marketing, and business operations. If you can map a workflow, then you can probably create automation to help streamline your business, increase efficiency, and grow your revenue.
How are you using automation in your business today?
Grow Your Business with Smart Girl Digital
If you’re ready to automate your business systems we can help you build an automation strategy designed to optimize. Give us a call — let’s discuss how we can help you streamline and grow your business with automation.