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Get Started with Automation: 5 Actionable Tips to your Business
Automation is a priority for many businesses, and with good reason. Automation can be a significant source of competitive advantage by helping you to do more in less time, using fewer resources, and with less risk of errors. If you want to harness the incredible benefits of automation, here are five actionable tips to add automation to your business.
1. Identity Automation Opportunities
The first step in automation is determining what you need to automate. Sit down and list your routine manual processes to identify those that take up a substantial amount of time and resources. It may be follow-ups, data input, lead generation, or email marketing, depending on your business. It is best practice to prioritize repetitive tasks that take up most of your day. In general, look for tasks that are:
2. Start With One or Two Tasks
After identifying all the manual processes you need to automate, choose one or two of them to start with. For each one, ensure that you understand every part of the process it involves. Consider breaking down the process into smaller steps for easier implementation and optimization.
For instance, if you decide to start with automating customer service, what does that involve? Customer Service is a big topic, so choose just a section of it to start. For example, when a customer makes an inquiry via phone call, how do you automatically route the query to the right support person? What automatic follow up do you send? You may have different answers if the inquiry comes in via email or signup form, but just choose one area to start.
If you choose to start with automating lead nurturing, consider what happens when a lead clicks on a marketing email or comes in via a signup form. What content is automatically sent to the lead to move them further into the buyer's journey? Think about a specific email you will send. What will you do if the recipient reads it? What if they never open it?
3. Start Small and Build with Time
In automation, it is best practice to start small and grow over time. It is tempting to start with one area, make changes, and instantly begin changing the next area. But do not try to automate everything at once--it will not only be overwhelming, but you may face challenges that decrease your chance of success. Specifically, if you run into an issue and have changed many areas simultaneously, you may have a hard time determining where the problem lies.
Successful automation requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. Automate one task first, track results, and refine your workflow to make that one section behave exactly as you need it to before adding additional or more complex functions into the mix.
4. Data is King
Determine the type of data that is important to your business. Is it the total number of contacts reached, website visits, location, email clicks, or demographic data? Understanding the data you need and which you don't can make you a more effective data-driven organization.
A data-driven organization has positive outcomes for enhancing decision-making, improving efficiency, and boosting organizational agility. CIO Dive reports that data-driven companies are 58 percent more likely to beat revenue goals, and see an increase in customer trust.
Use a complete CRM such as GreenRope and all of your data resides in one place. Regardless of which data guides a given decision, whether it’s demographic, behavioral, or geographic, the information can be found within the same software. Use the CRM's reporting capabilities to learn about your business and enhance your processes to maximize customer and prospect engagement.
5. Involve Everyone
Automation should not be a one man show, it should involve everyone on your team. Help your team understand the why, what, and how of automation. Show the benefits of automation and point out what they will gain from the process. This way, everyone will be on the same page, and you decrease the chances of active and passive resistance.
When developing your automation, do not forget to solicit input from your team. Consider holding a brainstorming session where you discuss the pain points of manual processes. Use their unique perspectives to discover areas that can benefit from automation. When you leverage automation to solve these issues, you have buy-in from your team, and they will see automation solving their issues.
Importantly, train your team before you implement any automation. Ensure they are well-versed in the new processes and understand the desired outcome. They will be more accepting and less overwhelmed if they are properly trained.
Automation offers numerous benefits for businesses regardless of industry and size. It increases employee productivity, cuts costs, enhances customer satisfaction, and reduces costly errors. While automating your business can be daunting and strenuous, especially for beginners, the actionable tips above make it manageable and doable. The secret is to start small and scale with time. Get started with automation today with GreenRope.
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