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Automation for Productivity

Are you struggling with how to take your business to the next level? Are you wondering if there are better ways to accomplish your goals and increase overall productivity? If you said, yes to any of these questions, then this blog post is for you. In this blog post, we discuss common pain points among small business owners and how you can use automation to strategically improve the overall operation of your business. 

A LOT goes into running a business. From the backend management to sales, marketing, and customer service, there are so many moving parts. Some business procedures may be simple but very repetitive, which may get boring and lead to mistakes. And as you know, no error is a small mistake in business.

The easiest and fastest way to solve this and streamline your business processes is to automate your business. Automation increases efficiency, improves productivity, and eliminates errors. There are several ways you can automate your business, some of which I discuss below. 

Data Entry

Pain Point: Manual data entry is hard, takes a long time, and is often inconsistent. 

Data entry is entering a specific type of information into a preferred or desired format or software. It can either be manual or automated.

Manual data entry is time-consuming, cost-intensive, and a tedious process. It can lead to inconsistent, incomplete, and maybe non-compliant information because the operator can get tired and bored.

For example, if you always open an Excel spreadsheet for clients and manually input their personal information, call notes, title, industry, and any data points, then it would take you hours to key in the details of 20, 50, 100+ other clients.

That is why you should automate data entry processes to free you and your employees from hours of repetitive routine work. It will help you focus on other tasks and make you more productive.

Automate data entry with: 

Signup forms

When a contact fills out a signup form, you can collect data to automatically populate the CRM record. A signup form can either be used on your website, or your team can use them to fill out information about a client and have it automatically entered into the contact record. Sign Up forms can trigger a whole array of automation, so this is a good way to start the customer journey. 

CRM activities

While many CRM activities are tasks and to-dos for your team, some can be automated or automatically marked as completed upon completion of another activity. You can also standardize notes for CRM activities, so that every time that activity is completed, there is a specific set of notes that go along with it. While this is not necessarily demographic information, it is important information about the relationship between you and the lead or client. 

Workflow automation

Workflows are a powerful way to automate data collection and entry. Workflows can be set up to add specific information to the contact record. You can trigger workflows in a number of ways, including: 

> Data changes
> Signup form submissions
> Ticketing forms
> Group assignments
> Event attendance
> Signed documents
> Paid/Unpaid invoices
> Contact behaviors (reads, clicks, surveys, website visits, lead scoring, etc.)
> Much more…

Surveys

Surveys are a quick and easy way to collect information and gain valuable feedback from your leads and clients. You can send a survey link in an email, via text message, or simulate a survey while speaking directly with the client. Easily attach lead scores to responses, automate follow-ups or other activities based on responses with workflows, and add or append contact data in their contact record.  

How to succeed with data entry

Enter and process only useful data

Periodically review your forms, documents, and applications to check for relevant data content. Any form that requests obsolete data should be redesigned to involve only relevant data.

Standardize the process

Train your team on a consistent data strategy. If you are using signup forms to collect data, make sure that your team understands the process. You also want to make sure that if there is manual data entry, you have a protocol for entering data points. This means standardizing things like USA vs. U.S. vs. US. This helps to improve the accuracy, consistency, and compliance of data. It also helps to reduce the time taken to enter relevant data. 

Email Marketing 

Emails are a crucial part of business activities, and they are a great way to generate leads, nurture leads, and engage your leads and customers. 

Manually sending out emails to new leads, people ready to buy, and current customers can be overwhelming. We only have so much time in a day, and there are only so many emails you can write.

With automation software, you can immediately respond to new leads, send informational emails when a lead is perusing your website or after a meeting, and streamline the communication process. 

You might be thinking that automated emails are so impersonal, and while many are, if you are using a CRM you can use that data to automatically personalize each email. For example, if a lead submits a contact request form on your website and inputs that they are interested in web design, using that information, you can send them a series of emails that describes your web design services. The more information you collect from a customer, the more targeted you can make your outreach. 

If that same lead clicks to download an ebook in one of your emails about your web design services, this could trigger another set of emails based on the topic of that ebook. Automation can be as simple or complex as you make it. The key is to map out your process, establish how you want to segment your contacts, and then create the content for each segment. 

Email marketing is a great way to engage leads while they are in your funnel. Let's say you have a positive meeting with a potential client. They are interested in the product and say they would like to try it out. After your meeting, you can trigger a journey that sends them information on how to start their trial, and special instructions and tips to help them get the most out of it. All of this is automated, so you can spend less time sending repetitive emails, and more time meeting with leads and engaging them in meaningful conversations. 

Reminders

You can easily automate both reminders for your clients as well as your internal team. 

Automation software starts the clock when the sale is made and can send a follow-up email or message after a predetermined time frame. For example, if the product sold lasts 30 days, your customer will automatically be contacted before the end of that period to replenish the product. In the case of a service, you can send emails to purchase add-on services, additional products, or even ask for a review or referrals. 

You can also automate appointment or event reminders. Send reminder texts and/or emails before a meeting or with important information about an event they are attending. Automating this aspect of your business saves you time and eliminates missed appointments. 

Automation can also help you schedule appointments using a scheduling tool that syncs with your google calendar. It allows leads and clients to view available times and schedule a meeting accordingly. GreenRope does this with our booking feature. Simply embed a calendar on your site and people can easily request or book appointments that are automatically added to your calendar. 

Client Satisfaction

Use automation to gain insight into your clients’ satisfaction. Surveys are typically a quick and easy way to generate this feedback. Whether the survey is 10 questions or 1, you can automate your responses or follow-up actions based on their responses. 

Many businesses do not do this because it is time consuming. Sending out surveys and reviewing survey results takes time, unless you have a system that does this for you. 

For example, you send out a one-question survey to all of your clients. Based on each client’s response, you can trigger the appropriate follow-up. For example, if they are satisfied, perhaps you send them a thank you email or trigger a personal follow-up from a sales-person. If they are not satisfied, you can trigger a follow-up from a customer service representative to address their concerns and hopefully alleviate their frustration. 

Automation for the Win

Automation comes in many forms. While I do not recommend that you automate everything, I think the more you automate, the more time you save meaningful touchpoints. 

Don't try to automate everything at once. Just start with one thing at a time. Successful automation takes careful planning and strategic decision-making. You should also help your team understand the benefits of automation and involve them in the whole automation process.

At GreenRope, we understand your need to market and sell your products. We know that the operations department is one of the key areas in managing a successful business. We can help you tie these three together for your firm to be more efficient and productive. For more information, please contact us and we will be more than willing to assist. 

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