For small and medium businesses, automating some company processes can sound like a daunting process. However, automated processes function as a go-between for your team. They function like that intern that you assign all the repetitive, annoying work that has to be done.
They could screen leads, remind the sales team to follow up on them, automatically market the organization, send replies, and just save time in general. Automating your business processes helps you to deal with the small stuff so you and your team can focus on the more important and productive tasks.
The time-saving benefit of automation is invaluable. That’s why it’s estimated that businesses will have spent as much as $11.2 billion on it by the end of 2020. But automation doesn’t have to happen all at once, nor does it have to drain your account.
Table of Contents
There are three steps to successful business automation.
These steps can be repeated as many times as you need until your business processes are automated to your satisfaction.
Step 1: Choosing Processes and Setting Goals
Before even thinking about how you want to automate your business, you need to first think of what you want to automate and why. That is, what processes do you want to automate, and why do you want to automate them? What goal do you think can be achieved from automating these tasks?
This is important because some tasks should never be automated. Any process that requires thinking or consideration of customers’ wants, needs, goals, and desires should not be automated. Some departments, such as marketing, need automation, especially when performing rote tasks for leads. Strategies like conversational marketing need automation in the long run.
But some tasks require creativity that only a human mind can bring to the table. There are several apps and software that claim to be able to deal with tasks like that. However, when it comes to dealing with customers one-on-one, a machine won’t be able to keep up.
As you outline processes that need automation, you need to create a yardstick which you’ll measure your progress against. Assessing your progress will give you more insight into that area, and whether the automation is worth it or not. You’ll probably have a different yardstick for each automated process, and measuring KPIs should be simple. Asking a few questions from clients or workers will suffice.
Step 2: Selecting tools for automation
There are thousands of automation software and tools out there, but you can’t just pick a random one. You are trusting a part of your business to this tool, no matter how small that part is. You have to pick software that you can trust. So, here are a few tips for picking out excellent automation software for your business:
- Outline what you need the software to do for you. Define specific features that you’d like to see in it. If you’re not sure, you can ask the experts.
- Make sure that your choice of automation software can be easily integrated with other software that you have running within the company.
- An excellent choice of automated software should be simple to operate. Or at least, it shouldn’t make you want to tear your hair out in frustration. You must be able to set it up with ease.
- In line with the last point, your software needs to have a customer care unit that’ll take care of any problems as they arise. If it doesn’t have such a unit and the software develops any issues, it could be disastrous for the company.
- Choose tools with the lowest risk of insecurity possible. Automated software needs to have some protection against hackers and breaches. You can also put your software through tests to discover any bugs and ensure it’s in perfect working order.
Step 3: Keeping tabs
You need to follow up on reviewing automation software. You can do this by comparing results before automation to results after automation using the KPI created. After a few months, you should see a marked increase in productivity at the very least. This comparison will also make it easy to start selecting where else your company might benefit from automation. You and your staff might slowly develop an attitude of “where next?” in automation. At this point, it’s not a bad idea to have some automation experts on standby.
Ninety-nine percent of business leaders embrace the benefits of automation according to a survey done by KRC Research. However, there are risks, which is why it’s advisable to start automation with the smallest bits or the most repetitive tasks you’ve got. Don’t put your secure files in the hands of software you don’t trust. The security issue is the most pressing one in business automation because it can devastate a company. Before using any software, please read about the company, and make sure you’re secure.
Featured image source: Freepik