Don’t work in your business!
Automate the Right Processes and Work on Your Business, Not in It!
With the rise of e-commerce, what you automate makes or breaks your business.
With limited time and resources, it’s vital you focus on tasks that promote your company’s growth. And you need to automate all tasks that require manual labour.
But which tasks should you automate first?
Simple, the ones that slow your response time to customers.
Your BPA (Business Process Automation) Plan needs to help you maintain your competitive edge. It should help you be nimble and ultra-responsive to customer needs.
- Allow potential customers to find you, and then buy from you, quickly, easily and repeatedly, and
- Perform flawlessly, on a schedule, freeing up your time for continued business development and new customer acquisition.
This is a tall order. And one that makes business owners stall as they decide on which business processes to automate first
Luckily, there’s a systematic approach to BPA that helps you automate business processes in a way that’s tailored to the specific needs of your business.
To begin, Lauren Simonds of Time recommends automating “time-consuming tasks that require attention, but don’t necessarily qualify as income-producing activities.”
Which means the first processes you need to automate are the ones that allow you to…
Always work one-on-one with customers closer to the sale
When it comes to growing your business, nothing replaces a human touch. So, the processes you automate first are the ones which allow you to interact with customers. Especially, customers who’ve expressed an interest in your product and are positioned to buy.
To decide which processes contribute to better sales, map out the entire end-to-end sales and accounting CRM process of your business. Note where your business workflow grinds to a halt or slow down due to manual processes.
The following list has typical sales activities. It helps determine any high-time, low-value tasks you currently engage in during each of them.
Activities you need to examine closely are:
- Re-engaging existing lists
- Capturing leads and systemizing sales conversions
- Automated delivery of products
- Asking customers for referrals and feedback
- Upselling activities
- Streamlining the sales process
- Long term nurture
- Attracting new traffic
Your goal is to prioritize your business processes. That way as many tasks as possible can run automatically behind the scenes.
Identify “time-consuming processes that occur repeatedly and automate them,” business process analyst Pratik Dholakiya advises.
You should follow this is advice, given that the vast majority of hands-on tasks performed during the sales lifecycle disrupt workflow. When you automate these tasks, you’ll have more time to focus on building relationships with new and recurring customers.
Automate all manual time-wasters susceptible to human error
Your business is in a constant state of flux. As are your business processes. Locking down yourself, or your employees, on operationally greedy tasks prone to errors makes no sense.
If you’re to have the time to work one-on-one with customers closer to the sale, you must eliminate tasks like:
- Compiling customer dossiers
- Manual invoicing
- Database management
- Sales results analysis
- Meetings to identify process slowdowns and inefficiencies
Your business will only grow, if it’s efficient. Let the built-in analytics your BPA offers perform all complex operations behind the scenes. Print off data reports, as you need them, to decide where best to focus your efforts.
Draft sales letters, regular content, product bulletins and business correspondence as needed once and let your automated system send them to your list, on a schedule.
Do the same with email autoresponder series that you send to nurture and keep customers at all stages of the sales lifecycle in the loop.
Offer free downloadable lead magnets like short how-to guides, checklists and automated webinars online to attract new customers and as bonuses to your regular content to re-engage existing ones.
Automate the invoicing process and accounting series. Send new and old customers quick automated surveys with drop menus to select from so you learn more about them
In short, automate the repetitive parts of your business and allocate most of your time to what systems reviewer, Mary Shacklett, considers the most vital use of your time, “customer-facing processes.”
Do this and you’ll…
Free up your valuable time closest to cash and make more sales
The days of manually compiling huge Access databases of customer profiles are gone. For your business to remain agile in the face of change, you must maximize your sales piece. Do this by automating tasks that disrupt workflow and detract from the growth of your business. And free up time for personalized customer interactions.
Nothing replaces great person-to-person interactions. Nothing. So, automate busywork and spend time developing key relationships with customers. Differentiate yourself in the marketplace with your one-on-one skills, not your business inefficiencies.
To learn more about automation systems that handle each step of the end-to-end business process, read “8 Essential Problem-Solving Automation Solutions for Your Business.”