Large businesses have been using automated systems for their business operations for years. Thanks to today’s technology, there are now more affordable solutions, making it available to small businesses. Consider investing in business automation tools to help you level the playing field with your competitors.
According to Deloitte, 73% of businesses started using automation tools to automate workflows in customer service, sales and marketing, finance, and even human resources. With the right tools, you can enable your teams to work more efficiently and effectively.
With that, here are some business tasks that can be automated in your small/midsize business.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Using CRM enables you to effectively engage with your new and existing client base. Keeping track of where leads are in the sales funnel is difficult, especially for small businesses. With the right CRM, you can manage critical data about your customers or leads, which you can use to personalize and improve their experience with your brand.
You don’t have to worry about losing track of your customers and leads. It organizes your client database by segmenting your audiences and linking past interactions and documents in their respective profiles.
It can also automatically send follow-up emails to leads and prospects to keep them interested in your products or services. You can also use it to email long-time customers with anniversary emails, product updates, or deals. Integrate your CRM solutions into your preferred communication apps like Gmail and Facebook Messenger for more seamless data sharing and streamline pipelines.
Automation saves you countless hours by taking care of repetitive tasks in running marketing campaigns online. It frees up your time to focus on priority tasks and eliminates chances of human errors.
For example, if you are focusing your marketing campaigns on social media, you can invest in a social media marketing software. This can help you manage your social media accounts so that you don’t have to be chained to your social media all day. You can use it to schedule your posts and automatically update your profiles across all social media platforms.
And if you have your own business website, having a search engine optimization (SEO) tool will come in handy. It tests and analyzes your website so that it ranks higher in search results. Through it, you can discover relevant and popular keywords to use for your content, URLs, images, tags, and titles. It can also eliminate duplicate content and check your links.
Automating your sales process doesn’t just stop with lead generation and management. You need to make sure that everything goes smoothly until the very end. And that means automating your order management system.
This aspect of your business tends to involve a lot of processes—from tracking and managing orders, invoicing, and delivery. This can get increasingly difficult for growing SMBs since manual tasks can pile up to the point where your teams can no longer handle them. Using automation tools can lessen workload and streamline order processing.
For example, you are currently managing orders from multiple channels like a webstore and a brick-and-mortar one. By using automation, you don’t have to manually check up each channel to know about the details and status of your customers’ orders. It will do it for you. It can even monitor your inventory, create recurring invoices for retainer clients, and receive payments from them.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, small businesses can now automate their customer service. Automation tools can man your help desk and extend customer support 24/7 without needing to hire extra people for the job. You can use it to track and respond to emails, manage ticketing systems, and process requests.
A great example is a chatbot. This automation tool can engage with all your customers in real-time without your interference. It can entertain questions, provide assistance, and offer recommendations. You can even integrate it into your website to convert your traffic into sales.
Another way to automate customer service is through self-service content. You can do this by developing a robust knowledge base that customers can access anytime and anywhere. And keep this database updated using automation tools.
Managing your own business finances can be a tough job. On the other hand, hiring experts to do it can get costly in the long run. Hence, consider automating your accounting and finance using the right software solutions.
According to PwC, 48% of businesses who have started automating their finance and accounting processes have greatly improved operations. It keeps track of their cash flow and provides an accurate overview of their finances periodically. This way, you won’t have to obsess over your financial statements and bank accounts all the time.
Automation tools like an accounting software can automate repetitive tasks such as:
- Recurring invoices
- Reimbursement claims
- Bill payments
- Tax compliances
- Payment reminders
- Financial reporting and forecasting
Even small businesses struggle with office management. You need to keep track of office supplies, staff recruitment and training, facilities, and administrative budget. Fortunately, there are various automation tools for such tasks.
To start, you can automate workforce management through HR solutions. It can provide you with tools to manage payrolls, track attendance, and monitor productivity. You can also automate the hiring and onboarding process instead of manually going through piles of job applications and interviews.
You can also use workflow automation for a small business. This replaces paper-based and manual processes using digital tools. It automates administrative tasks such as updating databases, scheduling meetings, and tracking office supplies. You can also use it to manage projects and help teams collaborate effectively.
Nowadays, data plays a critical role in business growth. Hence, many businesses are shifting towards a data-centric approach to doing business. This allows them to gain better insights on the latest trends in the market, customers’ behaviors and preferences, and their overall performance.
Small businesses need to leverage data analytics if they want to survive the cutthroat market. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it on your own. Automation tools can help you:
- extract data from various processes in your operations
- analyze them
- generate summarized reports
- provide visual presentation of data and analytics
This way, you can gain valuable insights in just a glance.
In the right hands, such information can be the key to your business’ success. Consider hiring people with backgrounds in business management. They are trained to make smart organizational decisions using both quantitative skills and soft people skills. So go ahead and check out the business management degree salary to help you attract the right talents for your business.
Grow with automation
Thanks to the various advances in technology, there are many ways on how to automate your business. But most importantly, such tools are more affordable and accessible than ever. Small businesses can easily leverage them into their sales, marketing, finances, and operations.
So go ahead and explore what technology has to offer. Remove repetitive and menial tasks from your operations and start automating where you can. Check out software solutions such as sales automation software, marketing tools, CRM software, and finance management solutions.
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