When your business is ready to grow, there are multiple processes to coordinate. It can be difficult to know where to place your focus, and the demand on your company’s resources can soon outstrip supply. Automation helps to streamline your processes, making them optimally efficient as you begin to grow your brand. This supports the business at a critical time, drives productivity, and ultimately saves you money.
In this article, we’ll look at 10 processes that can be easily automated, allowing your business to enjoy the benefits of scaling without the costs of additional staff.
Marketing is an essential activity for all businesses, particularly those wishing to grow. Your objectives may include improved brand awareness, an increase in sales, or an expansion of market share. Automation can help. There are several highly integrated reliable platforms that take a large portion of the legwork out of business promotion, without compromising effectiveness.
Let’s take lead management, for example. When a potential lead visits your website and makes a conversion, you’re immediately tasked with following up, nurturing the lead, and helping them to navigate through the B2B sales funnel. It’s often time-consuming, and it might not even generate a sale.
Fortunately, the process can be automated. When a conversion is made, an email is sent to the lead automatically, welcoming them to your brand and offering relevant resources. From there, further emails are sent – at specific times or in response to triggers that you decide – to continue developing the relationship. Leads can also be scored, allowing the platform to place focus on those that are likely to become customers.
Finally, at the most crucial point in the process, discount codes and other forms of encouragement can be sent automatically, to create a feeling of urgency and gently nudge your lead towards making a purchase. All of this takes place without additional input from your team.
Platforms to try: Livespace CRM
Social Media & Organic Content
Automation can also help with social media, which has become one of the most effective conduits for marketing. Scheduled posts, keyword selection, reply management, republishing of evergreen content, analytics – all of these components can be centralised under one platform. Not only does this make your tasks easier to manage, but it also eliminates the need to rapidly expand your team as your business grows.
2. Sales Management
When your business is growing, it’s especially important to be on top of sales management. An increase in sales may not even be your primary growth objective, but it drives all other components of your company.
That’s why it’s so important to be organised, and automation can definitely help. CRM platforms have built-in tools that allow you to visualise the whole process; from sales forecasting to strategy development, target setting to actual sales metrics, and the continual analysis of strategy success, everything can be coordinated through one platform.
Platforms to try: Livespace CRM
It’s your duty to ensure that staff are paid in full and on time. As your company expands, this task may become more challenging, as a result of potential increases in staffing, as well as greater demands on your existing team. Automation to the rescue!
Payroll automation, both as a standalone service and as a component of comprehensive platforms, collates all the tasks involved in remunerating your team. The most common features include salary calculation; paycheck production; payment of wages, tax, and pension deductions; and employee benefits management.
Automating your payroll process delivers accuracy, prompt payment, and a useful audit trail.
4. Invoicing and Accounting
Another critical financial process is invoicing for your company’s services. Automating the process makes it quicker, more precise, and less resource-intensive than manual invoicing. Steps completed by specialist software include data entry, invoice finalisation, electronic approval, transfer to client, automatic follow-up, and payment processing. These platforms also take care of invoices that your business has to pay to its suppliers.
Invoicing and accounting often go hand-in-hand, and so too does their automated software. Whilst it’s always recommended to work with an accountant to verify your company’s finances – particularly when completing tax-related paperwork – the day-to-day tasks, such as managing accounts payable and receivable, bookkeeping, purchasing, and tax planning, can be completed using an automated software.
Integrating financial processes makes them smoother and more efficient, and helps you to consolidate and support your financial team as the business grows.
5. Team Communications
Scaling your business successfully requires the support of your most valuable asset: your team. Help everyone to keep in touch by using a dedicated communication platform.
Emails serve a purpose, but they are limited when it comes to driving teamwork. Instead, choose a software that promotes the spirit of collaboration, even if your team is remote. These platforms aid transparency, allow team members to know where everyone is on a project and give managers the opportunity to identify situations where they may need to provide insight.
Times of business growth can prompt uncertainty within a team; ensuring that everyone has the tools to communicate helps to foster a positive collective mindset.
Platforms to try: Slack
6. Customer Services
Customers always appreciate the personal touch, but automation can actually be more effective, particularly as your business grows.
Chatbots have historically had a reputation for serving a questionable purpose, regurgitating responses unrelated to a customer’s actual enquiry. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case, and present-day chatbots not only provide valuable assistance to customers in real time, but they also know when to pass over a challenging query to a real human.
Customer service automation is not limited to bots, however. It can be as simple as having scripted – and customisable – responses to common issues, saving your support team valuable time and making the resolution process faster for customers. Automation can also make the assignment and follow-up of customer queries more efficient, by streamlining them into one system that’s accessible to the entire support team. A win-win for your business and its customers!
7. Human Resources
The recruitment, training, retention, and wellbeing of staff all come under the umbrella of human resource management. As such, HR professionals are often extremely busy, and scaling can put additional pressure on an already-stretched department of your business.
Fortunately, several HR processes can be automated. Let’s take training as an example. Most large organisations use a learning management system, or LMS, to assign a curriculum, deliver online training, perform assessments, and analyse metrics. This makes the process far more efficient for learners, managers, and HR departments. It also centralises all relevant data for each learner, team, and organisation. And that’s just one process.
Note that automation doesn’t threaten the safety of jobs in human resources. Rather, it allows HR professionals to focus entirely on the tasks that need their unique expertise. It’s important to communicate this message to your HR department as you scale and introduce automation, so they continue to feel secure within your organisation.
8. Supply Chain Management
For businesses that sell physical products, a well-managed supply chain is critical. Having sufficient stock at the right time ensures that organisations can fulfil orders, keep up with demand, and avoid wasting money on storing overstock. As your business scales, it’s crucial to have a constant awareness of the supply chain, and be able to respond quickly to fluctuations – hopefully upward! – in demand.
Managing a supply chain can be complicated, but automation makes the process easier. Specialist software helps managers to identify the best prices and most reliable suppliers, without having to perform manual research. In the warehouse, automation can be physical, in the form of robotic equipment, or virtual, through stock level monitoring and instant re-ordering. Automation streamlines the process, making it less resource-intensive.
We touched upon recruitment within the context of HR automation, but it’s worth focusing on this important process separately. As your company grows, you may be inclined to take on new team members. Of course, finding the right employee is a multi-stage process that does need human involvement, but there are components that benefit from automation.
For example, résumé screening is a time-consuming task, but there is now software – often bundled with an applicant tracking system, or ATS – that scans each résumé and picks out qualified candidates according to details of the job description, applicant experience and credentials, and learned parameters based on previous recruiter decisions.
Automation can also be applied during pre-qualification, using chatbots instead of recruiters, and even in the interview stage, with behavioural and speech analytics software. Some of these mechanisms might not be suitable for your company right now, but there are significant efficiencies to be made by embracing automation in recruitment.
10. IT and Data backup
Data loss – whether it’s due to a malware attack, hacking, or a non-malicious incident – can be catastrophic for any business. When you’re in the process of scaling, it can jeopardise your company’s growth ambitions. In extreme cases, it can even cause business failure.
It’s critically important, therefore, to consistently back up your organisation’s data. Doing this manually is a substantial drain on resources, but there are helpful tools available to automate the process.
Specialist software will take care of automatic data backup; all you need to do is set the schedule and choose from either cloud storage, physical hard drives, or a combination of both. If you do fall victim to data loss, the software will automatically restore the most recent backup or any archive of your choosing.
Automating your data backup process provides peace of mind and tangible protection in case of breaches or loss. Don’t allow your scaling ambitions to be dashed when a simple solution is readily available!
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