Business owners and entrepreneurs alike take pride in their organizations having built them from the ground up. It took much dedication that involved many sleepless nights and days consumed by time away from family.
Now more than ever, with the detrimental effects COVID-19 has had on small, medium and large businesses alike, it’s imperative that business owners get resourceful and leverage the most efficient ways to stay in business and keep their operations running as smoothly as possible, even if it means relinquishing control of certain tasks. It can be difficult to break the habit of knowing what is going on with the business at all times, but the benefits do outweigh the risks.
The world of automation is expanding by leaps and bounds. As hard as it may be for someone to trust and rely on a system that automates some of their more menial tasks, it plays a big factor in helping businesses run more efficiently, helping business owners focus on more important aspects that will help them serve their customers and grow their business.
Here is a list of everyday tasks you can automate that you may have not considered to help you be more streamlined:
Lead generation is one of the most essential aspects that will keep your business going, but once you’ve accumulated all of that personal data that you would need for follow up and nurturing, it takes just as much time and devotion to complete the data entry.
That’s where your Client Relationship Management (CRM) software plays an important role in maintaining and organizing your correspondence. Gone are the days of manual entry or having to hire an assistant to do it for you. Save your money.
Instead, invest in a CRM where one of the features is progressive profiling that will automate lead management by uploading basic information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, social media handles, location, etc. The software will save important information that you can come back to at another time when you’re ready to nurture some of your leads to transition them into prospects and customers.
Speaking of nurturing, once all of your leads’ data has been uploaded and organized in your CRM, it’s easy to come back to foster those relationships by automating email campaigns, drip sequences, follow-up messages and accumulating feedback that your CRM will reveal through metrics, reports and lead scoring after the fact.
Your CRM system will automatically know how to segment your leads into various categories based on how they interact with:
- email campaigns (i.e. open rates and click-through rates)
- product preferences
- web page visits
- buying behavior
- completed sales
Once all of this information is collected in your CRM, it will help to further funnel leads into the appropriate areas of your sales pipeline so you know what the essential next step is for each person.
As much as you want to be available for your customers 24/7, it’s not a healthy way to run a business and taking some time off every day to practice work/life balance will help keep you sharp and replenished day after day.
That being said, a proficient CRM system will enable you to develop your own private business line, automating calls specifically meant for your business to be filtered through during pre-established business hours.
You can also initiate the “Do Not Disturb” feature in which your customers will be greeted by an automated away message, informing them that you are not available and will get back to them as soon as your business hours commence.
Your CRM can also be programmed to include:
- one-click calling
- call recording (with customers’ permission of course)
- note taking
- direct reporting on business calls
- automated follow-up emails post phone call
Implementing communication automation into your business practices ensures nothing will slip through the cracks. Every contact who tries to reach out to you will be acknowledged, whether you’re available or not, making them feel like a priority and helping you stay on top of your correspondence.
This goes hand-in-hand with customer support. You can automate customer service actions such as:
- live chat
- sending automated responses to FAQs and quote requests
- sending faster responses to flagged queries
- scheduling crucial updates about your business to social media
While closing a deal, you have to think of your customer as more than just a transaction. You’ll want to leverage a combination of flawless interaction with a solid paper trail.
Automation tools can help entrepreneurs close more deals by:
- Establishing automated sequences based on leads’ actions so follow up takes place at the right time.
- Ensuring the offer is delivered at an optimal place in the buyer’s journey through automation.
- Guaranteeing the sales process is automated in an effort to determine how and when to follow up with leads.
Streamline a simple purchase process for clients by implementing tactics that align with where they are in the sales pipeline.
Once you’ve received a payment, it’s always valuable to provide your leads with a robust paper trail of your correspondence and payment history.
Organizing your payments in your CRM allows you to systemize your quotes, invoices and manage the dashboard of incoming revenue and overdue invoices. You can also set up payments and invoices with a reliable checkout process.
While working with an intuitive CRM, you can integrate any number of applications to the software that will help you complete all your tasks in one place, including your email process.
Start automatically sorting, reading, sending and building email campaigns within your messaging feature that will shave hours off your already full schedule.
You can create email templates for those messages that require a quick acknowledgement with an auto response such as “Sounds good!” or “See you then!” so you avoid typing those same replies over and over again.
You can also automate your alerts to reply to certain messages, prompting you to remember when to follow up.
If you are running your business on your own, you’re already a one-person-show, which means you either don’t have the time or the resources to recruit someone to edit every piece of writing you need to distribute to your leads and customers. That makes it difficult to edit yourself and come back to something you’ve written hoping to catch an error so that your work goes out to the world flawlessly.
Whether it’s for an email, blog post, or your website, keyboard mishaps are very common. That’s where editing tools come in handy.
Consider using a browser extension such as Grammarly, which is a free online tool that automatically helps you compose concise, error-free writing by adding it as a Google Chrome extension to your operating system. Whether you’re drafting something in Word or Outlook, Grammarly is there to help you catch every mistake and automatically correct contextual spelling errors, incorrect grammar or poor vocabulary usage.
Searching the news
Did you ever think you could live in a world where finding news stories can be automated? You probably didn’t think you had a use for it until you considered how time consuming it is to check different websites for mentions of your company. It can turn into a very deep wormhole very quickly. Instead of tracking down relevant stories, arrange it so they come to you.
One effective way to automate your news searches is to set up Google Alerts with short-tail and long-tail keywords that are related to your business, helping you find whatever is posted about your organization on a daily basis.
Surviving with Automation
Having the option to automate everyday tasks is not only a time saver, but in many ways, a life saver. Think of all the extra time you will have to devote to expanding your business, serving your customers, making small and large improvements to your products, regulating your inventory, improving your marketing strategy, etc. Plus, at the end of the day, finding yourself with enough time to go home, eat a decent meal with your family and come back to it the next day feeling like you didn’t miss a beat.