Guest Contribution by Shane Barker
As a business owner, you want the best for your company and customers. To do this, you look for ways to improve your current business processes. What if I told you that automating your business could be a game-changer if done correctly?
The reason is simple.
According to IT Chronicles, every year, businesses around the world spend 69 days on administration tasks alone. This leads to a loss of $5 trillion annually in productivity.
Office workers are spending around 69 days per year on administration tasks, globally this represents lost productivity in the region of $5 trillion annually. Workers are relying on increased automation to improve this situation and improve their work satisfaction.
These figures come from a multi-national research study into global productivity just released by Unit4, a leader in enterprise systems for services organizations. On average across all of the countries in this study, office workers spend 552 hours a year completing administrative or repetitive tasks; the equivalent to 69 work days or roughly one-third of the working year.
The research shows that the cost of this lost productivity to the service industry in 11 countries is more than $5 trillion USD annually. The United States ($2.87 trillion) has the largest administrative cost annually based on responses to this study combined with official figures1. Singapore ($26.3 billion) has the lowest administrative costs in monetary terms.
If you can reduce these administrative tasks using automation, you’ll save a lot of time and money in the process. That’s exactly why more companies are embracing business automation.
According to Globe Business Wire, the demand for business automation is on the rise among small and medium enterprises. In fact, by 2026, it’s expected to create a market opportunity of over $1.6 billion.
This shows that if you fail to automate your business, you’re leaving room for your competitors to get ahead of you. By automating your business, you’ll increase your efficiency and reduce operating costs.
Not only that, but it’ll also help you to improve productivity, and also make your company run more seamlessly.
In this post, you’ll learn how you can use automation to transform your business.
Let’s get started.
1. Invoicing and Payments Automation
One of the ways automation can transform your business is through your invoice and payment processes. In the past, invoicing and payments used to be a herculean task for businesses.
This is because it takes time to get your invoice to your customers after offering a service. Not only that, it could take weeks or months before they pay you.
That’s not all. Tracking which invoice was sent, when it was sent, and how the payments were made is also an issue.
With automation, you transform the way you invoice and get your payments from customers. With a click of a button, you can invoice your clients within seconds, follow up to see if they received it, and also record your payments when they are received.
Further, you can also use a tool like PurchaseControl to seamlessly interlink your procurement and payment processes. This will ensure that there are no errors in your payment and that you don’t pay for the same thing twice or pay for unreceived items. Also, it reduces payment-related paperwork using cloud storage.
This can be a game-changer for you as a business owner, as you worry less about managing your vendor payments and care more about providing immense value.
2. Customer Service Automation
Truth is, a satisfied customer is the most valuable asset. If you run a business and want it to stand the test of time, delivering quality customer service is a must.
Using automation, you can dramatically change the way you provide customer service in your company. Experts predict that by 2020, there won’t be any human intervention in handling 85% of conversations with customers.
In order to do this, you need to automate your customer service. You can do this by implementing chatbots in your company. This will enable you to respond to your customers faster. Also, you’ll reduce the cost required to manage a support team in the long run.
With automated customer service, you’ll have more satisfied customers who can get in touch with you anytime they want. This is because there will be no constraints such as different time zones, public holidays, and days off to hinder your support work.
All you need to do is to program your chatbot with all the necessary details once. This sets it up automatically to respond to your customers when needed. It will then continue to provide the required support service to your customers on your behalf.
3. Marketing Automation
Marketing is the soul of any business. If you get it right, you can remain in business for a long time. With automation, you can take your marketing to the next level.
This involves using relevant software programs to automate your business activities.
Although most marketers believe that a marketing automation system will make their jobs irrelevant, the opposite is the case.
By automating your marketing activities with a tool such as HubSpot, you will become more effective as a marketer. With it, you can run a marketing campaign that attracts the right audience to your business.
Not only that, you’ll be able to engage your prospects in order to convert them into customers. As such, you’ll save more time and also reach your goals faster.
Likewise, it can also help you generate more revenue for your company. With a good marketing automation tool, you’ll find it easier to drive traffic to your website.
Similarly, you can convert that traffic into leads and close them without lifting a finger. According to Business Wire, 88% of marketers report that automation helps them reduce the time spent on preparing reports and analysis.
This means they can focus on more important tasks such as strategy and customer interactions.
Also, make sure that your marketing automation and inbound marketing strategies align with one another. Doing this can help you use the perfect storytelling formula to provide your customers with valuable content. This will help you enhance your communication with them.
4. Sales and Lead Generation Automation
Generating leads and making sales are two surefire ways to remain in business. If your business isn’t generating leads, you won’t have customers to work with.
Similarly, if you’re getting leads in droves and not converting them into sales, it won’t translate into anything. This is why you should use automation to generate leads and make sales at the same time.
By automating your sales and lead generation processes, you’re able to target prospects on an individual level. This allows your sales team to reach out to those prospects and maintain one-on-one relationships in the process.
For instance, you can automate how you get leads to join your company’s email list, segment them based on their interests, and follow up with them too.
The first step towards getting this right is to figure out exactly what your goals are as a business owner. This will help you choose the right tool that’ll be a good fit for your ideal audience.
Also, make sure that your automation tool has personalization as a key feature.
One thing is for sure, if you can automate your lead generation and sales process, you’ll never have to worry about getting customers again.
Automation is taking the business world by storm.
If you want to take your business to the next level, automation must be a core part of your strategy. To do this effectively, you need to start small and continue to build your workflows one step at a time.
When you do this, you can seamlessly execute your campaign, track the results, and improve it, if need be, for better performance.
If you really want to get the best results from automation, take the time to understand your automation platform. That way, you’ll know if it can help you accomplish your goals. Doing this will help you get amazing results from your automation efforts.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.