According to Keap’s ‘Small Business Automation Guide’, Smartsheet Inc. carried out research that found 60% of workers estimated that they could save at least 6 hours per week if the repetitive aspects of their jobs were automated. Automation refers to taking manual systems and processes from your day-to-day business life and using an automation tool to carry out those systems and processes on your behalf, freeing up valuable time in your day for you to spend on the activities that you are best at, and which bring income into your business.
Things that you can automate include:
- following up with new leads to arrange appointments to speak
- responding to common queries (your own business’s FAQs!)
- sending out reminder emails
- revoking access to membership platforms following failed payments
- making initial contact with people whose payments have failed, etc.
The reality of the situation is that you don’t have to be an international corporation with hundreds of staff to gain access to the tools (and associated funds) that you would need to do this. The automation of sales and marketing processes really is open to every business owner, whether you’re a one-person sales force or have a whole marketing department behind you!
Tools like Keap, Infusionsoft by Keap and Active Campaign have opened up sales and marketing automation to the masses, and are designed to be as intuitive as possible so you don’t need a computing degree to set them up! But just because thousands of people are using these tools doesn’t mean that the personal touches your customers and contacts are used to receiving from you are removed – emails can be personalised and customer journeys individually tailored so that customers feel like they are on a unique journey created and curated by you at every step.
Admittedly, creating carefully thought out (and tested) automations can be a time-consuming process, but there are plenty of automation experts out there who can work with you to create effective and appropriate automations that your business actually needs! You also need to think about things long-term, as creating automations might seem like a lot of work now, but once they are set up correctly they will just run and run until you decide to update them or turn them off, so could save you hundreds of working hours over their lifetime.
One final thing – please don’t feel compelled to automate everything! There may be aspects of your business that really need YOU in it, whether that’s following up personally with certain hot leads or reaching out for feedback when something has gone wrong; the beauty of automation is that by automating some of the more time-consuming business essentials, you’ll have more time to dedicate to these tasks, helping to keep customer satisfaction as high as possible and keep customers coming back for the products and services that you offer.