We get questions around automation a lot. Like lot a lot. Some companies want to dive deep into automation too early in the process, while with others, it's clear that they should have added automation to their business a long time ago.
Here are four signs that it's time to automate and two signs for when it'd better to hold off.
1. You're repeatedly doing the same thing over and over
You find yourself doing busy-work more than actual work. Examples of busy work include sending the same email many times, repeatedly attaching the same files to emails sent, moving documents into a folder, creating said folder, regularly preparing proposals/quotes that more or less use the same templates, sending invoices many times a week, etc. These are all repetitive tasks that drain your time and could be, for the most part, automated.
2. Human error takes a lot of time to fix (and have hidden costs)
When we do busy-work, it's easy to make a mistake that can end up being costly or taking more time to fix. A few examples are: getting new leads that filled out a website form added to the CRM and actually followed up with, supplying new clients additional details after the initial call, and even entering the wrong invoice amount and sending off an invoice.
Some of these errors affect sales, others customer experience, and even billing. With automation, templates are used to do most of the work. With standardization, workflows are more consistent, and in most cases will result in a better overall customer experience. This directly correlates to trust in a purchaser's eye, so the goal is to eliminate any hesitation or second-guessing throughout every step of the process.
3. Data inconsistency is causing headaches
Robots do exactly what you tell them to do, they are programmed that way. Business process automation takes care of data entry, which gives you clean and consistent data that you can depend on. For example, using systems (like a form) allow you to extract information that you need from your customers. Building an automation that enters that data consistently in other SaaS tools, like your CRM, allows you to always know where you can find the information that you need, at the time that you're looking for it. More than that, it's impossible to build out reporting when you don't have consistent data. Automation can help create the important data structure, which enables you to create the reports you actually want, which can show you how your business is actually doing.
4. Automation could unlock more potential in your business (leads aren’t getting followed up on, proposals are taking too long, invoices are being sent late)
Most importantly, it's time to automate when automation could allow you to do more of what is working in your business. For example, following up on leads that may have otherwise been sitting there for a while, sending automated check-in emails (to re-engage and communicate with the client/customer), sending proposals at a much faster pace, etc. - All of these actions can increase your close rate.
Another example is sending timely invoices, allowing you to actually get paid on time, especially if you are wearing more than one hat in your business, as many are. All of these adjustments can have a huge impact on a business (depending what your business does, of course), adding tremendous value and even more than paying for itself in some cases (making it an absolute no-brainer).
If you have a feeling that it's time to automate, reach out to us using the chat icon in the bottom right corner and share where you are thinking automation could help your business 👇
When not to automate 🤔
Don't get us wrong, just because you can automate, doesn't mean that should. I know, crazy, right? Let's explore this a bit more because it's actually really important.
Do not automate if you don't have a consistent and repeatable process
If you're at a stage where you're trying to figure out the best way to do things in your business (typically the start-up stage), this means that you're changing your processes consistently. Heck, sometimes even having structure/process at this stage is a bad thing as it makes pivoting more difficult.
When you're changing processes often (think weekly or monthly), it's simply not worth investing the required time and resources into building an automation that will quickly become outdated. This will result in a consistent need for re-building and re-configuring of the automation which isn't the greatest use of anyones resources.
It's better to wait until a part of your process becomes defined as repeatable (this becomes really obvious as you're doing more or less the same process everyday, of which will quickly become relatively mundane). Only at that point is when there will be enough human errors that need fixing, data inconsistency, and feeling the friction of slowing down due to manual busy-work tasks (all the bullets above that point to it being time to automate).
Do not automate if there isn't enough volume (aka there isn't enough "pain")
Once people discover automation, they can tend to get a little excited and want to automate everything. But if you're only manually doing something a few times a week, and it's not really that much of a pain or taking that much time, then investing in building an automation doesn't make much sense. You want to automate where there will be a reasonable ROI (Return On Investment) in your business, and this is usually in areas where there's a ton of volume (it's taking up a lot of time and feels, well, painful).
What are you looking to automate? Let us know in the chat (bottom right corner)! Need help with business process automation? Request pricing or send a message via chat.
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