Why Automation Is Important For Your Business
Automation is a powerful tool to help small business increase capacity and generate sales.
Small businesses have extremely finite resources. Teams are small, workload is large and time is scarce. Anything a small business can do to be lean and effiecient can have big impact in these environments. The problem is most of these entreprenuers and their teams don’t know how to do it or where to begin. Unfortunately, with “Automation” being a buzz word lately, it’s been overused and under explained, leaving owners with lots of question marks, frustration and ineffective efforts.
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79% of the top performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years and 91% of these companies claim that it helps them function properly and efficiently – Gleanster Research.
Digital marketing automation can save a great deal of time that would otherwise be spent on trying to figure out how to capture leads from the website and social media and understanding the results from this activity. One of the biggest myths is digital marketing automation is just mass email blasts. Most every type of digital marketing can be automated: social media posts, paid ads, email marketing, lead capture, prospect nurturing, and more.
Digital marketing automation is done with software and other tools that replace the redundant tasks of the campaign activities. These tools are designed to give you more information by performing the analysis, measure performance and do the scheduling. Some of the tools out there can be configured to pivot spend on triggers and optimize content distribution. Leaving owners more time to focus on managing the results of that effort like getting on calls with prospects or submitting proposals and customer meetings.
Automation will also force owners to plan ahead, think through the messaging and stay on budget. When a company is arbitrary about marketing, they tend to spend more and not be able to quantify ROI (if there is any). Since the software and tools require the input of data ahead of time and some configuration for campaigns, it forces people to think through a campaign from start to finish and then really understand the desired result. When setting up the automation, the software will need to be told what the desired result is in many cases.
Most importantly, digital marketing automaton can significantly increase revenue with automating upsells, cross selling, appointment setting, reminders, funnel management and more. Leaving the “human resource” to the very important work like closing! Who doesn’t like constant stream of qualified leads?
Any type of automation can also reduce labor cost. I’m no proponent of robots and software taking jobs away from humans, but I am a proponent of letting the humans do the critical thinking work and software do the tactical work. Automation can be just that. Here’s an example of how it can work.
Company A has an inside customer service rep, Cara, who also serves as a sales rep who also manages the Facebook page, LinkedIn company page, and writes proposals. Sound familiar? This one person wears so many hats. Cara’s day is spent chasing all the tasks associated with following up, setting up calls, sending prospects information, posting to social and more. It’s a crazy job for Cara and time spent nurturing customers and actually generating revenue falls to the bottom of her to do list everyday.
So here’s how an online sales funnel could significantly help her. A lead magnet is set up on the website and social media accounts. This is a valuable piece of information prospects would be highly interested in.
- Prospect gives email address and name to get access to this information
- An email is automatically sent out that includes the give away and offers a demo of the product featured inside the how to. There’s a link in the email to schedule a call.
- The link leads to a form where they can schedule their demo AND asks the prospect what areas of the product they are most interested in and what type of project they have on the horizon that they would use this product for.
- Cara is notified of this appointment with some of the pre-qualifying questions asked. The scheduling tool automatically puts the appointment on Cara’s calendar and sends the prospect the call or video conference info.
Cara just saved about 30 minutes of work if she were to do this manually with a prospect. This type of automation is doing the pre selling at the top of the funnel so only the qualified and truly interested prospects get time with Cara. She can not afford to spend absorbent amounts of time with people who have no intention to purchase. While it’s important she keep the lines of communication open with those not ready yet (email marketing automation can do this), it’s more important she focuses on her core job role: helping customers and selling products.
Cara can also use Hootesuite, a social media management platform, where she can set up posts for multiple social media accounts in one place, removing the task of going from one account to another, logging in and posting… that’s IF she ever gets to it! Cara can sit down once a week think about what’s important to post and when rather than getting a post out quick for the sake of getting one out and not being strategic OR effective. Furthermore, Cara can access the tools in Hootsuite to measure engagement and traction and as a result get more effective over time with content.
Company A is not utilizing Cara’s full potential without this type of automation. I would even encourage Cara to talk about tools like this when the manager asks why she didn’t reach her goals. If she is wearing so many hats with very little automation in place, it’s unlikely Cara will consistantly hit any goal.
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