As business technology advances, automation is becoming a no-brainer for making sure you remain competitive in 2021. By automating different areas in your business, you save a significant amount of time and money in the long run, allowing you to use your resources to focus on growth or other priorities. The opportunities to automate your business are growing every day. In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on how you can automate scheduling, accounting, leads and sales, and marketing. However, with tools differing between industry, we definitely recommend looking into unique ways your business can take advantage of automation.
Automate Scheduling: HR, Reservations, Bookings and Meetings
The first business area that you can automate is scheduling. Now what type of scheduling? Well really, there are a range of different ways you can automate scheduling depending on your business. One example is automating your HR function. Digitize employee timesheets and leave requests to take a weight off your shoulders.
Furthermore, you can automate scheduling for reservations and bookings. Rather than taking calls or messages for every enquiry, use an online reservation or booking system. This is particularly useful in the hospitality industry or if you’re offering services. You automatically see the booking in your system and the customer is able to check or reschedule their booking.
Finally, you can automate the meeting scheduling process as well. Save time going back and forth to find a time that works for you and the other party. Instead, use a calendar scheduling system that allows the other party, internal or external, to select out of existing openings in your calendar. The event automatically gets added to both calendars.
Automate Accounting: Cloud-Based Software and Accounting Integrations
Next, you can automate a few of your accounting processes. The main tool you need for accounting automation is a cloud-based accounting software such as Xero or QuickBooks. You can then leverage these tools for tasks such as invoicing, payments, bank reconciliations, bank feeds and much more.
In particular, you can use an accounting integration to automatically record sales data in your accounting software. This is useful for hospitality, retail and service-based businesses that use a POS system, credit card processing system, or e-commerce system.
Depending on which accounting integration you use, different features will be available. Generally, your sales data will be synced and automatically matched to your bank transactions, making bank reconciliation a lightning fast task rather than a tedious one. You can generally break down different types of transactions into categories as well for more in-depth reports.
Automate Demand: Business Leads and Sales
If managing leads and sales is a significant part of your business, finding ways to automate these functions can make a major impact on your team’s efficiency. Technology in this area has expanded dramatically, meaning there’s a bunch of ways you can automate.
In terms of leads that might come to a website, there are a few automations you might want to set up. First, as soon as someone makes contact through a contact form or live chat, you want to send a message that confirms their message has been received. It’s useful to let the lead know around how long they might have to wait for a response too. Then, you want to automatically assign this lead to a certain representative to follow up.
This then leads into sales automation. When there’s an influx of leads, it might be hard for your sales team to know who to prioritize. Fortunately, you can use software that automatically prioritizes leads so that team members know who to reach out to first. Then, you can automate a voicemail and an email that gets sent to those who don’t pick up. Finally, software can help you automate the lead nurturing process. For instance, set up reminders to check in with a lead six months or a year down the road.
Automate Marketing: Email and Social Media
Marketing automation has grown rapidly over the past couple of years. Almost all, if not all, businesses will benefit from a strong marketing function. If you want to stay on top of your marketing game, you need to be taking advantage of the newest technologies in marketing automation.
One of the main ways to automate your marketing is through email marketing. Not only can you send confirmation emails to leads, as mentioned earlier, you can automate a range of personalized messages depending on how leads entered your marketing funnel. From there, you can automatically time new emails, and map unique customer journeys.
Another key part of marketing for many businesses is now social media. It’s a great way to reach large audiences and to keep an engaged customer base. Though social media automation isn’t as advanced compared to other forms of automation, there are still areas that you can automate. For example, you can schedule posts in advance or create automated Facebook message chatbots.
The Bottom Line
In 2020, we further realized the importance of technology in keeping a business alive. This year, the presence of technology, particularly automation, will only get bigger. Take a step back and see what key areas you can automate in your business, whether that be HR, accounting, or something entirely different.