This is the point at which the most successful businesses evidence their greatness: they dig deep and don’t give up. They don’t stick to processes that aren’t conducive to growth and scale.
They innovate new ones.
But how do we free business leaders from mundane operational tasks so that they’re free to focus on reimagining the potential of their business?
Preparing for greatness
Many businesses, having realised the enormous potential of automation, might run to the nearest automation specialist immediately.
But when asked the question, “Why do you need automation in your business?” they might not have the answer.
In this blog, we’ll be exploring five considerations businesses should make before working with an automation specialist so that they can get the most out of their expertise and guidance.
Goals and objectives
The first thing we need to define when starting our automation journey is our goals and objectives. Perhaps we want to streamline, increase efficiency, increase sales, or remove ourselves from operational tasks. Perhaps it’s all of the above.
Often, businesses will have more than one objective. Whatever the number, it’s crucial that we’re specific about which areas of our business have problems, are causing blockages, or simply aren’t growing.
This is where automation can provide the most benefit.
Next, we need to consider what we’re already working with:
- What existing systems or processes have we been using up to this point?
- Which ones aren’t working?
- Which ones are working?
- How many subscriptions do we have – and do we use them? (If not why not)
- How much data is being fed into our CRM and how is it segmented?
Evaluating the technology that is already in our business allows us to better understand what we’re using, why we’re using it, and whether it’s working. We have to be critical: what’s going to stand the test of time, and what’s going to work well with the new automation we’re building?
Anything that’s creating a failure, a gap, or simply not adding enough value – including both hardware and software – may constitute an area where we can cut costs.
For example: when was the last time you went through your CRM and cleaned it out? Many people have transferred jobs since the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning their email addresses are no longer in use. A surprising amount of businesses haven’t cleaned out their email lists and are still sending emails to bounce addresses! This is an ineffective use of software which, over time, increases costs and decreases efficiency.
Knowing the numbers when it comes to our business allows us to make intelligent decisions and prevents us from sticking with ineffective strategies.
When it comes to automation, being able to provide a specialist with data insights into sales, costs, marketing performance, and the customer journey will uncover which numbers need to be improved. Automation can be implemented accordingly.
This is a much more effective approach than blindly trying to identify where automation will be most impactful.
Skill level and approach
Whilst automation is designed to work on its own, it will require a level of input from the team. Remember, there’s a difference between automation and automatic.
Before we design the automation for our business and choose which software will support it, we might want to consider these questions:
- What is the technical ability of the people in our business who will be using the software?
- What training will they need?
- What will they use the software for and how often?
Not only do we need to consider the people who will be directly interacting with the software, we also need to consider how we roll it out across the company to minimise disruption. For example, introducing software to a sales team might require a different approach than introducing it to an operational team. Some may prefer a more hands-on demonstration including only the parts they’ll be working with, whilst others might like a broader more holistic view of the software and the customer journey.
Ultimately, it’s about understanding who is going to be using the software and what its use case will look like in different roles across the business.
Clarity and an open mind
When it comes to designing, building, and implementing new automations, we should also be open to testing. Sometimes a plan might work flawlessly in theory, but when implemented it just isn’t right. Not everything is a “one and done” job – sometimes there is a testing process that needs to occur.
To help reduce this testing process, we should aim to be clear on where we’re stuck and what we want. Automation is more likely to hit our goals and objectives if we can set out exactly what those goals and objectives are.
Breaking the glass ceiling in business
Throughout this blog you may have noticed a recurring theme:
These are all considerations that are crucial to running a successful business anyway!
Collecting data and having clarity on these five points means we know our end game and how to move towards it. We know what resources are available to get there and the KPIs we need to hit along the way.
Being equipped with this information means we’ll experience the benefits of automation sooner rather than later. It acts as a springboard from which automation can propel our businesses through that glass ceiling.
If you’d like to discuss how automation can do this for your business, it’s easy – and free! – to hop on a discovery call with The Business Catalyst. Let’s start this journey together and reimagine the things that may be holding your business back.