When I think of automation, my first thought is that judgment day from “The Terminator” is upon us.
However, conspiracy theories aside, automation can actually help marketers grow better and do their jobs more efficiently.
When marketers use business process automation, they have more time for high-level, creative tasks.
Without manual duties, automation can even allow your team to get more done.
Below, let’s review everything there is to know about business automation including what it is, the top benefits, and examples for how to use it. Then, we’ll dive into the best business automation tools.
Business Process Automation
Business process automation is when a company uses technology to complete day-to-day, menial tasks. Business process automation is cost-effective, efficient, and can streamline a company’s processes. It also gives employees more time to complete higher-level tasks.
You can use business process automation in many departments including marketing, human resources, sales, and customer service.
For example, chatbots are a form of business process automation for marketing. Similarly, you can automate contract management for sales.
Now, you might be wondering, “What tasks can I automate?”
Ultimately, if a process is repeatable, needs to be free from human error, and requires consistency, then you should consider automation (more on this below).
Before we dive into examples of business process automation, you might be curious why you should use it? Let’s review some of the top benefits below.
Business Process Automation Benefits
Business process automation can help improve customer relationships, create reporting dashboards, and standardize your processes.
But, how does this help you?
Below, let’s discuss the top benefits of business process automation:
1. Saves time.
At the end of the day, grunt work takes more time than you think. While these tasks are important and cannot be skipped, they don’t necessarily need to be done by a human.
Business process automation will save your employees time by completing the menial tasks, such as paperwork.
Automation will instantly execute tasks that normally take time to complete.
Additionally, this saved time will give your employees more time to complete higher-level tasks, such as building relationships and research. This means they can create more value and make more money for your business.
2. Reduces human error.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to mix up my words and numbers from time to time. That’s just human. But, if an invoice number is mixed up, that can cause a major fiasco for your company.
With automation, you won’t have to worry about human errors like that. You can process paperwork, transfer documents, and gather signatures instantly.
Additionally, automated tools can send reminders in case your human employees forget to complete a task.
3. Results in happier employees.
Menial tasks are usually the most hated. People don’t like doing grunt work, no matter how necessary it is.
With automation, your employees won’t have to do that anymore. This will result in happier employees who are empowered to do their job.
4. Streamlines information.
Business process automation will streamline all your data and tasks. For example, a business process automation software will have an entire process documented. The information for all the steps in a project are accessible to your entire team.
This will make reporting and decision making easier for your team. Automated processes lead to clear accountability, valuable insights, and possibly faster turnaround times.
Additionally, information and notifications can be customized. This allows your team to have customized notifications on when to send a certain email or when a task is due on a project.
5. Improves customer satisfaction.
When your processes are streamlined, you’re typically running more successful marketing campaigns and responding to your customers quickly.
All of this leads to happier customers. Business process automation tools can help you consistently meet the high standards of your customers.
6. Promotes compliance.
Many processes in a marketing campaign need to be compliant. For example, with emails, you need to follow GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws.
With business process automation tools, you can ensure your campaigns are compliant. You can set up systems that check for this compliance, so you only have to implement the information once.
Now that you understand the benefits, you might be wondering “How can I use business process automation in my business?” Below, let’s review some examples.
Business Process Automation Examples
Business process automation can be used in several departments, including marketing, customer service, human resources, and sales. Below, we’ll dive into some examples in each category.
1. Project Management
As a marketer, you’re often managing several campaigns and projects. With business process automation, you can digitize your workflows and automate the entire logistical part of a campaign.
For example, task management tools can tell you who’s doing what and when it’s due.
When an employee finishes a task, the system can automatically notify the next person within the workflow.
Additionally, managers can see dashboards for which employees are doing what and how they’re doing. If someone’s late with a deadline, managers are instantly notified.
2. Customer Service
Customer service is one of the best departments to automate. With business process automation, your customer service team can automate replies if certain keywords show up in an email or chat.
Additionally, if you have a list of FAQs, you can create automated responses on social media chatbots, or chatbots on your site.
Other business process automation tools can analyze, classify, and assign support tickets to the right department and team member.
3. Social Media
Posting on several social media platforms every day can be exhausting. And it takes more time than you think.
With social media automation tools, you can schedule posts in advance, so you don’t have to manually upload your posts every day.
Additionally, other social media tools help with content curation. These tools are a great place to streamline your idea process.
If your business requires ordering of any kind (most businesses do), business process automation software can streamline the approval process.
Sometimes just managing requests can be a full-time job. With automation tools, you don’t have to track down five team members to get approval. You can just send approval notifications to your team and have them do it online.
Onboarding is a menial process. There’s documentation that needs to be signed, tax documents to fill out, and signatures to gather.
With business process automation tools, your recruiting and human resources team doesn’t need to manage that manually. They can send these requests online and look at the software to see what’s been completed and what hasn’t.
6. Customer Relationship Management
As a marketer, customer relationship management is important. You don’t want to send the same email to a lead twice. With all in one software, like HubSpot, you can see your contact’s engagement with your company in one place.
A menial task for sales reps is creating and tracking invoices. With business process automation software, this can all be set up with your software, saving your sales time valuable time.
Additionally, software like HubSpot’s Sales Hub can help manage contracts, create email sequences, and automate the day-to-day tasks of a sales rep.
Once you’ve decided what you want to use business process automation for, you can begin to look at the best tools. Below, let’s review some of the tools you can use.
Business Process Automation Tools
Deciding what automation tools you want depends on what process you want to automate. Before you purchase new automation software, you should have an understanding of the tasks involved in the process you want to automate, have a clear goal, and make sure you have the time to train employees in new software.
Additionally, you’ll want to assign a team leader who’s responsible for helping your team during this adjustment period.
It’s important that you don’t just purchase new software and leave it to your team to figure out how to implement it. There needs to be a plan for how it’s going to be used and who’s responsible for assigning certain tasks.
With that said, below are some business process automation tools you can use for your team:
Ultimately, business process automation will make your life easier. It can complete recurring tasks that need to be free from human error. Plus, it’ll free up your time for important, high-level tasks and help your company grow better.