How to automate your small and medium business in 2021

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Business process automation or business automation is the way to go if you want to increase the quality of your service, improve service delivery, limit your costs and simplify your business process. Not convinced? According to a McKinsey report, 45% of current paid activities can be automated by today’s technology. Technology keeps evolving by leaps and bounds and staying updated can make all the difference in this highly competitive era.

Some of the main targets of SMEs is to generate quality service using limited workforce and resources. When cutting down on your workforce, remember the fact that overburdening your employees can be counterproductive in the long run. Consider an average employee multitasking to meet your demands, you may feel like you are getting the best out of your employees but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking can be counterproductive and costs companies 40% of lost productivity simply due to constant task-switching.

So how will you go about automating your business? Insellers is here to point you in the right direction.


Consider your Options

Once you start actively looking for automation tools, you will find that there are numerous options to choose from. Confused? The final decision is yours so make sure you make the choice after careful consideration. Lay down your needs, calculate your budget, compare the prices of the different automation tools and decide which one would best suit your needs while staying within your budget. Increasing profits and saving time are two important aims of automation so make sure your choice fulfils these aims by calculating the profitability of the investment (ROI). Calculate the profitability of your investment (ROI) and Chances are your competitors are already making use of some of these tools, look into their business strategy. Analysing your competitor’s strategy should not be about mimicking them but to find ways to be better than them. 


Automate Basic Processes

Processes like lead generation and nurturing can be taxing and often requires the attention of a good part of your workforce. Automating these processes can have several benefits. It can save time and free up your employees to engage in other tasks. A salesman when pressed for time could end up ignoring some leads and thus only succeed in nurturing a limited number of leads. Automation solves this problem. For example, chatbots are effectively used to provide better customer service and they are rapidly gaining popularity. According to a study, 30% of respondents rated chatbot interactions as “very effective” in dealing with customer service issues. There are also tools that can track where in the buying cycle your leads are and thus help you keep track of the same. Payments and other financial processes can also be automated to reduce errors. It can also help declutter your data and keep everything organised. For small businesses who have a limited workforce, automation can be a godsend.


Business Process Management Software

BPM software can be expensive but the good news is that there are some good free and open-source BPM systems that can help your small or medium business. BPM systems can help you maintain the quality of your service and deliver consistently. Cloud BPM systems do not require much investment unlike an on-premise system like UiPath, that requires hardware and a dedicated IT team to manage it. So consider investing in a cloud-hosted system and do some research before zeroing in on a particular system. For example, KiSSFLOW and Bonita BPM are cloud-based and can be managed even without technical expertise, and PNMSoft and Bizagi offer both cloud-based and on-premise deployment. There are many other options available and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages, pick one that is not complex and best suits your needs.


Marketing Automation

Approximately 49% of companies are currently using marketing automation, and more than half of B2B companies (55%) have already adopted the technology. From email marketing to social media ads, your marketing efforts can be streamlined using marketing automation. Choose the tool that best fits your needs, be it a lead generation or lead conversion, having a specific goal can greatly narrow down the line of options. While we have giants like Hubspot on one end of the spectrum, there are plenty of good tools on the other end too. Tools like ActiveCampaign can be a good place to start.


Manage your Data

When I say data, it’s not just referring to your customer data, it’s also referring to your employee data. Most SMEs may think of automating the data collection from customers but they often omit to do the same with their employees. If you are hiring new employees, use resume extractions models and make sure you automate the hiring process so that you can put some resumes under review or keep some aside for future recruitments. This can help manage your time better and lead to better productivity by freeing up your employees. In the case of customers, automation can improve customer satisfaction. Most customers would prefer customised services and effectively managing customer data can provide you with the insight you need to better tailor your services to fit their preferences. 


Keep Improving

Technology is steadily evolving and automation is transforming the workplaces each year. The key here is to keep improving. Analyse your progress and calculate the returns of each automation tool. There are automation tools that can help you track your growth in various sectors too. SMEs may be limited by their budget but that can be our biggest advantage as our goal is to maximise profits while staying within the limits. If you feel like a tool is not giving you the desired results, consider alternatives and if a new tool hits the market that could give you better profits within your budget consider investing. The competition is fierce and the only solution is to stay on your toes and get ahead by micromanaging all the aspects of your business. How can you micromanage everything? Through automation of course.

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