I recently sat down with the CEO of one of the hottest SEO tools available on the market right now, to chat about life and marketing. I asked him about his journey and how he came to launch one of the must-have tools of 2020.

Long story short: Automation was borne out of necessity.

His story went as follows:

As the owner of a medium-sized SEO agency, the location of his offices meant he often struggled to find good quality SEO specialists. It was a constant battle. So he looked at other ways to be more efficient. 

He concluded that if he could automate part of the process, in this case, data collection (needed to make data-driven SEO decisions), his team could focus on decision making. 

He created a tool that was so effective; he ended up selling other agencies subscriptions to access it—over 2000 agencies around the world and increasing.

He harnessed automation to take his business to the next level. But you don’t need to go out and design your own software to help automate your business. Nothing so complex or expensive.

There are ready-made solutions on the market that automate almost every facet of your business, increasing productivity and reducing cost and time. Here are five areas of your business that could be automated that you should at least be considering:

1. Financial and Accounting solutions

I walk into offices every day that still order reams and reams of paper. They have documents printed, in duplicate, and triplicate. Most businesses have computerized some components of their financial controlling and accounting but haven’t automated processes yet.  

Businesses that automate parts of the financial and accounting processes reduce the time their valuable staff spend on routine tasks.

Businesses that automate parts of the financial and accounting processes reduce the time their valuable staff spend on routine tasks. The money those businesses save allows them to lower prices, giving them an advantage over their competitors. Alternatively, they increase their profit margin or have more money for capital investment.

The automation software on the market can enable you to link credit cards, business accounts, and supplier accounts. They take advantage of bank feeds to reduced manual data entry. It not only saves valuable resources; it makes reconciliation easier. 

2. Document Automation Software

Document automation (otherwise known as Document Assembly) is a process that implements a set of systems and workflows that allows you to create electronic documents automatically.

Essentially this software uses segments of pre-existing texts to create a new document—all based on logic. 

If you find yourself in an industry that is paperwork heavy, that has an abundance of legal documents or requires the transportation of goods across borders, like logistics or an import/export business, this is going to save a serious amount of time. Time always equals money.

3. Project Management Automation

Globally, the automation business is estimated to save over $5 billion a year. One of the fastest-growing niches in terms of taking advantage of automation is the project management niche.

Most companies are using project management tools—Kanban systems to track tasks and components of projects. But in this article, we are talking about the tools that take project management efficiency to the next level. With these tools, you can assign tasks and be updated when tasks and subtasks are completed, when tasks meet or fail to meet deadlines. The tools can automate budgets to update in real-time. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

4. Making Scheduling Easier (And More Effective)

These days, you have to be using scheduling software to manage your calendar. If you aren’t using it, think about this. How much time do you spend arranging a mutually convenient time to have meetings with clients, prospects, and team members? Now, those insufferably long email threads are a thing of the past. 

What I love about calendar software is not just the obvious benefit of automating your calendar, but that it also helps me to stay organized and makes me more productive. 

We also have meeting rooms hooked up to calendars so you can book out the meeting room. Long gone are the fights that break out in offices over who booked the meeting room first.

5. Automating Marketing

The most critical component of any marketing strategy is measuring what is being successful and what’s not. So you can scale and refine. So many businesses are stumbling around in the dark, hoping for the best.

Some great tools can help with this, especially if you are a B2C business. But what about B2B, especially when you have long sales cycles?

Smart marketing automation will connect all your marketing channels and allow you to manage them in one place. 

How to manage your lead generation and pipeline? More importantly, how do you maximize their effectiveness to generate as many sales as possible?

 That’s where marketing automation comes into its own.

Smart marketing automation will connect all your marketing channels and allow you to manage them in one place. 

But that’s just lead generation. Now you need to automate the nurturing of those leads and have a system in place to identify each lead as it moves through the different stages of your pipeline.

Here’s an example of how I used automation to generate and identify warm leads for an IT security company to be passed to their sales team. Sales cycles were 12-18 months long. 

We used a variety of lead generation channels from LinkedIn and PPC ads to organic traffic or even cold calling. 

But once they were introduced to the funnel, they would receive segmented email sequences that target specific pain points and solutions. It would measure interaction and weight the interaction, giving it a score. It would also trigger other email sequences that would elaborate on the parts of the funnel the prospect most interacted with. 

By funneling prospects into specific marketing segments based on triggers, prospects receive specific material based on what they’ve shown interest in.

By funneling prospects into specific marketing segments based on triggers, prospects receive specific material based on what they’ve shown interest in. Essentially we are personalizing our marketing to react to the prospect’s behavior. 

Every interaction is weighted accordingly. Reaction to an email subject line shows intrigue, clicking a link inside the email is scored to record more significant interest, and then downloading a whitepaper could be a trigger to pass the prospect to the sales team to reach out and instigate a conversation.

Takeaways

There are ways to automate almost every aspect of a business. And businesses are taking advantage of technological advances to streamline processes and increase productivity. 

It’s incredibly likely that at least some of your competitors are using these tools, which means they have an edge. If you aren’t, then at the very least you should be exploring these tools to see if they will make you more productive or reduce costs.