The following post is from a guest contributor.
How can a business scale without a repeatable process for continued growth?
Every mid-sized business in the world is facing the same problem. They know the work that needs to be done to succeed, but they don’t have the number of hands needed for the job.
There are numerous tools and integrations to increase productivity, communication, project management and so on. Many of these tools are to increase the ability of a business to scale across all departments. Productivity tools help keep all departments and teams on track to meet company goals, communication tools allow one department to easily and quickly talk to another, and project management tools help all teams hold accountability and meet deadlines so as not to become bottlenecks in the business.
By putting in place sound business practices that can be duplicated at various stages of a company’s growth, owners can ensure that their business scales-up to remain successful in the long run.
In today’s world with new technologies appearing daily to solve simple tasks it can become tempting to automate all facets of your business. Choosing which facet of the business to automate can be cumbersome, but adding automation to specific areas of your business, will realize immediate benefits.
The following article will explore the types of automation available not only for an entire organization, but rather for individual teams of a business. These tools will be used by and relate to specific teams but will allow the entire business to scale at a faster rate. Ultimately making time in everyone’s day to focus on tasks and projects that will enable growth.
Payment Automation for Finance and Accounting
Remember the days when paper mail was the norm? Neither do we. It’s hard to believe that only a couple of decades ago sending mail through the post was the preferred way of doing business. Email was the automated answer to mail, so what is the automated answer for business payments made by check? Instead of using paper-based processes, online payments use computer networks to transfer funds electronically.
As your business grows, you’ll need to process more invoices to pay your vendors and suppliers. By automating invoicing and payment processes workflows your business will better be able to grow with an expanding number of invoices. Payment automation saves both time and money. It offers increased internal security, adds more control and transparency to a business’s cash flow, reduces invoice error rates and ultimately helps a business grow.
Accounts payable automation alone can save a company an average of $16 per invoice or more depending on the size of your company.
Marketing Automation Complete with Workflows
What’s a business if no one knows about it? That’s the goal of the marketing team and marketing automation platforms automate and scale the marketing efforts of a business so they can reach more people with less effort. They are one-stop solutions to social media, email marketing, nurturing workflows and customer retention. They are a marketer’s best friend and are worth every dollar.
Pricing across these platforms will vary based on the features offered but it is important to assess your current marketing abilities and where you are falling short. This will help you answer what specific tool you will need as a robust marketing automation platform will help achieve business goals faster than you otherwise would’ve believed.
Marketers say the biggest benefits of automation are saving time (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%), and increased opportunities, including up-selling (58%).
Sales Automation to Increase Revenue
The more sales, the more money a business makes. It’s pretty obvious and simple. But, as your customer base grows, so will the demands on your sales team. Computer-based tasks related to maintaining records or data entry are no doubt essential but can be highly mundane. They can drain and demotivate your team and may even turn out to be a waste of their potential.
You didn’t hire talented salespeople for them to spend more than 46% of their time entering customer account data into a spreadsheet, did you? Why not look to some automation tools that can speed up this process, provide better data on the sales process and allow more time to allow the team to work more efficiently and ultimately produce more sales for the business.
81% of sales reps believe it is important to have a connected view of data across the entire customer journey.
Avoid the Business Plateau
Businesses typically plateau when they reach a point where teams are overburdened, or a single person on each team holds all the knowledge and managers are too hands-on in day-to-day tasks to focus on a growth strategy. Remember that setting up automated processes and workflows to handle the smaller, tedious tasks can allow a workforce to focus on the bigger picture.
Automation is transforming the way businesses operate. It allows teams to do more with less and scale in ways never before possible. What does this mean for your business? Technically, this means business size (employee count) doesn’t matter as much as previously thought. Automation can provide an advantage to smaller businesses enabling them to react to new trends faster than larger rivals who may have more red tape in place.
About the Author
Claire Spicer is the Director of Marketing at Plooto, whose passion is to enable businesses to avoid challenges and change the way they manage their finances moving forward. Plooto’s vision is to provide SMBs with a complete cash flow management platform to automate complex workflows, by unifying payables, receivable, processes, control, reconciliation, and reporting.