Tech continues to evolve.small business automation

With this evolution, our ability to automate formerly manual tasks improves. Thanks to tools like Infusionsoft, Marketo, Zapier, Asana, and others you’re now able to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

In this article we’ll take a look at four parts of your business primed for automation. They are:

  1. Marketing
  2. Task Management
  3. Staffing
  4. Invoicing

Marketing Automation

Of course, marketing is a multi-faceted, multi-layered endeavor. You can’t just switch on a marketing automation system like Infusionsoft. As you may know, marketing automation systems offer the ability to automate many different marketing functions, including:

  • Drip marketing
  • Nurturing
  • Landing page hosting & creation
  • Lead scoring
  • Lead analysis
  • Pipeline automation

I could talk for hours about the strategy associated with automating each of these. In a nutshell, allow me to simply say you have to plan things out properly. Start by picking off low hanging fruit and go from there.

To learn more about marketing automation, click here and I will reach out to you to discuss your needs.

Task Management

I’ve used pretty much every software that’s out there for managing todo lists. And as I’ve referenced in other articles, I’m a huge believer in the Asana project management system.

Unlike a simple todo list (i.e. Freedcamp or Basecamp), Asana is a multifaceted, multilayered tool. The automation features built into Asana are especially unique, including:

  • Recurring tasks and subtasks
  • Email triggers based on project status and due date
  • Instant visibility into past due tasks and team member failures

If you have managed virtual workers for very long, you know that one problem is that most virtual workers have many different clients. Therefore it’s important that you put them in a position to succeed by automating their todo lists. Assigning team members recurring tasks is a great way to achieve this.

Staffing Automation

Automation tools like Infusionsoft are flexible enough to be used for other aspects of your business (not just marketing).

So, lets say that you wanted to set up a program where prospective freelancers from oDesk are automatically sent a pre-screening test. You could create a campaign within Infusionsoft that handled all off that for you. Based on how they answered questions (perhaps using an embedded JotForm that’s integrated with Infusionsoft) you could automatically import and score answers without ever having to speak with the person.

As you can imagine, this could significantly improve the quality of your recruiting and hiring processes, delivering greater return on your investment. It could also free up more of your time – and, as we all know, time is money.

Invoicing Automation

If you’re using Infusionsoft, you know that the software also offers a very nice invoicing tool. By packaging your products or services via Infusionsoft’s ecommerce platform, you can automatically send electronic invoices to your clients for payment. Based on whether or not they pay, you can then enable automatic email follow ups based on timing rules.

Let’s say that you have a standard product that you want to invoice via Infusionsoft. The client indicates that he or she is ready to buy and you make the opportunity as closed-won. This triggers a campaign to automatically send the client a link for payment. If the client doesn’t pay within a certain number of days, the system can be configured to send a another email and also set a reminder for your sales rep to follow up with that person.

Begin Your Journey of Automation

Automating your workforce can yield significant benefits. As I pointed out in this article, technology now affords you the opportunity to automate many different aspects of your workforce.

Start by using your creativity and identifying bottlenecks in your business and then match the technology to the needs of your company. You’ll find that doing so will help you avoid getting overwhelmed and help you get some quality processes in place.

Read More About Automation

Written by Matt Keener

Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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