If you’re a little bit old school embracing some of these business automation tools can be a bit daunting.
When you dive into the pool of online tools, you can feel like you’re drowning. The trick is to pull your head out of the water and focus on one thing at a time.
You’ve got a business to run, and you don’t have time to be hand writing post-it notes every time something happens. What do you do when that manila folder for the Johnson deal gets lost in a mountain of paperwork?
Was that where you stuck the note saying ‘Johnson hates cats’ on it? Guess who can’t stop talking about their cat today and subsequently losing a customer?
Controlled chaos can sometimes be nothing more than a fire hazard. You can’t afford to be rifling through ten years-worth of client tax returns to find one tiny detail.
The world has moved on. Sure, you’re the master of email and contacts now. But there is so much more on offer.
So it Begins…
You’ve got an amazing website and a great product. Along comes Billy and Billy is interested in your product but he’s not ready to commit quite yet.
So you’ve used Gravity Forms to create a simple form for Billy to fill out. He’s read through the website, and decides he wants to be kept in the loop without having to hand over his credit card details.
Thanks to your user-friendly form, Billy fills out his name, email, and selects a few different products he’d like to hear more about. Then he hits submit.
A tool like Gravity Forms not only lets you create a simple subscription form like this, but it’s allowed you to have online order forms ready to go too; for when Billy is ready to purchase.
So Billy goes on to read through your web page on charitable works. Perhaps you donate a portion of your earnings? This interests Billy because he is passionate about spending his money on worthy causes.
And because you’re all about business processes automation, you’ve also integrated your site with email automation app MailChimp.
MailChimp has taken note of all of Billy’s entered details and the pages he’s viewed. Thanks to your diligence in configuring MailChimp during set up, Billy starts receiving a newsletter in his email inbox detailing not only your products but also the types of charities you’re connected with.
Just the sort of info he likes. And you haven’t had to manually do this after he signed up. It’s all just happening. And it continues to happen to every potential customer who signs up. One less pesky business process to do yourself.
Billy is very interested now. You’re the type of business he wants to deal with. But he’s still not ready, and he’d like to chat with you first, so he sends an email through with some queries.
There’s A Lot of Tools Out There!
Thanks to your obsession with automation, you’ve stumbled across a great little app called Zapier. And Zapier likes to Zap things for you. A Zap is an action or workflow you set up to do the little business processes you don’t want to do EVERY time something happens.
Billy has sent you that email right? But you’ve talked to a bazillion Billy’s and have no idea what products this Billy is interested in. But you set Zapier up to integrate all your awesome apps, so when Billy emails you, all his data comes with him into your CRM. So when you pull up his profile you already know what products he’s into and his preference for sending his money to good causes.
You’ve also set Zapier up to automatically save copies of your blogs and newsletters, upload all new email attachments to Dropbox, send you alerts when an order form is submitted, and any number of other weird little processes you are too busy to do.
But Wait! What is a CRM?
Customer. Relationship. Manager. And it’s pretty much what it sounds like.
Remember those post-it notes I was talking about? Imagine that a CRM is your safe place for a million post-it notes. Each one containing vital info about your customer.
You can choose from a bottomless pit of CRMs like Google Contacts and HubSpot CRM, but when you’ve chosen one, take advantage. It’s more than just a contact list with a phone number and email address.
Your ability to close the deal with Billy is going to depend on that relationship you build with him, and that’s why a CRM is so useful. Imagine when you bring up Billy’s profile that it contains everything you’ll need to know to give him what he wants.
Say you’ve sold products to a colleague of Billy’s, but Billy still hasn’t committed yet. How might that help you seal the deal? What if Billy is trying to negotiate a bulk purchase with some friends? Now you have half a dozen people copied into every email. It’s starting to get chaotic and messy. But just as well you’re fastidious with keeping your CRM in top form.
You can keep track of the latest email conversations. Who has ordered and who hasn’t. Who’s connected to whom. And little personal details you’ve learned about Billy on the way. He likes formal emails, no jokes. And he doesn’t like to be rushed.
You might not hear from Billy for a year. But when you bring up his profile later you’re going to know exactly where you left things, and what kind of customer he is.
Working Together In Harmony.
It’s quite amazing when you think about it. So much that would have had to be done on paper is now gathered into one virtual hub of activity.
Business process automation is about cutting out the grunt work for you.
It can seem a bit mental when you think about all these virtual concepts working together seamlessly. It’s really the small daily business processes that eat up your time, and clog up your filing cabinet.
By nailing down the processes that you feel are wasting your time day in and day out, you can find the best automation tools for your business.