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Six Steps to Business Automation Six Steps to Business Automation Six Steps to Business Automation Paradigm Marketing and Design
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Marketing Tips, Insights, and Trends

Six Steps to Business Automation

Author: Kaitlyn Wilcoxson Category: B2B, B2C, Marketing Date: February 28, 2024

Team reviewing business automation metrics

Did you know that 20% of businesses fail in their first two years in operation? Sadly, it only gets worse from there – 45% fail during the first five years, 65% fail during the first 10 years, and only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. There is a myriad of reasons why this happens, but one important reason is a business’s inability to scale. To be able to scale and grow effectively, a business must have the right processes and procedures in place.

Far too many businesses function with each piece of their whole – human resources, marketing, sales, operations, finance, etc. – operating in their own silo. Team members know what their department does and what they need to be able to get their jobs done, but they don’t communicate with other departments unless they need to, they don’t understand how their colleagues do their work, and they don’t have insight into the overall goals of the company.

This approach may work for B2C businesses where a customer selects a product and makes their purchase. But, when dealing in the B2B space, the sales process is exponentially more complex, with significantly more opportunities for a lead to get lost, a ball to get dropped, and a squandered opportunity at a sale or repeat customer. Business automation can be your safety net to prevent that from happening.

Why Use Automation?

Business automation is an extremely powerful tool to support scaling for your business which in turn supports future growth. There are many benefits to implementing business automation, including:

  • Improved customer service, satisfaction, and retention
  • Increased sales
  • New business generation
  • Enhanced ability to share and distribute data
  • Opportunity to market products and services more
  • Improved market intelligence
  • Reduced costs

And the results speak for themselves:

  • 50% of teams improved their productivity by using a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) system.
  • A properly maintained CRM can yield a 45% ROI.
  • 92% of businesses said that a CRM is crucial to achieving their revenue goals.
  • A CRM can boost conversion rates by 300%.
  • CRM systems are known to improve customer retention by as much as 27%.

Breaking Down the Process

Even with all of its benefits, businesses often hesitate to incorporate automation into their organizations’ workflows or make the effort to evaluate their existing tools. One of the main reasons for this is because it involves technology, and 22% of business owners believe embracing new technology is the biggest challenge facing their company. Incorporating more technology can be difficult because of the belief it is hard to choose, understand, maintain, and afford. However, it can be much more manageable if you follow these steps:

  1. Assessment: Your assessment should include a three-point analysis:
    • Assess the human behavior of your team. This includes the wants and needs your team has for your system, how adept the team is at adopting new technology, and their communication style so you can select a system that uses similar language.
    • Evaluate your business requirements – what are your overall business goals, your cost and complexity requirements for your system, how your marketing and sales processes work together, what reporting and data requirements you have, and if you need activity management.
    • Determine your technology needs. What integrations will your existing systems require? Is your data stored on-premises or in the cloud? If you are using a system already, are you using it to its full potential, or paying for functionality you don’t need?

    You can use this information for a side-by-side comparison of the various tools available.

  1. Mapping: A workflow map is a visual tool where you lay out the functions of your business operations and how they relate to each other. Most business professionals are familiar with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), but workflow mapping is much different. SOPs are usually lengthy written documents that provide a top-level overview of how a business operates. Workflow mapping includes detailed steps of how a task or tasks should be accomplished – a visual aide to show your employees how things flow and are connected. It is as simple as creating boxes for each of your business functions and decision points, and drawing arrows to show when and how they relate to each other. You can use PowerPoint to help you create it, but you can also use an old-fashioned dry erase board or pen and paper. No matter the medium, it’s important to brainstorm with your team to create the workflow map – not only to make sure no process is missed, but it will also help ensure you have buy-in from your team. To be able to have your team replicate the processes that have proven to be successful for your business, you need to have those processes documented in a visual manner so your team can see where they fit in and how their work impacts their colleagues’ work.
  2. Implementation: After you have mapped out your workflow, and chosen the tools that will best support it, you have to implement it with your team. Engaging your team at this step is also critical. The more risk adverse your team is, the more essential this engagement is. In this step, you’ll need to:
    • Develop a consensus on the vernacular your team uses.
    • Consider user experience and adaptability.
    • Determine foundational automation.
    • Set up and test your reporting system.
    • Code and customize the tool to suit your needs.
    • Train your users.
  3. Data integrity: When setting up any automation process, there will likely be a point when you must merge data from different systems or sources. Before doing so, it is crucial to clean up your data – remove duplicates and ensure all your information is captured the same way.
  4. Campaigns and workflows: It takes an average of nine to 13 touches, or audience engagements, to connect with your audience during a complex sales cycle. Each touch can usher a prospect into your sales funnel and guide them through the buying experience. Throughout the touch process, there are opportunities to automate the follow-up to ensure potential customers don’t fall through the cracks. Once you have your system in place, it’s important to review your sales and marketing outreach, identify triggers where activities can be automated, and build those into your workflow. The more automation you infuse, the easier it will be for your employees to stay on top of their leads, understand their workload, and be informed in their outreach.
  5. Maintenance: Once you put the work into making sure your CRM supports your business goals, you must keep it up. You should be conducting audits and quarterly strategy meetings to maintain data integrity, find out what’s working and what isn’t, and gather feedback on requested improvements and efficiencies. You should also continue checking the product’s website to see if there are new features or updates.

Disorganized workflows, siloed business processes, cross-functional inconsistencies, and a lack of automation result in lost revenue opportunities, frustrated or unproductive employees, and wasted money. If you are struggling to maintain streamlined, error-proof, and transparent processes across your organization, you are probably wasting hours each week tackling manual, unstructured tasks that could otherwise be streamlined through business process automation. At Paradigm, we offer business process automation services and solutions that streamline manual processes and bring structure to otherwise disorganized, time-consuming activities—across departments. From sales and marketing to finance, operations, and more, we’ll use technology to bring your disparate process together under one umbrella to support greater cross-functional communication, consistency, automation, and productivity while ensuring compliance and conformity. For a deeper dive into business automation and how you can remove silent profit killers in your organization, download our free webinar.

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