It’s any business owner’s dream to put routine processes on autopilot and focus instead on driving a venture to success. With no shortage of solid automation solutions available today, working on driving growth, innovation and profit while the day-to-day systems run automatically is no longer a pipe dream for entrepreneurs.

There are countless ways of automating your small-to-medium business. Here’s a start:  

1. Gain and retain leads more effectively

In a fast-paced world, potential customers’ expectations have shifted from waiting a day or two for a business to respond to a “contact us” email; to waiting a mere 5 to 30 minutes before moving on. An automated email response system is essential in providing assurance that the message didn’t go unnoticed and will be attended to within a specific timeframe.

2. Use tools to rank your leads

Lucky enough to have too many leads to manage or nurture? You might not know where to start in terms of ranking and subsequent responses. Automation software can help rank each lead based on their engagement with your marketing efforts – a process called Lead Scoring. This helps you identify which potential clients will most likely be worth partnering with.

3. Automate your sales process

Let’s look at your sales pipeline. Somewhere, scribbled in a notepad, are crucial bits of information regarding a potential client: “Doesn’t want full service”; “Can only afford a few hours per month”; “Only interested from May”… How can a team keep up with the intricacies of each potential client? 

Often overlooked, the sales process involves a multitude of steps and subsequent documentation. This core function of your business cannot be overlooked. Automation is crucial at this point. When the process is clearly defined, sales reps can move leads from one stage to the next.

4. Effectively manage e-commerce

Businesses often face the challenge of timeous client payments. Automation software can manage these concerns with reminders to renew on a month-to-month basis, ensuring their method of payment is still legitimate and that their credit card details haven’t changed or expired. It will also encourage future purchases by sending a reminder to repurchase a product that has a limited supply.

5. Add finesse to customer service and engagement

Take a moment to sit back and imagine what you would like to do for your customers if you had more time. Whatever the action, there’s most likely a way to automate it. This may take the form of responding immediately to their feedback, sending them birthday wishes, reminding them of their appointment, helping them to retrieve a lost password, or assessing satisfaction with their latest purchase.

Automation software can speed up the process of putting the client in contact with the relevant staff member, such as technical staff, salesperson or the account manager.

6.  Social Media Marketing automation

Managing your all-important social media accounts can be a time drain for the average small-to-medium business owner. That’s where tools like Hootsuite (https://www.hootsuite.com/) and Later (https://later.com/) come in, letting you schedule your social media posts, respond easily to messages and mentions, identify influencers and leads in your niche, and run analytics.

Remember, too, to use automated emails to drum up support for your social media platforms.

If you would like to outsource your entire social media management instead, try Prime Pixels (https://primepixels.media/).

7. Take the stress out of event management

Events, even the virtual kind, take a lot of time and effort to administer. From invitations, registrations and confirmations; to managing guest speakers and digital content; to promotions and post-event feedback, there are many processes that can – and should – be automated. 

It’s worth your time exploring how specialists can drive the seamless automation of your seminar or online launch. Virtual Event (https://virtualevent.co.za/) is a South African enterprise that has partnered with India-based Hubilo, backed by a diligent team specialising in the event technology space.

8. Leave IT management to those in the know

Although it is possible to spend time putting together a patchwork of tools from multiple IT vendors, this could take countless hours monitoring it all. An IT management solution like Spiceworks (https://community.spiceworks.com/support) can automate the most time-consuming and complicated IT tasks.

9. Streamline office management and administration

Handling repetitive to-dos, systems, documents and operations in the office space is a job made for automation. Employing software – or indeed a virtual assistant with access to and experience with the most efficient software – means that business owners can free up time to engage fully in growing their brand. By virtue of their nature, entrepreneurs want to work on their business, and not necessarily in their business.

Save time, smooth out operations and focus on what you love by using a professional, experienced team at AVirtual UK (https://avirtual.co.uk/) to handle your day-to-day requirements.    

10. Make it easier to give clients more 

When there isn’t time to reward or incentivise each customer or potential lead, automation can go a long way. For instance, offer something in return when capturing leads. Free content (an eBook, PDF, video or podcast) adds value to your efforts to reach out. Instead of manually emailing resources, set up a sign-up form on your website, which automatically sends the free content to their inbox. 

Sometimes, clients need a little reminder accompanied by an incentive to spread the word. Ask clients to give referrals by sending an automated email. To encourage them to take action, you might offer a small gift or discount code as a token of your appreciation.