Design professionals and brands can massively improve their productivity, efficiency, and profitability by automation some of the key functions of their businesses.
One of the key growth strategies I help my customers build is smart business automation. This is, of course, quite complex for many designers who are not necessarily skilled in technology.
As a sales and marketing professional, I have seen firsthand the benefits of automating sales and marketing processes. Automation can help you streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
However, I meet many designers and brands that don’t want to jump on the automation train – mostly because they are intimidated by it, and they feel automation removes the personal, creative touch.
But, the good news is that every business can automate its key processes. And frankly, every business should – particularly the small ones.
- Design professionals and brands can greatly improve productivity, efficiency, and profitability by automating key functions of their businesses.
- Automation can streamline sales and marketing processes, leading to increased revenue growth and a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business environment.
- Common areas for automation in the design industry include marketing, sales, and delivery processes.
- Business automation offers benefits such as improved efficiency, better lead management, increased revenue, and enhanced customer experience.
- To successfully implement smart business automation, it is crucial to have a clear strategy, map out the buyer journey, use integrated tools, and document all processes for easy management and troubleshooting.
What Is Business Automation?
Business automation refers to the use of technology and software to streamline and automate various business processes, such as data entry, invoicing, scheduling, and customer management.
By automating these tasks, businesses can reduce the time and effort required to complete them, improve efficiency and accuracy, and free up employees to focus on higher-level tasks that require human expertise.
In the interior design world, there are several examples of business automation that can help streamline operations and improve productivity. Here are a few examples:
- Project management software: Interior designers can use project management software to keep track of project timelines, budgets, and tasks.
- Accounting software: Interior designers can use accounting software to automate billing and invoicing, track expenses, and generate financial reports.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Interior designers can use CRM software to manage customer interactions and track sales leads.
Why Business Automation?
One of the key advantages of automation is that it allows design businesses to scale their operations more effectively. With the right tools in place, sales and marketing teams can manage a larger volume of leads and prospects without sacrificing quality or accuracy.
And this becomes even more critical when your “sales team” is YOU! Many of my clients are solopreneurs by choice – but it doesn’t mean that they’d not be growing profitably. The key to growing and scaling a one-person (or a few) team is automation.
Automation can also help reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies, which can be costly and damaging to a company’s reputation.
Another benefit of automation is that it provides valuable insights into your customers’ behavior and preferences. By tracking customer interactions across multiple channels, you can gain a deeper understanding of what drives your customers’ buying decisions.
You can then use this information to develop more targeted marketing campaigns, improve sales strategies, and ultimately drive better business outcomes.
All in all, business automation helps designers save time, reduce errors, and improve customer satisfaction. By leveraging technology to automate routine tasks, designers can focus on delivering high-quality design services and growing their business.
The most common areas for business automation
There are multiple places where automation makes sense, and when you are putting together your business infrastructure, you will need to explore the different possibilities. The most common areas are:
Marketing automation also includes social media and brand-building activities, SEO and digital PR, and more.
Sales automation goes hand in hand with marketing automation, and in many firms, you can use the same tools. Also, sometimes it is a bit difficult to draw the line between marketing automation and sales automation.
But, the key is: with both processes, you need to know what is intended to do, and how you measure the outcomes.
As you might know, sales are measured with different metrics than marketing, and again, they both contribute to growth but are totally different activities and should be measured as such.
Another popular automation process is the delivery of your products or services. This looks very different depending on what you sell, but essentially all businesses can automate at least parts of their customer value deliveries.
If you run an e-commerce store, you should automate the receipts for your customers, and the creation of parking orders to your warehouse. Further on, you might want to automate freight bookings, follow-up emails, and re-marketing.
Why is it critical to automate these processes?
As a sales and marketing professional, I have seen firsthand the benefits of automating sales and marketing processes.
Automation can help streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, where competition is fierce, companies that fail to automate their sales and marketing processes risk falling behind.
One of the key advantages of automation is that it allows you to scale your business operations more effectively. With the right tools in place, entrepreneurs with or without sales and marketing teams can manage a larger volume of leads and prospects without sacrificing quality or accuracy.
Another benefit of automation is that it provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By tracking customer interactions across multiple channels, you can gain a deeper understanding of what drives your customers’ buying decisions.
This information can be used to develop more targeted marketing campaigns, improve sales strategies, and ultimately drive better business outcomes.
Benefits of Automating Sales and Marketing Processes
So what are the business, and lifestyle, benefits of automation?
Automating sales and marketing processes can significantly improve efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks like lead nurturing, email campaigns, and follow-ups, you can focus on more important tasks like closing deals and generating revenue.
Automation can also reduce the time and effort required for manual data entry, allowing your sales and marketing teams to spend more time on high-value activities.
Better Lead Management
Automated lead generation and management can help you and your team to manage leads more effectively. By automating lead scoring, sales teams can prioritize leads based on their level of engagement and likelihood to convert.
This can help you to focus your efforts on the most promising leads, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
By automating sales and marketing processes, you can increase revenue in several ways.
Firstly, automation can help to reduce the time and effort required to close deals, allowing your sales team to close more deals in less time.
Secondly, automation can help to improve lead management, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
Finally, automation can help to identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, resulting in increased revenue per customer.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Automated sales and marketing processes can also help to enhance the customer experience. By automating follow-ups and nurturing campaigns, businesses can ensure that customers receive timely and relevant communications.
Automation can also help to personalize your communications, resulting in a more engaging and effective customer experience.
Overall, automation can help you to build stronger relationships with your customers, resulting in increased loyalty and repeat business.
Here are 3 simple steps to Smart Business Automation
- know what’s the trigger, ie what gets the automation started
- know what’s the follow-up, ie what happens in the sequence
- know what is the drop-off trigger, ie what stops the automation and what happens then
Example: you have a design business, and you are generating leads with video. On the thank you page, your new lead can book a call (sales event). You also build a 2-week follow-up sequence that is continuing the discussion topics shared in the video and invites your new lead to book a call.
What’s crucial for an excellent client experience: the current automation needs to end when something happens, such as a client books a call.
If a person is in your introduction sequence, receive several invitations to book a discovery call with your firm. As soon as they book the call, they need to be removed from the automation and often put into another automation that takes care of the next steps, such as onboarding into your services.
If a person has already purchased a product from your store or scheduled a call, you don’t want to keep sending them the same message to come and buy that said product. Instead, you need to make sure your systems automatically move the person to another automation.
This is why it’s called business automation, and it’s really crucial to get it right. A poor customer experience at the gate kills conversions and is a waste of effort.
How to make sure your automation is right?
You should not over-complicate your business infrastructure, but you should pay attention to the details of your automated business processes. Here are 3 steps:
- have a clear strategy for what success looks like
- map out each step on the buyer journey, which should translate into your signature client experience
- use tools that talk to each other, i.e. have ready-made integrations. If you can’t find tools that are directly integrated with each other, then use an integration platform such as Make.com or Zapier.com to build your integrations.
You need to document all your systems so you and your team members know how things work, and can easily troubleshoot in case things go haywire.
I think the best tool to document your automation is either Google Documents or Notion.
I use Notion for basically everything in my business because it can both store documents and lots of other assets, and also create lists, calendars, workflows, and databases that keep my assets in order and easily found.
Key Considerations for Successful Automation
Identifying Key Processes
To successfully automate sales and marketing processes, it is crucial to identify the key processes that will benefit the most from automation. This requires a thorough understanding of the current processes and workflows, as well as the goals and objectives of the organization. By identifying the most time-consuming, repetitive, and error-prone tasks, we can prioritize the processes that will benefit the most from automation.
Selecting the Right Tools
Selecting the right tools and technologies is critical to the success of automation. There are many automation tools available in the market, and it is important to choose the ones that best fit the needs of the organization. When selecting tools, we should consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, and cost. It is also important to ensure that the tools we choose are compatible with our existing systems and workflows.
Creating a Strong Implementation Plan
A strong implementation plan is essential to ensure that the automation process goes smoothly. This plan should include a detailed timeline, milestones, and clear roles and responsibilities. It should also include contingency plans in case of unexpected issues or roadblocks. By having a well-defined implementation plan, we can ensure that the automation process is completed on time and within budget.
Providing Adequate Training
Providing adequate training to employees is critical to the success of automation. This includes both technical training on the use of automation tools, as well as training on the new processes and workflows. By providing comprehensive training, we can ensure that employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to use the new tools and processes effectively.
Smart Business Automation For Designers
In today’s business environment, it’s impossible to neglect the importance of having the right systems and tools to improve your workflow.
By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, sales and marketing teams can free up their time to focus on more high-value activities, such as building relationships with customers and closing deals.
Through the use of sales automation software and marketing automation tools, businesses can streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
By eliminating manual tasks, such as data entry and lead management, businesses can reduce errors and improve data accuracy.
Furthermore, automation can help businesses gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing them to tailor their marketing strategies and sales approaches accordingly. By leveraging data and analytics, businesses can make more informed decisions and drive better results.
However, many design professionals find automation a tedious task – and often worry it killing the personal touch the premium and luxury businesses entail.
But, systemization and automation are here, and they are only going to help you improve your client experience and back-end processes.
With the rights strategy and implementation, your business too can become efficient and seamless to manage and grow!