Innovations & Technologies

5 things every small business needs to automate

B2BChief recently discussed the importance of marketing automation for nurturing B2B leads through the sales funnel. Marketing automation tools like email marketing, lead tracking, and social media management empower companies to invest in marketing strategy without overextending their internal resources.

Marketing is just one of the ways that businesses can automate business processes to cut costs and drive growth. While in the past business automation was only affordable to large enterprises, today’s small businesses have a wide variety of affordable automation tools at their disposal.

Business Process Automation
Automating internal processes frees up staff time, improves compliance, and reduces the impact of human error on business operations.

Operational tasks that businesses can automate include:

Time tracking and payroll
Don’t waste hours manually tracking hours and calculating taxes. Timesheet apps track employee hours and sync with payroll software to automatically calculate, file, and submit wages and deductions. For full integration, choose a payroll software package with built-in time tracking and free direct deposit. While more expensive than bare-bones payroll tools, full-service payroll services that include HR and compliance support are worth the investment for businesses without internal human resources.

Accounting, invoicing, and expense tracking
Accounting software brings all of a business’s financial data together into one centralized hub. The best accounting software for small business is cloud-based and integrates with the entire financial tech stack, including payroll, sales, and banking apps to create visibility throughout a company’s financial processes. Businesses that operate on the go should choose software that includes a mobile app for logging receipts, sending invoices, and monitoring bank transactions.

IT processes
Many small businesses operate without an internal information technology department. Unfortunately, this often results in overlooking important IT tasks like software upgrades, security patches, and digital asset management. Automation keeps routine IT processes from slipping through the cracks when operating a lean business.

Automation is useful even with dedicated IT staff. IT software improves upon paper processes by efficiently organizing, assigning, and tracking IT service requests in a single platform.

Sales Automation
Sales are the lifeblood of any small business, but gaining, converting, and retaining leads is a labor-intensive process. How can automation help businesses manage leads to grow their sales?

Customer Relationship Management
CRM software is the leading solution for businesses seeking to streamline lead management. CRM capabilities include:
● Searchable and syncable contact management, including document management.
● Managing and tracking contacts through the sales pipeline.
● Automated emails to contact requests, inbound calls, networking connections, and other leads.
● Reports and insights into customer behavior.

These tools make it possible for small businesses to manage and engage leads without expanding their sales staff. Because effective lead nurturing leads to higher sales, it doesn’t take long before CRM software pays for itself.

While formerly the domain of B2C businesses, B2B companies are also leveraging online sales for growth. Beyond expanding a small business’s reach and streamlining the sales process, ecommerce opens the door to further automation. For example, an ecommerce platform that integrates with back-end business systems eliminates the need to manually key data while increasing visibility for sales teams. Ecommerce also opens the door to suggestive selling, custom pricing, and personalized advertising based on customer data.

Businesses have no shortage of places to invest their tech dollars. However, few areas make as big of an impact as automation. By automating your business’s core processes, you can deliver a higher level of service without incurring significantly higher costs. Rather than sinking labor hours into routine, time-consuming processes, invest in business automation and let technology work for you.

Guest Writer: Katie Conroy



Pic Courtesy: Unsplash