Moving “Manual” Aside
As a business owner, your day is filled. You’re collecting leads, communicating with clients, sending invoices, completing payroll, tracking hours, measuring productivity, overseeing projects, and more. You have so much work to do that it takes away from your actual business.
These tasks are costing you time. They’re costing you resources. They’re costing you money. This is why so many businesses are turning to what is known as business process automation, technology that will help them save time and cut costs by automating what are usually manual processes.
So, what processes can be automated? What tools can be used? And how will your business benefit?
#1. More Organized Lead Management
Quality leads can turn into long-term clients, so it’s important that you don’t lose them. Research shows that as much as 71% of leads are wasted because companies aren’t efficient enough when it actually comes to lead capturing.
The major reason efficiency is lost? Businesses can’t respond in time. Leads pour in from emails, online forms, phone calls, and personal meetings. How many emails sit in your inbox from prospective clients? If you have no process to automate follow-ups, you’ll never catch up.
Automation tools like Zoho CRM can help you track and communicate with your contacts, simplify the sales cycle, and pass leads through the pipeline by:
- Automating follow-up emails based on lead quality and interest
- Generating sales quotes
- Following up with your sales team after leads are contacted
- Interacting with clients over phone, email, live chat, and social media
- Managing contacts and accounts
- Prioritizing leads
However, just because the process is automated doesn’t mean that the personal touch of interacting with your clients is lost. With software like CRM, it will just be a little easier to find the time to reach out to your quality leads.
#2. Easy Billing, Invoicing, and Expense Management
About 40% of business owners say that bookkeeping is their least favorite part of their job. It’s a high percentage, but one that is easy to understand. Calculating costs, compiling taxes, completing payroll, and balancing accounts both receivable and payable can be a headache, especially when you have other tasks looming in the back of your mind, tasks such as contacting the lead who reached out yesterday or following up on the launch of your company’s latest project.
However, new technology is eliminating bookkeeping altogether. Software like QuickBooks and Bill.com will help you manage your accounting online. Zoho Books is another automation tool that has proven valuable to business owners, giving businesses the opportunity to:
- Categorize and manage expenses
- Send automated invoices to clients
- Receive real-time banking updates
- Track inventory and automatically send purchase orders
- Monitor transactions
(Bill.com, QuickBooks, and Zoho Books can also be integrated with Zoho CRM, helping you manage leads and expenses at the same time!)
Cut the time it takes to do billing, never chase an invoice again, and easily figure out your bottom line.
#3. Simplified Project Management
Another great benefit of business process automation is the ability to automatically manage projects. Gone are the days of complicated whiteboards and scribbled sticky notes. Outline tasks, track hours, and keep all team members and clients on the same page.
There are plenty of great project management tools available for your business depending on its size and industry. However, Zoho Projects is considered one of the leading tools because it can:
- Divide projects into tasks and subtasks
- Assign team members to certain tasks
- Share assets like images, documentation, and videos with clients online
- Communicate with customers and team members in chat forums
- Log billable and nonbillable hours
- File support tickets
Zoho Projects is something we use when completing our own projects and we have found that it helps us improve organization and time management. There are less conflicts when it comes to billing and all employees know exactly who’s responsible for what. Meanwhile, communication is quick and on file for future reference.
Every business is different, and so is every project management tool. Some tools, like Zoho Projects, can track every single asset delivered and every single hour spent on a project. However, if your business conducts smaller services or projects, you may not need all of those abilities. As Chron points out, some management tools are just basic organizers.
Sometimes complex systems will make a simple project harder than it has to be. You can eliminate this by choosing a tool that better matches your business and its ability to adapt. As your business grows and evolves, you can always upgrade to new, more extensive management software.
#4. Insightful Reporting
You’ve managed your leads, balanced the books, and doled out project tasks. Now, business process automation can help you pull all of that information and data together so that you can make sense of it and act on it.
One of the most common mistakes a business can make is spending significant time collecting data, but not spending nearly enough time using that data to make decisions. Running automated reports on the data you collect will give you quick bursts of insight by answering questions like:
- What do your leads have in common?
- How are your finances?
- How many leads have you lost?
- How many average hours have you billed?
- How long does it take your team to complete a project?
Zoho Reports, for example, uses colorful dashboards and visual graphs to easily address the questions above. And you don’t have to have other Zoho products to use Zoho Reports! Reports is fully functional with any database you choose to use.
Ready to Save Time?
We understand that small businesses may be wary of making the leap to automated technology. However, smaller companies are more likely to transition smoothly to these programs and benefit from them than larger companies would. This is because it’s easier to make a change impacting fewer employees than it would be to make a similar change in an organization with hundreds, or even thousands, of employees spread around the world.
We’ve spent over 16 years helping businesses find easier ways to simplify sales, accounting, project management, and reporting. Our certified Zoho developers can help your business find the solution it needs to manage its workflow, finances, and communications. If you want something more personalized, our custom software developers can help you develop a business process automation tool fit perfectly for your business and its needs.
If you’re ready to save time, ready to save money, and ready to get back to business, let us do the work! Fill out the contact form below!