They free up employees to focus on more strategic projects and provide an auditable trail of data that teams can use to make more informed decisions and apply consistent controls.
Companies of all sizes can apply business automation to myriad tasks, projects and processes. The key benefits usually include time and cost savings, elimination of errors and setting up controls to ensure that policies are followed.
How Do Business Automation Tools Work?
Business automation tools use technology to take the manual labor out of day-to-day business processes. From human resources to sales to accounting, nearly every corner of a business’s operations can benefit from business automation.
Using business automation, companies can both eliminate the need for manual labor while improving and simplifying the individual steps that make up different processes. For example, by automating the preliminary job candidate selection process, companies can save significant manhours that would have otherwise been spent giving all received applications an initial review.
Much more than just replacing paper and PDFs with digitized data, business automation factors in the key steps in a company’s workflow and then makes these processes cheaper, faster and less error-prone. By bringing these processes onto one or more technology platforms, companies also get better reporting capabilities and the ability to analyze data over time, then use it for more informed decision-making.
Types of Business Automation
By making certain business processes “automatic,” business automation eliminates repetitive tasks, reduces hours wasted on redundant tasks, and helps improve overall productivity. For these and other reasons, a growing number of organizations are infusing more and more business automation into their operations.
Here are four types of business automation, how they work and when they should be used.
Marketing is an important business activity that can be both laborious and costly, making it ripe for simplification through automation.
Through marketing automation tools (which usually take the form of software), companies can generate highly qualified leads that are ready for sales engagement. These tools also provide a framework for teams to target, build, execute and measure the success of marketing campaigns—taking the complexity out of lead qualification and conversion.
Some marketing automation software can automate email marketing processes, allowing companies to better align these campaigns with the efforts of their sales teams. Companies can also use marketing automation tools to track and measure a prospect’s activity, identify when a lead meets known buyer-readiness conditions and deliver leads to sales as soon as they meet predefined criteria.
Marketing automation is useful for companies of all sizes. For example, a smaller company may use the software to develop, generate and send out monthly emails to convey relevant content or offers to a client distribution list. This process can significantly reduce the number of hours spent on customer “touches” over the course of a year.
A larger firm, meanwhile, may want to take advantage of extended marketing automation features, like the dynamic segmenting of an extensive customer database, the targeting of customers with automated messages via social media and text, or custom-built workflows that align with the company’s specific marketing processes.
By automating online marketing and lead generation campaigns, companies can reduce the cost of developing and running these campaigns. This, in turn, helps to create a higher measurable return on investment (ROI) for each of those campaigns.