One of my mentors has a great motto that I’ve started taking to heart, “Delete, Delegate or Automate.” I actually hear myself saying this a lot in an effort to automate business processes in 2017.
The premise is simple. When you start feeling overwhelmed in your business, you can probably find things to delete (scrap all together), delegate (hand off to someone else) or automate (use software to help you).
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m on a systems kick in my business. In fact, I’ve learned how to automate businesses processes on the consulting and teaching side of things. While I’m certainly no expert (yet) and while I don’t believe you can automate absolutely everything in a business, some colleagues and I are getting pretty damn close.
Here are some tools you can use to automate business processes so you can have more of your time back.
Automate the Sales Process
There are so many tools you can use to automate business processes, but I would argue that the most important tools are those that help you automate the sales process. More specifically, use tools that help you automate your customer map, or the process they undergo until they finally purchase something from you.
Here’s an automation I’ve been working on for the last few weeks to give you an idea:
- Run FB ads to an opt-in like an email template for pitching media.
- Lead opts-in and gets a 5-day series of enticing emails that tell a story.
- Invitation to a “live webinar” where I teach the principles of building your influence online.
- Recording of webinar that looks live.
- Offer to set up a free 30-minute strategy session.
- Lead opts-in to strategy session and is automatically taken to an application.
- Based on application answers, they are directed to my calendar where they can schedule a time to speak with me.
Once I get them on the phone it’s simply a matter of seeing whether or not they are a good fit for retainer consulting. What I’ve noticed is if they’ve made it that far into the funnel, they are usually a good fit because in a sense they’ve been pre-qualified.
Now, that is a major chunk of the sales process that I’ve automated using different tools like email marketing and webinar software.
Here’s another example of what it looks like to automate the sales process:
- Drive traffic to “live” webinar that occurs multiple times per week.
- Lead opts in to a specific time for the “live” webinar and “Thank You” page either has an upsell or an invitation to join Facebook group.
- Prospect now gets emails as if their webinar is going to happen live.
- Webinar happens and it really does look like it’s live thanks to software like Everwebinar.
- Upsell at the end of webinar for a digital course.
This is one of the ways I plan to automate business processes later on in the year. The reason I know this works is because many of my colleagues already use it. Additionally, other than the initial setup, this can all run on autopilot. This means I can generate passive income and also get more of my time back so I can focus on private coaching clients, students and content marketing clients.
Again, all you need in terms of tools is an email marketing provider and webinar software that let’s you run Evergreen webinars. While the best software can be pricey, if you look at it from the perspective of how many sales you need to make to break even it can be totally worth it.
Automate Your Emails
Another area in which you can automate business processes is with your emails.
For example, I have a colleague who is a photographer and has his sales and emails set up in this way:
- Drive traffic to website for specific seo. In his case, “product photography [city]”
- Lead submits and email through contact form which is connected to his CRM.
- CRM sends an automatic reply that looks like a real email to the new lead.
- They set up a meeting from there.
You can also automate other parts of your email marketing, such as automatically sending out an email to your list every time you publish something new on your blog. Or, you can set up an autoresponder series that prompts readers to take certain tasks.
Depending on your CRM, you can also get super granular and detailed. For example, I automatically send a survey to someone who opts-in to my blogs email list. On that survey, they choose whether they want to continue receiving business content or personal finance content. From that point forward, they will receive a series of emails based on what they clicked on.
Automate Your Calendar
Automating your calendar is essential to running a business in the 21st century. Quite frankly, it’s annoying and time-consuming to have to email back and forth to set up meetings so you’re better off using a scheduler that sends automatic follow-ups for you.
Here’s how it works in my business:
- Lead gets calendar link (usually after they’ve gone through one of my funnels).
- Lead schedules time and inputs information.
- From there they receive email and text reminders of meeting.
I especially love the texting feature of my scheduler. This one trick alone has increased the number of people who actually show up to content marketing consultations.
My scheduler also connects to my CRM so we can track who already had a consultation and what part of the sales funnel a potential customer is in. It also sets a tag so that individuals who’ve undergone a consultation get specific emails catered to them.
Automate Your New Client Onboarding
Here’s another way to automate business processes: use email marketing software to automate new client onboarding.
When I close a new retainer consulting client, they get tagged in our system. From there they get a series of emails which help them with the onboarding process. It also sends them helpful resources and answers to any questions they may have.
Again, this is a major time saver and helps us add a special touch for new clients.
With all the tools available at your finger tips, you can automate business processes all you want. My team and I have personally found it super helpful as it saves us time and helps us earn more money.