CEOs and entrepreneurs usually have to deal with one big problem – too much to do, too little time. It’s a good problem to have, and where there’s a problem, our tenacious team can find opportunity. The opportunity here is productivity. Automation is a tool that can boost efficiency and productivity to allow busy CEOs a better shot at the Herculean task of managing their time.
Mundane and repetitive tasks exist for everyone, in both their personal as well as professional lives. Finding ways to automate and systematize daily tasks can enable you to save big on time, not just for yourself, but for the business as well. Thankfully for us, the modern world is full of automation options. Here are a few automation options that you, the CEO or business owner can employ to make the best of your time.
1. Reduce Administrative Overhead
Nothing sucks the joy out of a workplace like reams of red tape. There are possibilities for automation in virtually any process that is repetitive. Ask yourself if the task you are repeating is “productive” versus just “active” (something to kill time). Also, rather than handing those tasks over to an assistant or other managers, put yourself in their shoes and see if you can both find a solution through the use of a task management or sales automation tool.
Setting up a system, delegating tasks, and automating processes can save you a lot of time, quicken deployment and increase effectiveness. For example, HR onboarding becomes very simple and secure once it is automated. In an automated process, new employees can hit the ground running, without waiting for the haze of administrative processes and system training to clear. Here is a list of some of the top onboarding software products available.
The same concept can be applied to business, where new customers can be directly added to a CRM without manual intervention. Salesforce and other sales tools allow you to set up rules so that when you are sending emails to leads or customers, new records can be created and sorted automatically.
As a general practice in efficiency, have your team sync office calendars and files so people don’t miss their meetings and can collaborate with ease. As a CEO, you’ll spend more time on growing the business and not get caught up in processes that shouldn’t be demanding your attention in the first place.
Shaving even 15 minutes off a 30-minute daily task through automation saves you 1.25 hours per week (65 per year)
2. Automate the Simple Things
We usually get so engrossed in the big picture that little details miss our attention. For example, did you know that the average employee spends as much as a quarter of a day dealing with email? To make matters worse, the higher an individual climbs the corporate ladder, the more time email consumes. Unfortunately for most CEOs, that means spending the better part of your day dealing with email.
Luckily, you can save a lot of time by introducing some automation. If you are already setting up and using filters in your email program to properly tag and mark email, STOP. According to a research facilitated by IBM in 2014, it takes nearly 7 seconds longer to find a previous email in a folder versus using your search box feature. For those of you filterers (you know who you are), hope is not lost. Pre-canned responses, rules for removing spammy or salesy emails and autoresponders can save you plenty of time. For advice on how to set up automated email triggers without offending clients or colleagues, view this post by Tim Ferris.
Office email isn’t the only simple task that is taking your time. You may also be spending a lot of time on social networks, cloud storage apps (iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive) and personal needs as well. Platforms like IFTTT and Zapier can come in very handy in situations like these.
IFTTT uses recipes to perform a task, given some conditions. For example, the app could automatically lower your smartphone ring volume once you arrive at work, save your Facebook likes for reading later, generate reports for some of these platforms and other distraction-reducing techniques.
3. Use Database Queries For The Sales Funnel
In the modern world, it really sucks if you have to dive into databases regularly to perform simple tasks. Need to send an email to prospective customers who responded to your campaigns? Don’t ask the technical team to add and fish out these prospects from the database, talk to them about automating the process!
Querying your existing database and sending automated messages to prospects can save you and your sales team a boatload of time. Rather than having your reps manually reach out to users who have signed up for a newsletter or whitepaper download, create a custom-triggered email series that helps warm them up into a sales qualified lead. Work with your marketing team to establish what content would be best served to prospects at the three main stages of their buying cycle: awareness, consideration, decision. Then help facilitate their decision by delivering content that speaks to the customer’s current stage of the funnel.
4. Big Data Analytics
Big data is one of the ‘big’ buzzwords these days. Businesses generate reams of structured and unstructured data, and while several companies make excellent use of all that information, many others are left clueless because they can’t fathom a way to process it all. For those CEOs struggling with this problem, automation is the solution.
Algorithms can very efficiently and effectively extract information from data. You’ll get better insights into customer behavior and a centralized viewpoint for workflows. In the past, you may have relied on teams of individuals to pour through the data. With automation, you can skip the middleman and hand it over to the machines. In the case of web performance, creating a custom dashboard is easy for even entry-level resources and understanding the higher points of that data can be learned in a matter of minutes. View some tutorials below:
Let the machines do all the grunt work in big data so you can stick to executive decision-making. The human element here is about gaining insights from the processed data, not struggling for hours to enter data only to spend minutes interpreting it.
5. Go for Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation is one of the highest impact investments you can make as a CEO. Not only does this save your business money in the form of time saved, but it is also a tool that actively generates more business – and more money. Statistics are overwhelmingly in favor of marketing automation, and it’s not hard to see why.
Reports suggest that 79% of top-performing companies use marketing automation, so it is quite surprising to see that only 42% of companies actually use marketing automation. The gap between these two numbers should speak for itself – it’s fair to say the winning businesses are on the side of marketing automation. A majority of businesses that do use automation say they have seen a significant increase in sales revenue, lead nurturing and customer engagement.
As a CEO or business owner, it is in your best interest to push automation and efficiency for the organization. There is no reason you shouldn’t utilize these tools in your professional and personal spheres of life. There are clear benefits, especially when looking at ROI for automation.
When all is said and done, sales are what drive your business, and marketing helps drive sales. To get your business started on marketing automation and other efficiency tools, submit your request today, or call us at (919) 636-9835.