3 ways to make the most of business automation this year

Richard Buerckert

Updated: Feb 06, 2024 · 5 min read

Old computer screen to the left and a newer version to the right with the Keap dashboard

When I first started in the marketing industry, I wasn’t even old enough to drive. I was 12, helping my parents with their power sports business. Looking back, that’s where my love for marketing was born — but of course, I didn’t realize it until years later.

I’ve been in the marketing industry for over 40 years now, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. My marketing knowledge has expanded, and things have changed in incredible ways.

Marketing in the 80s looked a lot different than it does now. For starters, the internet wasn’t around, so the sales process happened in person, on paper or over the phone. Sounds a bit scary compared to where we are now, right? Today, we have so much technology at our fingertips to help us convert leads and make sales, but the tool I’ve found to be most crucial is small business CRM and business automation software.

While it’s awesome for entrepreneurs and their teams to be able to automate their entire sales process, I’ve noticed three main problems my clients and marketers everywhere tend to run into on their automation journey.

Let’s walk through those problems and the ways you can avoid them in 2024.

Tip #1: Make the investment

Problem: Skimping on software

Solution: Invest in what works

When running a business, it’s natural to try and save money where you can, but small business CRM and automation software is not the place to be cutting corners. There are software options out there that will promise all the capabilities your growing small business needs, and they’ll offer it for an incredibly low price, or possibly even for free. This is an appealing offer, but I can promise you it’s too good to be true.

I’m not saying you need to run out and purchase the most expensive software on the market, but I encourage you to take a look at your budget and make room for a quality CRM and business automation solution. You’ll want to do your research - put together a list of the non-negotiable features your software needs to have, and gather a few options within your budget to compare against each other.

I see far too many business owners trying to find a quick, cheap fix to their automation needs rather than choosing software that will grow with them.

So, whether you’re shopping for your first small business automation and CRM software or simply looking to switch to a new one, make sure you put in the time and money your business deserves. You’ll thank yourself later.

Overwhelmed by the software shopping process? Download these free guides, the CRM Buyers’ Guide and the Marketing Automation Buyers’ Guide, to navigate your search.

Tip #2: No shortcuts

Problem: Missing steps in your automation game plan

Solution: Automate your entire sales pipeline

Another problem I often see with my clients is voids in their automated sales pipeline. Switching to automation and applying it to your entire business can be a big task to accomplish, and naturally, some things may fall through the cracks. However, small business teams can’t afford to skip steps in the automation process, especially in the sales funnel. After all, you pay to attract and capture leads, so when you lose them to a faulty sales funnel, you’re losing money.

This is why your sales funnel and its automations should be airtight in order to nurture leads into customers and move your business forward. How can you accomplish this? Customer journey mapping.

This requires you to take a good look at your customer journey and map out every single point to understand what your specific buyers’ process entails and which parts of it you can automate. Taking the time to do this early on means you will lose fewer leads along the way and maximize your lead capture efforts.

Tip #3: Flexibility is key

Problem: Software controlling the sales process

Solution: Adaptable software

Software shouldn’t be in the driver’s seat of the sales process, but many business automation and small business CRM platforms operate this way. This kind of software, the kind that influences what you can and can’t do in your customer journey, will end up limiting your growth and causing headaches for your team. Instead, software solutions should be able to accommodate and mold to any sales process. This is true whether you’re working with clients and setting them up with software in their marketing plans, using software for your own business or both.

The good news is there are business automation options out there that provide flexibility and allow you to leverage features for you or your clients, no matter what the sales pipeline looks like. Start by looking for software that has:

  • Prebuilt automation templates to get you started
  • The ability to build custom automation sequences outside the limits of a template

A platform with these two core features offers the best of both worlds — user-friendly, intuitive templates that will help you get the ball rolling and customized automations that can grow with you as you reach your goals and need more complex solutions.

The cornerstone of it all

These tips hit close to home for me because I’ve implemented them myself and have seen the growth they’ve helped me achieve. It’s my job and passion to help small businesses automate their sales processes to attract qualified leads and convert them into clients. But what makes the difference in my job and those of the business owners I work with is the software we implement.

Software isn’t everything, but it is a helpful tool for you and your team, and it’s a necessary part of automating your business. It helps you save time, money and stress. That’s why these tips all hinge on the business automation software you choose to use.

Don’t trudge through 2024 with a less-than-best software. If you’re in the market for one that will support your team and help you scale, try Keap’s 14-day free trial and see what it can do for your business.

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