The right tools and technology can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining your competitive edge, positioning your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) for growth and doing more with less in today’s changing business environment.
You could buy one-off software to help relieve certain pain points as they arise. However, one of the recommended best practices for technology industry SMBs is to use an end-to-end solution, such as a professional services automation (PSA) software or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, that automates your entire business.
But how do you know when to make that leap to an end-to-end solution? Here are 10 signs that your technology SMB is ready for a turnkey business automation software:
Core processes are not practiced by all
One of the biggest challenges in business is the lack of standardization. Your business has core processes, but they are not standardized across departments. A standard procedure makes the process more efficient and improves customer satisfaction. Finding business automation software that will assist you in the effort is crucial to your future success as you grow. This is typically found in workflow management.
You lack a staffing back up plan
Staffing continuity is important in maintaining your workflow day to day. However, you must plan for those cases when that primary staff member is unavailable for any reason. Business automation software allows you to store pertinent information that can be retrieved by anyone. Being able to provide assistance or interventions with current customer information will provide a positive customer experience.
Internal communication is erratic
A common and huge issue with any business process is miscommunication. Miscommunication can impact the end result of processes both big and small. Using internal communication tools provided through software automation technology can improve workforce communications and productivity. For instance, incorporating automation helps to simplify process workflows, which in turn creates clear data and messaging for all to use in customer interactions.
Individuals are not directly accountable
Accountability is a critical factor to improve the efficiency of the team and the process. It is essential that each task in the process has an owner and a timeframe for completion. If you attempt to manage the workflow manually, it’s hard to hold someone accountable for every step. An automated workflow is the only way to resolve accountability for individuals.
Tasks are falling into a black hole
To ensure that your processes are on track and moving toward completion of your goals, you need to be able to see the status of any request at any time. In a manual process, you must check with many individuals and wait for answers. Business automation software allows you to see the status of any item at any time. Managers are able to manage those tasks to completion and report on their status at a moment’s notice. In fact, anyone will be able to monitor the progress, which allows for greater visibility.
Your customers are complaining about their service experience
Automation provides easy access to ticketing information and creates more time to deliver quality customer service experience. Accuracy of information and continuity of the customer experience are enhanced with automation software.
You do not have the measures to monitor your business
Business automation will allow you to collect data on a regular basis. The time you currently spend manually collecting data — such as populating Excel spreadsheets — can be spent analyzing the results. This is a much more productive use of your time. More sophisticated programs will enable you to create the reports you need on the data you want to include.
Your sales cycle is too long
Most likely you are manually tracking your sales, which creates multiple delays and involves time-consuming tasks. Automating the sales pipeline uses technology to improve your sales results. This saves time and money — both of which are invaluable resources.
It takes days to process invoices
If you are manually sending out invoices, you need to stop. Business automation software eliminates the manual work and shortens your billing cycles. Eliminating paper frees your accounting team to focus on exceptions and financial reporting.
You still operate with paper
Business automation software should be able to give you an enhanced version of your paper form. It should allow you to maintain digital records and track and report them easily. Automation provides consistency, the ability to search for information and an easy way to track and store the information you are gathering.
Taking the next step
In the end, business automation software will:
- Save time with billing and sales
- Minimize manual tasks
- Increase efficiencies both within tasks and throughout company-wide workflow
- Create continuity in communication and reduce human error
- Provide cost savings
- Increase customer satisfaction
Because business automation lets your team focus on more business planning and solving problems, you will grow your business’ effectiveness and improve your efficiencies. This in turn grows your customer satisfaction and keeps your business moving forward.