January 2, 2017

How Business Process Automation Can Benefit Small and Medium Businesses

As your business grows, business process automation (BPA) becomes increasingly important. While it’s relatively simple to manually manage and enter your business processes as they occur with just a few customers, the same cannot be said for a growing business managing an increasing number of both customers and processes.

The key, then, is finding a software solution that allows you to automate the process. Keep reading to learn how business process automation can benefit both small and medium-sized businesses, along with the functions a reliable system should include to maximize these benefits.

6 Undeniable Benefits of Business Process Automation

1. Increased efficiency

Naturally, automating your business processes will increase the efficiency with which you can run your business. If you know that a number of essential functions will be taken care of in the background, you can focus your attention on marketing and other activities that help to grow your business.

As this collection of case studies shows, BPA consistently increased efficiency for businesses who embrace the concept. Everyday tasks require less human touches, which can be better focused elsewhere.

2. Reduced Labor and Time Commitment

Automating your business processes will take time initially. But after the transition, it will save both the labor and the time (and, ultimately, your budget) required for these tasks.

If, for example, you decide to automate your sales flow from lead to customer, your marketing and sales team can spend their time focusing on actual customer outreach instead of having to calculate lead qualifications to determine which contacts they should reach out to.

3. Customer-Centric Advantages

Ultimately, thanks to the above shift in priorities, BPA helps improve your ability to reach out and interact with your customers. That, in turn, will result in greater satisfaction by your audience, who will appreciate a more personal approach that is customized to their needs.

4. Cross-Departmental Benefits

Too often, BPA software like a Customer Relationship Management solution is viewed with limited scope. It is ultimately a sales tool, helping you automate and personalize your outreach.

But in reality, a number of other department and areas within your business can benefit as well. Marketing automation, for example, reduces the need to send emails to new and existing leads. Software like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also help you track HR processes, collect and sort documents, and manage orders from your suppliers. In short, it can benefit a number of departments within your growing business.

5. Consistency

When relying on manual business processes, consistency is almost impossible. Each employee will work on and complete these processes a little different from the other, making it difficult to come up with a set of universal rules and guidelines that apply to everyone in the process.

With BPA, that problem doesn’t exist. Every aspect of the automated process is identical to the ones preceding and following it. If you set up a singular lead scoring process, for example, each lead will be evaluated for its sales-readiness in the exact same way. Compare that to manual lead scoring, in which inexact value and quality judgments are almost necessarily involved.

6. Scalability

Finally, don’t underestimate the potential for scalability when automating your business processes. Ultimately, the goal for every business is growth. But as your business grows, can your sales, HR, ordering, and other processes keep up?

The positive effects of business growth are minimized if it also requires a significant uptick in budget and labor resources to keep up. Through business automation software, that’s not an issue. You only set up the automation once, regardless of how many entities and data points will end up flowing through the workflow. To stay with the above example, scoring 10 leads will take the exact same amount as scoring 1,000 leads.

Optimizing Your CRM for BPA 

Of course, you can only benefit from the above advantages of BPA if you find the right software for your needs, and set it up for success. From our years of experience in helping businesses accomplish their automated goals, we have found again and again that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the optimum solution to help you reach those goals.

As outlined by Microsoft, Dynamics can help you automate a wide variety of your business processes. The key, of course, is setting up the software in the way that actually allows you to benefit from them.

To automate your business processes in Dynamics, the software’s Workflows will become your new best friend. Here, you can set up a linear process that can accomplish anything from sending automated emails to changing contact properties or building an automated invoice. Simply set up a starting condition, then add individual steps – complete with ‘if-then’ conditional logic (called ‘check conditions’ within the software) and waiting times.

Of course, business processes are not always linear. Dynamics allows its business users to set up so-called ‘child workflows’, which branch off their parents for more complex tasks. You can, for example, segment your leads into a number of relatively homogeneous groups, and send out a variety of lead nurturing sequences to increase their chances of becoming sales-qualified.

It may sound complicated at first. As mentioned above, automating your business processes does require an initial set up process. Ideally, you should outline exactly what your manual processes entail, which allows you to strategically tackle each process for automation. And once you have a solid system set up within your CRM, you can begin to reap the numerous benefits that BPA brings.