Complete Guide to Workflow Automation for 2023
Automation is not an option anymore. Instead, businesses need to automate repetitive tasks so their staff can focus on creative things, like team bonding, lead nurturing, etc.
Workflow automation is something that’s confusing and technical. Not many businesses know where and how to start automating their workflow.
So, to address this issue, we have compiled this guide to help businesses see how to do workflow automation in the right ways.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation means automating manual processes or tasks based on a pre-defined set of rules or conditions. It assists you in reducing the use of resources and time, as well as the likelihood of human-made errors. As a result, it boosts a company's overall efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
Every business has the same goal: to increase sales and profitability. Many activities, such as sending custom emails or following up with a potential lead, require you to repeat a task several times while running business processes. At times, achieving these objectives at the right time can be difficult, especially when dealing with functions that are handled manually by employees. It is where workflow automation comes in handy.
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How Does Workflow Automation Works?
According to studies, the business automation can save 60% of employees' 30% time. Regarding workflow management, it is always preferable to use a comprehensive workflow automation tool to automate both extern al and internal workflows in a more personalized manner.
For example, the external workflow includes lead nurturing, whereas the internal workflow includes assigning various tasks to the business sales team based on rotating leads using sales automation software.
Aside from lowering overall business costs, workflow automation can help employees avoid wasting energy on simple daily tasks like following up on leads, freeing them up to perform more productive and essential tasks.
Why Must You Automate Your Mundane Tasks?
Workflow automation can help businesses in many ways, such as:
Internal workflow automation helps in the simplification of task workflows. Furthermore, human touchpoints are reduced, increasing efficiency by performing functions in a short period using human intelligence.
When business workflows are automated, teams no longer waste time performing repetitive tasks or waiting for approvals from higher management teams. Several processes also can be tracked in real-time, allowing for better time management and higher performance and productivity.
It is human nature to make mistakes when performing manual processes that involve processing large amounts of data, especially when performing repetitive tasks. With workflow automation, there will be no or fewer errors, increasing the accuracy of consumer data being handled.
Responses are also automated with workflow automation, which improves response time in cases of follow-ups or status updates. In addition, it improves communication and collaboration among various teams in multiple departments within the organization.
Workflow automation narrates multiple tasks and assigns the steps that each team member must complete. This increases employee accountability for their role in a specific process.
Automating soul-crushing, boring, and labor-intensive processes allows the manual workforce to focus on more creative tasks to improve their skill set. It also harbors a better collaborative and accountable workplace culture.
Which Process Can You Automate in Your Organization?
Workflow automation can be used in almost any team or business scenario. While it is most commonly associated with marketing and sales, it can also be found in customer service, operations, human resources, and finance.
Let’s see which departments and tasks you can automate today:
Sales workflow automation
Sales workflow automation automates time-consuming lead and prospect management tasks, allowing reps to focus on selling rather than data entry. Aside from moving leads through the pipeline automatically based on their actions, an automated sales workflow can update deal stages as the deal progresses. But, for that, you need the best sales automation platform.
Sales tasks that you can automate are:
● A lead is assigned to a different pipeline stage when it takes a specific action
● If a lead has stopped responding to emails, remove them from the pipeline
● After the lead has scheduled an appointment, the deal stage is updated
● After a lead has scheduled a meeting, create tasks for sales reps
Marketing workflow automation
Workflow automation can automate some of the most repetitive marketing tasks, such as sending emails and posting social media updates. For example, you can use marketing automation software to schedule your entire social media calendar and set up workflows that nurture specific types of prospects with email offers.
Marketing tasks that you can automate are:
● Dividing marketing responsibilities among team members
● Lead management throughout a buyer journey
● Customer database management to access the right information
Customer service workflow automation
Workflow automation is highly beneficial in customer service automation. In addition to launching surveys, it can handle tickets, cases, and common questions by sending emails or creating tasks.
Customer service tasks that you can automate are:
● When someone contacts you via social media or email, you should create a new ticket in the system
● Depending on the urgency and lead value, assigning tickets a priority label
● Once a resolution has been reached, tickets are resolved and archived
Operational workflow automation
The lifeblood of any organization is operations, which you can also easily automate to reduce instances of manual data entry.
Operations tasks that you can automate are:
● Managing new team members' team permissions
● Setting priorities for various business processes
● Reports are automatically compiled at the end of each quarter
Human Resources workflow automation
Instead of manually entering all of your new hires' personal information, such as addresses, tax details, and other employee information, HR automation software can do it for you in minutes.
Human resource tasks that you can automate are:
● Candidates who have been inactive for an extended period are removed from the database
● Filtering candidates based on specific keywords in their job history
● Collecting feedback from employees after they've been with the company for a while
Financial workflow automation
Finance automation software can streamline your travel requests, reimbursements, and budget approvals by allowing you to create forms, design workflows, and track processes.
Finance tasks that you can automate are:
● Taking an expense approval process from beginning to end
● Managing contract and vendor approvals
● Managing travel expense requests based on location and activity Approval of budgets based on a set of parameters
How to Automate Your Workflow?
Automating workflow requires proper planning and strategizing. You can’t simply jump into wagons to automate your workflow. You must follow these steps to automate your business operations:
Step 1. Set up a process manager
This person must have the authority to alter existing workflows. As you plan your business workflow, you will undoubtedly encounter situations that require a clear definition that did not previously exist.
Do vacation days get updated on January 1st or the date of hire? If such situations do not already have documentation, the process owner must be able to clarify them. One unintended consequence of automating a process is that it becomes much more defined than it was previously.
Step 2. Define your automation purpose
Keep in mind the goal of your automation. Do you want to save time? Spend less money? Better item tracking? Cut down on paper forms? Remove more work from someone's plate? Don't try to do everything; stay focused on your automation purpose.
Step 3. Focus on the past
Inquire with the process owner about how this workflow was previously managed. Has anything significant changed in the last year or two? Why? Workflows frequently involve office politics and departmental boundaries, so don't make any assumptions you're not certain about.
Step 4. Draw a workflow diagram
At this point, don't be concerned about rejections or exceptions. Simply map out the flow, and 95% of the items will fall into place. Next, consider whether you'll need parallel workflows or if you'd like to include conditional tasks.
Keep your workflow as simple as possible. You can always add tasks later if necessary, but a shorter workflow increases your chances of success. First, input the data into your workflow management software.
Step 5. Collect information about the manual process
The best way to demonstrate your automation's effectiveness is to compare it to the manual version. How many people are there? How long does the whole thing take? It will be challenging to demonstrate that your automation is making a difference without precise control data.
Step 6. Consult with all parties involved in the workflow.
Inquire with each task owner about the specific information they want to see. Don't overwhelm people with too much information than they need to know.
Step 7. Run the workflow automation test.
Testing is a crucial step in determining automation success. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) cycles can be used to identify bugs or problems so that they can be fixed.
Step 8. Prepare the workforce
Training the existing workforce on how to use workflow software is also critical. A sudden transition from manual processes to workflow automation can be difficult for them, increasing the likelihood of resistance on their part. As a result, give them adequate training on the new automated system and consider their feedback during the decision-making process.
Step 9. Key performance indicators should be measured
The built-in workflow analysis features can aid in the improvement of your workflow. You will learn what went wrong and what went well by analyzing continuous performance and workforce feedback. You can boost productivity this way.
Complete Workflow Automation Solution: TrackOlap
TrackOlap is a business automation software that can automate all your operations. Be it sales, HR, or customer service; we have all the right solutions to automate your business.
We use sales automation software to track your reps' performance and manage leads in real time. There we also have customer service software to provide excellent helpdesk solutions. Besides this, sales CRM, field management, and many other tools are available under the TrackOlap flagship.
So, Book a free demo with our team today and fully automate your workflow in no time.