However, just because a process CAN be automated, doesn’t mean that it SHOULD be automated.
So, how do you figure out how and what you should automate, and what the effect will be on your bottom line?
How can you automate something, if you don’t know how it works?
Why do people take their cars to a mechanic? Because the mechanic is an expert on the complex systems involved in making the car work as it should. In order to have an opportunity to automate your business processes via technology, you need to fully understand the process end-to-end, where all of the decision points are, and how changes in one part of the system will affect other sections.
What is the easiest way to visualize these business processes? Create a process map!
You don’t necessarily need lots of fancy symbols or expensive software to create one – they can be as simple as a few text boxes in a PowerPoint presentation, like this example that shows how an Account Executive may handle a new business demo lead that has been assigned to them from a Business Development Representative:
Basic Account Executive Process
Remember – it doesn’t need to be pretty, as long as it clearly communicates the information and decision points for the entire process. Once you have a process mapped out, you can visualize inefficiencies in the system, and determine if there’s an opportunity to automate part or all of the process.
Now that we know how the process works, how do we figure out what to automate?
Why automate, if it doesn’t solve a problem?
When it comes to utilizing automation for maximizing revenue, problem identification is key. What is the pain point that you’re trying to solve for, and how do you expect automation to solve for it? Working through a problem solving framework will help you to identify the issues, people involved, and determine and implement a solution. What do those steps look like?
- Problem Identification: What is the biggest pain point, who is involved, and which systems?
- Brainstorm the Solution: Research the system capabilities, and brainstorm potential solutions.
- Make Predictions: What will happen, either positive or negative, if you implement the solution?
- Test Your Ideas: Build a prototype, and test it in a sandbox. Does it behave as expected?
- Evaluate: Was the solution effective, and did it solve the problem? What went right or wrong?
- Present Your Results: Present to the stakeholders, and seek feedback. Are any changes necessary? If so, start back at step 1, and run through the problem solving framework again.
Just because you can automate a process, doesn’t mean that you should. We don’t want to automate for automation’s sake! However, the tool you choose is just as important as the problem you’re trying to solve.
What happens when you use the wrong tool for the job?
Have you ever tried to cut a tomato with a claw hammer? Rather than getting uniform tomato slices for your sandwich, you just wind up with a squishy mess. Does that mean that the claw hammer wasn’t a good one? Nope. Was the tomato bad? No again. So why didn’t things work right when we tried to put them together?
It’s simple. The claw hammer was the wrong tool for the job.
The same thing goes when trying to choose the right piece of business technology to automate marketing processes.
Using the live chat bot on the corporate website to try to send a complex series of nurture emails to a prospect will most likely result in disaster. However, Pardot’s Engagement Studio is a solution that’s just right for the task!
Pardot’s Engagement Studio allows marketers to build responsive, intelligent, lead nurturing programs that engage prospects at the right time during their customer journey. At the click of a button, you can create steps to complete an action, set a trigger to listen for a specific event, or create rules to determine which path a prospect should take.
In the Engagement Studio program, you’ll be able to see how prospects are moving through each step, and ensure that the right actions are taking place at the perfect time.
Now that we’ve determined the problem and how to choose the right solution for implementing a solution, we need to measure the impact on our revenue.
What type of ROI do we expect to see?
There are two main types of data benefits that we may see once an automated technological solution is implemented – qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative data seeks to describe a topic more than measure it, and may include items like increased customer satisfaction, and what a prospect’s attitude might be.
Quantitative data is structured and statistical, focusing on verifiable numbers instead of feelings. Prior to implementation, be sure to collect benchmarks to compare changes against. This will allow you to determine whether you’ve seen a positive or negative impact on your ROI due to the automation.
Now it’s time to make a data driven decision! Keep the following in mind:
- Metrics are not enough – collect the right metrics. Ensure that you’re collecting the metrics that will allow you to make data driven decisions.
- Having more metrics is not always better. Don’t get number paralysis – focus on the important metrics that take a reasonable amount of time to collect and analyze.
- Don’t make value judgements on volume metrics. Quality over quantity is critical here.
- Don’t assume the numbers tell the whole story. The most important part of sharing metrics is the story you tell to make sense of them!
- Understand that your metrics may change over time. Good metrics now don’t always equal good metrics later. Re-evaluate the metrics you’re gathering and analyzing regularly to ensure you’re looking at the most relevant numbers.
Maximize Revenue with Technology and Automation
So, how can you make more money with technology and automation? By getting to know your processes and procedures, you can eliminate unnecessary steps, and automate steps to decrease the amount of necessary manual work that needs to be done.
You also have a problem solving framework at your fingertips, to employ whenever you see a pain point arise. Now that you understand how to determine the right tool for the job, you can more fully utilize your technology stack to the company’s benefit.
And finally, we are also able to measure the effectiveness of any automation and technological changes via qualitative and quantitative analysis, which will allow you to make the best data-driven decision for your company to maximize revenue.
To learn more information about Engagement Studio in Pardot, visit Trailhead, and check out the Pardot Engagement Studio for Pardot Lightning App badge.