With all the hype this year about generative AI, it’s easy to neglect automation — the more established area of AI. Automation is a bit like delegation: there can be an upfront time cost to set up the process, but the payoff is huge when done effectively.
Being smart with automation in your business frees up time to focus on more strategic decisions, helping drive growth. And while the world is buzzing with AI advances, there are still many quick-win opportunities to better nail the basics. The key lies in identifying the right areas to automate.
With a few simple but powerful automations, you can enhance your customer experience, improve efficiency and keep your business flowing smoothly.
1. Automations to keep your data clean
Keeping your data clean is crucial for maintaining accurate and reliable information, enabling better decision-making and enhancing overall business performance. Failure to maintain clean data can lead to misinformed decisions, wasted resources and a negative impact on customer relationships.
But let’s face it: data cleaning is annoying. It’s a hassle. That’s why it’s better to set up automations and processes so it stays clean with little to no ongoing work:
- Copying information from record to record: Automates data consistency across related records by replicating changes made to one onto others.
- Triggers and alerts when deals stall out: Sends automatic alerts when a deal hasn’t progressed within a set timeframe, ensuring no deal is overlooked.
- Running duplicates: Regularly scans data for duplicate records and alerts for potential duplicates, maintaining data uniqueness.
- Removing old/expired data: Automatically removes or archives irrelevant or outdated data, keeping the database current and manageable.
- Purging unsubscribes: Automatically removes contacts who have unsubscribed, respecting user preferences and optimizing resource use.
- Scheduled data validation: Regularly checks data accuracy and updates, ensuring data reliability.
- Automated data standardization: Sets rules for data entry or transforms data into a standard format post-entry, promoting data uniformity.
- Integration of systems: Automates data consistency across multiple systems, enhancing data reliability.
- Automatic deletion of inactive records: Deletes or archives inactive records after a set period, maintaining data relevance.
- Real-time data cleaning: Cleans data upon entry by removing extra spaces, correcting typos, or validating emails, ensuring data accuracy.
By setting up these basic automations, you can save yourself a ton of time.
2. Confirmation of inquiries and messages
When a client or potential client reaches out with a query, you can set it up to immediately and automatically send a confirmation of receipt. This acknowledges that their message has been received and sets expectations for when they might receive a response.
This simple practice is often overlooked, but it presents a powerful opportunity to build trust and rapport. The period between when a message is sent and a response is received can be a gap of uncertainty for the sender. By leveraging automation to send a confirmation during this time, businesses can reassure the sender that their message is being attended to.
3. Welcome series for newsletters
Newsletters have taken off in the last few years and it’s not hard to see why. They’re a powerful tool for engagement. Automating a welcome series can significantly enhance the subscriber experience.
On signup, an automated sequence can introduce new subscribers to valuable content tailored to their interests based on the data they provided during the signup.
If detailed information wasn’t collected at sign-up, the automated sequence could include prompts for subscribers to share more about their preferences. For instance, a B2B marketing firm might automate a welcome series that introduces new subscribers to top-performing articles, invites them to upcoming webinars, or asks about their specific areas of interest to tailor future content.
Dig deeper: 6 must-have, underused email marketing automations
4. Customer satisfaction surveys
Let’s talk about satisfaction surveys. No, not the ones you get after every little interaction, we’ve all had enough of those. I’m talking about surveys sent at key moments in a client relationship. Imagine this: a customer has been with you for 30 days. They’re settling in, getting a feel for your service. That’s the perfect time to check in with an automated survey.
And let’s make it meaningful: mix in some open-ended questions, not just the usual rating scale. You can spot patterns and sentiments in their responses with some AI-based analysis. It’s about understanding their experience, not just collecting numbers.
Tools like HubSpot Service Professional can help you do just that, automating and managing this survey process. It’s all about making your surveys timely, relevant and, most importantly, valuable for your customer relationship.
5. Staying engaged with prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet
Keeping prospects engaged isn’t just about lead nurturing — it’s about staying top of mind. Consider using automation to add prospects to your advertising audience so they start seeing your brand as they browse online. Or scheduling tasks for your sales team to follow up months later.
Depending on their initial inquiry, you may enroll the prospect in tailored email drip campaigns. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here.
6. Sending appointment reminders
We’re all busy, and it’s easy for appointments to slip our minds. That’s where automated reminders come in. With platforms like HubSpot, you can set up the meetings tool to send reminders automatically before the meeting.
It’s a simple way to ensure your contacts don’t miss an important meeting and save them from potential embarrassment. To get the full details, check out HubSpot’s knowledge base section on the topic.
Making the most of these simple automations
Automation helps B2B organizations streamline processes, enhance customer experience and maintain efficiency. For our automations, we rely on HubSpot because it simplifies automation across marketing, sales, operations and customer service.
While MOps professionals may be far beyond some of these simple automations, you still need to periodically review your organization’s existing automations and ensure they’re still functioning effectively.
In many cases, the low-hanging fruit automations might not have been set up in the first place. Don’t let these opportunities fall by the wayside either — prioritize that upfront setup time for automation if you want to reap the benefits. Easy automations like the ones above can help turn an overworked and disorganized team into a thriving business.
Dig deeper: Automation and AI: The power to build true digital experiences
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.