I write and speak a lot about the economy and although there have been plenty of economic challenges facing small businesses over the past few years the largest — and longest lasting — has been our dire need for people. As I write this there is an unprecedented 11 million open jobs, mostly from smaller companies. Everyone is looking for good talent but, for many reasons, that talent is hard (and sometimes expensive to come by).
So if you’re a small business what do you do when you can’t find enough people? You automate. And if you have a good CRM application like Bigin, you can leverage its automation tools to do the things that people aren’t around to do so you can get more done with your existing workforce.
You do this by utilizing Bigin’s Workflow Rules. These rules allow you to create “if-then” scenarios so that things automatically happen when something is triggered with no or very little human involvement.
For example, if a new lead comes in from Pennsylvania, a workflow rule may schedule a follow-up task (with a reminder) for the person in your office who handles Pennsylvania customers. If you import leads you accumulated on a spreadsheet at a conference or purchased externally you can configure a workflow rule to assign tasks to certain people and send automatic emails to those prospects.
But it’s not just about leads. It’s about existing customers too.
Wouldn’t you like to have a task assigned to you, or an email sent whenever a workflow rule discovers that an existing customer hasn’t had any engagement with your team in over 90 days? Or if a task is created and flagged as a critical service issue…wouldn’t you like to know about that too? Would it be nice to be quickly aware if a survey had negative comments or a less-than-satisfactory review of your services?
Operationally, workflow rules can be used to move processes along. When a document is received and entered into Bigin, a rule can be triggered to send a task to the next person in your company who needs to review it. When a deal is closed that involves inventory the person responsible automatically receives a task to place an order. If a customer is celebrating a birthday or a wedding anniversary how about a rule that sends an automatic email?
All of this can be done in a personalized, effective way with customized templates and specific scheduled tasks and meetings. And it can be done automatically with minimal human involvement. Which means that if you utilize Bigin’s workflow rules you can accomplish more things and provide a higher and faster level of service even though you have open positions that still need to be filled. You can get more work done with your existing team.
All of this, of course, needs reliable data. Because if your CRM system isn’t complete and accurate then you could be triggering actions based on the wrong information and that can lead to problems. My next blog will discuss data, and how even small business CRM systems like Bigin can help ensure that you’ve got a solid, reliable database to manage and grow your business.
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