One of the great benefits of automating business processes with a CRM is the literal evaporation of bottlenecks. How does that happen?
A good CRM (Contact Relationship Management) supports standardizing and streamlining Business Processes. I use Infusionsoft because I am a Certified Partner and know the standardizing, streamlining, and automating of business processes is built right in.
How does that evaporate bottlenecks?
Bottlenecks are usually about data validation
Someone is assigned to, or feels they must personally, review:
- every order to be sure it is complete with all required details
- every price calculation in every order to be sure the calculation is correct
- every tax calculation
- every shipping cost calculation
- every sale agreement to be sure the correct terms and conditions are included
- every contract to be sure all signatures are in place
I am sure you could add to this list from your own experience. The stated goal is to be sure everything is done right. Often the definition of right exists mostly in someone’s mind and not on paper anywhere.
When a business starts identifying and automating business processes defining how a process is “done right” is an inescapable part of the process. Functional automated business processes must include specific language describing how the process is best done. That is, the degree to which the process must be executed to be considered successful. “Done Right” gets not only defined, but written down and incorporated into the automation of the process
Here are a few examples:
- Automation of business processes builds component parts to incorporate the specifics of how tasks are successfully done.
- Order forms created in the software cannot be submitted without the required fields completed.
- Dropdown fields in forms of all kinds contain only the acceptable options. It is not possible to add a choice not on the list.
- The automation software does calculations so there are never calculation errors.
- Product setup, Order Form setup, and all other e-Commerce options guarantee that all costs are included, and subsets of calculation are correct.
- Tax and Shipping calculation is built into the software or handled by a tax/shipping software integrated into the CRM, so it is always correct.
- The creation of standardized email and document templates like contracts, including required fields and merge fields, assure correct components are included.
- Use of external plug-ins like document-signing software allows a digital way to collect required signatures that can be tracked.
Bottlenecks are also about information power and kingdom-building
If the boss is the bottleneck it is often about lacking trust in staff members. The automation build-out reassures the boss that no one will give away the store. It becomes obvious that no one’s carelessness will drive the business into bankruptcy.
If the bottleneck is a staffer consolidating power, they will certainly recognize early on that basing their power on quality-checking every document is no longer viable. Support them in letting go of the quality-checker role by reminding them they will have more time for tasks they enjoy.
Business Process Automation using a CRM makes information available to any staffer who needs it 24/7. The power of information is distributed throughout the organization. The dynamic of the business may well change, and for the better.
Bottlenecks tend to evaporate without drama
Automated Business Processes reference existing business goals and mission. They have no reason to exist outside of supporting business goals and mission.
This practice settles many objections to standardizing tasks without drama. Even if every staffer has their own way of doing a task, their way must pass the test of being the best way to accomplish a given goal. If their way is not the best way to support the mission of the business, it becomes obvious without unpleasantry. It is all about focusing the automation project on how best to achieve the mission and goals of the business.
The bonus here is documenting for everyone the standards for successful completion of standardized tasks. Often staff feel they understand how to complete work successfully for the first time. System generated reports allow everyone to see how well the automated, standardized, and streamlined business processes are working.
Automating Business Processes is a very effective way to bring more structure to a business without suppressing staff motivation. The result is a more cohesive identity inside the business. Staff members appreciate the assurance standardized templates and campaigns give them that they are doing things the best way. Tasks are better defined, staff roles are better defined, everyone is happier.
Best of all, no one must pry control out the anyone’s hands or create elaborate workarounds to avoid an unpleasant co-worker.
The bottleneck doesn’t have to be defeated – it evaporates.
Hi! I am Barbara Jones, owner and Chief Strategist at Small Business Automation. I write on topics related to automating a small business and adult/staff training. I am a Certified Keap Partner and Memberium Partner. I publish a weekly newsletter on Infusionsoft by Keap. If you would like to be on the mailing list, click here.