Automation is the future of business. If companies invest in it now, their business will prosper for years. In an always-connected world, no company is immune to the possibilities of automation. It allows you to do the things you love faster and better than ever with minimal fuss. There are eight systems that businesses can integrate into their processes today. Each has its unique benefits, so your company is only limited by your imagination.
1. Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management software is perhaps the most common business automation form. It allows you to keep track of your customers and opportunities and build and manage relationships with them from anywhere. Essentially, it’s a database that allows you to track contacts, manage their relationships with your company, and keep up-to-date on their status.
CRM software builds a lead database, creates sales processes, and generates reports. It is a good piece of software that gets integrated with other systems. A good CRM system is Salesforce, which is free for up to two users. It has new features added all the time, so it is always worth having.
2. Customer Service
Customer Service software allows you to build and manage customer service interactions anywhere. It can help you find the best time and place for each interaction and keep track of the history and action items for each customer on your list.
It used to manage those customer service representatives who pull the taffy with callers. Captivate is an interesting option that integrates with Salesforce.com and allows you to send surveys, make notes, and manage by phone. It’s not very difficult to set up and use, so it’s worth looking at.
3. Inventory Management
The inventory system may seem a simple part of your business. It serves as a system for keeping track of your inventory in different locations and as a safety net when something happens to your physical inventory.
It lets you see when your stocks run out and replenish them automatically. There are plenty of options available, but one is VendHQ which has a free and paid version. I went with the paid version because it’s easier to use with Amazon and eBay if you have those integrated.
4. Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise Resource Planning systems are used by big businesses for everything from managing inventory to planning budgets and forecasting future goals. In essence, it combines all the tasks involved in running a business into one database that multiple users can access.
They can be integrated into your company’s daily workflow, and help you plan, organize and keep track of company progress. There are a few to choose from, but one that I would recommend is NetSuite. There are free and paid versions, so choose the one that fits your company’s needs.
5. Expense Report Software
Expense reports are a necessary part of any project, and it would be ideal if they weren’t so time-consuming. Expense report software automates this process, allowing you to enter expenses more efficiently and with less contact from your team members.
It also tracks the time and assigned cost of various projects. These tools allow you to keep better tabs on your business finances and save time. Web2Expense and Kajabi are two tools that I use in our office. It doesn’t cost much to set up and use, so I recommend giving it a look.
6. Market Research
Market research is better understanding your clients, customers, and competition to make better decisions. This software allows you to make decisions based on research, which saves time in the long run.
A good example is SurveyGizmo which has free and paid versions. The free version does everything you need for rapid feedback and surveys for one market research project.
7. Project Management
Project management software keeps track of teams, tasks, milestones, and due dates in one place. It means you always know where each project is in development and how much work has got completed.
Gantt Charts are the most popular tool for managing projects and tasks. You can use it to manage your day, month-end, and year-end. You can easily draw Gantt Charts using Excel or other spreadsheet software. You can also build charts similar to AutoCAD Gantt Charts in AutoCAD.
8. Sales Tracking Software
Sales tracking software keeps track of your marketing efforts and displays them in visual, actionable reports. It makes it easier to see where you can improve your sales process and give you a data-driven action plan.
A good option for sales tracking is Powersports Dealer Management System which tracks the sales in a business. It has everything you need to know about your leads and sales, so it’s worth a look.
Managing a business can be challenging, but software makes it much easier. You can get started today with some of these tools and see the benefits of automation in your business. There are many ways to automate your business processes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new tools.