According to Sales Force’s Small and Medium Business Trends Report, automation is helping small businesses thrive, while those not embracing automation are struggling. As part of the report, Salesforce Research surveyed 500 small business owners representing companies with less than 200 employees. The study found that small businesses automating their processes are 1.6-times more likely to be growing than those that are not.
This report shows that while automation is often heralded as a destroyer of small businesses, it can actually help them succeed. In particular, automation is a component in helping small businesses scale. Traditionally, small businesses looking to scale had to invest in people and processes, but automation helps businesses scale largely without those encumbrances.
Overall, automation can help small businesses by taking tasks that were previously done manually, such as customer information management and data analytics, and streamlining them. Here are three areas where automation can improve internal efficiency for small businesses.
Sales and Marketing
New innovations in the marketing world are allowing small businesses to automate repetitive tasks, giving them the ability to reach a wider audience and increase sales. Marketing automation software allows small businesses to reach customers on multiple channels, like email, social media and websites. Implemented effectively, it can help small businesses generate new leads and allow them to act on leads more easily. Along with automation, analytical tools increase visibility into customer behavior and action, which can help small businesses adapt their marketing campaigns to better reach their potential customers and convert these leads to sales.
Finance and Accounting
According to a recent report by software company Xero, 72 percent of small businesses continue to rely on human accountants despite advancements in automated accounting technology. But automation in the finance and accounting sectors is growing exponentially and for small businesses in particular, automating these processes can free up resources. Recently there have been a number of technological advancements in payment processing. These new softwares speed up processing times and reduce costs. They also eliminate the need for manual accounting as payments are tracked automatically.
Automation can be used by human resource departments to streamline the talent acquisition process. According to a recent report by Ideal, a recruitment automation company, the processes human resources officers would most like to see automated are interview scheduling, background and reference checking, analytics/measurement, and sourcing candidates. New software programs have been created to handle inbound talent searches. And new tech like chatbots and artificial intelligence is even being used to interact with candidates. Artificial intelligence alone is currently being used in job postings, sourcing, candidate rediscovery and resume screening. Companies are utilizing this technology to conduct interviews and evaluate candidate behavior. Automation can also help throughout the hiring process with applicant tracking.
By automating different sectors of their operations, small businesses can increase efficiency and focus valuable resources in other areas that allow them to grow and thrive.
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