Ready to pick your automation dream team? Here’s how.
Today's post comes from Michelle Lange, Chief Marketing Officer at Billhighway. Billhighway is a cloud-based financial management system designed for nonprofits and associations combining payment processing, accounting and online banking solutions in one application, allowing for straight-through financial processing.
Once upon a time, office automation meant purchasing a copy machine that collated, stapled, and printed in color. It meant equipment, hardware, and capital investment. Today, thanks to software as a service (SaaS) and the power of cloud computing, automating a small business or nonprofit is more about finding the right SaaS applications that will save you time and money.
Technology changes at the speed of light, and even though I work for a company that plays in the financial technology sandbox every day, we’re still always on the lookout for automation solutions that can help us work smarter so we can spend more time focusing on our customers.
When I first joined the Billhighway team a few years ago, we realized that many of our prospective clients used a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, whether they were a small business keeping track of clients, an association managing memberships, or a nonprofit cultivating donors. We knew that helping connect our customers’ payment processing data with their CRM could save them hours of manual data entry, so we surveyed the CRM players in the field.
There were plenty of excellent options out there, but Salesforce stood out as a near perfect fit for us. They were invested in cloud-based technology, just like we were. They were growing fast, just like we were. And they had a heart for doing good in the world, just like we do. Plus, many of our clients were already using Salesforce applications.
Now, not only do we partner with Salesforce on behalf of clients, we’re also Salesforce users. Salesforce now owns Pardot, our marketing automation tool. We use it to send out emails, conduct campaigns, and share best practices. It pulls information automatically from our Salesforce customer relationship data and feeds new information back in, so our data is always up-to-date.
Lesson One: Find automation partners that work out of the same playbook you do.
You’ll find yourself on the same page more often and will share many of the same core business values.
Another way we look to gain automation efficiency through technology is to make sure the engines that power our business are providing support at the level we need. After all, you wouldn’t use a garden hose to put out a fire or a jackhammer when you need a can opener.As Billhighway grew from processing hundreds of transactions a day to thousands of transactions, our needs changed. While less robust software worked in the early days, as volumes grew, we had to re-evaluate our needs.
In 2014, Brenda Gallick (our Team Member Success leader) and her team here at Billhighway surveyed the landscape of cloud-based software tools for the recruiting market. They found a product that would better support our own human resource needs.
“As our business grew and our recruiting needs increased, we realized the ‘stacks of resumes’ approach just wasn’t working,” said Brenda. “The Resumator offered a next-gen solution that addresses the recruiting volume while integrating with our existing systems".
Lesson Two: Right size your automation tools.
When you survey the options, consider both current and future needs. Look for an application that can grow with you in the long term.
One of the ways to decide where to automate first is to think about where your staff feels the pain most. Are they bogged down manually entering data when they’d rather be serving customers? Are managers losing sleep worrying about data security? Still trying to track projects on a whiteboard? Payroll giving your HR staff a headache?
Automating in those areas first can alleviate pressure that could lead to staff attrition and/or low morale. By finding a SaaS solution that streamlines processes, your employees will be able to work smarter and focus on what’s really important: growing your organization in creative new ways.
Lesson Three: Pay attention to the pain.
Replacing time-consuming tasks with automated technology solutions will elevate your entire team to the next level. If one of those pain points happens to be slow payment processing times and sluggish cash flow, come visit us at www.billhighway.co!
Are you ready to investigate marketing automation?