How To Rock With Automation In Your Software Programs

Business Process Management requires workflow automation software

It’s always crunch time in the world of Association and Nonprofit leaders: time to drive membership, mission, & sustainability. In this article, I cover workflow automation features which may bring extreme value to your Nonprofit or Association.

“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” – David Packard

Insight is Everything in Attracting An Audience 

I know few Associations that have enough staff to continuously and thoroughly sort out which strategy has worked (and which has not worked) on a personalized level for every prospect segment in terms of timing and content. I believe that most would agree that it’s important to know which of your marketing strategies has worked (and which failed) for which segment of your prospective members. Don’t you?

But, do you have the capabilities to do it? Here is the good news. Many marketing automation software programs have built in workflow automation features which can do the analytics and workload of many staff members. They have the power to provide those key data points, and more to bring your data to life.

Why Workflow Automation Works 

Why automate business processes? According to Act-On, a marketing automation software technology, it offers these benefits for bringing your prospects on board through scheduled programs:

  • It ensures that the rubber meets the road: it automatically aligns what you say with who your prospects are and their level of interest in your Association.
  • It employs “if-then” logic to follow up with prospects using messages that speak to each prospect in a personalized and appropriate way based on their previous interactions with your Association or Nonprofit.
  • It keeps your other strategic marketing steps in play while it churns out more effective campaigns to land new leads.

Business Process Management is a Blessing

Today, I believe that workflow automation features should be paramount in all software selection projects not just marketing automation programs. This includes CRM, AMS, and even Community Software too.

Simply put, I do not believe that setting up automated workflow programs to run on their own should not be relegated to just “attracting” new constituents to your community (the tribe).

One of the key things to remember with any software expenditure is that staff should think about “what’s in it for me”. Nonprofits are all about the member and donor experience. But, quite frankly, new technology introduced to the organization should not kill your staff’s ability to get things done.

I realize this shouldn’t be the case. But, many systems are there to simply store information. In other words, the data is dead and the system requires heavy lifting to get the software to become a living breathing entity with value to the staff, members, and executive team.

Workflow automation capabilities will allow your team see technology as a blessing and not a curse. Why? Because it’s going to make them look really good!

In short order, programming automation workflow will allow your staff and organization see the value because:

  • It cuts time staff now spends on creating marketing campaigns; your campaigns now can run “on autopilot” with your specifications in place.
  • It facilitates and speeds up the analysis your leadership team can perform to gain a deep insight into your marketing program by reviewing what approach is working well for which prospects, and what marketing approach needs tweaking.

Timing and Content are King and Queen for Landing Prospective Members

“As you’ve noticed, people don’t want to be sold. What people do want is news and information about the things they care about.” – Larry Weber

I would add that timing the delivery of your news and information matters, too. Prospects pondering membership or donations are much more likely to act if you are using varying platforms to provide a stream of new reasons, stories, and/or testimonials that are compelling and relevant to each prospect.

  • An automated marketing program excels at offering those extra touch points without manually developing them each time you want them delivered.
  • Messages can be targeted and delivered on time and with particular relevance.
  • With workflow automation rules you can improve staff time and productivity.
  • Engage members with the right information at the right time in their journey with your organization.

“The key ingredient to a better content experience is relevance.” – Jason Miller

Workflow Automation to Engage and Delight Members Too

In order to keep members continually delighted and engaged in your brand or community, you should demand software which helps you continually delight once they become a member, donor, or customer too. Let’s take a look at one example found within an online community software leader, Higher Logic.

Within their community software, workflow automation rules can be used to help set up automated workflow for your new member campaigns. You can set up automation rules and programs to feed your new members with relevant information as they join an organization so that they quickly see the value of becoming a member. Let’s take a look an example work flow which may be accomplished:

  1. Sign up to become a member via the CRM or AMS
  2. Schedule an email to have the member update their profile information
  3. Day 7 the system sends out an email to check in on them because they have not been back to their website
  4. 2 weeks out the community software sends out an email because their is no profile picture
  5. 4 weeks out the community software is scheduled to send out an email because they have not posted anything

Attracting new members simultaneously via marketing automation software and engaging your members at the right time with community software is  truly remarkable.

Ready to set up your Automated Workflow Programs?

If you do not have the ability to rope in new prospective members cost efficiently and effectively or continually delight them by engaging them too, perhaps your software needs updating.

Workflow automation capabilities should be viewed as a must have in all your platforms today. Unfortunately, I believe that a lot of software systems purport to be able to do this but simply don’t. If you are looking for a software solution and not just a piece of software to store data, dig deeper beyond simple features to what they system will do without user intervention.

Contact us and ask the questions that arose as you read this article. You’ll be wowed at the difference an automated system can make as you drive membership and revenue growth.

Free Software Advice for nonprofits

How Workflow Automation can bring your Database to life

If your database is lacking automation, get rid of it!

It often amazes me with regards to everything a nonprofit does. It seems as if every department within any association or non-profit, big or small, is responsible for tons of tasks. If you are a Membership Director, for example, you manage direct reports, monitor their progress, handle members, manage their retention, and a plethora of other daily tasks. And that’s just one department! In this article, I tackle how software can be used to help improve the manner in which you provide services and reach your mission.

Workflow Automation may bring your database back!

To help make your jobs easier, associations and nonprofits should consider investing in databases which provide measurable business process automation. Workflow Automation (aka Business Process Management or BPM) can automate virtually any manual process, driving error and inefficiency out of your nonprofit.

Imagine an all-in-one “Swiss Army Knife” solution that offers, alerting, workflow, and EDI; and enables you to seamlessly integrate your accounting system with e-commerce, marketing automation, website, and CRM, Membership System, or Donor Management System.

Overall, there are many benefits to consider and the opportunities to bring a database to life are plentiful today. However, generally speaking,  here are a few broad areas to consider in terms of benefits:

Automating your Processes 

First, workflow automation allows you to free up your staff. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need them anymore – automating human tasks just means that employees will actually be able to do their job much more efficiently. For example, instead of having to spend hours or even full days keying in membership data, a few simple steps will be all that they have to do in order to complete the membership enrollment process. Instead of mindlessly generating Emails all day, the membership department can focus on other efforts that benefit your company, like implementing membership recruitment strategies that can lead your company into the future.

Increased Productivity

Second, and tied very closely to the first benefit of automating every day company duties, is the fact that once you begin the development of a self-service infrastructure to automate the delivery of information, you’ll see an increase in both productivity and profit. Not only are your employees free to get more done thanks to automating daily duties, they’ll also be more motivated to work. When people feel like they’re really accomplishing goals, they have more moral. And since they’ll get more done in the same amount of time, you’ll get more for your money. Plus, automating the generation and distribution of documents will flow to all the company’s stakeholders and provide greater precision. This will also empower stakeholders to request and receive information without employee intervention.

Precision and Efficiency 

This leads us to the third major benefit of automation –That precision makes a huge difference. If you take the steps to automatically launch processes that otherwise would consume hours of your staff time and attention, you’ll notice big differences in acceleration of tasks getting accomplished. And along with precision comes simplicity.  Not to mention the rate of error drops tremendously when automating, and you’ll be able to help your company avoid any issues that may arise in the future, in some cases without even realizing it.

Workflow Automation Software Tools 

While it might seem like an expensive proposition, the truth is that it’s not in comparison to what it may do for you. Even if your main database software doesn’t inherently have spectacular workflow automation features, you could benefit from a 3rd party tool too. Software programs like Task Centre — a software program that will allow workflow automation within many CRM software to occur to help elevate workloads in all departments is worthy of consideration.

Have you heard of the term, “Zap it”. Probably not. Well, this comes from a tool called Zapier. Zapier is a workflow automation software tool which connects the web apps you may use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks. With Zapier, you can integrate task like following up on credit card fails, automating email follow ups, or updating new contacts or fields into your database. In addition to Zapier, many like tools such as ItDuzzit.com or Cazoomi which all may add tremendous value itegrating and automaing disparate databases.

When you evaluate software, place a keen eye on how the system responds and reacts to data changes. How does it improve your workflow out of the box? You should expect workflow automation in any system worthy of investing in today. If done well, it is one investment that can help lead your nonprofit into the future, and one aspect of software that you shouldn’t ignore.

For the best suggestions for workflow processes and software options you may consider, we may be able to help. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Software Advice for Nonprofits