How to Grow Your Business And Save Time With Automation
If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve felt more than a little overwhelmed by the seeming avalanches of paperwork that comes your way each day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
In fact, there is so much demand within the mortgage industry and beyond for a solution to streamline business processes that tech wizards have come up with software just to address this issue.
Automation programs reinvent the typical processes and workflows that can bog down many teams. It uses intelligent technology and in-depth domain expertise to reduce inefficiencies and create innovative, quick, and less resource-intensive ways of working. That’s a techy way of saying that software working behind the scenes helps to take repetitive, frequent tasks off your plate so you can put your energy into business scaling.
Automation software typically falls into two categories: general tools and industry-specific tools like Floify. General tools help with the business processes that most companies face, like interacting with customers, setting reminders, and even payroll.
While implementing automation software can be an initial investment, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial outlay. Here are just some of the many advantages of automation:
- Qualify and nurture leads faster
- Automate correspondence like initial dialing, emailing, and following up to save time
- Keep better, more detailed notes and records in your CRM
- Process paperwork quickly to close faster
Common Automation Tools and How They Work
When you think auto-dialer, don’t think of cheesy telemarketing. Instead, picture sitting down with your call list for the day, and instead of manually going through each one, waiting for it to ring through, and then leaving a voicemail every time, your automated dialer does the tedious work for you.
You can record a personalized and relevant voicemail to your day’s call list, and if a prospect doesn’t pick up, the automated dialer leaves your voicemail. If the lead does pick up, the call transfers to you, and everybody wins!
Call recording and notetaking
Call recording is a tool built into many call automation platforms and CRMs. Your mind might jump to the ‘big brother’ possibilities, but this functionality is a tool to enable you to provide advanced training to your sales team, help you to focus on sales, and protect your business in the case of a dispute.
Your tool may have built-in notetaking, or it may be available as an add-on. Notetakers and transcription tools can convert calls into notes so they can be logged in your CRM or database or used for personal organization.
The rise in popularity of e-signature is just short of a business miracle. Instead of you having to courier documents or clients having to come into your office just for one signature, e-signatures mean that all parties can sign something in minutes from wherever they are as long as they have internet.
E-signatures save you time on paperwork, allow you to process loans much faster, and result in happy customers that didn’t have to sit in traffic to pop into your office for two minutes.
You’ve likely heard multiple gripes from business owners about how email marketing didn’t work for them. The next time you hear a comment like that, ask what their segmentation looks like, how personalized their emails are, and what the frequency is. There’s a good chance that if they don’t see results from automated email marketing, one of those pieces is amiss.
Picture your group of prospects as a whole. They’re likely diverse in demographics, budget, location, etc. Segmenting your email groups by categories means you’ll send more relevant emails to the right audience. It’s true that if you have five segments, you’ll have to write five different emails, but it’s far better than writing 150 individual emails!
Getting leads is one thing, but qualifying them on a reasonable timeline can be challenging, automation can help. For example, you can set up an initial email sequence to gauge the overall interest of a prospective client and weed out spam. Once you have qualified a lead, you can set up a process to assign a lead to a specific salesperson based on various factors. Once the sequence is in place, future leads can automatically be handled this way, taking that processing time off your workload.
For businesses with the budget and bandwidth for social media, it can quickly become a full-time responsibility. Most social best practices will tell you to post multiple times daily to keep your business in front of clients’ eyes. While this may be a daunting task, a few different types of software can help make this easier:
- Social media management platforms can take a singular post and automatically cross-post it across all of your channels
- AI tools can help take existing content or a rough idea and reformat it into the proper length and tone for social
- Social listening tools can help you identify influential accounts in your vertical so you can follow, repost their content, and interact with others whose interests align with your product or service
Your website is one of the most important client-facing assets you have. It’s also a great opportunity to capture leads and convert users. An optimized website will do a better job of both of these actions, and automation can be a critical part of that system. This software allows you to seamlessly prompt users to take action on-site and even A/B test site changes to encourage more engagement.
A customer service chatbot is a program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet. These chatbots are used to provide customer service and support. It can be integrated into websites, mobile apps, and messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more. They can assist with tasks like answering frequently asked questions, scheduling appointments, and troubleshooting technical issues, among other things.
For more complex customer service needs, ticketing systems can also be a great way to receive, organize, and address inquiries promptly. Customer communications are submitted as tickets, similar to other types of helpdesk systems. This helps you keep better track of what customers are saying. It also helps ensure you resolve problems and can even help you quantify the effectiveness of your customer service through dashboarding.
Data entry automation is the process of using technology to automatically input data into a computer system rather than manually entering it. This can be done in various ways, including using optical character recognition (OCR) software to scan and convert printed or handwritten text into digital data, using machine learning algorithms to extract information from unstructured data, or integrating with other systems or databases to transfer data automatically.
Data entry automation can also be used to automate repetitive tasks such as data validation, data cleansing, and data formatting. For example, rules-based algorithms can be used to validate that data meets specific requirements, such as ensuring that a phone number is in the correct format or that a date is valid. Machine learning algorithms can also be used to identify patterns in data and make predictions, which can be used to improve the accuracy and efficiency of data entry.
Payroll can be automated with software by using a payroll system. A payroll system is a software program that automates the process of calculating, withholding, and distributing employees' pay and taxes. By automating these steps, a payroll system can improve the accuracy and efficiency of pay processing, reducing the risk of errors and saving time and resources.
As we discussed earlier, myriad industry-specific automation tools are built specifically for your business needs. Mortgage automation technology can also use artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) to find crucial consumer insights on loans, provide predictions upstream, or supply data-driven recommendations regarding loan terms.
AI does this by being able to process a far greater amount of data than even a whole team of people could. Instead of making decisions based on a real estate study with a sample population in the thousands (which would still be an extensive and expensive study), AI can give you similar insights from far greater population sizes.
What to Consider When Looking for Automation Solutions
When looking for automation for your business, there are several factors to consider:
Do your research
As you comparison shop for automation platforms, be sure to take advantage of the user reviews on non-biased platforms like Google or Trust Pilot. Automation software for digital lending has been around for long enough that you can take advantage of the learning experiences of other businesses, paving the way for your implementation to be as smooth as possible.
Remember, when you’re reading reviews, one negative review doesn't necessarily mean that platform is a dud. Be sure to weigh the recency of the review and look for good and bad patterns in reviews.
Plan around integration
All of your tools and processes will need to play nicely together to save time and help your business grow. With that in mind, think critically about whether an all-inclusive platform will be easier on your team than ad-hoc solutions. If you choose to implement multiple ad-hoc solutions, thoroughly discuss the integration process with the provider and any internal stakeholders.
It’s common for businesses to get bogged down with an unwieldy tech stack full of legacy programs that are used more out of habit than because they work well. Centralizing as much as you can into one platform makes workflow smoother, not to mention eliminating the need to track and implement updates on multiple programs.
UX is everything
UX is shorthand for User Experience, which is how a program, website, or app looks and how intuitive it is to use. UX encompasses everything from easy navigation and layout to how intuitive it is to find what you’re looking for.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll find a platform whose UX matches your every preference perfectly, it is something to keep in mind when you’re comparison shopping. Keep a list of your most common actions and note how easy those functions are to find in each platform.
Don’t shy away from machine learning and AI
Machine learning (ML) is a computing process that uses algorithms to assess and analyze large amounts of data. This outcome is data-driven insights based on a volume of information that would be nearly impossible to process without ML technology.
The more valuable insights you have regarding your target market, the more you can tailor your communication and offerings to their particular wants and pain points. The insights that ML can give you can provide great content for an automated email sequence.
For example, say you find out from ML insights that a large percentage of your local demographic is interested in or considering moving to another state. You can use this information to create email content that showcases the best parts of your city or state while still being relevant to your area.
Businesses must navigate through myriad layers of paperwork each day, meaning that a solution to streamline that process is invaluable. Automation software is a business choice that takes some dedication for the initial setup. Once you have the processes in place, however, you’ll be primed to save time on paperwork, qualify leads faster, and better communicate with your clients, leading to more deals closing in less time.