If you’re at a mid-tier agency moving into the enterprise client space—either incrementally or at breakneck speed—you’ve likely realized that you’re going to need as many automated workflows as possible.
You can even look at automated sales tools like Zendesk 45% One of the daunting tasks away from humans.
Doing SEO or PPC for a few small clients can be challenging enough, especially if you do many of their tasks manually.
With enterprise level clients, you can’t handle things manually anymore. You will need to automate your workflow.
This post is for beginners and is not an exhaustive post on the best digital marketing automation workflow tools out there.
I’ll help you get started.
My goal here is to get you thinking about the best ways to approach workflow automation as you begin to pick out enterprise customers.
There are a lot of areas in digital marketing where you can automate one process and free up time for other things.
Think About Workflow Automation: Your Goals
Like many processes in agency life, the best starting point for workflow automation is knowing what you’re trying to achieve: your goals.
The point of automating anything is to save you time and money for the most part.
Everyone wants to save time and money, and process automation will make this process more efficient.
However, the goals of enterprise-level workflow automation will still be different in the specifics of each agency.
For example, your agency may focus more on link building than any on-site SEO tasks.
In this case, you will need more infrastructure to monitor and check backlinks and domain authority for your clients than anything else.
If backlinks are your meat and potatoes, and you need to make this process as efficient as possible, maybe consider augmenting (or getting your plan first) with a useful backlink tool like Majestic, Semrush, or Ahrefs.
Sure, you’ll almost always pay more for the increased ability to automate something like monitoring, but what can you save on employee time and company resources?
Let’s say your agency breaks into the enterprise field and considers itself weak at the end of the report. You just don’t like the infrastructure and feel like your enterprise customers deserve more.
You have to ask yourself, “Do I feel like an automation tool like Google Data Studio could help me here?”
From experience, Data Studio is one of the dashboards I use for reporting, but don’t just take my word for it.
There are other dashboard products available for this purpose, such as Databox or Geckoboard.
Whatever you’re working on, my general advice for people who are just starting to automate enterprise workflows is to define your goals first.
Whether it’s more efficient site monitoring, keyword gathering, or content reporting, you need to know what you’re looking for.
These goals should lead you in the right direction, namely, to choosing tools that deliver only what you need.
What do these usually include?
- Accurate representation of data.
- Tasks (with designators and reset capabilities).
- Communication with team members.
- scaling capabilities.
- Customizable features.
Trust me when I tell you that once you have these automatic features in your workflow, you won’t want to do without them.
Proceed with caution: introducing automation internally
If your agency has been swinging around, doing things mostly by hand for the past few years, I can tell you that wholesale process changes can be hard to swallow for some teams.
You perform a successful operation and make cell-level changes to it.
The argument is that the change was necessary because you’re in the enterprise space now.
The data is more numerous, the workflow is more complex, and the requests are more demanding.
But there are a few things to consider here:
- The automation tool you ultimately choose should be the best for your agency out of all the options; Don’t bargain here.
- The whole team has to learn a new tool or process, which takes time and invites errors.
- You may encounter actual resistance from some team members who prefer the old ways.
First of all, it’s always a good idea to make changes like this gradually.
View product demos, get free builds, and compare all the automated workflow tools you’re considering.
On the other two points – regarding team fouls and personal resistance – you can expect those hurdles to arise.
Don’t make these changes in bulk at once.
Find a way to participate in and automate your existing process with the new software. Test a few things in a low stakes environment, maybe even for your agency’s website.
What is the best place for your team to learn the basics and make all their mistakes?
Once your team clears a new hurdle by figuring something out and making it work, introduce this automated process more broadly in your agency.
This process may be slower than you’d like, but your organization’s customers deserve improved actions about SEO, paid media, or any other wide-ranging service they get from you.
Also, it’s a good idea to view this introductory time more as an investment than anything else.
You’re putting in the time and money right now to get this workflow automation tool and train your team to use it.
The result will be an agency that uses an automation tool to deliver a more streamlined product to its enterprise clients.
I can’t imagine what else you could want!
Self-monitoring in progress: keep track of your savings
Ideally, you’ll start reaping the savings from whatever automated workflow tool you get.
These savings will not be just what you can offer your customers at the enterprise level and how satisfied you are with achieving them.
The savings also in how you benefit as an agency.
Having seen multiple agency transitions from the mid-level to the enterprise level, I can tell you that offering an automated workflow tool does not guarantee that you will save resources.
You have to be smart about it and audit each account related to your business output. Compare data from before and after the tool.
It may not always be as simple as you think.
For example, you might assume that introducing an automated process into your workflow would allow you to keep fewer employees to oversee those parts of the business.
You may be right about that in many or most cases.
But what if the enterprise customer’s acquisition of the business is so large and complex that it requires more employees?
And what if it ends up costing those employees more than you save from automating your workflow?
Of course, you’re still earning an enterprise-level agent, so things will probably work out in the end anyway.
Consider these issues as you prepare and eventually implement an automated workflow for your organization’s customers.
There are also traffic lights that you will come across that no one can predict.
For example, if you implement a backlink tracking automation tool for a client with 60,000 backlinks, it may work well for a while, but then you discover that you can make monitoring more efficient.
You will have those opportunities and choices in the future.
Learning as you go
Since my goal in writing this is to help those who are just getting started with automating workflows in the enterprise space, I wanted to cover every possible scenario you could encounter as you go.
However, you will encounter problems as you go down this path. Enterprise clients demand a lot from you.
You can’t plan it all out.
I think a step-by-step approach should work wonders for you.
Try something before expanding it.
This has often been the path to success for me, and it can also be for me.
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Featured image: Den Rise / Shutterstock