What and when to automate and when to intervene is one of the most far reaching decisions you will make on the journey to a clean CRM. In fact, this automation vs. intervention decision quandary will impact all processes in your business. Instead of an in-depth how-to-clean your CRM tutorial, I thought I’d share some simple axioms that I base my decisions on when bringing efficiency and automation to a process.
#1 Don’t confuse automation with efficiency
Efficiency is how fast and how cheap a process can be done. Automation is applying non-human processes into a system. It is a subtle difference and that is why people get confused. For example: lead assignment can be automated, but if it is being done poorly or incorrect, it is not efficient. This is a natural lead in to #2.
#2. Never automate an unsuccessful process.
People can make mistakes, but to really screw up you need a computer. Make sure your processes work correctly, regardless of how fast. Once you have your process down, then apply automation.
#3. Automate a single process at a time.
There are exceptions and sometimes you can’t avoid doing a few things at once. The reason for this is immutably tied to #4.
#4. Measure what you automate.
Define what success is so that you can recognize it when it happens. When successful, automate something else and measure again.
#5 Complex systems are constantly redesigned
No one that I know can design a complex CRM system that stays 100% to the original design. Why do major software implementations fail and go over budget? Simple, the initial design did not encompass the complexities of the real world. Balance design with diving in and checking your premises. Be agile, be creative and get user feedback at critical milestones.