Remember the old days, when you had to walk to school uphill both ways, search for information in the library, and drop handwritten letters in the mailbox?
Actually, to be honest, I don’t, but I do notice some current business practices that are as archaic and inefficient. In today’s economy, where efficiency can make or break our businesses, we can’t always afford to do things the good old fashion way.
So with that in mind, today’s blog post will uncover 5 ways to automate your marketing processes to increase efficiency, save time, and reduce unnecessary workload for project teams. To do this, let’s take a look at typical events in a project life-cycle and see how they can run smoother through marketing automation:
1. Assigning Tasks
Say you have a new project task for Suzy. How do you assign it to her? Do you just drop by her desk or shoot her an email? Or do you ensure the task is delivered and received by sending out automatic notifications with audit trails that generate when you assign tasks in your project database?
Obviously there is nothing wrong with taking time out from your day to drop by a coworkers’ desk. After all, a little informality in the workplace is always a breath of fresh air, especially when working long and hard on a new project. But when assigning tasks it’s always good to use automatic notifications with audit trails to increase accountability.
Surely Suzy means well, and intends to complete all her work, but sometimes tasks get forgotten or lost when they are assigned in an informal conversation or e-mail. By using a system that generates automatic notifications when you assign tasks, who is working on what is visible to the project team to reduce confusion and forgetfulness.
2. Tracking Project Time
Let’s be real, when doing it manually, no one actually updates their time sheets daily. As for accurately—forget it! At the end of the week, we all try to roughly recall when we arrived and departed each day, and do a bit of generous rounding when necessary. Right?
However, this “process” ruins the point of tracking project hours. The purpose of tracking how much time we spend on tasks provides crucial information that we can draw from when creating schedule estimates for future projects. By tracking time manually, you lose historical data.
The best practice is to automate this process. Use a project time tracker that starts tracking time to the second with one click.
3. Tracking Project Progress
The same can be said for progress reports. Do you waste time by writing out weekly project progress reports? Well then stop!
Automate this process by using a system that, based on project completion and schedule that automatically tells you your project’s health, with a status that reads “at risk” or “healthy” beside it.
4. Tracking Project Deadlines
We all hate deadlines, but we all hate missing them even more. The problem is, in order to stop missing them, we need to be more organized about knowing when everything is due.
If you dread filling out your calendar with important things, and often forget to refer back to it, don’t fear, there is still hope! Automatically set-up deadline notifications to send out warnings when a project’s due-date is approaching.
5. Reporting to Customers
Meeting with your client to report on a project’s progress can be a nerve-racking event—even when you know a project is progressing smoothly. If you ever worry about not being able to answer a question a client has, or not presenting an informative, professional enough report—or maybe just not having the time to create any progress report at all—you need to automate your process.
Instead of spending time compiling progress reports for your customers, it’s better to provide them with access to your project database where they can see project statuses and even communicate with the project team in-real time. That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting critical information, and if there is a question that you can’t answer, the client can instantly ask any other member of the project team.
Image Credit, Sebastianlund, Flickr