As a marketing consultant, you wish to stand out by offering each shopper with customized recommendation at each step within the course of. Giving skilled recommendation at a private degree comes with many challenges like an absence of time and assets, resulting in an inefficiency drawback.
Constructing and sustaining a private relationship together with your shopper all through the whole mission takes time. The extra time you spend on one shopper, the less tasks you’ll be able to tackle.
So the large query is: Can personalization and automation go hand in hand?
Let’s discover out.
What’s an automatic consulting course of?
Automation has helped many industries streamline their processes, develop into extra environment friendly, and generate extra income. The consulting trade should not be any completely different.
Automating the consulting course of refers to leveraging expertise to take over repetitive and mundane duties. Decreasing human intervention helps scale back errors, improve velocity, and allow you to scale your consulting enterprise.
One of the crucial important benefits of automation is that it helps velocity up the information assortment course of. And as a marketing consultant, information is the spine of your corporation.
To get began automating the consulting course of, it’s essential to analyze your shopper’s enterprise processes and comply with these steps:
Perceive the prevailing processes
Audit your shopper’s current enterprise processes. Doing this can assist you to see inefficiencies within the course of that you could enhance with automation.
Outline the maturity of your shopper’s enterprise
Utilizing a maturity evaluation, gauge the maturity of your shopper’s enterprise in numerous areas. This offers you a greater understanding of the place they’re and the steps wanted to take their enterprise to the subsequent degree.
Supply: Survey Anyplace
Establish ache factors and challenges
To finest serve your shoppers, it’s worthwhile to perceive their ache factors and challenges clearly. You need to use a wants evaluation or survey software program to assemble this info — a step that you could simply automate.
Recommend enhancements inside their particular framework
After getting the knowledge from the primary three steps, you’ll be able to generate a report together with your findings and proposals.
Supply: Survey Anyplace
You’ll be able to automate your reporting actions, too.
Implementing your recommendation
Now, it is time to implement your recommendation. Relying on the complexity of the trade, you’ll be able to anticipate to be hands-on in some elements of the implementation. Outline the steps you wish to take collectively together with your shopper. This half will largely be a handbook course of.
As soon as your shopper has carried out your recommendation, comply with up on the consequences. Your follow-up should embrace evaluating the brand new course of and the outcomes achieved. It additionally entails gauging whether or not the shopper (or their group) finds the brand new course of simpler or extra difficult.
Constantly enhancing the method
As a residing entity, your shopper’s enterprise will frequently be evolving. Should you’re doing an excellent job, you may want to guage and enhance the processes constantly.
A lot of the steps above will be automated, serving to you get rid of handbook work.
Why automate the consulting course of?
I feel you already get my level. Automating your consulting course of is feasible in numerous phases of your tasks. Let’s check out it from a enterprise perspective. You wish to stand out from the opposite consultants, proper?
Consulting is without doubt one of the industries that thrive on one-on-one interactions with shoppers.
So would not that imply automation will do extra hurt than good? Gained’t you lose shoppers since you’ll have much less private contact with every shopper?
Under no circumstances. Let us take a look at just a few the reason why automating the consulting course of is critical.
Comply with digital transformation tendency
The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is in full swing, and each trade and enterprise has already undergone or is present process digital transformation. As a marketing consultant, it’s worthwhile to remodel digitally to enhance your corporation and perceive your shoppers higher.
Be a pioneer
Regardless of being the sphere that advises different companies to enhance, the consulting trade continues to be lagging within the space of automation. Implementing automation in your corporation will put you forward of the competitors as you may be one of many first to take action.
Secondly, you’ll set an excellent instance in your shoppers as effectively.
Save money and time
One of the crucial important benefits of automation is that it saves you time spent doing handbook work. Consequently, it frees up your time to do extra strategic work, be extra inventive, and tackle extra shoppers. Consequently, you get to save cash and, finally, improve your income.
Staffing overheads are probably the most important bills companies undertake. Decreasing them results in a rise in earnings. And that is precisely what automation allows you to do — scale back your headcount.
Enhance shopper expertise
Your consultancy enterprise wants one major ingredient for it to succeed — shoppers. And the easiest way to retain shoppers is by giving them an distinctive expertise. Buyer expertise (CX) has develop into a big a part of the success equation for each enterprise.
A constructive expertise can be important to getting new shoppers because it encourages referrals out of your present clients. Automating your consulting course of is a superb manner of making certain that you just present top-notch shopper experiences.
Higher course of transparency
Automation makes your outcomes extra quantifiable. It allows you and your shoppers to grasp your processes and measure outcomes higher. That is due to analytics engines that assist with measuring and reporting your vital KPIs.
Standardizing your consulting deliverables is an important a part of streamlining your corporation and growing your effectivity. Automation allows you to bundle your companies higher and create standardized deliverables. Each will assist reduce the handbook work that often goes into tailoring packages and deliverables. It additionally helps velocity up your course of.
Scale your corporation
Due to the time saved and the handbook work diminished by automation, scaling turns into simpler. Not solely does automation assist you to scale by taking over extra shoppers, it additionally allows you to improve the packages and companies you provide.
Leverage your information to ascertain your self as a thought chief
The info assortment and evaluation that comes with automation is a game-changer for consultants. That is as a result of it permits you to:
- Set trade benchmarks
- Share aggregated information within the type of trade studies
You’ll be able to leverage these (and extra) information assortment benefits to ascertain your self as a thought chief in your vertical.
As you’ll be able to see, there are innumerable the reason why it’s best to embrace automation in your consultancy enterprise. Failure to automate will put you at a aggressive drawback.
7 steps to successfully automate consulting
Now that the significance of automating the consulting course of, let’s begin with an instance, after which check out the seven steps that will help you achieve this.
So let’s get you ready and check out the seven steps to beginning your individual digital transformation.
1. Assess your want for automation and determine alternatives
Step one in digitally remodeling your consulting enterprise is to evaluate your want for automation. This begins with analyzing each step of your consulting course of, together with:
- Analyzing what you are at present working
- Analyzing the period of time you spend on completely different duties
- Analyzing which areas will be improved
To finest determine processes that you could automate, test for these which might be rule-based. These are processes that comply with a strict logical order and do not require human judgment. Additionally, guarantee these processes are well-defined and do not change.
By analyzing your entire processes on this gentle, it turns into simpler to determine automation processes and alternatives.
Now, let’s check out how one can arrange an automation plan for your corporation.
2. Work out an automation plan based mostly in your experience
Now that you’ve got assessed your corporation course of and recognized automation alternatives, it’s worthwhile to determine how you may implement automation.
You have to work out an automation plan based mostly in your information and experience.
Listed here are just a few pointers that will help you with this step:
Create an summary of which elements of your course of will be automated
To higher plan in your automation, it’s essential to first create an summary of the elements of your course of that may be automated. It might assist when you additionally thought of how:
- They’re linked
- They relate to one another
- They influence and affect the shopper’s expertise
Doing this ensures that your automated sequences are environment friendly and end in an excellent buyer journey.
Make a plan for every step you wish to automate
After getting an summary of the elements of the method you wish to automate, it’s worthwhile to plan learn how to automate them. Just a few pointers right here embrace:
- Calculate automation potential. Simply because you’ll be able to automate a specific step of the method doesn’t suggest it’s best to. Weigh the advantages of automating it and contemplate if automation could have sufficient momentum to be value it.
- Determine in your finances. Automation instruments come at a worth. Take into account in case you have the finances to automate each facet that may be automated. If not, prioritize those who offers you one of the best return on funding (ROI).
- Outline the functionalities you want (methodology). Defining the functionalities you want will assist you to map a blueprint of how you may implement automation for every step.
3. Establish one of the best automation instruments or programs to make use of
With an automation plan in place, you now know what you may be automating and the way. Now it is time to determine the instruments that may assist you to pull it off. To do that, analyze a group of appropriate instruments that suit your finances. As soon as you’ve got shortlisted the absolute best candidates:
- Take a look at number of expertise. Join free trials of the instruments you are fascinated by and take a look at them totally. This may assist you to determine those who fit your scenario finest. Should you’re unsure, schedule a demo name with one of the best software program candidates, so that you could ask extra in-depth questions.
- Choose last automation instrument(s). As soon as your assessments are full, choose your last number of instruments. Make certain they work effectively collectively and combine together with your present instruments.
- Implement instrument(s) into your course of. Implement your new instruments into your corporation course of and monitor their efficiency.
Bear in mind, not all automation instruments are constructed the identical. The success of your automation program is dependent upon discovering the proper instruments for your corporation.
4. Set up an automation workflow
Automation is not automated. To work successfully, it’s essential to set up an automation workflow that ensures all of the items of your course of effortlessly work in sync. To do this, it’s essential to begin by defining the actions that might be automated and people that may keep handbook. Subsequent:
Combine automated and handbook duties to optimize your workflow
Make certain there is a clean continuation the place your automated and handbook duties meet. When these are in sync, it leads to an optimized workflow.
Arrange an accessible process that you just (and your group) can fall again on
Create a doc that outlines how you may use the brand new automation course of. Be certain that everybody in your group is aware of learn how to use the automation instruments you may be utilizing. If vital, put money into coaching to assist them get to hurry shortly.
As a result of instruments can generally fail, you additionally must outline the process to maintain thighs flowing when that occurs. Once more, make this simply accessible so everybody in your group is aware of what to do.
5. Implement the automation course of
With the right basis now laid, it is time to implement the automation course of. All of the onerous work has been executed within the planning phases, and all it’s worthwhile to do now could be deploy your automation instruments. As soon as you’ve got executed that:
Comply with up on the implementation intently
Monitor the adjustments automation has introduced into your course of.
Does it meet your expectations?
If it does, nice job. If not, you may want to find out the automated elements at fault and why they don’t seem to be enhancing your course of. Then, consider whether or not that half actually requires automation or altering it again to handbook. It’s also possible to think about using a unique automation instrument.
Talk the change in workflow internally and externally
A vital facet of efficiently implementing your automation course of is speaking the workflow change with all stakeholders. This implies speaking together with your staff (internally) and your shoppers (externally). Everybody ought to know what to anticipate to make sure a clean transition.
6. Measure adjustments and efficiency
As soon as your automated system has been operating for a while, it’s worthwhile to measure and see if it has improved your efficiency or not.
You have to have information out of your totally handbook course of to make use of as a benchmark to do that. That is the place you may uncover one of many beauties of automation — automated monitoring and reporting. Most automating instruments include a built-in analytics dashboard that will help you hold observe of your most essential metrics. Consequently, information assortment and evaluation develop into a lot simpler.
To successfully measure the influence of automation in your consulting enterprise, as the next questions:
- Analyze pre-automation and post-automation efficiency. Has automation helped improve efficiency and the variety of deliverables you’ll be able to produce?
- Survey your shoppers. Are they joyful together with your new manner of doing issues?
- Examine your ROI. Is there a rise as a consequence of automation?
Should you reply sure to the questions above, your automation has achieved its objective.
7. Consider and mitigate dangers
Simply since you’ve pulled off a profitable digital transformation technique doesn’t suggest you’ll be able to sit in your laurels and anticipate one of the best. Nice as expertise is, it is also susceptible to error.
That is why it’s essential to consider your automated course of and determine any potential dangers. Doing so will assist you to mitigate these dangers and put contingency plans in place. Just a few recommendations on doing this embrace:
- Take sufficient time earlier than you consider. The outcomes of automation could not present instantly. Give it sufficient time earlier than you begin evaluating outcomes. You may must train a little bit of endurance on this regard.
- Take into account the outcomes. When you consider the outcomes, contemplate whether or not they’re what you anticipated. Did automation enhance effectivity? Has it given you alternatives to scale your corporation?
- Potential lack of personalization. One factor folks worth in session is the private contact. Take into account if shifting to an automatic course of has led to a loss in personalization.
As , moving into new frontiers at all times carries some threat. That is why it’s essential to at all times consider your automation course of and search for threat elements. Doing so will assist mitigate them and guarantee a clean circulate of your corporation.
Instance of automation
As a way to make this extra tangible, let’s have a look at an instance.
One of many first and most essential phases within the consulting enterprise is getting shoppers. As a way to obtain this, it’s worthwhile to persuade prospects that you just’re the only option.
Step 1: Assess your want for automation
In your first name with a brand new prospect, you at all times ask kind of the identical collection of questions, proper? These conversations will be fairly time-consuming.
Step 2: Figuring out an automation plan based mostly in your experience
You have got sufficient expertise to know what inquiries to ask, and which replies chances are you’ll anticipate. So, you’ll be able to provide your shoppers a web based questionnaire (automation #1) that mechanically generates a shopper evaluation report for you (automation #2), and a report for the prospect (automation #3).
Supply: Survey Anyplace
You’ll have a direct overview of what your prospect is searching for, and the prospect will get a abstract and first suggestions tailor-made to their drawback, which is able to show your experience and persuade them to pick you for his or her mission.
Step 3: Establish one of the best automation instruments
You’ll must put appreciable effort and time into creating an excellent questionnaire and linking a custom-made report back to it. Discover the proper evaluation software program in your automation plan.
Step 4: Set up an automation workflow
Not each exercise on this part needs to be coated by the evaluation or the report. Make certain to outline the place you like human contact over automation to create a balanced dialog with the prospect or shopper.
Step 5: Implement the automation course of
Should you discovered an evaluation software program to create a shopper wants evaluation and a custom-made report in a single app, you can begin with the implementation. Talk your strategies clearly to your prospects, in order that they know what to anticipate.
Step 6: Measure adjustments and efficiency
Are you getting extra shoppers at a sooner tempo, now that you just’ve automated this a part of the method? Are shoppers supplying you with constructive suggestions about your customized studies? Is there an effectivity win: do you’ve extra time for strategic work?
Step 7: Consider and mitigate dangers
Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate in case your outcomes aren’t as anticipated. Are there any dangers you haven’t taken under consideration? Ask your group and shoppers for suggestions. Flip again to handbook processes the place automation has not confirmed to be efficient.
Conditions of automating consulting
When contemplating learn how to automate consulting, it is easy to assume you’ll be able to automate each course of. It is also tempting to assume each sort of consulting enterprise can profit from any sort of automation.
Each situations aren’t true.
You have to rigorously contemplate your sort of consulting enterprise and the stipulations required for automation. In fact, the principle one is that it’s worthwhile to be prepared for automation. Listed here are just a few questions that will help you know in case you are:
- Are your processes clearly outlined and standardized?
- Do you’ve the assets (time, monetary and human) to implement such invasive adjustments?
- Is your corporation secure sufficient to hold a digital transformation?
- Are your shoppers prepared for automation?
Should you reply sure to the above, you are positively able to shift to automated processes.
Advantages and challenges of automating the consulting course of
We have regarded on the significance of automating your consultancy enterprise and learn how to know when you’re prepared for the shift. Earlier than we wrap up, let’s shortly have a look at the advantages and challenges of automating the consulting course of.
Advantages of automating consulting
Let’s begin with the advantages of automation. Listed here are our high three:
- Scaling with out growing headcount. That is in all probability the largest profit you get from automation. With so many handbook duties taken care of effectively and speedily, you may have extra bandwidth for development without having so as to add on any new group members.
- Proving your digital maturity. Being within the digital age, your shoppers have in all probability already embraced 4IR. So once they search for a marketing consultant to assist with their enterprise, they’re going to belief one who has moved with the occasions. That is why proving your digital maturity is an important facet of gaining your prospects’ belief.
- Standardized workflows. Standardizing your workflow allows you to set clear expectations in your shoppers. It makes it simpler so that you can paint an image of the outcomes your shopper will obtain. It additionally helps you leverage shopper testimonials to market your self as you’ll be able to confidently pitch the identical outcomes to your prospects.
Challenges of automating consulting
Whereas automation has its many advantages, it additionally has some challenges. Listed here are essentially the most important ones:
- Sustaining a private relationship with shoppers. Interacting with shoppers 1-on-1 is an important facet of operating a profitable consulting enterprise. To make sure you do not lose this important ingredient, be deliberate in planning for moments that may assist you to keep private relationships together with your shoppers.
- Lack of human contact. One hazard of automating the consulting course of is the lack of the human contact. Nonetheless, that is often the results of implementing automation fallacious. You’ll be able to lose the human contact when you fail to personalize your automated interactions with shoppers.
- Complicated processes could require superior automation. Once you’re in a fancy subject, your processes are sure to be extra difficult. This may require superior automation, which is able to end in the price of automation being greater.
Your automation session is full
Should you’ve been questioning learn how to automate the consulting course of, we hope this text has helped. Bear in mind, automating the consulting course of has a number of advantages, with the principle ones being: streamlining your processes and growing effectivity, enabling you to scale simply with out growing your headcount, standardizing your workflows and deliverables.
That is why, if you have not but, it’s essential to consider your processes and contemplate automating a few of your repetitive duties. Automation will end in extra shoppers and enhance your income. So, sure. Automating the consulting course of is certainly well worth the funding.