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 sources, resulting in an inefficiency drawback.

Constructing and sustaining a private relationship together with your shopper all through the complete challenge takes time. The extra time you spend on one shopper, the less initiatives 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 know-how to take over repetitive and mundane duties. Lowering human intervention helps scale back errors, enhance velocity, and allow you to scale your consulting enterprise. 

Some of the important benefits of automation is that it helps velocity up the information assortment course of. And as a marketing consultant, knowledge is the spine of your small business.

To get began automating the consulting course of, you have to analyze your shopper’s enterprise processes and observe these steps:

Perceive the present processes

Audit your shopper’s present enterprise processes. Doing it will help you see inefficiencies within the course of that you may enhance with automation. 

Outline the maturity of your shopper’s enterprise

Utilizing a maturity assessment, gauge the maturity of your shopper’s enterprise in numerous areas. This provides you with a greater understanding of the place they’re and the steps wanted to take their enterprise to the following degree.

Supply: Survey Anyplace

Determine ache factors and challenges

To finest serve your purchasers, you should perceive their ache factors and challenges clearly. You need to use a wants evaluation or survey software to collect this data — a step that you may simply automate.

Counsel 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. 

marketing assessment report survey anyplace

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 features of the implementation. Outline the steps you wish to take collectively together with your shopper. This half will largely be a guide course of.

Following up

As soon as your shopper has applied your recommendation, observe up on the consequences. Your follow-up should embody evaluating the brand new course of and the outcomes achieved. It additionally includes gauging whether or not the shopper (or their crew) 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. When you’re doing job, you will want to judge and enhance the processes repeatedly. 

Many of the steps above might be automated, serving to you get rid of guide work. 

Why automate the consulting course of?

I believe you already get my level. Automating your consulting course of is feasible in several phases of your initiatives. 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 purchasers. 

So does not that imply automation will do extra hurt than good? Received’t you lose purchasers since you’ll have much less private contact with every shopper?

In no way. Let’s take a look at just a few explanation why automating the consulting course of is important.  

Observe 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, you should remodel digitally to enhance your small business and perceive your purchasers 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 business will put you forward of the competitors as you will be one of many first to take action.

Secondly, you’ll set instance on your purchasers as properly.

Save money and time

Some of the important benefits of automation is that it saves you time spent doing guide work. In consequence, it frees up your time to do extra strategic work, be extra inventive, and tackle extra purchasers. In consequence, you get to save cash and, finally, enhance your income.

Restrict headcount

Staffing overheads are one of the important bills companies undertake. Lowering 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 — purchasers. And one of the best ways to retain purchasers is by giving them an distinctive expertise. Buyer expertise (CX) has develop into a big a part of the success equation for each enterprise.

top priority for business customer experience

Supply: SuperOffice 

A constructive expertise can also be important to getting new purchasers because it encourages referrals out of your present prospects. Automating your consulting course of is a superb manner of guaranteeing that you just present top-notch shopper experiences.

Higher course of transparency

Automation makes your outcomes extra quantifiable. It permits you and your purchasers to know your processes and measure outcomes higher. That is due to analytics engines that assist with measuring and reporting your vital KPIs.

Standardize deliverables

Standardizing your consulting deliverables is a vital a part of streamlining your small business and rising your effectivity. Automation allows you to bundle your companies higher and create standardized deliverables. Each will assist reduce the guide work that normally goes into tailoring packages and deliverables. It additionally helps velocity up your course of.

Scale your small business

Due to the time saved and the guide work decreased by automation, scaling turns into simpler. Not solely does automation help you scale by taking over extra purchasers, it additionally allows you to enhance the packages and companies you provide.

Leverage your knowledge to ascertain your self as a thought chief

The information assortment and evaluation that comes with automation is a game-changer for consultants. That is as a result of it means that you can:

  • Set trade benchmarks
  • Share aggregated knowledge within the type of trade stories 

You’ll be able to leverage these (and extra) knowledge assortment benefits to ascertain your self as a thought chief in your vertical.

As you’ll be able to see, there are innumerable explanation why you must embrace automation in your consultancy enterprise. Failure to automate will put you at a aggressive drawback.

7 steps to successfully automate consulting

Now that you recognize 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 personal digital transformation.

1. Assess your want for automation and determine alternatives

Step one in digitally reworking 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 presently working
  • Analyzing the period of time you spend on completely different duties
  • Analyzing which areas might be improved

To finest determine processes that you may automate, verify for these which might be rule-based. These are processes that observe a strict logical order and do not require human judgment. Additionally, guarantee these processes are well-defined and do not change. 

By analyzing all your 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 small business.

2. Work out an automation plan primarily based in your experience

Now that you have assessed your small business course of and recognized automation alternatives, you should determine how you will implement automation.

It’s worthwhile to work out an automation plan primarily based in your knowledge and experience.

Listed below are just a few pointers that will help you with this step:

Create an outline of which elements of your course of might be automated

To higher plan on your automation, you have to first create an outline of the elements of your course of that may be automated. It could assist in the event you additionally thought of how:

  • They’re related
  • They relate to one another
  • They affect and affect the shopper’s expertise

Doing this ensures that your automated sequences are environment friendly and end in buyer journey.

Make a plan for every step you wish to automate

After getting an outline of the elements of the method you wish to automate, you should plan the way to automate them. Just a few pointers right here embody: 

  • Calculate automation potential. Simply because you’ll be able to automate a selected step of the method doesn’t suggest you must. Weigh the advantages of automating it and think about if automation can have sufficient momentum to be price it.
  • Determine in your price range. Automation instruments come at a value. Take into account if in case you have the price range to automate each side that may be automated. If not, prioritize those who provides you with one of the best return on funding (ROI).
  • Outline the functionalities you want (methodology). Defining the functionalities you want will assist you map a blueprint of how you will implement automation for every step.

3. Determine one of the best automation instruments or methods to make use of

With an automation plan in place, you now know what you will be automating and the way. Now it is time to determine the instruments that can assist you pull it off. To do that, analyze a group of appropriate instruments that suit your price range. As soon as you’ve got shortlisted the very best candidates:

  • Take a look at choice of know-how. Join free trials of the instruments you are fascinated with and take a look at them completely. This may assist you determine those who fit your scenario finest. When you’re doubtful, schedule a demo name with one of the best software program candidates, so that you could ask extra in-depth questions.
  • Choose closing automation instrument(s). As soon as your exams are full, choose your closing choice of instruments. Be certain that they work properly collectively and combine together with your present instruments.
  • Implement instrument(s) into your course of. Implement your new instruments into your small business course of and monitor their efficiency. 

Keep in mind, not all automation instruments are constructed the identical. The success of your automation program will depend on discovering the appropriate instruments for your small business.

4. Set up an automation workflow

Automation is not automated. To work successfully, you have to set up an automation workflow that ensures all of the items of your course of effortlessly work in sync. To do this, you have to begin by defining the actions that might be automated and people that can keep guide. Subsequent: 

Combine automated and guide duties to optimize your workflow

Be certain that there is a easy continuation the place your automated and guide duties meet. When these are in sync, it ends in an optimized workflow. 

Arrange an accessible process that you just (and your crew) can fall again on

Create a document that outlines how you will use the brand new automation course of. Be certain that everybody in your crew is aware of the way to use the automation instruments you will be utilizing. If vital, put money into coaching to assist them get to hurry rapidly. 

As a result of instruments can typically fail, you additionally have to outline the process to maintain thighs flowing when that occurs. Once more, make this simply accessible so everybody in your crew is aware of what to do.

5. Implement the automation course of

With the correct basis now laid, it is time to implement the automation process. All of the arduous work has been finished within the planning phases, and all you should do now could be deploy your automation instruments. As soon as you’ve got finished that:

Observe up on the implementation carefully

Monitor the modifications automation has introduced into your course of.

Does it meet your expectations?

If it does, nice job. If not, you will 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 guide. You can too think about using a unique automation instrument.

Talk the change in workflow internally and externally

An important side of efficiently implementing your automation course of is speaking the workflow change with all stakeholders. This implies speaking together with your workers (internally) and your purchasers (externally). Everybody ought to know what to anticipate to make sure a easy transition.

6. Measure modifications and efficiency

As soon as your automated system has been operating for a while, you should measure and see if it has improved your efficiency or not. 

measure automation performance

Supply: SweetProcess

It’s worthwhile to have knowledge out of your absolutely guide course of to make use of as a benchmark to do that. That is the place you will uncover one of many beauties of automation — automated monitoring and reporting. Most automating instruments include a built-in analytics dashboard that will help you maintain monitor of your most necessary metrics. In consequence, knowledge assortment and evaluation develop into a lot simpler.

To successfully measure the affect of automation in your consulting enterprise, as the next questions:

  • Analyze pre-automation and post-automation efficiency. Has automation helped enhance efficiency and the variety of deliverables you’ll be able to produce? 
  • Survey your purchasers. Are they completely satisfied together with your new manner of doing issues?
  • Test your ROI. Is there a rise resulting from automation?

When 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 know-how is, it is also vulnerable to error.

That is why you have to consider your automated course of and determine any potential dangers. Doing so will assist you mitigate these dangers and put contingency plans in place. Just a few recommendations on doing this embody:

  • Take sufficient time earlier than you consider. The outcomes of automation might not present instantly. Give it sufficient time earlier than you begin evaluating outcomes. You will have to train a little bit of endurance on this regard.
  • Take into account the outcomes. When you consider the outcomes, think about whether or not they’re what you anticipated. Did automation enhance effectivity? Has it given you alternatives to scale your small business?
  • Attainable 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 you recognize, getting into new frontiers all the time carries some danger. That is why you have to all the time consider your automation course of and search for danger components. Doing so will assist mitigate them and guarantee a easy circulation of your small business.

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 necessary phases within the consulting enterprise is getting purchasers. As a way to obtain this, you should 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 all the time ask roughly the identical sequence of questions, proper? These conversations might be fairly time-consuming. 

Step 2: Figuring out an automation plan primarily based in your experience

You may have sufficient expertise to know what inquiries to ask, and which replies you could anticipate. So, you’ll be able to provide your purchasers an internet questionnaire (automation #1) that mechanically generates a shopper evaluation report for you (automation #2), and a report for the prospect (automation #3). 

example client report advisor report

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 out you for his or her challenge. 

Step 3: Determine one of the best automation instruments

You’ll must put appreciable effort and time into creating questionnaire and linking a custom-made report back to it. Discover the appropriate assessment software on your automation plan. 

Step 4: Set up an automation workflow

Not each exercise on this section must be coated by the evaluation or the report. Be certain that to outline the place you favor human contact over automation to create a balanced dialog with the prospect or shopper. 

Step 5: Implement the automation course of

When 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 modifications and efficiency

Are you getting extra purchasers at a quicker tempo, now that you just’ve automated this a part of the method? Are purchasers providing you with constructive suggestions about your customized stories? Is there an effectivity win: do you may have 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 into consideration? Ask your crew and purchasers for suggestions. Flip again to guide processes the place automation has not confirmed to be efficient.

Conditions of automating consulting

When contemplating the way to automate consulting, it is easy to suppose you’ll be able to automate each course of. It is also tempting to suppose each kind of consulting enterprise can profit from any type of automation.

Each eventualities aren’t true.

It’s worthwhile to fastidiously think about your kind of consulting enterprise and the conditions required for automation. In fact, the principle one is that you should be prepared for automation. Listed below are just a few questions that will help you know if you’re:

  • Are your processes clearly outlined and standardized?
  • Do you may have the sources (time, monetary and human) to implement such invasive modifications?
  • Is your small business steady sufficient to hold a digital transformation?
  • Are your purchasers prepared for automation?

When you reply sure to the above, you are undoubtedly able to shift to automated processes.

Advantages and challenges of automating the consulting course of 

We have appeared on the significance of automating your consultancy enterprise and the way to know in the event you’re prepared for the shift. Earlier than we wrap up, let’s rapidly 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 below are our high three:

  • Scaling with out rising headcount. That is in all probability the largest profit you get from automation. With so many guide duties taken care of effectively and speedily, you will have extra bandwidth for progress without having so as to add on any new crew members.
  • Proving your digital maturity. Being within the digital age, your purchasers have in all probability already embraced 4IR. So after 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 a vital side of gaining your prospects’ belief.
  • Standardized workflows. Standardizing your workflow allows you to set clear expectations on your purchasers. 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 below are essentially the most important ones:

  • Sustaining a private relationship with purchasers. Interacting with purchasers 1-on-1 is a vital side of operating a profitable consulting enterprise. To make sure you do not lose this important ingredient, be deliberate in planning for moments that can assist you preserve private relationships together with your purchasers.
  • Lack of human contact. One hazard of automating the consulting course of is the lack of the human contact. Nonetheless, that is normally the results of implementing automation unsuitable. You’ll be able to lose the human contact in the event you fail to personalize your automated interactions with purchasers. 
  • Advanced processes might require superior automation. Once you’re in a fancy subject, your processes are certain to be extra difficult. This may require superior automation, which is able to end in the price of automation being larger.

Your automation session is full

When you’ve been questioning the way to automate the consulting course of, we hope this text has helped. Keep in mind, automating the consulting course of has a number of advantages, with the principle ones being: streamlining your processes and rising effectivity, enabling you to scale simply with out rising your headcount, standardizing your workflows and deliverables.

That is why, if you have not but, you have to consider your processes and think about automating a few of your repetitive duties. Automation will end in extra purchasers and enhance your income. So, sure. Automating the consulting course of is unquestionably well worth the funding.