Published by Calendly - May 1, 2018

Build smarter workflows to boost productivity without hiring an assistant

Automating sales and marketing functions for solopreneurs and small teams.

Do you ever get asked how you do it all? Are there scores of people who marvel at your ability to multitask while managing prospect and customer relationships? I bet you’ve written your own blog post on mastering productivity. You’re a pro at keeping to a meeting agenda, taking the inbox to zero and having the coffee pot set to brew on a schedule.

But you’re maxed out.

Work overload decreases productivity by 68% when you feel you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. You can’t do it all—in fact, trying to do it all is actually making you less productive. You’re wondering if it’s time to add an intern or assistant to your small team so that you can get some much needed time back. Maybe that’s exactly what you need. Or maybe you need smarter workflows that allow you to focus on what you do best. Let’s consider some super sleek automations that give you back time without adding to your payroll.

If you haven’t signed up for Zapier yet, it may be one of the most useful tools out there for automating and eliminating low value work. It connects two or more of your apps without a single line of code. When something happens in one app you use, Zapier can automatically take that information and bring it into other apps you use, performing actions for you to deliver smarter, faster workflows. Here are a few of the most helpful workflow tricks to consider implementing into your tech stack.

CRM + marketing automation

It’s crucial to keep all your customer data in one place—and you don’t have time to manually enter that data for every customer. Automating this work to align with your current processes and tools is easier (and much less time consuming).

Automatically keep your CRM updated with information from spreadsheets and digital platforms, update your CRM when new mailing list subscribers come in and increase internal efficiency by pinging a Slack channel to notify when deals are won from your CRM. These are just a few of the ways you can get rid of manual work and free up more time to focus on what matters most to your bottom line.

For creative services, HoneyBook is a great way to keep everything organized in one place from your client proposals to signed contracts, mock-ups, invoices and receipts. Send emails, schedule follow-up calls and track project progress—all out of the same tool.

You don’t have time to manually manage lead submissions, constantly update subscription lists and send manual emails to your prospects and customers—marketing automation to the rescue! Pairing your marketing automation tool with other tools like your CRM can drastically increase your productivity.

Examples:

Social media

Managing social media is often its own job, but as a solopreneur or small team you don’t always have that luxury. There’s several ways you can reduce the work while staying on top of your brand’s reputation and lead interest.

According to The Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Add Facebook Ad leads to your nurture campaign automatically so that you can push them down the funnel without a high-touch effort.

You can record new followers in a spreadsheet for tracking purposes. Get email alerts for new Instagram hashtag mentions that you want to track and select a daily, weekly or monthly email summary. You can also receive these notifications in Slack. If your audience is on Pinterest, share your Instagram posts automatically to Pinterest using Zapier, which is super helpful since most social media schedulers don’t include Pinterest and only recently added Instagram.

Fire off Twitter replies to welcome and engage new followers. If you want to leverage the collective social network of your small team, you can automatically copy tweets across several Twitter accounts. You can also add new tweets to your business’ profile on LinkedIn to build your brand. Generate more buzz with just one message.

Examples:

Event management

Events can be the most time-consuming task for any business owner or small team. And while you can’t put catering or photography on autopilot, you can simplify the essentials of online events like webinars and virtual summits.

Use Calendly to coordinate speakers for your event. Reach out via email or social to ask for their participation and offer a Calendly link for a short meeting to discuss. You can use Calendly’s native GoToMeeting integration to automatically generate a web conference for the calls or generate Zoom meetings using Zapier.

For webinar or summit signups, you can use Eventbrite and add new registrants to your event in your conference platform and email list so you can keep them updated and build excitement for the event.

For more ideas on how to build a top-notch summit, check out Close.io’s blog on how they created a super smart workflow.

Examples:

Recruiting + partnerships

When you have positions on your team to fill or are accepting requests for partnerships, applications can take over your time. Applicant tracking systems are expensive and geared towards larger businesses. Luckily, you can sift through applications quickly, keep them organized and stay in touch with less effort than you think.

Using a simple form application, you can collect your applicant’s information securely from your website, email or landing page. With Zapier, you can leverage a “multi-step zap” to save form entries in either Google Drive or Dropbox, forward new entries to yourself using an email parser and add the applicants to a drip campaign so they feel connected while you segment and deliver individual responses.

Want a step by step tutorial on building a smart recruiting workflow? Base has a killer one.

Examples:

Payments

If you collect payments online, connect your payment processor to your bookkeeping software so that receipts are stored and cash flow is updated automatically in real time. Don’t leave bookkeeping to the end of the month. Stay current and eliminate human errors. Your tax accountant will thank you!

Examples:

If it aligns with your workflow, you can even accept payment when a customer schedules with you through Calendly’s PayPal and Stripe integrations.

Now it’s time to start building these smarter workflows so you have more time to spend on acquiring and retaining customers. We’d love to hear how it works out for you—drop us a note in the comments section!