How to Explain Automation to your Grandma

By Ari Haas

TLDR: Busy? Here's the short version:

To sum it up in one sentence, automation is when repeatable tasks are triggered to happen automatically, instead of manually. 

Have more time? Read on — you won't regret it

So you’ve just implemented automation for your sales team, or maybe you’ve just heard of the concept and are considering it for your business. Either way, you’re super excited about what’s possible with automation and you’ll talk about it with anyone who wants to listen.

Problem is, not many people do. You try your best friend from college, your neighbor down the block, even your kids. Nothing doing.

When all else fails, there’s always Grandma. She’d be thrilled to talk about anything with you. Usually, you try to push off your conversations with her until tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. But today, you pick up that phone and give her a ring.

But how to explain the concept in a way she’ll understand?

Here you have it: The ultimate guide to automation for Grandmas (or anyone else, for that matter).

To sum it up in one sentence, automation is when repeatable tasks are triggered to happen automatically, instead of manually.

So instead of you moving down a list and repeating the same old tasks, they happen by themselves.

So, Grandma, imagine this:

Its morning, and there's a whole list of chores waiting for your attention. You've got to put up coffee, cook breakfast, wash the dishes, strip the linen, bring Grandpa the morning newspaper, and then head out to your senior Yoga class.

All you want to do is turn over. But the tasks are waiting, and they're not going away just because you want them to.

Now imagine you could put your entire morning routine on automation. You waking up would trigger the coffee maker to do its thing. The smell of fresh coffee would then trigger your breakfast to be made. Once that's done, the dishes would get washed. Clean dishes in the drying rack would trigger your linen being stripped, and stripped linen would then trigger Grandpa's newspaper to come running over.

So all you've got to do is head out to the Yoga class.

Sounds impossible? It is – at least where your morning routine is concerned. But automation is alive and well in business.

Let's take a typical sales team. There are many repeatable steps that the sales team executes every day, from the first moment a person expresses interest in the product or service to the point where they become a raving fan. Here are some steps that a business may have to take.

Event: A prospect fills out a form on the website.

Task: A sales rep has to remember to compose an email to the prospect with a request for a meeting.

Event: The prospect does not return the email

Task: A sales rep has to remember to compose a second email to the prospect

Event: The prospect does not return the email

Task: A sales rep has to remember to compose a third email to the prospect

Event: The prospect emails back asking to book a meeting

Task: A sales rep has to go back-and-forth with the prospect to decide on a good time

Event: The meeting is scheduled

Task: A sales rep has to assign the meeting to someone on staff and schedule it in their calendar

Event: The prospect finishes the meeting and requests follow-up information

Task: A sales rep has to remember to email the information to the prospect

Event: Prospect buys the product or service

Task: A sales rep sends an email after the customer receives their product or service to ask about the customer's experience

Event: The customer emails back with an issue they had

Task: A sales rep has to assign the case to the customer service team

And on and on and on.

The hamster wheel never really ends, because even once the customer service team is on it, they have their own list of repeatable tasks that they do every day — making them another great candidate for automation.

What does automation do? Automation takes care of all of the tasks that happen in response to certain events. You can have your emails go out automatically, you can have tasks assigned to certain team members, and those team members can get notified when they have a job to do. You can also have meetings scheduled directly from your calendar and have meeting reminder emails sent automatically.

So instead of your sales team being bogged down with mindless, repeatable tasks, you can rest easy knowing that they're working on what really matters — bringing in more sales.

Plus, it's so easy for tasks to fall through the cracks when everyone is just relying on memory. Customers may be expecting a follow-up but never get it, or they may simply become frustrated by the poor response time and customer service – causing you to lose customers and money.

With automation, customers get the white-glove experience with personalized communication depending on their specific needs. Your team will never drop a ball with a customer. Many tasks happen by themselves, and a rep will be assigned to any task that needs some more hands-on attention — so you know that all of your customers are being taken care of. And guess what: happy customers are the ticket to attracting more customers — and growing at scale.

So there you have it. A simple, easy-to-understand explanation of automation that even Grandma will enjoy.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

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