Automation is becoming much more popular in the business world—and it's not just the larger companies adopting support or industrial automation, but many companies looking at automating revenue-generating business processes. In fact, 63% of small businesses surveyed noted automation tools helped them remain afloat during challenging times. However, busy companies are looking for the simplest form of automation to streamline and scale their processes.

If you talk to experts in the automation solutions industry, they'll likely tell you that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the easiest to integrate. Despite the name, it's not a robot taking over physical tasks from human workers. Instead, it offers marketing automation (and other functions) that drives efficiency and reduces mundane tasks so your human workforce can excel.

RPA solutions are easily adapted into a Hybrid Automation Delivery Platform like Wrk, which combines automated solutions with a human touch to reduce strain on your teams and better serve clients.

What are the different types of automation?

Before we dive deeper into what is the simplest form of automation, let's take a closer look at the various types of automation for sales, marketing, and beyond.

The main types of automation tools fall under one of these classifications: RPA, Application Programming Interface (API), and human/hybrid automation. All of them have their particular advantages when adopted properly.

What is RPA?

As noted, RPA really has nothing to do with "robots." Robotic process automation (RPA) is a process tool that boosts productivity by allowing a user to configure one or more scripts (referred to as "bots" by some industry folk) to automate the execution of specific keystrokes based on human inputs. That means you can set certain parameters, and then let RPA do the rest.

Automated Wrkflows are designed to handle tedious tasks, allowing your teams to focus on developing more effective marketing and other more complex tasks.

An RPA can also be linked to a chatbot, which can be your first line of communication with a customer. Statistics show that almost 40% of customers turn to a chatbot for quick answers, rather than calling a sales agent. Also, 64% surveyed say the 24-hour nature of chatbots is ideal, as they can make inquiries at any time of day or night—even across time zones and in different languages.

RPA may be simple for integration, however, when you lack the IT or coding knowledge, it is also the most complex, especially for SMBs. Wrk has found a way around that by removing the barriers with a drag-n-drop Hybrid Automation Platform ready to use.

Read more about our approach here.

What is API integration?

APIs allow various software applications to communicate with one another. For example, having a Twitter widget on your website. API integration can also help customers better research products using information from multiple sources.

Third-party payment APIs (such as Paypal and Stripe) are also being widely used on E-commerce sites as an easy checkout method, accepting credit card and other payment data for a seamless customer experience.

APIs not only enrich and simplify the customer experience. Your Sales team can use our Lead Enrichment Wrkflow to talk to other platforms to fill in missing customer information. For example, this API integration can pull missing data from Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and others to improve sales contact information.

What can be automated?

Wrkflows cover a wide range of sales and marketing functions. These functions include identifying sales leads, which can be a tedious and unrewarding process. Once you've qualified leads, it pays to keep an accurate database that adapts as information changes. Sales Data & List Management Wrkflows can automate list building, while also keeping data updated.

Meanwhile, Lead Nurturing Wrkflows eliminate some of the manual steps (such as following up with potential clients), while generating communications tailored to the needs of your customers.

Once you've reached out to quality leads using personalized emails, Instagram DMs, or another method, there are other automated workflows to make your teams' lives easier. For example, while you may take time out to prepare quotes, automation solutions can handle this for you. Our Quote & Proposal Development Wrkflow takes over when a lead is added to the database, using all available data to generate a personalized quote. From there, these Wrk Actions can be set to forward a contract to seal the deal or schedule a follow-up call.

What are the benefits of automated Wrkflows?

The most obvious benefit of automation solutions might be freeing up time for your current team to shine. However, there are a number of other benefits of RPA solutions, including:

  • Streamline processes – automation allows departments to synchronize efforts.

  • Increase employee satisfaction – your teams will be happier when freed from mundane tasks such as data entry.

  • Better customer service – RPA and API integration means faster responses to customers, even when your human workforce is unavailable.

  • Lessen margin of error – setting parameters ensures your approach is consistent.

The best automation tools on the market 

The RPA solutions market has exceeded $43 billion and is expected to grow with new automation tools. However, not all of these tools are created equal.

Some of the most useful tools (along with a couple of their key features) include:

  • HubSpot (automatic email responses, sales email targeting)

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (CRM integration, campaign ROI reporting)

  • Crunchbase (advanced sales prospecting tools)

  • IBM Robotic Process Automation (allowing integration of RPA solutions at scale)

  • BambooHR (job applicant tracking, employee benefits tracking)

  • Zendesk (integrated customer help centre, automated bots)

  • Pipedrive (sales forecasts, lead identification)

  • Waverly (customized feed curation, research help)

Wrk pairs with these best examples of automation for a seamless hybrid Automation experience.

When should different forms of automation be used?

Whether it's RPA solutions or API integration, automation tools each serve a particular purpose across specific industries.

Automation is not just for industrial operations anymore.

Many of these automation solutions are suitable for sales and marketing purposes, helping your business enrich leads, boost engagement on social media, and target customers with the Personalized Email Marketing Wrkflow.

However, your departments outside of sales can make use of RPA. For example, your HR department can use our Employee Onboarding & Offboarding Wrkflow, automatically book a welcome call and even create a purchase order for needed supplies. Other automation tools can aid in the management of vacation requests and payroll setup.

Customer Success teams and revenue-generating (RevOps) teams can greatly benefit from automation to prevent requests, quote sharing, and communication from falling through the cracks. At the same time, all teams can use lead lists, product information, document and content management, and other tools to make sure that information is always up to date and the same across all platforms.  

So — What is the simplest form of automation?

As noted earlier, many automation experts agree that RPA is the simplest form of automation. RPA automation tools such as automated wrkflows can easily be paired with a Hybrid Automation Delivery Platform like Wrk—which is the first of its kind!

Wrk's hybrid approach boosts efficiency without removing the human element. This ideal blend of automation and humans cuts down repetitive tasks while assisting in more advanced ones such as Wrk's Advertisement Versioning Wrkflow.

Book a demo with us to chat about how we can save you time and energy with our automation solutions!