The role of automation has moved from being a luxury item within CRMs to an imperative and is one of the key ways to increase productivity throughout your organization. Thankfully a few of the CRM’s out there designed for nonprofits have made the setup and running of automation far more user-friendly and far more powerful than it has been even in the last few years. With older CRM’s automation was a cumbersome and clunky undertaking for users and it took a lot to get even basic automation running. As such, it was underutilized and typically either not set up, or only used for a few redundant processes. This stood in juxtaposition to most corporate CRM’s whose designers focused heavily on automation and recognized it as the game changer in efficiency gains that it really is. So now is a great time for your nonprofit to embrace using CRM automation as it will only be growing in relevance in the coming years. Another tangential benefit of automation is that it inspires planning. If you know what automation and workflows to put in place it is because you know how these fit into overall goals and outcomes for your organization, both internal (for example, tracking development team lead conversions) and external (for example, getting a campaign to its goal).
Automation is a functionality worth asking about in some detail if you are exploring a new CRM. Here are a few guiding questions:
- Is automation easy to set up? This is definitely something you would want to see demonstrated in a demo.
- Will automation run on social, email, chat, survey responses and support tickets – in other words, does it apply across the system?
- Can you visually see the flow of triggered actions? If it isn’t intuitive to you, it can create problems when executed.
- Does automation include real-time notifications? Will staff be alerted when someone engages on any channel (email, call, chat, survey response, support ticket, social)?
- Will your CRM suggest macros for recurring actions and workflows the system sees you repeating? Users are busy doing, and sometimes don’t realize there might be a way to automate a set of tasks; smart CRM’s will see these patterns and ask users with a prompt whether they would like to add a macro to automatically run a series of actions.
Automation is an upfront investment in set-up and mapping out of workflows and communication triggers that compliment user’s roles. But the investment is well worth it these days as it is one of the most valuable tools in helping your team keep up with its many communication channels and to free them up to focus on higher level engagements and opportunities at timely periods within a given cycle or workflow. Across your organization, automation is the key to scaling your marketing, fundraising, and other communication efforts so take the time to see what your CRM can do. Power to the user!
Want to see automation in action? Here’s a quick video to show you how to set up a basic workflow:
For more information on Nonprofit Vertical Source CRM click here.