How to know what you can automate and what you shouldn’t

One of the best ways to maximize your productivity is by automating as many tasks as you can. On any given day, you have tasks that move the needle and tasks that don’t. It’s those small things that only take three minutes that add up to hours, that leave you wondering where your day went.
In this article, I want to show you how I decide which tasks I do manually. It’s a straightforward framework, but it isn’t easy to master.
My goal is for you to develop the right mindset, so you can decide which tasks you should automate, and which ones are worth doing manually.

Understand Your Buyer’s Journey

The first thing you should do is spend a lot of time thinking, designing and testing your sales funnel. That’s where everything will happen. I won’t go into detail about how you can build a sales funnel. There’s a lot of content you can find that covers how to create a great one.

I’ll focus on what parts of it you should and shouldn’t automate for maximum performance.

Each stage of your sales funnel has a different probability that your potential buyer will actually make a transaction.

The goal of the sales funnel is to give you information about two things:

  • Transaction Potential
  • Revenue Potential

Transaction potential is all about how probable it is for your buyer to actually buy anything. These are engagement signals like giving you their email address, signing up for a trial, buying an e-book, whatever. They gave you something beyond a click. The more they give to you, the more probable it is that they’ll actually purchase.

Revenue potential is how much that buyer could actually pay if they do make a purchase. This is measured by the product they signed up to, as well as the upsells you have set up. For example, maybe you have two products. A monthly $7 subscription and a $1,500 personal coaching program. Each customer has a different value for you. So they get different criteria.

These are just basic sales concepts. Potential buyers in different stages of your funnel are giving you valuable information you need to use.

What Should You Automate?

As a general rule, try to automate as much as you can. But you need to create filters that catch how people respond to your automated interactions.

Here’s how that works.

Let’s say you have a client who signed up for a course you’re selling. They got the automated email, and all they have to do is click on the link and pay.

But they haven’t.

But this is valuable information.

Understand the Role of Each Part of the Funnel

Before this part of the funnel, you were selling. It was all about getting them to give the first click.

But now it’s different. They clicked. You got their attention and intention.

So you are not selling anymore. You’re asking for money.

And not only that.

You are asking money from someone who already said they’ll give it to you.

So this isn’t selling anymore. It’s not even asking for money. They already said they’d give it to you.

So if this customer gets an automated follow-up email asking for money, you are pressuring them to do something they said they’d do.

No matter how good your copywriting skills are, an automated email sounds like: “Hey man, where’s my money?”

And that’s NOT good for business.

Makes sense? You can’t apply the same rules of the selling part of the funnel, in the payment part of the funnel.

Automate Emails for Yourself

Instead of sending an automatic email that pressures your customer, automate an email to yourself, notifying you about the situation.

This is the manual part. You get an email that calls to your attention about a possible paying customer who hasn’t paid. So now you have to get personal. You need to know what could be the problem before taking action.

Keep in mind, an automated email is basically an “if-then” process. And it’s bound by time.

If This, Then… What?

So imagine you set an automated follow-up email to your customer if three days have passed and they didn’t make a purchase.

But what if they said they needed 5 days? The system has no way to make that exception unless you, what? do it manually.

Another thing that has happened to me is that a customer signed up for a product with one email address, but paid with another.

So the system didn’t pick that up, and now I had a client who actually paid, but they’re getting squeezed for no reason.

So the lesson here is that you can’t automate everything.

Remember that behind the screen is a human being who you convinced to give you some of their hard-earned money.

There are too many variables that an automated system is not meant to pick up. And that’s perfect because now you have the chance to give stellar customer service.

Ask Yourself These Questions

The only reason that I would arrive at a conclusion where I should not automate something is that I see there is potential damage that could be made by automating it. For example, asking somebody for payment when they’ve already said, “Hey, I’m going to pay in five days.”

Always protect the relationship.

And the other question I ask myself is if there is a potential improvement that could be made by doing it manually.

It’s the little things that make the difference.

  • A personal phone call thanking your customers for their purchase.
  • A handwritten note.
  • A personal email asking for feedback.

To summarize

  • If there is potential to damage the relationship, do it manually.
  • If there is potential to improve the relationship, do it manually.

Don’t think of doing something manually as a downgrade. It’s not. Doing something manually may avoid damage to the relationship or improve it. The way I see it, it’s an upgrade.

You know your industry better than me. Trust your instinct. If you’ve made it this far in your sales process, you’re doing something right. So trust that.

I’d love to hear your comments about ideas you’re getting on how to improve your sales funnel by doing some tasks manually. Good luck!