Are you wondering how to make your team more efficient, organized and productive? Tired of managing dozens of spreadsheets and spending dozens of hours just keeping everything updated?
In this article, we’ll help you gain a deeper understanding of why workflow management is so important and show you examples of workflow management in action.
What is Workflow Management?
Workflow management is simply the organization and development of workflows. In any business, regardless of planning, workflow processes develop naturally.
If your marketing team focuses on creating content, your workflow will be the process you follow to ideate, create your editorial calendar, assign and track writing assignments, get articles published, and track the results. Or if your team focuses on SEO audits, your workflow would include running tools like Screaming Frog to identify technical issues, writing out audit findings, and benchmarking issues and performance.
Most teams will have found ways to get projects done, albeit sometimes not very efficiently. It isn’t until you step back and look at the big picture, that you realize there are better and more effective ways to structure existing workflows.
Sometimes this can be as simple as removing redundant steps or fixing bottlenecks, or even reorganizing the entire process.
The key is taking an active role in developing and improving existing and future workflows.
Effective workflows help to increase productivity and make for a more efficient and less stressful workplace.
What is Automated Workflow Management?
Most digital marketing teams have a lot of processes that need to be repeated with their campaigns or clients.
Onboarding new clients can take up a lot of your time, and also requires a degree of organization.
Once the onboarding process is standardized, it’s easy to simply follow the same steps over and over when new clients are onboarded or new campaigns launched. Identifying what these steps are, how long each step takes, and who is in charge of each will make the process systematic and easy to automate.
With an effective workflow management system, all you need to do is set up the tasks that you need clients and/or staff to complete one time, and the system will help to keep things moving forward.
With a workflow system, as tasks are completed, new tasks are created so other team members can “grab the baton” and keep the project moving forward.
Common onboarding tasks like these can all be automated with workflow management:
- Welcome email and outline of the process
- Recording client’s basic details
- Sending documents
- Request access details (website, social, etc.)
- Define client goals
- Discover any existing marketing plans, SEO, etc.
- Schedule a follow-up call
How much time could you save by automating most of this?
For example, a time period from the sign-up date could trigger a task to set up a monthly review call with the client, or for a staff member to perform a task – such as a follow-up phone call.
Likewise, completion of that task can trigger the next task for the client or a staff member, and so the smooth workflow continues.
This type of workflow ensures that things are completed in a timely manner and nothing is forgotten, thus resulting in a smoother experience for both clients and staff members. Not only that, but new clients see professionalism and organization from the start.
What are Workflow Management Systems?
Workflow management systems are normally an application that helps organize workflows. There are lots of types, from basic tasks organization to full ‘all-in-one’ workflow and project management systems.
From the example above, a basic system might simply show each task as set out by the controller in a linear format, basically acting a bit like a timeline or calendar.
However, an advanced system will include multi-level tasks, tasks that work simultaneously, integrations, and automation for a lot of the common processes.
The difference between basic workflow management software and a more advanced system can be staggering.
Just imagine how efficient things can become when the system can have different team members and the client working on different parts of the campaign or project simultaneously. Let’s take a look at how this could work:
Simple software helps to make sure tasks aren’t missed:
- Client joins – staff assign a workflow to the client
- A task is set for a welcome email and outline of the process to be sent
- A reminder is raised for a staff member to get all of the client’s basic details
- A reminder for staff to send documents
- A reminder for staff to request access details (website, social, etc.)
- A reminder for staff to ask the client about goals and to find out about any existing marketing plans, SEO, etc.
- A reminder for staff to start preparing a rough plan
- A reminder for staff to schedule a follow-up call
Advanced workflow management helps to make sure tasks are performed as efficiently as possible:
- Client joins – the system sends a predefined welcome email and outline of the process
- The system requests that the client completes all of their basic details
- The system sends all standard documents by email
- The system requests access details to be completed (website, social, etc.)
- The system emails the client about goals and any existing marketing plans, SEO, etc.
- The system assigns a task to staff to start preparing a rough plan
- A reminder for staff to schedule a follow-up call
While the process itself is similar, the difference is that instead of 8 actions being required from staff, there are now only 2 parts that staff is active in.
Having automated workflows also helps to avoid problems by keeping things ‘standardized’ but flexible for all clients.
Then as the campaign starts, the system can assign simultaneous tasks, such as writing content, finding photos, searching for guest blog opportunities, etc. all assigned to different staff members at the same time. This completes goals faster and in an organized manner.
Why you Should Use a Workflow Management System
Simply put, without an effective workflow management system, your business will never be as efficient and productive as it could be.
More productivity also normally results in more profit long-term. So, if you are ready to take the next step and better your business, give Gryffin 14-day free trial a try.