Efficiency Over Automation

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“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” 

     – Bill Gates (b. 1965), philanthropist and founder of Microsoft

On the surface of every problem, we see and feel the symptoms.

At the root of every problem lies the cause.  Example:  If my back hurts, it’s usually because I’m not getting to the gym, not stretching, not staying hydrated, and usually because I’ve let my weight get above the magic threshold of 210 pounds.  I could wear a back brace, or I could “ibuprofen up” – but the underlying cause of the problem would remain — I’d simply be masking symptoms.

The same is true in our businesses.

I’ve worked with dozens of companies who believe that deploying a CRM software system (Customer Relationship Management) will somehow magically fix their sales problems.  It won’t.  Because the problem isn’t their automation, it’s their process.

Here’s the deal.  If the process fundamentals are not in place, automation will not provide any relief.

Are we calling on the right prospects?  How are we identifying the right prospects?  How thorough is our research and preparation?  What data is important, regardless of how readily available it might be?

Unless we know what problem we’re trying to solve, and unless we’ve dug a few layers deep on whether it’s the real problem, throwing automation at it will add expense, set false expectations and ultimately exacerbate the matter we’re trying to solve.

Efficiency is a decision.  Automation is a magnifier of whatever decisions we make on efficiency — whether those decisions are good or bad.

An apology to subscribers who received a draft copy of this post over the weekend.  My preparation process was inefficient, therefore the automation made it worse, not better!  (I really didn’t plan that…)


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