Friday, October 2, 2009

E-Commerce Strategy: Web Automation, the next strategy

We all heard of Web 2.0, we all heard of Social Medial Networks, and Web 3.0 is already being adopted by many enterprises – but what about Web Automation for all these leads generated by Web 2.0 and Social Media strategies?

We have been analysing the trends and impacts from Web 2.0 and Social Media Networks strategies, while they are great tools to generate new business and sales leads, it has caused new challenges to many businesses.

The very easy question to assess these changes is asking yourself – how many e-mails are you checking now from all these leads generated by Web 2.0 and Social Media?

I can tell you right now that my inbox e-mails have gone up by 3 times since we started our Web 2.0 & marketing activities on LinkedIn and Facebook – and this is can cause disruptions to your business operations.

We need to build new databases for our newsletters subscription as it has increased from 100 a week to 1,000 a week, we need to adjust our CRM system, we also need to hire new additional staff for database management.

Then one day, it came to be, this is not the way to solve the problem as I can see our subscription increases from 1,000 to 2,000 a week in no time – what do I do? Double my budget to ensure we can manage the databases and leads? That’s when we think technology can solve the problem.

There are 2 ways to manage your leads and databases growth: First is to outsource to “Manpower”, you can do this by hiring virtual assistants, Second is to outsource to “technology”, by developing applications that can improve the efficiency.

In terms of the ROI for Automation, below is our comparison

Old Way:

1,000 Leads a Week, 20 hours to update the leads onto Excel, hours: 25 hours @ US$5.00 per hour = US$125 per hour (using offshore BPO companies), which means monthly cost of US$500 and Yearly cost of US$6,000. This is assuming no growth in numbers.

New Way:

We implemented Form2Go, which costs us $800 upfront for 12 months, we still need 2 hours each week to generate reports and compile a database into Newsletter mail format. The Monthly cost is now US$40, and yearly cost of US$480.00

On the $ for $ comparison, the ROI is around 5 times already (US$1280 vs US$6,000), but the real benefit is scalability.

There are many ways you can automate part of your business operations, while this has been adopted by many large sized corporations through systems integrations, it is yet to be adopted by many Small-Medium Enterprises.

Unlike the common perception, it will not cost you an arm or a leg for system automation, There are solutions available off-the-shelf (or net), many SaaS providers have solutions available for automation and Cloud Computing also offers more solutions for businesses.

In our case, we developed Form2Go as a solution for database and leads management, since then, the product has been used by many e-businesses as a solution to manage the growing leads, and “time-poor” situation.

If you are interested to know more about web-automation and Form2Go, please contact us for more details.

1 comment:

  1. In terms of lead quality, are you finding increased leads more or less qualified?

    At my last position we used multiple front end lead qualification tools and de-duplication scripts prior to putting leads in, they were simple to maintain once created and vastly improved the qualification and cut down on time sorting through leads.

    In 2009, no one should be using excel for leads unless they've got some very good VB skills :)