December 6, 2023

AI Workflow Automation: What It Is & How to Get Started Now

What is AI workflow automation?

AI workflow automation is a process that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to launch and maintain tedious or routine tasks. This can include projects such as data entry, processing, and analysis.

The goal of AI workflow automation is to improve efficiency and productivity by allowing computers to handle these projects instead of humans.

This can free (human) workers to focus on more complex and strategic work.

In other words, AI workflow automation gives you and your team more time to focus on the parts of your business that you love – and less on the parts you don’t.

Why is AI workflow automation important?

At the end of the day, every business wants the same thing: to scale growth in a profitable, sustainable, and (hopefully) ethical way. By automating the routine aspects of your workflows, even the smallest teams can achieve big results.

Here are some of the benefits of how AI workflow automation benefits businesses:

  • It’s more efficient. AI-driven workflows crank through boring and manual tasks consistently without the risk of burnout.
  • It reduces human error. When it comes to having an eye for detail, monotonous projects are known for getting the best of us. AI automation is more reliable than tired humans (harsh, but true).
  • It’s more affordable. AI software costs less than hiring teams of humans while delivering the same quality results. This frees up your budget to hire people for more creative tasks – you know, the kind of things people actually enjoy doing.
  • It scales teams of all sizes. AI workflow automation can be used by big companies at a massive scale, sure. But it can also be used by small companies to get an advantage over the competition.

Don’t forget that it’s ultimately your customers who benefit most from implementing automated workflows as they get a more seamless and personalized user experience from your brand.

Who in your org benefits from AI workflow automation?

Nearly every department in a company would benefit from AI workflow automation, including accounting, support, recruiting, etc. That said, two teams would likely see the highest direct impact from leveraging AI-powered workflows:

  • Sales
  • Marketing

Once those departments begin automating their workflows, your company could potentially 100x your teams’ efficiency/output – and no, that’s not hyperbole.

Sales teams

The role of a sales representative has changed over the past few decades. Tracking and following up with leads used to get done with a hand-written Rolodex.

Now, even entry-level sales reps have access to powerful customer relationship management systems (CRMs) that keep everything organized and efficient.

But for all the technological advancements to help sales roles, much of the job is still tedious. This is true regardless of what your specific tasks are within a sales team:

  • Business Development Representative (BDR): Focuses on filling the sales pipeline through outbound campaigns and cold outreach.
  • Sales Development Representative (SDR): Focuses on finding and qualifying new leads before moving them further down the sales funnel.
  • Account Executives (AE): Focuses on closing deals through communication with leads (product demos, 1:1 calls, in-depth pitching, etc.) 

Each of these roles require tasks that make it hard to keep up.

For example, Gartner research found that 84.3% of SDRs fail to meet their monthly quota, with 33.3% of high-growth companies stating that SDR time management is one of their top three problems.

Automated Workflows for Business Development Representatives (BDRs)

The role of a BDR is to generate new leads and fill the sales funnel. While there are many different ways of accomplishing this, it’s usually done through cold outreach (phone calls, SMS, emails, or social media messages). 

For example, a BDR might spend their day looking for leads on LinkedIn. And once they’ve found that lead, they might try to get the phone number or email address to make initial contact and start a conversation. 

When that lead engages with that messaging, they’re typically sent to a CRM where the SDR will take over. 

But the process of finding leads and sending personalized messages isn’t just time-consuming.

It’s also mind-numbingly repetitive.

Often BDRs spend their time modifying generic outreach templates and tracking responses from their prospective customers.

These are now all workflows that can be automated thanks to artificial intelligence. Let's have a look at one you can use today:

Automated Workflows for Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)

Sales development representatives (SDRs) essentially take over where BDRs left off. Once a cold lead engages with your company’s messaging or content and becomes “warm,” an SDR will move that lead further down the sales pipeline. 

This can happen in many forms, but usually requires lots of follow-up messaging through various channels (primarily email and social media).

The difference here is that SDRs work with inbound leads who have engaged with a BDR’s cold outreach or a marketing campaign (filling out a form, signing up for a lead magnet, etc.). That means they need strong organizational skills to ensure their messages don't slip through the cracks.

Relying on AI automation tools can empower SDRs to send personalized and timely follow-ups to new prospects without leaving any leads on the table.

Automated Workflows for Account Executives (AEs)

Account Executives (AEs) can leverage automated workflows with the same efficiency as SDRs. With the right tool, AEs can automate repetitive tasks like email writing and scheduling appointments with prospective clients.

This can save time and allow your AEs to focus on more high-value tasks, such as building relationships and closing deals.

Automated workflows can also help AEs stay organized by making sure leads aren't forgotten or overlooked. By creating simple but powerful sales funnels, you can automate personalized follow-ups to get clients on the call. From there, you could generate and test different versions of your sales pitch, product demo scripts, etc.

Again, Copy.ai integrates with your CRM and most other sales tools. It doesn't require any code and can be integrated in 15 minutes or less with tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Pipedrive.

This allows any member of your sales team to write personalized sequences in your CRMs and Sales Automation platforms.

Marketing teams

The term “marketing” can cover many areas, such as:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Word-of-mouth marketing (WoM)
  • Etc.

But the overall goal of digital marketing is the same: driving traffic to your company’s website and converting visitors into new leads or paying customers.

This is typically done in a few ways, though SEO has become a staple strategy.

After all, writing content that ranks on search engines like Google allows a business to drive organic traffic month after month.

So how can automated workflows help digital marketers at a practical level? One area is programmatic SEO.

Right now, a content marketer hoping to rank an article on Google needs to go through a time-consuming process:

  • Find the right keyword to target
  • Identify other relevant keywords to include in your content
  • Create a structured outline that serves both your audience and Google
  • Write an engaging and informative post (usually around 1200 - 1500 words)
  • Edit, polish, and publish this post
  • Track rankings to optimize for growth

Fortunately, advances in AI and machine learning are helping marketers streamline nearly every aspect of this.

For example, you can find the right keyword with most entry-level SEO tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, etc.). Then plug that keyword into a workflow created by a tool like Copy.ai.

This will automatically identify other relevant keywords to include in your content and build an SEO-friendly structure for your post.

From there, you can have Copy.ai write the first draft of each section of your article. After using your expertise and personal research to edit the final content, leverage AI-editing tools like Grammarly to polish everything to your liking.

And just like that, the time it takes to write and rank blog posts can drop from hours to minutes.

This was one specific use case for how AI can automate marketing workflows. Other examples include:

  • Social media posting: Use tools like Lately or Emplifi to find the best times to post your content.
  • Email marketing: Automate email sequences with action-based triggers.
  • Project management: Stay organized with a tool like Asana or Monday.com to keep your team moving forward efficiently. If you find these tools costly you can also go with the best Monday alternative.
  • Landing page creation: Generate high-converting landing pages to capture emails, increase webinar attendance, generate direct sales, and more (available with Copy.ai).
  • Product descriptions: Create product descriptions in bulk for all of the products in your eCommerce store (available with Copy.ai).

AI is helping business owners and content markets worry less about operational processes and focus more on the ideas they love.

What can you do with AI workflow automation?

There is so much that you can accomplish with AI workflow automation, and everything really depends on your teams’ goals.

Here we’ll analyze four specific use cases that can improve your sales and marketing workflows by 100x:

  • Personalized Sales Emails
  • Programmatic SEO
  • Product Descriptions
  • Thought Leadership Content

Personalized sales emails

One of the biggest challenges for sales teams isn’t necessarily finding the right leads to reach out to. Instead, the problem is finding enough time in the day to get as many leads as possible while trying to avoid burnout.

And it’s a real problem.

According to Gartner, “nearly 90% of sellers feel burned out from work.” It’s no wonder why. After all, the sales process is time-consuming, repetitive, and mind-numbingly tedious.

This is especially true as more businesses leverage email and social media to fight for consumers’ attention.

For example, a day in the life of an SDR might include:

  • Targeting the right channel(s) to engage potential leads
  • Finding the right leads within those channels to reach out to
  • Crafting a personalized message to each potential lead
  • Writing and scheduling a series of follow-up emails
  • Repeating all of this as many times a day as possible to reach quotas
  • Tracking engagement and refining the process (channels, messaging, etc.)
  • Knowing that the overwhelming majority of their messages will go unread or get ignored

Riveting. Each of these steps is necessary for running a successful cold outreach campaign, true.

But this process lacks human creativity and isn’t what most employees would consider “fulfilling” work.

AI workflow automation can do each of those tasks on autopilot.

From a single LinkedIn URL, Copy.ai generates a personalized cold outreach email based on the recipient’s profile:

Then a follow-up email will be sent (again, automatically), depending on how this person engages with your messaging, along with a subsequent LinkedIn connection request to nurture the relationship.

And every interaction is captured and stored directly in your CRM.

Now, your sales team can use their creativity to start pulling different levers and get your organization’s sales engine running stronger than before.

Programmatic SEO

To say that the world of SEO has become saturated would be an understatement. Every year, millions of new blogs are launched. As of 2022, there are over half a billion blogs on the internet, and that number isn’t slowing down.

This puts content marketers and entrepreneurs in a tricky position: how do you get your content to rank when everyone is fighting for the same real estate on Google’s SERPs?

AI automation offers a powerful and efficient answer to that problem.

Imagine being able to take a list of keywords and plug them into something that resembles a Google Sheet. Then at the click of a button, you have sections of your page or post outlined, and all of those sections are pre-written for you.

Not happy with the initial structure? You can make a few manual changes to the input and have the content regenerated just as easily.

Now scale that process to run 500 keywords for posts or pages at the same time.

This is the exact workflow Copy.ai is refining. The goal is to help content marketers and business owners tackle SEO strategically.

That way, they can spend their time improving and optimizing content instead of getting bogged down in operational tasks.

Product descriptions

Writing product descriptions can feel like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, the descriptions need to be clear and informative, so consumers know what they’re buying. On the other hand, they need to be persuasive enough to get your visitors to take action.

Oh, and you need these engaging descriptions for all of your products.

That’s why you so often see sub-par product descriptions on eCommerce sites. It’s not that marketing teams don’t want to write persuasive copy for their product pages; it’s that they often don’t have the time, energy, or resources to keep up with all the copy needed for each product.

Copy.ai has an automated workflow that generates product descriptions in bulk:

Right now, you can write detailed and persuasive product descriptions with minimal human input. And soon, you’ll be able to plug all of your online products directly into Copy.ai to have these product descriptions generated in bulk.

But don’t worry; it doesn’t need to replace your in-house copywriter.

Instead, you can have human marketers run A/B tests on the product descriptions and continually optimize your product pages until conversions are where you want them to be.

Thought leadership

Being a thought leader in 2023 isn’t as simple as it was ten years ago. If you’re trying to carve out a space as an expert in your niche, you’ll likely need to have:

  • An active blog
  • A strong social media presence
  • Authoritative content (Ebooks, videos, webinars, etc.)

While this doesn’t sound like a lot, the amount of content you need can quickly add up. For example, as a thought leader, you might need to produce:

  • Two long-form blog posts each week
  • Five LinkedIn posts each week
  • Twelve Instagram posts each week
  • Four tweets per day
  • One YouTube video per week
  • One new eBook per month

Again, that’s a lot of content. But it’s also a lot of manual processes all working together to eat up your time.

Automated workflows allow you to tackle everything listed above, all of which could be achieved in a single business day with a tool like Copy.ai (seriously).

Copy.ai is helping thought leaders produce informative and engaging content to stand apart from the digital crowd. Right now, you can generate all the thought leadership content you need, such as:

  • SEO-friendly long-form blog posts
  • Social media posts for any platform
  • Video scripts
  • Ebooks
  • Or any other text-based content you’d like to share with your audience

But imagine taking things one step further.

Imagine being able to take a single blog post and have other thought leadership content ideas generated for you. At the click of a button, you could transform a single topic into an article, tweetstorm, LinkedIn post, video script, etc. and have these assets distributed across their appropriate channels.

These are the kinds of automations that get us excited, and the kinds of features that will be rolling out soon.

Get started with Copy.ai and be an early adopter of our AI automated workflows! 

What features matter for AI workflow automation?

The features that matter for AI workflow automation depend on the goals your team is trying to achieve.

That said, there are three qualities you should be looking for from any tool you ultimately decide to try:

1) It should be easy to use. Whenever you’re working with a new tool, you don’t want to spend your time sifting through YouTube tutorials and support documentation. Find a software with an intuitive user interface (UI) that every team member can learn quickly.

2) It should fit your budget (at scale). Look at the price increases for each tool as your growth scales. This will help you choose software that supports your long-term business goals.

Look at the price tag for each tool based on the results you’ll eventually want rather than the results you currently have.

3) It should integrate with other software. Choose the least amount of tools possible to solve your business problems and ensure those tools play well with others. That way, you can create workflows to automate as much of the boring stuff as possible.

Should I implement one platform or many?

Ideally, you’ll want to keep your tech stack as slim as possible. And you’ll likely find that different departments require different AI platforms.

Your customer support team might benefit from software like SupportLogic, but your accounting team might need a solution like CashAnalytics.

Two different problems call for two different solutions.

But your tech stack for sales and marketing will have overlapping problems, and you should be looking for the least amount of tools possible. While there’s no silver-bullet solution for any tech stack, try to limit the number of tools you need to make a workflow run smoothly.

Copy.ai, for example, is a tool that will let you automate nearly every aspect of your sales and marketing workflows. You can:

  • Target new leads with personalized messages via cold email
  • Write and send follow-up emails based on how a user replies
  • Send every interaction directly to your CRM
  • Generate hundreds of SEO-friendly blog posts
  • Learn which other keywords you should be ranking for (or other pages you should build) based on the keyword you’re targeting
  • Repurpose all of your content for social media
  • Send link building pitches to sites like HARO (coming soon)
  • Write hundreds of product descriptions for your online store

These are a few examples of what you can automate with Copy.ai, but the sky really is the limit.

Now, to be fair, other solutions let you build the same kinds of automated workflows, too.

Zapier, for example, helps you string 3rd-party tools together to make some powerful tech stacks. The problem is that your entire workflow goes down when one of these tools goes down.

Plus, you would need a certain level of technical proficiency to create these setups yourself.

Again, the number of tools your team needs will depend on the specific goals you’re trying to accomplish. But at the end of the day, you’ll want to go with a solution that requires the least amount of tooling to reach your goals.

When should my team consider implementing AI workflow automation?

You should implement AI workflow automation as quickly as possible. You’ll see immediate benefits regardless of what size your business is:

  • Small Businesses: Your advantage is that you can move more quickly than your larger competitors. Master AI workflow automation early on and learn how David can scale like Goliath with a fraction of the resources.
  • Medium Businesses: You’ve made it over the hump and have a sustainable business (congrats!). Take things to the next level without over-extending your budget or burning out your team.
  • Enterprise Businesses: You have the resources to invest in experts who can set up AI workflow automation for you. Find the right person to tackle the project and get started immediately. It’s not an expensive problem to solve, either, so there’s no excuse for dragging your heels.

Remember, if you’re not taking advantage of AI automation, your competitors will. IBM recently published a report showing an increase in companies leveraging AI for growth.

Here are a few highlights from IBM’s research:

  • 35% of companies surveyed are using AI in their business, with an additional 40% that are exploring AI as a solution
  • 30% of IT professionals report that their organization uses AI automation to save their employees time
  • Around half of the companies in the survey reported various benefits of AI, including cost-effectiveness/efficiency, improved technical performance, and better user experiences

Further, DemandSage suggests that 84% of companies think AI will give them a competitive edge, while 83% say implementing AI into their organization is a top priority.

Why does this matter to you? Because AI doesn’t just lead to growth; it leads to growth at a massive scale.

If your competitors adopt AI faster than you, they’ll find it easier to take a more significant part of the market share.

That also means you’ll have a harder time closing the gap between you and the competition.

To avoid getting left behind — or simply being outdone — start exploring the right AI platforms for your business today.

How do I choose the right AI workflow automation software?

Choosing the right AI-driven workflow automation software will depend on which department you’re trying to automate, but the basic steps are the same for everyone:

  • Assess your teams’ goals. Determine what your team is ultimately trying to accomplish (get more emails, drive traffic to a webinar, make direct sales, etc.)
  • Map out the workflow you currently use. Look at the customer journey from their first point of contact with your brand all the way to your team’s ultimate goal. It helps to write out each step along the way.
  • Study the parts that are tedious and repetitive. Identify sections of your sales funnel that have the potential to be automated.
  • Research which tools best automate those parts. Once you understand the features you need from AI workflow automation software, you can compare your options.
  • Look for the solution that requires the least amount of tools. Select the tool that will best help your team reach its short and long-term goals.

This process will help you understand what features you need from an AI software to automate specific workflows.

Copy.ai specializes in automated workflows specifically for sales and marketing.

But, there are other departments you may want to consider automating with AI. Here are some helpful resources for AI software in the following fields:

These articles will point you in the right direction for finding the best AI-powered tools that meet those departments’ needs.

Why is Copy.ai the ideal solution for AI workflow automation?

Copy.ai sets itself apart from other AI workflow automation tools because it doesn’t just handle the operational processes; it handles the content and copywriting, too. This is an important piece of the equation because it’s often the most cumbersome to deal with.

With Copy.ai, you can:

  • Automate your entire cold email workflow (and have the emails written for you with high-quality personalization)
  • Drive more organic traffic by creating posts and pages that are optimized to rank via data pulled from the SERPs
  • Convert more from your store with compelling product descriptions and automated follow-up messaging for upsells
  • Generate long-form articles and blog posts to cement yourself as an expert, build customer loyalty, and boost brand awareness

In other words, our goal here at Copy.ai is to give you a business in a box.

We want to make sure that people are spending their time on big ideas that get teams excited – not filling out email templates by the hundreds in a mad-lib style.

And the best part is that there’s zero risk in seeing if it’s the right tool for you. Get started with Copy.ai’s free demo to see AI workflow automation.

In doing so, you’ll be one of the first people to leverage this powerful technology and can reap the rewards that early adopters so often experience.

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