Are you here because you’re asking, “What is workflow automation, and how can I use it to improve my business?”
If so, great!
There are plenty of practical ways to automate processes and workflows throughout your company. And one of them is to use workflow automation software. I will get into specifics info, define workflow automation and explain a few practical cases where this technology can help you grow.
Then, I will provide a few best practices for automating workflows and share our best advice for choosing workflow automation software that matches your needs.
The last thing we will do is answer all of your burning questions in the FAQS.
But before that, let's take a look at the best workflow automation software for 2023.
What is the best workflow automation software?
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the top workflow automation software options on the market. Below, you’ll find detailed information about each product along with our personal recommendation at the end of the post.
Kissflow is an end-to-end workflow automation software that can help streamline operational efficiency and boost productivity.
Kissflow makes it easy for managers and team members to work together and strategically automate workflows.
Business leaders can use the builder to create schedules, simplify complicated tasks, assign new projects, and automate redundant tasks. If used correctly, this tool can save everyone at your company a lot of time and effort.
The app is great for business and IT leaders alike. From the marketing side of things, Kissflow can help with content marketing management, marketing schedules, and much more. On the flip side, IT experts can use this same tool to improve response time and agility while reinforcing data governance.
- The dynamic drag-and-drop builder makes this tool accessible to most people.There are tons of customization options, so your team can make a work board that’s totally unique to their needs.
- Countless integration options mean Kissflow can help you maximize the value of the tools you’re already using.
- Deep analytical reports make tracking individual progress and group projects effortless.
- Companies with small teams will not be able to use this product.- People who want a little room to create something from the ground up might not like the barriers this tool presents.
Free trial or $10 per user per month (minimum 50 users)
Kissflow is an excellent all-in-one tool for leaders who want to give their teams the freedom to build schedules, manage projects, and simplify tedious workflows..
Process.st is a great workflow automation tool that can help you manage everything from your content marketing team to your onboarding process.
Process.st is another workflow automation software that makes managing your small business easy.
You can quickly and easily create workflows with a no-code builder. This tool allows for real-time collaboration, so you can efficiently work with your team to plan projects and automate key tasks.
Once you create a task, you can edit, add media, type comments, and more. These various communication options reduce friction and help different teams come together to meet common goals.
You can also use Process.st to manage documentation and training assets. When new hires join the team, you can automate their onboarding process and watch them get comfortable with the company.
- Stay ahead of the curve and automate workflows and projects months in advance. - Excellent tool for managing your customer service team and onboarding new employees.
- The pro version has over 3,000 integrations.
- Manage entire teams within your company with the group's feature.
- Fully responsive, so it works great on mobile and desktop.
- Large teams may struggle to adopt this tool, as the price is steep if you have hundreds of employees. - Limited task tracking (cannot track individual subtasks).
Limited-access free-for-life plan or 14-day pro trial ($25 per month, per person after)
Process.st is a good tool if you have a small team and want to improve how you all work together throughout the day.
Zapier is one of the most well-known workflow automation software on the market. The highlight of this tool, Zaps, allows you to create 100-step automated workflows.
Many features make Zapier stand out from the crowd. One particularly noteworthy feature is you can connect over 5,000 different tools and programs to this software.
Connecting with email subscribers and promoting your products on social media has never been easier. Zapier is multi-tasking done right.
You can also use conditional logic to change the outcome of your plan. So, if you have a Zap that includes emailing a new subscriber, you can establish rules for what happens next if they open your email and don’t click through. This type of automated decision-making will give you more time to focus on other essential aspects of your business.
- Quickly and safely move bulk data between applications. - Automate on a consistent schedule with Zaps.
- Build your own app integrations and workflows. If you can’t find something you like, make something new!
- If you need help, this tool has built-in training guides via Zapier University.
- Conditional logic takes extra thinking and roadblocks out of the equation because you’ve already anticipated the outcomes and planned accordingly.
- Debugging isn’t as intuitive as it could be, which leads to many instances of restarting workflows from scratch.- The free plan isn’t generous enough for some people to commit to a purchase.
- You cannot collaborate on tasks unless you upgrade to the more expensive team plan.
The pricing is flexible based on how many actions you want to take each month. For instance, 100 actions or less for one person is free. Individual pricing is $19.99 monthly for 750 tasks, while team pricing is $399 for 50k tasks.
Zapier is undoubtedly one of the best ways to combine tools you’re already using and automate your workflows. This tool is an excellent option if you want to simplify your existing processes without changing service providers.
Snov.io is a workflow automation tool designed to generate sales and build customer rapport.
Snov.io is a collection of marketing tools, but it comes with a built-in CRM that makes it easy to integrate your leads and customers, regardless of where they are in your sales funnel. Once you’ve added your lists, you can automate an email series to go out at crucial times.
For example, if a user adds an item to their shopping cart but leaves without checking out, you can trigger an email series to convince them to come back and finalize their purchase.
Depending on how the subscriber responds to the email, you can automatically change what happens next.
Since your data is in one place, you can accurately identify trends and improve customer engagement over time.
- Automatically build rapport with your leads based on how they engage with your emails.- Engage existing customers by creating personalized multi-step email campaigns tailored to their goals and pain points.
- Email finder and verification tools reduce your bounce rate while improving how many people open your messages.
- The cost may be a bit pricey for startups/small businesses since this sales automation tool is part of a bigger bundle.- There is a learning curve, especially when compared to some of the other tools on this list.
Snov.io has a free trial that includes 150 credits. If you want to continue using this sales automation tool, the starter plan is $30 per month for 1000 credits.
Nintex is a workflow automation software that aims to reduce paperwork and unnecessary manual processes.
Nintex says it will speed up your existing workflows and ensure a smooth transition to the digital workspace, which implies their product is primarily for people transitioning from a traditional office setting.
Their software comes with a range of features that can help business leaders, managers, and team members get more done in less time.
Teams can work together to map out complicated plans into short, actionable steps. If your employees struggle to stay on task, this is a great way to guide their workflow and ensure things get done on time.
You can also use Nintex to handle your human resources and sales paperwork. Data is easily accessible and only available to team members with the proper permissions. You can automate processes like annual surveys, holiday emails, and more. These features make it easy for your HR department to focus on the ‘human’ part of their job.
The biggest downfall of this product is the price point.
- Map out long-term projects so everyone involved can stay on track.- Reduce unnecessary paperwork and training documents. You can manage many aspects of HR and employee onboarding with Nintex.
- Customizable conditional forms make it easy to share data internally and gather customer data externally.
- The price point will be a deal breaker for most small business owners.- Even at the price point, customer service is only available for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
Free 30-day trial, followed by $25,000 per year
Nintex may be a good product for someone who wants to switch from a brick-and-mortar business to a digital one. Better options exist for you if you don’t fit into this category.
Flokzu is a cloud-based automation program. This tool’s main appeal is that it can help you automate workflows, even if you have zero IT experience.
True to its reputation, the strongest feature of Flokzu is its accessibility. This software uses a simple drag-and-drop builder so you can make workflows that match the needs and goals of your business.
You don’t have to write a single line of code to quickly and accurately automate otherwise repetitive tasks. It’s possible to change the path of the workflow periodically or under certain conditions with just a few clicks. You can plan for the most common situations in a couple of hours and set up automatic responses for your employees and customers.
- Build team projects with assignments distributed throughout the group—plan for weeks or months ahead to keep things on track.- Sandbox mode makes it easy to test new workflows without causing disruptions.
- Share, upload, and transfer data from spreadsheets in seconds.
- Searchable filters make it easy to find tasks, projects, and team members.
- There are only several hundred integrations available, which might not be enough, depending on your needs. - You won’t find as many features here as you would a slightly more expensive tool.
- Limited scaling options.
Free trial available, starts at $14 per month after.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for beginners. If you want to get a handle on automating workflows, Flokzu can help you develop a routine and learn the ropes.
ProcessMaker is a workflow automation tool for business leaders and managers who want to handle large projects.
One standout feature of ProcessMaker is it’s designed for a small group of managers instead of the entire company. Leaders can monitor essential tasks while tracking overall progress through instantly available reports.
The drag-and-drop builder allows you to plug in forms, tasks, and data connectors with if/then logic. If you’re the kind of person who needs a visual aid to conquer large projects, this tool can help. The fact that you can add automated tasks makes it even easier to reach your goals.
You can also quickly approve and decline tasks for your email inbox and Slack, which means you’re spending less time micromanaging and more time building your business.
- Turn data into actionable reports in seconds.- Create workflows for massive projects in days, not weeks.
- Build conditional forms, so you have a course of action in case things don’t go according to plan.
- The fact that this is for one person or a small group means some people will get left out of the loop. - There’s a steep learning curve when building brand-new workflows outside the standard templates.
There is no trial available, only a demo. The cost is $1,495 a month per user.
ProcessMaker isn’t suitable for everyone, but there are people that would find value in this software. Specifically, I think it would be helpful for small businesses with less than 5 managers who want to organize ideas and automate workflows.
What is workflow automation? And what is workflow automation software?
Every job has a list of tasks that need to be performed throughout the day. A workflow is the series of steps required to complete each task. If there is no tech or software intervention, the workflow is manually moved from step A to step B.
Here are a few examples:
- Converting visitors into email subscribers
- Helping users via customer support
- Scheduling recurring payments
- Onboarding new hires
Manual workflows are slow, prone to human error, and cost more than their automated counterparts. Think about the difference between automatically segmenting your customers with pre-made rules and hiring someone to read every contact form.
Business leaders can use automated workflows across virtually every department, regardless of whether they are digital-only or have physical locations.
Simply put, workflow automation is a way to execute redundant tasks in a way that’s easy, effective, and affordable. Automating specific workflows can dramatically improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
Workflow automation software is any tool that takes a manual job and performs the task automatically with near instantaneous results. As you’ll soon learn, there are many different types of software out there that can help you streamline everything from customer service to internal documentation.
What are the top benefits of workflow automation?
Now that you better understand workflow automation, let’s talk about a few specific benefits of adopting this strategy.
1. Operation efficiency
Business leaders and marketing teams across all industries have improved how their brands operate internally by automating workflows.
There’s software available now that makes it easy to automate your communication channels, task management, payroll, onboarding, and so much more. These small but meaningful changes make it easier for employees to do their job, which results in better experiences for everyone.
E.g., A company uses automation technology to get new employees onboarded and comfortable in their roles in less time than traditional training.
2. Instantly deliver lead magnets/digital purchases
You want customers to receive their lead magnet or coupons immediately. Failure to deliver on your promises can damage trust and lead to a severe drop in engagement.
Automation can help you quickly get content, coupons, and more to email and social media subscribers. When you consistently deliver high-quality content and offers, people are more likely to interact with your brand and become customers.
E.g., Email automation software can automatically send a digital product to your customers so they can immediately use their purchase.
3. Segment new email subscribers
Segmenting your lead list is a crucial step in growing your business. Essentially, this means dividing your audience into groups based on their demographics, interests, and pain points.
Automation can help you quickly understand a user’s goals and pain points, which means more opportunities for personalization. When you consider that 80% of online shoppers want more personalized offers and content, it’s not hard to see why this is one significant benefit of using workflow automation software.
E.g., Your email software sends visitors a welcome email that asks them to choose their preferences for future interactions. Based on their choices, the software will assign subscribers to a list that closely matches their interests.
4. Streamline customer service
Instead of sending customers to a bunch of different agents, you can use automation software to pinpoint their needs and send them to the correct department. Automating this workflow will reduce friction on the customer service side of your business, resulting in better experiences when agents interact with a customer.
You can also automate customer support so that a human agent doesn’t have to get involved. This strategy is excellent for customers who have questions about their order or want to change their password. However, you should never fully automate your customer service, as 63% of people say they are more likely to return to a website that has a live chat option.
E.g., A chatbot greets your customer with a common problem and sends them a helpful resource from your blog. Meanwhile, your support team is free to help users with nuanced issues that require a little extra attention.
5. Schedule content
Another fantastic way to use workflow automation is to schedule blog content and social media posts. When you consider that 4.62 billion people use social media and 70% of people prefer to get to know businesses through their on-site blog posts, it’s no wonder this is one of the best-known benefits of workflow automation.
You don’t need a social media manager to post every 4 hours. Similarly, you don’t have to worry about hitting the publish button on your blog posts on a consistent schedule. Instead, use automation to schedule weeks or months in advance. Use the extra time to plan future content, work on other projects, and much more.
E.g., You load all your Black Friday social media posts the week before the shopping season begins. Instead of having team members trip over each other to get posts out, you can sit back and watch them effortlessly pop up. Your social media support staff now has less stress and more time to help users with questions or concerns.
What are the best practices to improve workflow automation?
The next topic I want to discuss is the best practices you should follow to improve your workflow automation system.
One of the first things you should do is document your workflows. Clear, information-packed documentation can take a confusing work process and turn it into something everyone on the team can understand. When employees know how each task should work, there’s less room for error.
When choosing where to implement automated workflows, I recommend starting with redundant processes that take up a ton of your team’s time. For instance, you can use an email CRM to create easily retrievable templates for your marketers. This small change will save your team hours each day, which is bound to boost morale and productivity.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should introduce automation into your business one step at a time. If you try to make too many changes at once, you could overwhelm yourself or your team, resulting in more issues.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with new automation styles. You may find something that saves your team countless hours each week, or you might find a dud. The only way to know for sure is to experiment with different workflows and automation software until you develop a plan that works for your business.
How to select workflow automation software?
Once you decide to invest in workflow automation software, you need to choose the right tool for the job. There are a few general criteria you should look for when selecting automation tools for your business. Here are a few factors I look at before making a purchase:
- Functionality - What problem would I like to solve, and how will this technology help me reach our goals? You should also identify slow workflows that could benefit from automation.
- Compatibility - Will investing in this tool cause conflicts with existing tools/software? If so, which product do I value more?
- Accessibility - Can I access the tool from my smartphone and tablet? Will I have the same functionality across all devices once I’m logged in?
- Scalability - Will this tool grow with our business, or will I need to upgrade within a year?
- Ease of use - Will new team members be able to use this tool without weeks of training?
- Analytics availability - Can I see how shoppers engage with our brand via automated workflows? Is this data presentable and helpful for improving other aspects of my business?
As you can see, there are plenty of different workflow automation tools to choose from. When it comes down to it, the software you choose will depend on your specific needs and goals.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one package, Zapier is the way to go. They make it super easy to automate a significant portion of your workday.
However, tools like Snov.io can be helpful to business leaders who are looking to automate their sales process.
I suggest thinking carefully about your long-term goals and the things we said to look for in a workflow automation tool. Most of the options discussed today come with a free trial, so you can experiment until you find the right software for your business.
Frequently asked questions on automation software
What is workflow automation software?
Workflow automation software is a tool or program that streamlines tedious processes. It’s often used to save time and money while boosting productivity. Businesses across all industries can benefit from automating tasks and collaborating in one central location.
What is the best workflow automation software?
There are many different types of workflow automation software. You can find ones that are laser-focused on human resources and onboarding, while others are strictly for automating sales processes. To find the best workflow automation software, you must find a tool matching your needs.
How to choose the best workflow automation software?
You choose the best workflow automation software based on various conditions, including; your business goals, tool scalability, accessibility, responsiveness, and compatibility.
What is a workflow automation example?
Here’s an example of workflow automation in action:
An existing customer visits your website and adds an item to their cart but leaves without checking out. If you set up an automated email workflow, users will get a personalized marketing email asking them to return and finalize their orders. You can even use conditional logic to change the context of your following email based on how they respond. This process all happens automatically once you’ve set up the workflow.
What is workflow automation in CRM?
Workflow automation in CRM is the process of nurturing leads and engaging with customers through pre-made campaigns with conditional logic and detailed buyer personas. Each interaction is tailored around the customer’s needs and results in a more enjoyable, engaging experience, despite it all happening automatically.