Automation Tools Every SME Should Try

Running a small or medium business effectively and efficiently is not as easy as it might look on paper. The managerial and operational tasks become more challenging as a business starts growing. Many SMEs find it difficult to keep things organized and keep track of all their stuff. On the brighter side,  automation tools are no longer reserved for large businesses, thanks to advancements in modern technologies and affordable pricing.

There are plenty of automation solutions that can help SMEs automate most of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks. Here are some of the most popular automation solutions small and medium businesses should try to efficiently manage tasks, save time and boost productivity.

Asana

The project automation solution is designed to grow with businesses and can be scaled easily. Asana is pretty similar to Trello in terms of functionality. However, Asana is more versatile, scales better and comes with more features such as work request prioritization, advanced search and reporting, and workload management.

The basic version is free-to-use and is suitable for individuals and teams that want to manage personal to-dos and basic tasks. Pricing for premium plans start from $10.00/user/month (billed annually) and custom pricing is also available for large enterprises. Integration support includes Salesforce, Tableau, Power BI and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Key features

  • Board, list, calendar and task view
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Timeline
  • Advanced search and reporting
  • Private teams and projects
  • Portfolio and workload management
  • Custom rules builder

SendGrid

The email marketing automation system can be implemented quickly and allows users to get started in no time using the built-in templates. It makes it easier to automate recurring emails without having to rely on developers to make things work. Users can start automating email marketing quickly by using the existing triggers such as adding a contact.

The email API allows businesses to send 40k mails for 30 days after which they can keep sending up to 100 emails per day. Pricing for email API with advanced features starts from $14.95/month. The email marketing plan is also available for free (up to 2k contacts and 6k emails per month), while the pricing for paid subscriptions starts from $15/month.

Key features

  • Segmentation
  • A/B testing
  • Design and code editors
  • Automation (advanced plan only)
  • Sign up forms
  • Actionable insights
  • Send scheduling
  • Content personalization
  • Responsive templates
  • Event Webhook, Subuser API, Universal links and marketing campaigns APIs
  • Teammate permissions
  • 2-factor authentication, TLS encryption
  • Privacy Shield and SOC 2 Type II certification

Osmos Cloud

OsmosCloud is an online quote management system “CPQ” designed to take hassle out of the quoting process by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The free version allows up to three users and includes all the essentials startups need, including unlimited storage, 100 leads, 3rd-party integrations, roles and credentials and free tech support.

SMEs also get a simple-to-use CRM with the quote management system that costs $35/month and includes account receivables. Larger businesses that need advanced functionality can opt for Osmos Business Management suite that supports 5 users and includes account receivables and payables, internal orders, requisitions, inventory and purchase orders.

Key features

  • Up to 10 times faster quote generation than traditional methods such as spreadsheets
  • Cloud-based, no installation required, accessible from anywhere
  • Customizable quote templates
  • Automated follow-ups
  • Client management and contact information
  • Quote-to-invoice conversion
  • Payment collection
  • eQuote forms
  • Real-time sales reports
  • Integration with Stripe, QuickBooks, MailChimp, Slack and Gmail
  • Contract-free
  • CRM
  • Roles and credentials
  • Unlimited storage
  • Account receivables/payables
  • Internal orders
  • Requisitions

Buffer

Buffer is a social media management solution designed keeping needs of growing businesses in mind. It helps them build and grow audience and strengthen brand presence on the social media. From crafting and publishing posts to team collaboration and analysis, Buffer has got SMEs covered. Businesses can post content on a variety of platforms using a single system, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Pricing for publishing plans start from $15/month (billed annually) and includes 1 user, up to 100 scheduled posts and 8 social accounts. Separate plans for ‘Reply’ and ‘Analyze’ are also available for businesses that need more functionality.

Key features (Publish)

  • Content planning and publishing
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • Team collaboration
  • Post scheduling
  • Tailored posts
  • At-a-glance view of content
  • Post reviews and approvals
  • Account management

FreshDesk

The customer support and ticketing solution is a self-service, omnichannel and AI-driven customer services solution designed to win and retain customers. It enables SMEs to streamline all conversations with customers in one place and automates repetitive tasks.

The Sprout package includes the basics for free, while pricing for paid subscriptions start from $15/agent/month (billed annually) and includes automations, marketplace apps, help-desk and SLA management.

Key features

  • SLA management
  • Team inbox
  • Agent collision detection
  • Custom ticket status
  • Canned responses
  • Scenario automation
  • Shared ownership
  • Linked and parent-child ticketing
  • Omnichannel support (Email, phone, chat, social media, website and WhatsApp)
  • Time-triggered/event-triggered automation
  • Automatic email notification
  • Self-service experiences
  • Reporting and insights
  • Identity and access management, custom SSL certificates, IP and network restrictions