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When you’re building your tech stack, it’s easy to simply look around for the “best CRM for B2B” or “the best marketing automation tool.” But looking ahead to plan for a holistic system that makes all your apps works well together is easier said than done.

This is the challenge that Alex Glenn, founder of Automated, hopes to solve. He’s built a platform for finding and showcasing automated processes that helps teams bypass the mess of connecting systems for the best possible customer experiences.

Portrait of Alex Glenn

I recently sat down with Alex to chat about his passion project as part of our Tech Stack Chat series, on how Automated works, his advice for automators, and why smart automation is so important for the future of successful business.

Watch the full interview or read the highlights below.

What led you to start Automated?

Tools don’t always play nice. You’ve got integrations, API issues, etc. And in the start-up/SMB space, you can’t always afford the close-knit native integrations that allow you to run automations smoothly. There are plenty of options out there, but again there’s API integration issues. It becomes a convoluted mess. Then, even if you do get your systems connected, how do you actually use these systems in a real-world scenario? It’s really tough to not only decide what works for your business, but how to build it out. Automated is what I would have loved to have when I was going through these pain points as a VP of marketing. I would like to create the place where founders and teams can go to start with the end result and then back into how to implement it.

So, how do you go about helping businesses design their tech ecosystems?

We do work with select clients on creating and building out these stacks and helping them facilitate and navigate the jungle of marketing and sales automation. But what we essentially do is democratize marketing, sales, and other automated workflows by seeking out and publishing the best from the brightest all around the world. For example, I use RealtimeBoard to show a collection of different flows and processes I’ve put together with specific companies. We created one as our “recommended tech stack” for any SMB company using G Suite to power their email and internal organization.

In this situation, Copper’s the hub. It’s Google’s actual internal CRM, and there are many unpublished benefits to using what Google uses, especially around cold prospecting. So if you’re a B2B company that uses G Suite and cold outreach, this is a perfect stack for you.

Screenshot of tech workflow

*Watch the full interview to hear Alex explain how each of these systems work together.

Automated’s Recommended Stack for B2B G Suite Users

Graphic depicting recommended stack

What advice do you have for companies that are trying to grow their business and scale with tech?

The best advice I can give is don’t assume there are cut-and-dry methods for anything. There’s no “best path” to take. Aside from the apps you use in your marketing automation system, there’s the whole other side of the API integrations that are connecting to your app—the apps you believe your users use on a day-to-day basis. So, you have your customer persona and say “we’re going to go after these people with this app; and we believe they use this CRM and this data tool…” And you start to prioritize the list of integrations you believe you need to build out in order to satisfy that ICP’s use case. Then, you build a timeline for those integrations. From what I’ve seen, most founders will go about this the same way.

What trends are you looking out for in automation? Who are the new names to watch?

There are a couple of players coming into the spotlight now that are white label API integrators. At Automated, we’ve actually published an API Integrators Review that showcases all the options you have to connect to apps. Imagine if you could have all of Zapier’s UI inside your app. That’s the world we’re about to live in. Instead of prioritizing 10 integrations that you want to have natively on your integrations page and spending a year, countless dollars, and countless hours building those out, we’re talking about a world where you just go to one of these partners and say “Here’s our app. We want that plan.” This way, you have integrations with hundreds of apps out there, the user doesn’t have to go off to one of these third-party sites to connect to your app, and they do it all in your UI. So, it’s definitely a new world we’re living in in terms of APIs.

Automation is becoming muddy, but I believe people will start to see it for what it actually is over the coming months and years. We’re doing automation not to do more, but do more better. Yes, we’re taking the human component out of it. But everybody needs to embrace it because at the end of the day, if you make your customer experience better, you’re going to get more referrals, have more customers, and scale faster, which means more money, more jobs, and better results.

How can founders and marketers stay part of the discussion?

I have a podcast called “The Marketing Automation Discussion,” where we discuss strategies, tools, and tactics for all things marketing and sales automation. We bring in experts and discuss customer success and internal automated flows to help companies build an ecosystem that increases revenue and efficiency. When people start asking about funnels, user journeys, and processes, I definitely notice a very good trend around automation—changing it from front-end only to really full-stack and full-funnel.

Check out the full video interview.

Watch the full interview to hear Alex’s recommendations for white label solutions and why he prioritizes simplicity for his own tech stack.

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