One thing we love about Zapier is how it is constantly evolving and introducing new features, like the new Sub-Zap function. Sub-Zap by Zapier is one of the built-in tools which Zapier developed to supplement the functionality that your other business apps provide.
Other built-in tools like Formatter by Zapier, SMS by Zapier and Schedule by Zapier can be used to perform some pretty powerful tasks really easily without needing to buy more software. We have designed a free cheat-sheet which is a guide to Zapier’s built-in tools, and you can download it today to find out more.
But what about Sub-Zaps? What are they exactly? We have conducted a deep-dive into this exciting new feature which can save you time configuring workflows for your business, so stay tuned to find out more!
What is a Sub-Zap?
A Sub-Zap is a repeatable set of actions that you can initiate from other Zaps. One of the main reasons for using Sub-Zaps is the ability to process steps independently of the main Zap. This is useful as a connector between two or more different Zaps, something which could only previously be done by using Webhooks by Zapier as an action step in one zap and a trigger in another.
You might also find that you need to do the same set of actions in a few different Zaps, so rather than duplicating them in many different places it makes sense to just configure them once using a Sub-Zap.
Once you’ve configured the actions as a Sub-Zap then you can call that from other Zaps, to perform the steps for a number of different business processes.
How Sub-Zaps work is that you pass in some data, which would be one or more pieces of information which the Sub-Zap will need to do its work. After the Sub-Zap has done its processing it will then output some data, which can then be used in subsequent steps in the ‘parent’ Zap.
How will using Sub-Zaps save me time with automation?
Using Sub-Zaps when configuring automations using Zapier will save you a ton of time. Firstly, you only need to configure these mini workflows once, and then you can use them in multiple places.
This is one reason why it’s vital to review your processes before you consider automating them. By conducting this analysis you will identify Sub-Zap contenders, which are parts of processes that are used across the business. We have written an article about how to document your processes which will help you get started with this important first step. Once you have an overall view of your workflows, you’ll be able to earmark which to build as Zaps and which will become Sub-Zaps.
The second way that Sub-Zaps help you save time is that if you need to change the steps in the Sub-Zap you only need to do it once. If you had repeated the logic in many different Zaps then you’d need to revisit each one to update them, which would be very time-consuming and prone to error.
At Solvaa we are always encouraging automators to constantly review their workflows and tweak them where necessary. Adopting a “continuous improvement” mindset needn’t be a big overhead on your time, particularly if you use Sub-Zaps to do the heavy lifting.
What are examples of how I could use Sub-Zaps?
There is a step-by-step example of how to set up a Sub-Zap on the Zapier website. They suggest you can use them to:
- Look up a customer in a Google Sheet
- Find a contact in Pipedrive
Looking for data is something you will likely need to do for many different Zaps, so is the perfect candidate for a Sub-Zap. There may be a few steps involved, such as formatting the data you need to look for before you perform the search itself.
Other examples include:
- Extracting a first name and surname from a string of text
- Parsing data in an email
- Looking up a project name in a Google Sheet when adding a new task to Asana
- Sending an SMS to multiple mobile numbers when an alert needs to be sent
- Capitalising all the text in a string [see example]
- Repeated formatting such as performing spreadsheet-style calculations on data which is done from many different triggers [see example]
- Advanced lookups such as ones which return multiple values from a table lookup [see example]
All of these are mini processes which need to be triggered from multiple workflows, and are much easier to manage when configured as Sub-Zaps.
We hope these ideas have fired your imagination and inspired you to check out Sub-Zaps. However, if you’re just starting out on your automation journey then we have plenty of free resources to help you become an automation superhero!
If you’d like to find out more about business process automation then we offer some free resources to help you get started. Our free Introduction To Zapier e-book explains the benefits of business process automation, how Zapier fits in and examples of automations for each department within your business.
We also have a free cheat sheet with a checklist of Zapier’s inbuilt function which can supercharge your automations.
Where can I learn more about Zapier?
Our free articles are great for finding out how to get started with automation, but if you really want to dig deeper then our chief problem solver, Kelly Goss, has written a book called ‘Automate It with Zapier’, which is available on Amazon. It takes you through everything step-by-step and includes some ready-made templates for various examples so you can get started really quickly.
Check out our automation training programme
And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.
It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!
Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.
Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘.
Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.
Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors.
Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.