In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever for small business owners to embrace technology if they want to outpace their competition. Despite this reality, implementing new systems within small business operations can be easier said than done. This is especially true when times are tough and there are growing signs of an economic downturn around the corner.
In fact, results from a recent survey of small businesses conducted by Act!, found that inflation, supply chain issues, and decreased demand for services have been very real challenges for small businesses in the last 12 months and impact their likelihood of implementing new technologies.
Though dark clouds on the economic horizon can make some small business owners more hesitant to invest in new technologies, there is increasing evidence that small businesses need standard digital technologies, like a CRM platform, more than ever to grow and thrive in today’s post-pandemic climate.
Act!’s survey also found that small business owners who have already implemented CRM have seen gains in efficiency, sales productivity, customer service, and business productivity. Productivity gains and superior customer service can give small businesses a key edge in a competitive marketplace, but that edge will only materialize if CRM and its related applications are set up correctly.
In reality, however, small business owners often don’t have the experience or bandwidth to install, customize and deploy new technologies. But fortunately, technology consultants can be employed to ensure a new CRM software adaptation is seamless from start to finish.
Trusting a Partner Makes Tech Implementation a Breeze
A bumpy road to implementing new technology is not a phenomenon unique to small businesses, in fact, organizations of all sizes can struggle with getting new technology set up correctly and getting their teams trained and up to speed. The big difference is that small business owners often don’t have the time to troubleshoot problems when they arise, unlike stakeholders in larger companies.
That’s where the benefits of working with a technology consultant can really shine through. These dedicated professionals can step in and take tech troubleshooting off a small business owner’s already very full plate and can tap resources from around the world to troubleshoot an issue.
Consultants can also help shape new technologies, like a CRM platform, to meet a business’s unique and exact needs. Because many applications today are scalable and highly customizable, they can feel overwhelming, but a consultant is able to focus on the most meaningful features for a business and strip out all the extra bells and whistles, thereby reducing clutter, training time, and even costs. And as CRM platforms typically integrate with a wide range of products, hiring a consultant will enable businesses to optimize integrations with software like QuickBooks or Calendly, which they’re already using, to improve workflows and save time.
It’s also important to note that consultants work for the businesses that hire them, not a vendor or third party, so they aren’t incentivized to upsell the way salespeople are. This means business owners can rest assured that consultants are looking out for their business’s needs and bottom line.
Set Things Up And Revel In The ROI
Businesses often experience several key benefits after working with a consultant to get their customized CRM up and running. For instance, companies that utilize a CRM platform are less likely to lose valuable data due to human error or staff turnover. Act’s survey found that 45% of respondents used paper records to keep track of their business, and 11% had no record-keeping system at all. Disorganized record-keeping invites a disaster that can harm a business financially.
And, the benefits of customized software like CRM are not just limited to bookkeeping. For example, marketing automation software, especially when integrated with a CRM, makes it easier to communicate with customers and improve their loyalty. Integrated CRM and marketing automation tracks every customer interaction, enables businesses to automate and send personalized emails to prospects and customers, ranging from anniversary messages to coupons and discounts, and measures their engagement with digital resources including emails, online content, web pages, and forms.
A technology consultant can help a small business feel like they have a completely modern marketing department no matter their size or experience when the proper tools are selected and correctly set up. And working with a consultant can be ongoing.
Once CRM is fully implemented, consultants can provide additional insights into the ways a host of add-on products can further help a business, thereby maximizing its return on investment.
Small business owners may never be off the clock, but even the scrappiest entrepreneurs know there’s a time to rely on experts to get the best results. Partnering with a consultant to implement new technologies can give a small business owner badly needed piece of mind. Delegating management of new technology platforms can help ensure a smooth implementation period and prevent overspending on products that don’t fit a business’s needs. The trusted expertise of a technology consultant working in concert with the benefits of a CRM platform can help small businesses create an efficient, twenty-first-century workflow that allows them to compete in a fast-paced, increasingly digital economy.