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5 productivity tips to help drive small business growth

Article provided by Salesforce

Small businesses are the lifeblood of South Africa’s economy. Companies like yours represent a staggering 98 percent of all businesses in the country and employ 50-60 percent of the workforce.

But growing a business is no easy feat. The pandemic made it clear that you need to be responsive if you want to stay competitive in times of disruption. And that means rethinking the technology you use to serve customers better, connect your data, unlock insights, and be more productive.

We all felt it. With brick-and-mortar businesses temporarily closed and social isolation an everyday reality, online use skyrocketed. Small businesses that had honed their craft offline had to ramp up their online presence almost overnight, and customers got used to the seamless connectivity and personalisation offered by the likes of Amazon and Netflix.

Nice as it would be to think everything will return to normal, 72% of consumers in South Africa expect to spend more time online after the pandemic than before. And 89% now say experience is just as important as products and services.

That means there’s never been a better time to deepen the relationship with your customers and improve processes for colleagues, partners, and suppliers. With the right technology, you can save time, generate more leads, and enable new, more productive ways of working.

Here are five productivity tips to help your growing business thrive and adapt.

Tip #1 – Get the right tools

Efficiency is a high-stakes game, and time is money. Your technology shouldn’t work against you, but with you – growing and scaling as you do. Scan the following checklist, and if you can relate to any of its points, you may need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system:

  • You lack a single source for information about customers
  • Reports are tedious and time-consuming
  • You have little to no customer visibility
  • It’s hard to stay productive remotely
  • Personalising interactions is difficult

But what is CRM? It’s a system that records and organises information, helping you manage and improve relationships across the entire customer lifecycle, including every marketing, sales, e-commerce, and customer service interaction. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

By opting for a cloud-based CRM solution, you can even avoid excessive software, server, and infrastructure costs.

Tip #2 – Connect all your data

As your company grows, and your processes become more complex and reliant on data, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s a time when many small businesses go for quick fixes that don’t provide long-term relief.

With a CRM that can integrate with other cloud and non-cloud tools, you can create a complete 360-degree view of your customers and your data. So whatever tools you’re already using become more valuable as you extend functionality, save time by eliminating data transfers between apps, and manage all customer interactions in one place.

And it doesn’t matter what email provider or productivity tools you use either; with the right CRM, it all comes together neatly to help you action our next tip…

Tip #3 – Work smarter

If your employees are tired of performing slow, menial tasks that divert them from bigger, more ambitious projects, automation is your friend.

With a CRM, you can apply simple triggers to tasks based on set criteria or actions. Say a big prospect attends your webinar; your CRM can automatically track their interaction, move ownership from marketing to sales, and set a reminder to follow up. And this is just one of countless possibilities made possible by automation.

Elsewhere, you can help keep the personal touch as your business grows and introduces sales, marketing, and service teams into the mix. A CRM can connect everyone to a 360-degree customer view, simplifying collaboration and enabling personalised interactions across the customer journey.

Customer history and interactions become live trackable resources – helping you deliver the smart, seamless, and cross-channel experiences today’s customers expect as standard.

Tip #4 – Go mobile and work from anywhere

Despite rising interest in flexible working before the pandemic, many businesses struggled to equip their employees with the productivity tools they needed to do their best work remotely.

And with remote and flexible working likely to be here to stay, small businesses like yours can embrace the benefits that come with doing business anytime, anywhere – from any device.

With a cloud-based CRM, your workplace goes with you and your team. Your CRM data, apps, and collaboration tools behave as if you were on site. So, if inventory needs an urgent reorder, a new vendor needs approval, or a customer needs updating, everything you need is mobile ready.

Did you know?

77% of service agents in South Africa can access all the data and information they need to help customers anytime, anywhere.

Tip #5 – Simplify reporting

Your insights are only as good as your data. With all your data stored and managed in one place, you can begin sorting through it to see what needs cleaning, deleting, or merging.

To do this manually, as you may already know, is a headache waiting to happen. Thankfully, a CRM can schedule data clean-ups and even earmark data sources for always-on tracking and reporting.

And with a clean, accurate, and secure store of fresh insights, you can automate reporting and dashboards, helping you monitor key success metrics with simple, user-friendly visuals. And better yet, you can base business decisions on quantifiable data rather than intuition and guesswork.

Your partner in growth

Salesforce helps you find customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow even faster. And with our out-of-the-box solutions, getting up and running with the latest CRM technology is easy.

But we understand you may still have questions. To learn more about why CRM is important to small business growth, click here, or to explore our five productivity tips in even greater detail, you can get the complete guide here.

Salesforce is a proud Partner of the NSBC