By Fiona Ness on Tue 02 December 2014 in CRM
The end of the year is a great time to review your business performance as a whole, but also the individual processes involved.
It is hard to know where to start and even harder to identify how some processes could be improved. Based on our knowledge of working with other SMEs we’ve come up with 6 processes you should focus your time on in 2015.
- Move reporting away from Excel
Excel is really great at a lot of things, but accurate business reporting does not tend to be one of them. If you’re relying on Excel to provide you with the ability to report on your business information, the likelihood is you’re also relying on out of date, inaccurate data. Multiple spreadsheets often leads to multiple copies of the same document, and with 88% of spreadsheets containing errors it is unlikely that yours are accurate. Why not think about moving your reliance on reporting away from Excel and offer your staff the ability to update core business and customer information in one place. Your reporting will be more accurate and your staff won’t have to deal with being locked out of spreadsheets, working out which copy is most up-to-date and who to pass this information on to.
- Lessen your admin
On average an employee spends 60% of their time on non-revenue generating admin tasks. With the majority of SMEs already stretched on time and resource this is not an ideal situation. But there are tasks that your employees are doing such as re-keying or processing orders and searching for contact information that would be better handled if your orders could be processed directly into your accounts system and your employees had one central store of customer information. All of these tasks are important and need doing, but why not let a computer handle this? They’re better at error prone tasks anyway. Let your employees focus on identifying new customers and building relationships.
- Develop better leads for your sales team
73% of sales teams complain that more often than not they are passed unqualified leads by marketing, leading to them spending an average of 80% of their day on non-revenue generating activities. To add to the frustration almost half of companies claim that they struggle to identify priority leads and customers. Instead of wasting your sales reps time with unqualified leads, why not give them access to core customer information such as sales history and buying patterns, as well as marketing results so they know what a customer is interested in and when the right time to call is. By bringing this sales and marketing information into a single view your sales reps will be able to analyse customer data, become more informed and more proactive in chasing leads.
- Equip your sales team with the right information
24% of SMEs admit that their sales teams do not have the right information to hand during a sale. Not only does this cause internal frustration, but the customer is likely to get frustrated as well – not ideal when you’re trying to build loyalty. By choosing a system integrated to your accounts system you will be able to provide your sales team with up-to-date information on sales history, previous quotes and communications, special pricing or discounts and key contact information.
- Maintain a single source of business and customer data
Improving the efficiency of the processes we’ve mentioned above may seem difficult. However, by consolidating your business and customer data into a single view this can be achieved. Think about it like this, your business doesn’t have lots of processes just running independently of each other. There is a crossover and at some point they need to interlink. Consolidating this information with the added benefit of integration to your accounts package will help streamline your processes and run a more efficient and successful business.
- Provide customers with account information online
One of the main reasons businesses shy away from selling online is a fear that their customers won’t receive the same level of customer service that they get over the phone or in person. In reality a good eCommerce site is becoming essential for any B2B business. If you are able to consolidate your customer information into a single view you can also extend this information online. Not only does this provide your customers with easy access to individual account information, stock levels and special pricing, but the same great service with the added convenience of placing orders whenever they want through your website. In addition, this lets you extend your opening hours to 24/7 increasing the number of orders you are able to take in a day by confirming them straight into your accounts system, all in all helping you to remain competitive.
If you have been reviewing your processes for the New Year but haven’t yet considered any of the above, you really should. In fact, why not get in touch with one of our consultants to see if we can help you review these processes and put plans in place to improve your efficiency and effectiveness in 2015?