SMBs struggle in the face of so many challenges - we all know this. Small Business life can be a one-step-forward-one-step-back vicious cycle.

For instance, quite a lot of what happens within a small business is a complete mystery, particularly when it comes to knowing which new prospects to focus on and which ones to ignore. In this article we have a look at the difficulties in Finding, Winning and Keeping Customers as a Small Business and how to overcome these challenges with technology.

Finding Customers

There can seem to be very little rhyme or reason to what works and what doesn’t which means a lot of thrashing about in the dark trying to FIND new customers. In most cases an inability to drill down from an excel spreadsheet into the customer detail leaves very little understanding of where the business is coming from and why.  This makes forecasting challenging for small businesses.

One investment every business should make is in technology that gives a complete view of the customer and can provide real intelligence in how to find, win and keep customers. It can reveal lead sources, the progress of big deals in real time and can help you better understand which competitors you are beating and why. We see customers with access to real time dashboards and reports improve their forecasting accuracy by as much as 45 per cent!

Winning Customers

In the effort to WIN customers, a small business might build a website to capture leads.  This is a great start but it is what happens next that is critical.  The first responder advantage is critical to any lead enquiry.  Outlook and Excel are not going to give Small Businesses this advantage. (See our previous blog post on How Excel spreadsheets may be stifling your business growth) Marketing budget is typically limited yet small businesses will rely on Outlook or Excel to capture these hard earnt leads. Landing in an outlook inbox waiting to be followed up is not a rapid or seamless customer experience. The result, is a poor customer experience.

However, very simple and affordable Web2Lead technology provides the customer with a form that feeds the data right into the CRM system and alerts the correct agent or salesperson to follow up immediately. This means that the business owner - who very often owns the inbox where all the leads arrive - is no longer the bottleneck on those leads and can spend their time on more pressing and strategic problems. We see customers using CRM increase their lead conversion by a full 40 per cent!

Keeping Customers

Once all that energy has gone into finding and winning those customers, it is important to KEEP them. It is much more cost effective to retain a customer than acquire new ones - this is business 101. But often a business is using so many different tools and technologies to engage and manage a customer that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. The outcome can look from the outside-in as chaos.

A single, fully functional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform provides a single source of truth to help co-ordinate that ongoing engagement with the customer and ensure a seamless experience. But also, because there are fewer moving parts and integration points, IT costs are so much lower. In fact, we see those costs reduce by as much 42 per cent!

Growing Your Business

The mission of every small business is to GROW. As the business gets bigger you find yourself constantly in progress meetings that get in the way of actual action. Further demands press small business owners for time like hiring the right people, more sales people on the road selling and as a result employees don’t spend enough time together to share what they are learning.

We see customers address these challenges by using collaboration tools like Chatter to share ideas and best practice to ramp new hires and keep everyone up to speed. Mobile plays a big role ensuring people are effective and present even when they are on the road - this can provide a 40 per cent increase in productivity across the business.

In this video we talk to some successful small business owners about how technology has helped them succeed, grow and overcome their challenges, watch it now and share with us what has worked best for you...

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