5 Ways SMBs Can Cut Costs Through Better Business Process Management

5 Ways SMBs Can Cut Costs Through Better Business Process Management

When trying to cut costs, a ‘slash and burn’ approach can actually end up hurting your business in both the short term and long term. Instead, streamlining your business process management can save costs while setting up your business for success in the future.

According to research from Bain & Company, companies that digitised critical processes to prove efficiency achieved a compound annual growth rate of 17%, compared to those who did not. 

So what sort of business processes can you improve? Often, you can answer this question by identifying your teams’ biggest pain points and the processes that take the most time and energy. 

Ultimately, this depends on your organisation, but there are several common processes that small and medium-sized businesses can improve for greater efficiency and cost savings. The Small and Medium Business Efficiency Toolkit outlines the new fundamentals required to build these efficiencies, using nine real-world examples from SMBs across Australia and New Zealand. 

Here are five of those processes and how to improve them.


1. Customer service processes

We know from the 5th edition Small Business Trends Report that fielding customer queries and solving their problems is a top challenge for many SMBs. But skimping on this area can create disgruntled customers, damage your brand and lose critical win-back and cross-sell opportunities. 

To create a customer service solution that keeps pace with customers’ needs, most SMBs will need a holistic approach that helps automate repetitive tasks and free employees to focus on more complex customer problems.

A great example is Audata, an Australian start-up that used Service Cloud to automate many of its service processes. That includes:

  • Service Cloud Voice, which automatically transcribes calls and provides service reps with AI-enabled recommendations for next steps
  • Salesforce Knowledge and Einstein Bots, using self-serve answers and AI bots to help customers find what they need without engaging a service rep
  • Collaborative case management across an entire team — a major improvement compared to when founder and CEO Keegan Bakker was fielding all customer enquiries himself

Audata has also used Marketing Cloud to automate parts of their customer onboarding process, sending customers tailored information about the products they’re using. This helps inform customers from the beginning and preempts service enquiries. 

Want to see the rest of Audata’s story and how other Trailblazers are making customer service processes more efficient? Download the full Efficiency Toolkit.

2. Sales outreach and engagement

Nothing slows a sales pipeline quite like your sales reps getting bogged down in admin or needing to access data from lots of different sources. 

Collaborative sales solutions — enabled by a customer relationship management (CRM) system — can create a 360-degree view of customers and leads, streamlining processes like lead or opportunity management. There are also automations and efficiencies across the entire lifecycle that help free sales reps to focus on building relationships and closing deals. 

As an example, the New Zealand startup PaySauce uses both sales and marketing solutions to streamline the sales cycle. Through Account Engagement, PaySauce has automated engagement journeys after live events and demos. 

It’s also helped automate a newsletter that used to be assembled manually through spreadsheets — now, the team can segment information according to what recipients actually want to read. As a result, the open rate has increased from 37% to 52%.

3. Marketing campaigns and communications

Small business marketing solutions tend to be most efficient when they can build connections with other functions, particularly sales and service. This approach can help you build business processes around the customer, while also removing headaches and barriers for your employees. 

For instance, Go1 has used Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud to manage both functions from one platform. Through Pardot, teams in different countries can execute local campaign and landing page templates in less than 24 hours. From there, the business can track and optimise campaign engagement. 

Pardot Connections also help track webinar and live event attendance, sending tailored materials and follow-up messages. Plus, Go1 syncs lead data between Pardot and Sales Cloud, breaking down silos between teams and minimising inefficient double-ups in work.

4. Partner and wholesale management

Working with partners and wholesalers is critical for many small businesses, but it can be tough to juggle their needs with all the other functions of a business. 

This is especially true once you hit a certain level of growth. That was the case for independent fragrant house who is elijah. With over 60% of their revenue coming from their wholesale business, their relationships with wholesalers are now a crucial part of their growth.

But as the business started to see major growth each month, they began to struggle with wholesale management processes. They resolved this and built the ability to scale by using Salesforce as a central platform. Integrating with other applications, solutions like Service Cloud automates fulfilment and invoicing. Meanwhile, Field Service helps streamline orders and inventory management. 

While they’ve now added account managers to deepen relationships with stockists, who is elijah was still able to grow their wholesale accounts from 50 to 350 wholesale accounts — even without account managers.

5. Employee collaboration processes

SMBs in Australia and New Zealand tend to lean toward in-person work, but many employees still need to be able to work from anywhere — especially those who are on the road or in the field. Regardless of their location, collaboration tools like Slack can make a variety of internal processes faster and easier. 

Australian SMB and coworking community CreativeCubes.co offers ample proof of this. It uses Slack as a central communication hub, integrating different apps to help employees work smarter. 

One of those processes is member onboarding — every time a new member signs a contract, Slack automatically notifies a member of the appropriate team so they can begin the onboarding process through Salesforce. Each major step creates notifications through Slack and triggers the next action. The entire process is now three times faster than it was before Slack.

See the rest of the insights and examples

More efficient process management is vital for handling uncertainty and disruptions. It forms a major pillar of the new fundamentals of business, which you can read about in the full Efficiency Toolkit. 

See how the SMBs mentioned — along with others across Australia and New Zealand — are automating manual work, cutting costs and empowering their people to be more productive than ever.

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