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3 Ways Growing Businesses Prepare for Long-term Success

Business success for growing businesses often follows when their teams improve the customer experience and look at the whole picture, not just the point of entry.

hands with tattooed fingers and black nail polish holding a smartphone and credit card: business success business growth
Technology is a great enabler for business growth. But it’s not enough to solve today's problems. [Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images]

As a sales leader, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to a range of customers across segments and industries; I’ve seen firsthand the challenges these companies face, and helped them find solutions to connect their teams and data more efficiently for business growth. In my new role leading the small and medium business (SMB) segment at Salesforce, I’m excited to see how SMB customers are innovating and adapting for success. In honor of National Small Business Week, here are three lessons learned to help fuel business success:

1. Use customer success to define your business success

The buying experience has changed. Customers are demanding more purchasing channels: 71% of SMBs report their customers expect online transactions. Those same customers want to interact with your business in person, on the phone, through email, or via text message. The bottom line is: they want to work with companies that are easy to do business with.

Growing businesses unite their teams around improving the customer experience. They look at the whole picture, not just the point of entry, and ask themselves, “What does customer success look like through a sales lens, a service lens, and a marketing lens?” Thinking holistically about how to make it easy for their customers across every touchpoint is key to their business success.

Using customer success to define their business success accelerated growth.

Focusing on the entire customer lifecycle helped Flock Safety triple their revenue and headcount in a single year. Flock Safety streamlined their customer experience using the Salesforce Customer 360: they added an online option for prospective client meetings, opened additional support channels, and simplified onsite installation and maintenance scheduling. Using customer success to define their business success accelerated growth.

2. Give your people the flexibility they want and need

The pandemic has changed the world forever. We’re not going back to all in-person, all the time. All businesses have to recognize this new hybrid model and make the pivot.

Workforce talent wants and expects the flexibility to work from anywhere. This requires tools that allow employees to stay in tight communication, not missing a beat with their customers or internal team. Growing businesses with high employee engagement scores know competition for talent is tough right now, so they enable success from anywhere.

Employee satisfaction went up (at SmartRent) when they invested in tools to eliminate tedious manual work and improve visibility across distributed teams.

For example, SmartRent moved their entire business onto a unified platform, contributing to an employee churn rate below the industry average. Employee satisfaction went up when they invested in tools to eliminate tedious manual work and improve visibility across distributed teams. At Salesforce, we created a digital headquarters where teams can connect, share information, and get work done. You can offer flex team agreements so your people know who is working from where and when. And when people do come together in person, don’t forget to prioritize safety and wellbeing. Giving employees this level of flexibility is non-negotiable in today’s tight labor market.

3. Make investments that will scale with your business growth

Technology is a great enabler for business growth. But it’s not enough to solve today’s problems: I’ve seen how painful it can be for businesses who outgrow their point solutions. Your tech must enable cross-functional solutions that scale.

By solving for current and future needs across multiple lines of business, they’re (Canva are) setting themselves up for long-term business success.

A great example is Canva, who knew they needed to do things differently as they moved upmarket. Establishing an enterprise sales team required solving for more than just the sales piece: they implemented Marketing Cloud Account Engagement for better lead nurturing, added integrations for streamlined contract management, and adopted Slack for improved collaboration with internal teams and customers. By solving for current and future needs across multiple lines of business, they’re setting themselves up for long-term business success.

Growing forward

I understand why SMBs are wary of making capital investments right now, especially when inflation is at a record-high. That’s not unique to small and medium businesses, by the way — it’s daunting to businesses in every segment and industry. What I would say to that is: you can show a ROI (return on investment) on technology. It’s a cost-effective way to open new channels for your customers, enable employee flexibility, and streamline operations, which ultimately helps your bottom line.

So what did I miss? Are there other ways you’re setting yourself up for future business growth? Tweet me your ideas @LizanneKiel.

And for more insights like these, please join me in conversation with Blind Zebra.

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