Organisations big and small have accelerated their digital roadmaps as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many businesses struggle to deliver successful digital transformations. It’s estimated that 70% fall short of their objectives.
But with the right solutions, like CRM for small business and strategies, success is within everyone’s grasp. Marc Visser, Founder and CEO of hallo, which helps SMBs harness the power of digital technologies and workplaces, shares his top transformation tips.
It’s easy to get carried away when implementing new digital technologies and channels. Marc recommends thinking about how a new digital process or capability will impact the customer experience before progressing a new idea.
“We always question how a change will help a customer; it shouldn’t just be about internal efficiency.”
With 51% of SMBs saying that technology now drives their customer interactions, this customer-centric focus is essential and can help boost both sales and satisfaction.
A growing number of SMBs recognise the role that customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can play in enriching and automating interactions on digital channels. As a result, more than half of SMBs have now adopted CRM, with a 24% increase in use since 2019.
hallo was an early convert to small business CRM and has been using Salesforce as the backbone of its operations for around 11 years. “It combines strong core functionality with the ability to make customisations to adapt the platform to your business needs,” said Visser.
“Working with Salesforce is like having a box of tools you can use to create your perfect platform.”
Selecting the right technologies can make a big difference to the success or failure of a digital transformation. Visser recommends adopting a cloud-first approach and prioritising platforms that can easily connect to other systems.
According to a Salesforce survey, 40% of SMBs cite integration with other systems as a top benefit of a CRM platform. “Running your entire company on one system is pretty much impossible even though it sounds like a tempting idea,” added Visser. On average, an SMB will use five applications to manage their operations.
Creating customised digital solutions to match existing processes can also be tempting. However, this will invariably result in unnecessary complexity - and cost.
“It’s better to focus your efforts on configuring an existing system to your needs rather than creating a system entirely around how you do it today,” said Visser. “One of our company values is to keep it simple - keep it simple for the customer, but also keep it simple for the employees. It’s a continuous challenge!”
Despite the challenging economic conditions, many organisations are now looking to the future. And digitalisation will be a big part of that future. According to a Salesforce survey, 42% of SMBs say that technology helps to drive the growth of their customer base.
“Making technology part of your survival strategy is key because that’s what your competitors will do,” said Visser.
“In the future, every company to a certain extent will be an IT company. It’s important to create a scalable platform that will allow your organisation to grow.”
Digital platforms can also help to simplify acquisitions and the onboarding of new colleagues, as Visser revealed. “We've been growing organically, but for the last two years, we've also started acquiring companies. We integrate these companies and their teams to our Salesforce platform, explaining the benefits, which has worked well for us.”
hallo, made technology part of its DNA from day one, and it’s helped the company achieve a 7.6 employee satisfaction rating. Despite its digital head-start, it’s never stopped innovating and transforming its processes and interactions.
“All our employees know that if something is not automated yet, it can be automated,” revealed Visser.
“Salesforce gives us a smart, seamless work environment that frees the team from manual tasks and gives them intelligent prompts to have the best possible interactions with customers.”
With plans to expand its use of artificial intelligence and revamp its customer portal, Visser will be following his own advice and questioning every new digital investment and innovation. “I've learnt not to be afraid to ask the dumb questions and continue to ask why, why, why, until you really understand what you're doing.”
Curious to see what CRM can mean to your growing business? Learn all about the small business CRM that's built for success.