Time and money are two ever-elusive resources that small business owners desperately need but rarely find enough of. In fact, 25% of small business closures are due to low sales or low cash flow, despite the average small business owner working 52 hours per week. Learning to maximize time efficiency and stretching every dollar further can help small start-ups quickly grow into successful and established companies. What solutions are available to help small businesses reach their success goals?

Small business software solutions offer the benefit of freeing up time while simultaneously increasing revenue. These tools provide a low-cost way to increase sales by helping business owners create meaningful customer interactions along every step of the sales cycle. Not only do business owners recapture time spent analyzing numbers themselves, but they also realize more effective sales, higher profit margins, and a more loyal customer base. 

There is no shortage of business software on the market today, but very few tools integrate all of the processes a business needs into one easy-to-use solution. Simplified integration tools let businesses pick and choose what they need now, with the option to add more services as they grow. Adopting a single, all-encompassing program, like Salesforce, also reduces time spent learning a new system for each individual analysis tool and keeps everything organized in one place.

With Salesforce, business owners can choose to include any combination of tools to help their business become more efficient and scale.

Salesforce offers a few tools to help your sales teams win and keep customers. The first is CPQ Software. CPQ stands for “Configure, Price, Quote.” It takes the guesswork out of complicated pricing schemes, aids reps in creating accurate estimates, and automatically sets up a manager approval process for discounts and other processes. Small business owners can also bill customers using this software, which creates cohesion throughout the sales process.

Next is Sales Cloud, which enables access from remote devices to share files, approve processes, and input data for faster decision-making throughout the sales process.

Lastly, Einstein is the sidekick that analyzes which potential customers are closest to converting and alerts sales teams to these time-sensitive opportunities. Then, it automatically reveals which engagement strategy would be most effective for the particular situation. It also saves information about which sales strategies are converting more customers, so sales reps can use what is most effective.

All of these tools can help save business owners time and money with each completed sale.

 
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A 2018 study by Pulse Check states that 83% of online customers are willing to share their data in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience, and 91% are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. Just like in physical stores, businesses that interact with their customers personally online will see higher conversion rates and more satisfied customers.

Marketing Cloud helps small business owners serve customers how they always have — through personal one-to-one contact. Marketing cloud creates personalized journeys for their customers using pointed messages delivered across any online communication platforms deemed appropriate. There are several tools in this category, including Audience Studio and Pardot, that help these personalized journeys happen.

Audience Studio is useful for capturing, unifying, and activating customer data into one easy-to-use platform. This tool shows small business owners how customers interact with their site, and even breaks down customer data into groups so managers can employ marketing strategies for different sets of people.

Pardot helps sales reps nurture leads with real-time alerts, provides personal messages for each customer, and shows detailed views into a customer’s activity on the site. This tool helps sales reps make quick decisions for time-sensitive opportunities using real-time data, capturing conversions that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

Other tools under the Marketing Cloud include the Social Studio, Advertising Studio, Mobile Studio, and Interaction Studio, which all simplify and integrate customer interaction techniques.

Service Cloud not only displays a complete customer view of previous interactions, but helps reps deliver personalized support across all communication channels. It even provides on-page AI-powered chatbots for instant resolutions to customer inquiries.

Field Service Software provides field agents with real-time updates on operations and customer data, the power of automatic appointment scheduling, and mobile access to all of it. This helps boost in-field employee productivity and quickly resolves service issues.

With Commerce Cloud, businesses can optimize their web pages for mobile and one-touch payments, and easily keep pace with the latest ecommerce best practices. It even allows for flexible order fulfillment, such as with a customer service rep. Small business can track inventory in real time, launch campaigns without IT, create personalized merchandizing results for specific searches, customize sites for different cultures and languages, and more, with Commerce Cloud.

One piece of the cloud is Order Management Software, which tracks inventory and orders between multiple locations, finds the nearest shipping routes, allows insight into individual and broad customer ordering patterns, and unifies SKUs and processes between stores.

These Commerce Cloud tools promote simple organization, effective communication, and efficient customer service from any location.

With tools like the Lightning Platform and Heroku, small business owners can create apps and foster collaboration between developer and IT teams with simple-to-use programming. These tools promote customer trust through up-to-date security settings, and promote customer loyalty through personalized shopping experiences for each customer. With engagement tools, small business owners will save time communicating internally and can increase customer satisfaction by offering unique experiences.
Community Cloud provides branded themes for content pages and community forums to create consistency throughout customer interactions. It also promotes active customer participation with personalized incentives for shares, likes, and reviews. Of course, the cloud also records and analyzes customer interactions, so small business owners can track what topics or pages receive top engagements. 
The myTrailhead software makes it easy to train new employees on the essentials of the job and the company culture, plus track new skills learned as they progress through the company. Not only do employees engage more with interactive training tools, but top-level managers can make smarter personnel decisions based on the data and analytics the program collects on each employee.

Whether a financial, healthcare, non-profit, or government-type small business, Salesforce offers customized solutions across several different industries. For example, the healthcare industry can benefit from seamless team-to-team and doctor-to-patient communication for more effective care plans. The manufacturing industry can benefit from better education to sales teams and partners on product use, communication channels that resolve issues faster, and tracking software that displays transparent order fulfillment to the customer.

There are many tools for a small business owner to choose from, but you may only need one or two tools now to help jumpstart your business. With cloud technology and our subscription-based model, it’s easy to add, change, or upgrade tools as your business scales and needs more support. Once the company is set up with Salesforce, it’s easy to add tools and expand functionality as business needs grow. 

Using small business management software tools is like having a team of elite managers, but on a much more affordable budget. They help you keep everything organized, recorded, and running smoothly, saving you valuable time and money. The convenience of having all operations in one system can lead to better communication between team members, more successful customer interactions, and easy access to information from anywhere, even remote locations. 
Shared calendars, automatic appointment scheduling, and standardized task assignments save managers time chasing down employees for vital customer information or searching for status updates. With a few clicks, managers can access this valuable information in seconds. 
 
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With standardized forms for billing, quotes, and contracts, employees can easily input data to instantly generate proper forms. Small business management software also ensures that no matter who is interacting with a customer, they can access all previous records to see what has already been shared, and what they need to follow up on. Instead of making customers re-tell their stories to each new contact they speak with, representatives can quickly pull up the customer’s information and resolve their issue. The consistency between interactions, pricing schemes, and paperwork also boost customer confidence in the company’s expertise.

With flexible cloud technology, employees can access the data they need anytime, and from anywhere, making it easier to collaborate with others on a task or close a deal faster. Mobile capabilities make it easy for sales reps to interact with customers in the field, or for remote employees to access critical information even away from the office.

Small business management software provides the building blocks for a more efficiently run office. The tools help businesses stay organized, effectively communicate for more closed deals, build a base of loyal customers, and spend less time in the jungle of messy spreadsheets and lost information.

Good software solutions help business owners speed up the slowest parts of their sales processes with effective automation. Owners can even personalize automated responses tailored to specific needs such as first-time browsers, abandoned online carts, and completed sales. Did you know that the average rate of cart abandonment is nearly 70%? If you could convert even 10% of these potential customers within one hour just from automatic email follow-up, would you do it? Of course you would.

Effective and automated return emails mean more deals closed and more money in your bottom line, with the added bonus of far less time spent on each task! Small business software can maximize your efficiency in other areas as well by:

  • Analyzing reports on customer interaction, conversion techniques, and more.
  • Improving customer service with insight reports.
  • Helping you make better business decisions based on analytics and data.

These tools let business owners retain valuable information on how to better run their systems, how to best allocate resources, and how to win more deals with fewer investments. As the numbers begin to show trends, business owners can do more of what’s working well while adjusting the areas that aren’t performing up to par. Analytics may show that follow up with converted customers brings in more repeat sales and higher revenue than any other tactic, so they know to continue with this method. Other analytics may show that they have low conversion rates with social media posts, so they can choose to moderate time spent in this area.

As efficiency and automation increase, it will be easier for the business to scale into new territory. With the foundation already built on integrated software, all owners need to do is decide which new tools are necessary for their growing company. 

Every niche, and every business, is different when it comes to effective customer relationship management, which is why analytics are essential for boosting growth potential. As customers shop smarter, businesses must adapt to keep up. Time and money wasters can block any business from thriving in its market. Automation frees up time while providing customers with the best experience possible. With integrated small business software tools, owners can optimize their marketing, sales, and customer service techniques to maximize their current efficiency while setting themselves up for future growth. 
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