Small businesses face a lot of challenges. One of them often is how to improve productivity. When you have limited resources, should you focus on marketing, sales, or customer relations?

According to a recent SMB Trends report, 53% of SMB leaders feel at a competitive disadvantage compared to larger enterprises. This means that streamlining your workflows and maximising productivity is not only important to the success of your business, it is crucial. 

Yet, while small and medium businesses face challenges, the rise and continual improvement of technology offers a unique chance to compete against bigger companies. But small businesses need to combine this technology with the right strategy to succeed. Here, we have gathered six strategies to help you maximise work efficiency and drive growth.

Let’s get started!


1. Know how to motivate staff to maximise work efficiency

Evidently, engaged and motivated employees perform the best: a recent Gallup poll found that engaged teams deliver 21% more profitability. 

But looking beyond the bottom line, there is another reason for keeping your employees happy. Small and medium businesses face the challenge of constant growth with often limited resources. This can put a strain on teams, as employees are often expected to perform multiple roles. Our recent #TimetoTransform report revealed that 45% of SMB owners feel that lack of time had a negative impact on their health.

Here are some techniques for how to motivate staff: 

  • Recognise great work early and often
    A recent study found that 56% of employees felt that recognition for their work was the most important factor affecting their motivation at work. So don’t wait for their annual review, but reward them as soon as they do good work - and you’ll have a happy, high-performing team.

  • Identify and remove obstacles
    Great leadership is often about removing obstacles so your staff can accomplish the tasks they need. The best way to find out what is blocking your staff is to ask regular questions like “what is stopping you achieve your tasks?” or “what could I do to help you complete your most pressing task?”. 


2. Use task management software and apps for collaboration and business productivity

As an SME owner, manager or employee, time is your most finite resource, so a key challenge is how to improve productivity – to get more done with the available resources and time. While there may not be enough hours in the day, the right apps for business productivity can free up crucial time in your own and your employees’ week, so you can focus on what you want to do: build customer relationships and grow your business.

Productivity apps not only organise your workflows, but also empower your employees by making them more efficient. But how do you choose the right task management software for your company? 

Try asking the following questions: 

  • What core problem do I want to solve?

  • Can the app integrate seamlessly in current workflows?

  • Does this tool offer enough insight into the workflow?

  • Does the app foster collaboration between the project manager and team?

  • Does the predicted work efficiency gain justify the spend?

This helps you objectively assess whether the app meets your needs.

The core idea of a productivity app is to enable collaboration in real-time from anywhere. Tools like Slack, Google Docs and Quip are great options, because you can comment on any document in real-time and utilise their mobile apps to further increase productivity. 


3. Harness technology to access customer data anytime

Great technology gives you the power to have all the information that you and your team need to make quick, accurate business decisions at your fingertips. Whether it’s marketing metrics, sales insights or customer data – your ability to process it and use it for decision-making is essential for your business’ productivity. If you are facing the challenge of how to improve productivity, then quick efficiency gains through technology is a great place to start.

One of the most common approaches of centralising your data is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool

The key advantages of a CRM tool for Small & Medium business are:

  • Scalability – As you acquire more users and your business grows, so does the admin involved. A CRM can help you keep track of all your customers in one place and help you waste less time on admin tasks.

  • Time-saving – CRMs can automate a lot of tedious tasks, saving your team valuable time.

  • Greater communication ability – Whether its marketing, sales, or customer success, your teams can communicate with each other and with customers across all channels including social, email and live chat - all from one dashboard. 

These powerful features can empower startups and growing businesses to offer similar levels of customer support and customer experience as larger enterprises.


4. Integrate all technology into your CRM tool

A great CRM should be able to integrate with the apps you use already. No matter what your data is, the CRM must be able to pull it into a centralised resource, making all your data accessible to your team at all times. 

Salesforce Customer Relationship Management has hundreds of seamless integrations with the vast majority of the tools and apps you use already. This means pushing and pulling data is as easy as installing an add-in from the AppExchange. Your marketing, sales and Customer Service Management teams will all be singing from the same song sheet, as Salesforce can provide them with all they need to know in one package. This takes collaboration and streamlining workflows to a whole new level and can give your small business a competitive advantage.


5. Learn what tasks can be automated by your CRM tool

The great thing about Customer Relationship Management systems is that they  can make your team feel much bigger than it is. How? Well, a great CRM can automate many of the tedious, manual tasks you had to do before. 

The best CRMs will allow you to automate many of your business processes, including: 

  • Prioritising leads – CRM software can evaluate the best leads for your reps to work on.

  • Creating unique buyer interactions – Define buyer journeys and customer actions across touchpoints.

  • Lead nurturing – Automate your (email) marketing workflows.

  • Reporting – Top CRMs allow reporting with just a couple of clicks.

Implementing the right CRM is like gaining a hyper-efficient invisible team member, leaving you time to focus on what matters.


6. Make time to understand the analytics from your CRM database

A CRM database is a treasure trove of information on your customers and business’ performance as a whole. So, make sure you invest enough time to go through your key metrics and KPIs, understand how you are performing and what you can do better. 

Here are some quick tips for getting the most out our your analytics:

  • Define KPIs that are easy to understand – Metrics like pipeline, deal size and activities are commonly used as sales metrics.

  • Set monthly pipeline and booking targets – By analysing your data monthly, you can correct course early and often.

  • Create a “State of the Union” dashboard – This dashboard contains all your most important metrics at a glance and should allow you to run all key meetings. For sales, this could include for example: closed deals, pipeline breakdown, sales activity by rep and month-on-month growth.

  • Remember to review – At the end of each sales period, remember to take the time to do a full review. Adjust KPIs for the next period based on this review. 

Monitoring these metrics will show you how to improve productivity by identifying gaps and bottlenecks in your workflows and processes. CRMs make reporting on these metrics painless. Dashboards and reports can be accessed with a couple of clicks, giving you the power to make great business decisions. Your analytics are the key to uniting your sales, marketing and customer success teams and turning data insights into action.


Increase your productivity with CRM for small businesses

There are many ways to improve productivity in your small business especially when leveraging the right technology. A CRM can be a key player by giving you more agility, scalability, productivity and helping foster communication, both internally and with clients.

Organise your team and empower them to do what they do best by giving them all the information they need in real-time. By automating the tedious tasks, you can free up valuable time and concentrate on growing your business.

Are you ready to unlock your company’s full potential? Our latest “CRM for Small Business guide" is the perfect starting point to harnessing the potential of CRM.