The latest news around domestic productivity has had an overwhelmingly positive feel with recent quarters delivering the UK’s strongest growth in productivity since the economic crash of 2008.
However, before getting carried away, remember that the UK economy sits firmly at the bottom of the G20 growth league table. So we’re still the slowest growing economy amongst our global peers.
So, if we go all pessimistic and focus on these less rosy statistics for a moment, what do they actually mean to the nation’s SMEs?
In short the stats suggest UK businesses must work harder to win new sales and retaining customers is now more critical than ever before.
In our opinion, for businesses to achieve these aims and drive greater productivity it is essential that they go beyond creating efficiency gains in their production and administrative operations. They must also look at digitising their sales, marketing and customer service functions.
In this era of slow economic growth every contact point with a customer, no matter how routine or seemingly insignificant, counts – you can’t afford to waste a single opportunity.
In our experience working with businesses every day to take on this exact challenge through the implementation of CRM solutions, there is a key battle that must be fought by every single one at some point. The battle against post-it note chaos.
Okay, it’s possibly a little unfair of us to pick on these sticky little fellows, as they have had a genuinely useful role to play in a lot of people’s working lives. In fact, they’re effectively a physical approach to many of the processes we implement within CRM. However, we now see the desk full of paper notes as symptomatic of the problems that need to be tackled by digitisation.
The era of digital transformation means those businesses that ditch the countless post-it notes, containing valuable to-do-lists and client telephone numbers and embrace an integrated CRM system are those most likely to thrive in the current economic conditions.
By implementing an integrated CRM system across the organisation that interacts seamlessly with other critical business applications, businesses can centrally record all customer information and touch points, meaning that no opportunity is missed to improve service levels and increase account revenues.
This digitisation of client details and the resulting single organisation-wide picture of customers is the basis of any successful modern sales effort.
In a time where issues around data protection and privacy have become increasingly prominent in the public consciousness, it’s also worth mentioning that CRM technology can be integral to earning your customers’ trust through responsible data management.
With the dreaded General Data Protection Regulations now in force with its harsh penalties for non-compliance, CRM technology represents a powerful tool in your alignment with this law.
And what about those to-do-lists? Well this is where a business can tap in to the power of workflow automation within CRM. By entrusting workload planning to the system and pre-built tailored routines, your people know exactly what they need to do each day from the moment they log on.
You’ll likely agree this all sounds great but there is a cautionary note to bear in mind at the same time. Implementing a CRM system is about so much more than just the purchase of the latest and greatest new software.
Most CRM implementations either succeed or fail because of one variable – employee engagement. There is almost no area of a business that a CRM system will not touch and which doesn’t need to be feeding data back in to the system to achieve truly joined up operations.
Much like the economy as a whole, businesses grow when everyone works together. CRM empowers your people to do just this and, as an added bonus, they’ll never have to use a post-it note again.
This article comes courtesy of DCS Solutions, a leading UK-based Sage and SAP partner and established experts in SME business technology.