Business growth is a critical objective for most organizations. At a time when many businesses are facing never-before-seen obstacles, increasing your customer or client base and staying ahead of the competition can mean the difference between survival and failure in any industry.
How, exactly, can you spur growth at a challenging time and in a difficult landscape? And how can you manage that growth when it occurs? There are many elements to crafting a standout, strong business, of course. Software can play one pivotal role. Here are some of the most important tools you need to make your business a successful venture.
Sales and Marketing
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is a central repository for storing, creating, and posting content, from landing pages to blog posts to forums to your entire website infrastructure. Not only will you be able to use it to manage your content, but you’ll usually also be able to get insights and analytics to help you improve your marketing.
Some businesses build their own CMS, while others choose existing platforms like WordPress. If you select an existing one, you’ll generally also have the option of purchasing plugins and add-ons to enhance your content and the user experience even further.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Your CRM is another tool that is central to your business’ sales and marketing efforts. This acts as a platform to store contacts, including existing clients or customers and leads. Using this software, you can store intel about your clients, such as contact information and other details about their needs and interests. You can even automate messaging and resolve inquiries directly from the CRM.
Salesforce is one of the most popular examples of a CRM, although, as with a CMS, you can have your own CRM customized to your preferences and the details you need.
Email Marketing Platform
Email marketing is perhaps the primary form of communicating news, discounts, and other information to current and prospective clients. It serves as an important effort in growing your business because it allows you to get the word out.
There are many platforms available for managing and deploying your email campaigns, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. These tools will help you improve your messages, too, by offering reports, information on trends, analytics, and much more. You can also conduct A/B testing to hone your communication strategy, identifying, for example, which types of subject lines perform best with your audience.
It’s always important for growing businesses to stay in frequent contact with their colleagues and teams. Now that a vast majority of teams are working remotely — depending, of course, on the nature of the business and industry — organizations are turning to or more heavily relying on digital methods of touching base.
Slack is one of the most popular messaging platforms for communicating with colleagues. Joining different channels allows you to send your message to multiple people at once, and you can even follow channels outside your organization to connect with others with similar interests or areas of expertise.
When the pandemic hit, Zoom became a staple of our lives. But it’s not the only videoconferencing platform available. WebEx is one alternative, providing many of the same features as Zoom. Meanwhile, for international calls, Skype is usually the platform of choice for most businesses.
Bookkeeping and Accounting Software
Larger businesses might have accountants on staff but, as a growing business, you can cut expenses and streamline the bookkeeping and accounting process — a critical part of your organization — by using software that will do much of the legwork for you. From generating invoices to assisting with your taxes, these platforms make the money process a lot easier.
There are many options for accounting and bookkeeping software that will assist you in managing your business, such as QuickBooks and FreshBooks, both of which have packages geared toward small businesses.
Payment Processing Tool
Square, Shopify, and Stripe are just some of the point of sale (POS) payment processing tools to help you complete and manage sales. This software enables secure and fast transactions from practically any location, whether you’re in a storefront, at a conference, or solely online. Because sales are more convenient and efficient, you’ll be able to increase the volume and rate of your transactions.
Whether or not you have a designated project manager, project management tools are vital to your business’ organization and flow of work. How else can you keep track of your projects and assigned tasks and responsibilities?
Different types of project management platforms have different features. Trello, for example, is a kanban board, where you can see the entire layout and picture of your projects, including the task owner, due date, and so on. You can also assign people to responsibilities and color code different types of tasks and projects.
Customer Service Chatbot
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots are revolutionizing customer service. You’ve probably interacted with them at one point or another, such as when you’re attempting to track down a missing package from Amazon. These platforms are meant to handle customer queries, leaving time for human customer service representatives to deal with more complex issues that can’t be quickly resolved.
Chatbots can also be incorporated into social media platforms like Facebook, such that a visitor can ask questions and get more information about the organization in real-time.
If business growth is your goal — as it is for many companies, small and large — you don’t have to do it alone. There are myriad tools and software to help you achieve your goals, from CRMs to chatbots. How will you incorporate them into your business model to allow you to meet your objectives and grow as a company?