Value is vital for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), especially when investing in something that will significantly impact workflow or employee training. A company the size of Apple can stand to lose a few thousand dollars on an honest mistake, but that same cost could shutter a family-owned shipping company or a regional retailer.
It makes sense, then, that the biggest obstacle to SMBs adopting digital tools is that 40% of decision-makers at SMBs don’t see how those tools can add any value to their business. So why are digital sales tools actually worth the investment? Let’s explore some of the biggest ways digital transformations can help SMBs improve revenue.
1. Reduce time spent on mundane tasks
What’s the most important thing a salesperson should devote their time to? Ask any salesperson and you might get a list: understanding what the buyer wants, establishing trust with a client, building a portfolio, etc. There are a lot of things important in selling, but “hand-typing quotes” and “building Excel formulas” probably won’t be on that list.
It's important that quotes get generated, contracts get signed, and emails get sent, but spending too much time on repetitive tasks can damage productivity, increase the likelihood of burnout, and cause SMBs to miss out on opportunities for growth and revenue. If a small business owner takes too long writing quotes, they might miss out on new leads or potential partnerships.
Digital sales tools can automate repetitive tasks like sending follow-up emails, scheduling appointments, tracking leads, and generating quotes. This lets salespeople stop worrying about mundane issues and start focusing on the most important part of their work: building the solid, customer-focused relationships that small businesses are known for.
2. Define clear priorities
Having good priorities is paramount to doing good work, especially for companies with limited workforces like SMBs. Having good priorities protects against burnout and stress, improves efficiency and productivity, and makes life easier for sales teams and their customers. Good prioritization can cut employee workload by 23%, freeing up almost a full day of work to spend on more important tasks.
But it can be tricky to prioritize tasks: if you’re a salesperson following up on six opportunities, all with big dollar tags attached, how do you know what to spend time on? It comes down to finding the intersection of importance and urgency. If one client won’t be able to sign a contract for two weeks, it’s probably more important to prioritize the one who wants a dotted line tomorrow.
But what if a contracted client wants an invoice? Or an update on shipment? Salespeople can only process so much information, but digital tools are designed to analyze data and provide suggestions. By tracking data about customers, previous sales, and potential opportunities, sales tools can provide guidance in prioritizing, letting salespeople focus less of their time struggling to make decisions and more of their time making their customers happy.
3. Increase access to customers
With almost a third of business being conducted online and over 60% of web traffic accessed through mobile, more and more customers are expecting to have digital access to the businesses they deal with. On the sales side, digital sales tools can be accessed from anywhere, allowing SMBs to expand their customer base outside their local area and increase their revenue.
According to a study of 2,400 small businesses, 43% of SMBs experienced significant revenue growth through online selling, with another 38% experiencing a moderate revenue increase.
Digital accessibility lets customers access a business’s information at their convenience, letting them engage with a business at any time. By making it easy for customers to navigate and find what they need, businesses improve their customers’ overall experience, engendering the kind of satisfaction and loyalty that smaller businesses are known for.
4. Cut down costs and training
As stress and burnout spread throughout the workforce, it has become more important than ever to effectively manage workload. This is especially important for SMBs, who often can’t afford to hire additional employees. By using digital technologies, SMB decision-makers can redistribute labor to be more cost-effective, letting more work be done by smaller teams.
We talked a little bit about automation in the first point, but it’s just one way that digital sales tools help make work more manageable for existing employees. Since they don’t need additional office space or benefits, digital tools have a lower overhead than hiring new employees. Digital sales analytics can also recognize patterns in data that a person might miss, providing valuable insights into workflows and customer behavior that let businesses eliminate busy work and become more efficient.
To top it off, quality sales tools can be easily scaled up or down as needed, letting SMBs add or remove features and capabilities as necessary. This means that when SMBs do need to recruit people, they can be sure that new hires have the tools they need to hit the ground running.
Understanding the value of an investment is vital to making good business decisions, especially for small-to-midsized businesses. By automating repetitive tasks, increasing access to customers, and reducing the costs of hiring and training, digital sales tools can help small businesses join that 43% of businesses that experience significant revenue growth. Or, at the very least, cut the 23% of time spent on mundane tasks that keep them from fostering the positive and personal customer experiences that help attract new customers.