4 Ways to Improve Efficiency and Save Money During Uncertain Times

Arrow Wall

The Business Case for Slowing Down to Go Faster

Inspired Perspectives Webinar Series
Watch our full webinar to learn more about how we’ve helped our clients build digital futures.
Watch the Recording

As organizations everywhere attempt to navigate uncertain waters and prepare for a possible recession, everyone is trying to do more with less. We have gone from a time of growth to one of uncertainty, and organizations need to shift their focuses to operate lean and smart. Efficiency is no longer just the dream but an absolute necessity.

Now is an ideal time to turn to your technology stack for efficiency and cost savings. Over the years, you’ve made strategic investments to support and grow your business. Now is the time to leverage every capability and functionality they can offer.

The way you use your business management tools, automations, and data are the key to remaining competitive and agile during times of uncertainty. Read on to discover four different ways to increase efficiency, save money, and make your tech stack more effective and productive for your business.

Gain Insight at the Speed of Now

In times of uncertainty, it’s important not over-extend yourself or play your hand too lean and miss out on opportunities in the market. Decisions need to be made quickly. Unfortunately, these situations evoke a fair amount of stress and often result in rash decisions made by best-guess predictions. Access to real-time information that you can trust is key.

Organized data means faster processing and that, in turn, leads to better, more thorough and accurate reporting for decision-making. This is often best made possible by leveraging a data warehouse. Data warehouses serve as your business’s solid data foundation for better dashboards, reports, and analytics. It’s where all of your various data sources are gathered, organized, and cleansed for better insights.

  • Karla Mills, Direcotr on the Data Management Team at Extra Space Storage had this to say about the data warehouse solution Eide Bailly built for them: “We’re able to deliver data to end-users much faster with higher efficiencies and greater reliability. It just gives the business a lot more options on how they can make decisions.” Watch the video to hear more. 

One of the keys to being able to use your data successfully is by implementing and following a data strategy. If you jumped in to your data journey without a strategy or if you haven’t reviewed your strategy in the last year or more, it’s time for a data assessment. A thorough review of your data can help you understand what information is available to you, where it comes from, and what actions you can take with it.

No matter where your organization is on the data maturity scale, using your data to drive timely, informed decisions is probably one of the best practices you can implement right now. Understanding current market demands, your operational health, real-time cash flow, and key performance metrics can help you respond more agilely to changing conditions.

Save Time with Integrations

How well do your systems “talk” to one another? Seamless integration between your key tools can save you tons of time, money, and manpower. Reduce manual data entry, duplication of entry, and error by knowing when to push or pull data between your core business systems.

The important thing when integrating systems is to make sure your data is clean and your fields are properly mapped. There are a lot of intricacies when moving data between systems, but the end result can save your organization substantial amounts of time and resources.

Top 3 Integration Tips

  1. Start Small: Build confidence and experience by tackling small integration projects first, before diving into more complicated ones. Begin with a quote-to-cash integration, where your CRM exports a sales quote into your ERP.
  2. Build on the Strengths of Existing Applications: Take a “best-of-breed” approach and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform in your tech stack. Don’t try to make a platform do something outside of its core scope. Play into what each of your systems does well.

    Flexible integration platforms like Boomi or Workato, Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS), are great for agile, scalable integrations. They can better adapt to your process and the core capabilities of your applications, letting you select the best features of each – unlike pre-built connectors which are often more rigid.

    You can learn more about all of your different integration options in this helpful eBook.
  3. Map Out Business Processes and Workflows: How does data flow through your org? Who needs what information? For example, if your CRM is the source of truth for your customer data, how should that information be distributed to other systems like your accounting software? Our integration workbook can help you determine your sources of truth.

It’s important to note that if you don’t have a tech team, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. Integration consultants can build custom integrations that will allow all of your systems to speak the same language.

Run Lean with Automations

Intelligent automations are key to saving time and money. Business process automation (BPA) and robotic process automation (RPA) can be tailored to your organization to automate manual workflows and free your employees up to make more high value contributions. With automations, their time no longer has to be spent working through inefficient processes or doing repetitive, manual tasks.

There is an opportunity within sales and marketing to automate and customize your business processes within your current platforms. Take, for example, the way your marketing team creates inbound email campaigns. Automating the workflow could include integrating your project management tool, your CRM, and your email platform, optimizing efficiency from creation to execution by automating everything from project flow to automated drips.

RPA, on the other hand, can eliminate time-consuming tasks from your team altogether. Bots can be used to monitor competitor pricing, keep your customer database up to date, report on KPIs, and gather data about customer behavior.

  • Interested in seeing how automations work in real scenarios? Watch the videos.

Reduce Inefficiencies with Streamlined Processes

Time is money. The best way to save time and drastically improve efficiency is to leverage your existing technology to streamline tasks and processes wherever possible.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few straightforward approaches in your CRM that can save your organization a lot of time right from the start.

Focus on Your Customer

The best opportunity to grow your business is with the customer base you already know. If you’re utilizing a CRM, you already have a plethora of data at your fingertips. Take full advantage of this by:

  • Integrating your data to a single source of truth to improve decision-making and find the customers who love working with your team.
  • Using artificial intelligence, like Einstein AI in Salesforce, to better manage opportunities and account relationships.
  • Leveraging reporting to embed dashboards and reports into your customer accounts.
  • Taking advantage of built-in CRM functionality that is available out-of-the-box but not activated in your organization.

Optimize Your Marketing Efforts

CRMs like Salesforce easily integrate with hundreds of platforms, so it’s likely that the tools your marketing team is using can be tied into your CRM. This can be a game-changer for driving better client relationships and improving your team’s prospecting and sales pipeline.

  • Define your marketing automation plan and then segment your customers to provide targeted communications.
  • Turn on campaign influence and track your lead sources in your CRM.
  • Implement web-to-lead and auto-assignment rules to equip your sales team to get in front of prospects quickly and effectively.

Empower Your Sales Team

Spending time on ineffective tasks can destroy your sales team’s productivity. Given the current economic landscape, you want to enable your sales team to be their most effective and capitalize on the right opportunities. Your CRM can help you automate and optimize your sales environment to improve close ratios and focus your team’s energy on the deals that will close.

  • Establish a sales path and common selling process to take advantage of your CRM’s complete selling features.
  • Implement collaborative forecasting.
  • Track your marketing ROI before deals close to make faster, more informed decisions about your marketing budget and tactics.
  • Measure your sales milestones and engage your team in performance improvement measures.
  • Use products and price books as well as approval processes to gain better visibility into the products or services your customers are buying and at what price structure.
  • Evaluate if your environment would benefit from CPQ (Configure Price Quote) to streamline complex selling and quoting.
  • Provide your sales team with a holistic view of their customer and their current sales goals.
  • Avoid digging through old emails when prepping for prospect meetings by enabling a feature like Salesforce’s Einstein Activity Capture. This automatically populates lead, contact, account, and opportunity records with every email and calendar entry between you, your prospects, and any of your colleagues who are also using your CRM.

Finding ways to automate and lean on your existing technology can help you remain competitive and agile during this time of uncertainty.

Be Proactive

It's important to take proactive measures like evaluating your business’s security risks, uncovering costly waste in your processes, and acknowledging when your business management software is holding you back more than it’s helping you manage. Doing this helps you avoid costly mistakes. By investing a little time and effort up front, you could save significant money down the road.

Expand Full Article