Embrace technology to give your business an edge

As a business owner or manager, staying relevant to your target market may be your most pressing ongoing concern. It can be a challenge, especially in the digital era, as consumers have more options and ways to communicate. Keeping up with the latest technology will enhance your success; falling behind, even briefly, may frustrate your customers and even give your tech-savvy competitors the upper hand.

If your company has not invested in the proper technology, you are likely missing opportunities to connect and interact with customers. Any resistance or hesitation towards progress may result in a disorganized and inefficient workplace, causing you to lose good employees. By utilizing the latest and most effective office suites, programs and apps, processes can be streamlined, productivity and job satisfaction will increase, and overhead costs may be reduced. Ensuring your business is prepared for changing technology trends is a fundamental step to setting your company up for success.

Advanced office systems, contact management databases and secure cloud servers help businesses stay organized and protect confidential information. Enterprise Resource Planning systems organize core business functions into a single database that can be managed in real time. ERPs like SAP and Oracle allow for complete transparency across all departments, and provide up-to-date analysis, trends and forecasting.

Customer Relationship Management software enables your sales team to organize and manage prospective clients, keep track of communication, identify sales opportunities, assign follow-up tasks and nurture relationships. CRM compiles information in one central location, so your team can share knowledge and collaborate.

Marketing Automation Software is a tool that enables businesses to manage campaigns and move leads through the sales funnel. Working with your inbound marketing strategy and integrated with your CRM and website, Marketing Automation Software can capture information at the point of contact, such as a whitepaper download, email open or landing page visit. This information allows your sales team to identify buyers, focus on well-qualified leads, nurture those that aren’t quite ready and analyze sales data.

Cybersecurity is another area where the very latest technology pays great dividends. Hackers steal consumer data and company proprietary information every day. Data breaches can disrupt operations and cause customers to lose faith in their trusted brands. Security and anti-virus software programs can safeguard privacy, proprietary data, financial information and protect against malware, and digitally linked security systems protect businesses from vandalism and theft. Customers want to make sure their data is safe, so if you do not keep your security up-to-date, your customers might look for a safer alternative.

Innovative ideas for organizing and streamlining office procedures often come from within your own industry. But looking outside your field of expertise may result in progressive ideas and practices that can be adapted to fit your business model. Keep your eyes open for new trends and embrace cross-industry innovation.

Michael Jarrett is founder and President of Jarrett Logistics Systems and PackShip USA, companies that have won numerous awards, including the Weatherhead 100, Cascade Capital Growth Award, Inc. 500/5000, The Entrepreneurial Edge Award and NEO Success Award.