Use IT to Improve your Business
One of the greatest benefits of using information technology smartly is to drive both new customer growth and retention in your business, and this can be achieved more easily than ever before.
Use IT to Improve your Business
One of the greatest benefits of using information technology smartly is to drive both new customer growth and retention in your business, and this can be achieved more easily than ever before. Small businesses can now access the same technologies that are used by their larger competitors and multinational organisations. Some of these technologies include website content management systems, customer relationship management software, social media platforms, business analytics software and website promotion tools. Modern marketing technology has well and truly levelled the playing field, allowing SMEs to compete more effectively.
RealClear IT can help you with
Internet Marketing 4.1
RealClear has strategic partners who can help you with:
- Internet marketing strategy
- Website design and hosting
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimisation
Mini Case Study – Getting internet marketing basics right
One of our clients, a Dublin-based HVAC firm in the B2B sector, recently approached us with an internet marketing problem. They had signed a rather expensive contract a year earlier with an internet marketing company to “boost their website’s ranking on Google”, but by the time they got in touch with RealClear IT, their website was still floundering in Google’s doldrums.
We had a quick look at the coding in the back-end of their website. The site’s architecture was at total variance with Google’s best practice recommendations. However, their internet marketing consulting firm made no attempt to rectify this fundamental flaw. We looked at the internet marketing work that had been documented and immediately spotted some glaring problems. They were buying backlinks, writing keyword rich, spammy sounding articles, spamming social bookmarking sites without any interaction or engagement, and using Google Adwords in a way that was generating only a marginal ROI. In short, the company they had employed was applying a one-size-fits-all strategy and had failed to do any proper analysis of their client’s market. They were using search engine optimisation techniques that might have worked 10 or 12 years ago, but were totally irrelevant today. RealClear gave them strategic advice on a complete rebuild of their website and referred them to one of our internet marketing partners, who helped them to re-evaluate their target market and execute a more effective internet marketing strategy. In just five months, they began to see a significantly improved return on their internet marketing spend.
CRM Systems 4.2
Have customer details at your fingertips, manage leads better and market your business better with a CRM system.
A customer relationship management system has become a vital tool in running an efficient business. Your team no longer has to waste time rummaging through old emails or Excel speadsheets looking for customer contact details. A CRM system is like a traditional customer database with many more features to improve your sales, marketing and support services.
Access customer details in seconds
No more trawling through Outlook or rummaging through scraps of paper looking for a customer’s contact details, as they can all be stored on your CRM platform. Most CRM platforms now come with an accompanying mobile app so that you can access customer details from your smartphone or tablet.
Better Customer Experience and Better Customer Service
Never forget to call a customer again. You can easily record all details that are relevant to the customer, including their order history and quotations, and set a reminder to actually make the call.
A CRM system allows your team to access customer information from anywhere, at any time, just by using their smartphone or tablet.
CRM systems allow you to see where your business or organisation is performing well, and to identify areas where you need to improve. It helps you to take the guesswork out of running your business.
Better decision making
A CRM system allows you to store information about your customers and their transaction history and preferences, enabling you to make better and more informed strategic decisions in your business.
What is the best CRM for small business?
A question that we get asked a lot is “what is the best CRM for small business?” There is no best CRM, as every small business or organisation has different requirements. However, from our experience, here are a few of the best practice guidelines to consider before you implement a CRM system for your business or organisation.
1) Know what your goals are. When business owners make a claim such as, “we need a CRM package to increase sales,” we become very worried. A CRM package is just an enabler of goals and not a silver bullet. However, a business owner who asks “we need to track, maintain and communicate with our leads better” is probably going to realise more value from a CRM system.
2) Business owners and managers must be prepared to change their work processes to suit the software. If you’re not prepared to change your work processes, so that your business or organisation can implement a CRM, your company probably isn’t ready for such a solution. Some SMEs are under the illusion that they can get bespoke software written to fit the way that they work. If you have the IT budget of Goldman Sachs, such a bespoke system is possible, but most small business owners don’t have that kind of budget to spend. However, when you use a CRM package, which is supported by a whole host of apps in its eco-system, there’s no need for a customised CRM solution.
3) You must have buy-in from your staff. Your sales people, customer service people, accounts people, etc, all need to agree that your way of tracking and maintaining leads with customers needs to change. Half-hearted attempts at CRM implementation often fail. Without a real devotion to change, there is an increased likelihood of a failed implementation. CRM companies never tell potential customers this.
4) Measurement. The old cliche of “what gets measured, gets done” applies here. Once it has been implemented, you must be able to measure who is and who is not using the CRM platform. For example, the CRM adoption process can be made easier in Salesforce thanks to the large ecosystem of apps that make it a more rewarding experience for your team. (SuMo for Salesforce is one such example.)
5) Some companies and organisations implement CRM in the same way that a foie gras farmer feeds his geese – by force feeding. This approach can be disastrous. The best CRM implementations are usually staggered across one department first. You might, for instance, get your sales people to trial the software as a pilot. Once the platform has been proven to work in one department, it can be rolled out to other teams in your organisation.
There is really no “best CRM” for your business. A good CRM usually depends on design and functionality to make a good strategic fit for your small business.
Some considerations for finding the best CRM platform for your small business or organisation.
- What level of customisation does it offer?
- What kind of reporting does it offer?
- What mobile platforms does it support?
- Does it integrate well with other applications?
- How secure is the platform?
For more information and experienced advice on CRM platforms, please contact RealClear IT Support today on 01-685 4833.
IT Consultancy / IT Strategy
Helping your business to get the most out of technology
Getting the most out of technology. When it comes to information technology, what factors do the best-run, small businesses have in common?
After years of helping small businesses with their IT setup, we have identified some common factors that the best-run, small businesses seem to share when it comes to technology.
Automation helps to reduce your costs and increase efficiency. Automating repetitive tasks will help to free up your team’s time, enabling them to focus on other tasks, and also reduces the risk of human error creeping into your system.
The business environment is changing faster than ever. Traditional PC set-ups, such as one server and several desktop PCs, do not always deliver the flexibility and efficiency that your business needs to operate effectively in a competitive market.
IT savvy businesses are continually innovating in the way that they use technology. They are not afraid to trial IT new solutions on a small-scale first and then roll them out business-wide for maximum effect, if they prove successful.
Great IT experience for your team
If you want your team to perform the best possible work for you, you have to enable them by providing the best possible tools and processes available. This often means having IT processes that fully support remote working and having IT systems that work quickly and reliably, enabling easy collaboration between your team members.
Great IT experience for their customers
It is most likely that your customers’ the first impression of your business will be from your website. So a poorly designed, non-engaging website can lead to potential customers clicking-off in seconds. Therefore, your site should be easy to navigate, engaging, informative and mobile-friendly.
Awareness of cyber-security threats
If you still think that hackers and other IT security threats are only targeting banks and multinational organisations, then you need to think again. A lot of virus and malware attacks are indiscriminate as they propagate through the internet. Hacks or cyber attacks on well-known companies get reported in the media, but if a small business suffers a similar attack, it will rarely make the news, which can lull many small business owners into a dangerous sense of false security.
Using their IT budget smartly, without “throwing money at it”
Having an efficient, streamlined IT set-up does not have to be expensive. Some of the most-effective, agile and robust IT-setups can be implemented for less than you think. Smart IT investment comes after you have assessed your business priorities and conducted a thorough examination of your existing workflows.