Do More with Less to Stay Competitive During and After COVID-19
The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations into a state of high anxiety. Even the top economists are uncertain about how the future will look and what the long-term impacts will be, but all are in agreement about one thing: Things will be different. To stay competitive, it is more important than ever for leaders to “get lean” in their organizations and start doing more with less. This starts with your technology and internal processes.
What Leaders Can Do Now
The ground is shifting. COVID-19 has impacted industries and businesses of all sizes. Many have begun course correcting and adapting to the changing, tumultuous environment. As a leader, it’s important that you do the same.
If you don’t pay attention and shift your organizational focus during this time, the effects on your outcomes could prove dire. Failure to prepare for a downturn in a timely, decisive fashion will result in losses. And depending on the extent, these losses may be difficult to overcome.
A part of every business leader’s plan should be doing more to stay competitive as efficiently as possible.
Stay Competitive by …
… Focusing on Your Customer
How is your organization interacting with buyers today? Your prospects and customers are keenly aware of your service, or lack thereof, now more than ever. Responding to changing demands in your customer base is essential, but this is really nothing new. Thought leaders have waxed poetic over the last few years about rising to consumer demands and becoming a service-oriented organization to stay competitive – ourselves included. This line of thinking usually aligns closely with the call for digital transformation and investment in technology.
COVID-19 has expedited this call to action. The pandemic has forced us all to rethink nearly every aspect of our daily routine – from work and school to how we buy groceries (and find toilet paper). In business, it has necessitated mass remote workforces, moved meetings and events to virtual environments, and changed the way organizations rely on technology. For some organizations, this was easier done than for others. And much of that difference lies with the technologies they had (or did not have) in place.
To quote Forbes:
“It’s been imperative to digitally transform our places of work and education to be able to operate effectively. Those companies able to use technology well to keep going and rethink their business model for the future by fast-tracking digital transformation will be ones ahead of their competition.”
If you are struggling to stay competitive with decreased performance and an inability to effectively reach your customers, now is the time to rethink your digital platforms. Consider the current situation the much-needed reminder to shift your focus to long-term digital investments that will enable your future success.
… Removing friction
Improved visibility and speed to action in your sales and customer support processes are essential to making it through today’s economic conditions. Leaders can start by reviewing their operations and implementing business process improvements across departments.
What your bad processes are costing you.
While this process will look different in every organization, with the current focus on improving sales efficiency and performance, we’ve identified three areas that can greatly improve your customer experience, sales productivity, and overall effectiveness. Improving these areas can help you stay competitive both during and after COVID-19.
1. Eliminate Spreadsheets
Are you managing a number of your processes in Excel or Google Docs?
While spreadsheets can be great for exporting and viewing data, managing key parts of your business in spreadsheets is a large red flag. Spreadsheets can be fragile and finicky. If a formula or reference is off, it can lead to major problems.
The more complex the spreadsheet, the bigger the risk. Spreadsheets often require a lot of manual effort to manage and maintain, and valuable time and resources to verify and support. Not to mention the data concerns that come with managing key parts of your business outside of secure systems.
This is where your technology investments can provide a huge advantage. Using Salesforce to manage your processes eliminates these data integrity and long-term stability concerns. An integrated CRM solution like Salesforce also provides additional opportunities to improve efficiency through advanced reporting, enhanced tracking, and mobile accessibility.
2. Streamline Approvals
Many business processes involve a number of approvals and checks-and-balances across management levels. This is a part of accountable operations today. Streamlining this process can not only save significant time, but also money. Added bonus? Reduced headaches and frustration from your team by eliminating common roadblocks and barriers throughout the process.
Whether it’s pricing discounts, support entitlements, or proposals, phone call or email approval is simply not scalable. These methods often lead to critical delays, a lack of proper documentation, and limited visibility.
Your technology can streamline and automate these approval processes. Salesforce approvals, for example, includes notifications when an approval is completed and provides status visibility across your organization. This reduces silos and provides a scalable framework for your business to operate in current conditions no matter what changes come your way.
3. Centralize Customer Communication
Do your customers often ask about the status of their order or support request? Do you heavily rely on email for communication and follow-up?
Leveraging your Salesforce investment, you can centralize your customer communications with Salesforce Service Cloud. It consolidates all your service and support communications under the customer record, providing your team with a full history to address and resolve issues quickly and with much-needed context at their finger-tips.
Additionally, Salesforce Communities is an amazing tool to provide your customers and vendors with a controlled experience. Your organization can enable self-service on frequently asked questions like order status, invoices, services requests, and more. This enables your team to focus on much better areas of the business to drive results.
At the end of the day, the critical piece for leaders to stay competitive is to drive efficiency through your technology. Look for ways to streamline and use your technology investments in new ways. Only this will enable you to truly do more with less during these unprecedented and unpredictable times.
Ready to reopen, recover, and reposition following COVID-19?