The following infographic highlights the top seven reasons why Digital Transformation fails. Position your business to take advantage of the latest technology to survive and thrive.Read More
This year more than ever it's imperative to understand Digital Transformation and why it is so crucial to the survival and success of your business. Executives and managers need to fully understand the Digital Transformation trend to plan for the future. Lack of training and proper knowledge is one of the primary reasons for Digital Transformation failure.
Check out our infographic below featuring the Top 6 Digital Transformation Training Topics that we provide to executives and management teams to help them digitally transform their business.Read More
In 2013, there is a much larger opportunity than in the last few years for non-technology oriented Small Businesses to implement the latest technology. All of them will help you increase your sales and/or reduce your costs. In addition, technology prices have dropped like a rock and they are so much easier to use (and learn) than ever before. This article was written for the non-technical owner or manager of a Home or Small Business.
Here are the 10 Key Small Business Trends:
Marketing Videos are being Added to Websites to Increase Sales Leads These days, most prospects want to watch a short 30- to 90-second video about your products or services on your website. Many don't have time to read a long white paper or product description during their first visit to your site. You can thank the use of YouTube and Smartphones for this change. The good news is that the cost of creating videos has dramatically gone down in the last few years. You can create them yourself or hire professionals to publish them. This will reduce your cost of Sales and Marketing and increase the number of your Sales / Marketing Presentations to prospects over the next 12 months.
Lead Nurturing Programs are Increasing Sales Prospects while Reducing the Cost of the Lead Process Send (or Scan) all Leads including: Trade Show Leads, Business Cards and Paper Lead Forms into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System or a dedicated "Marketing Automation" system. You can then use "Lead Nurturing" Campaigns to better qualify sales leads before sending them to expensive outside Sales / Account Managers. Sales and Marketing Productivity both go up.
Smartphones are Replacing Basic (Feature) Phones I know many Small Business Owners don't believe this. However, a Smartphone is NOT a "Nice to Have" product anymore. It is a "Need to Have" It's simple... If your competition have Smartphones and you don't, you will be less responsive to your customers and you will lose sales over time. Thanks to eMail, Texting, Instant Messaging, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, you need to respond to your sales prospects and customers much faster than even two years ago. You can also use a Smartphone to process credit card orders in the field. There are several companies that provide Free Apps and Credit Card Readers. Smartphones let you and your employees respond to Customers, Partners, Managers and Prospects as quickly as your Competition... or faster.
Social Marketing is Reducing Telemarketing & List Buying Costs If you are still only using Telemarketing, Buying Cold Call Lists and Sending Paper Mailers, you are missing a lot of sales prospects, spending more money than the competition and falling behind in productivity. If you outsource your telemarketing overseas to save money, you very likely have other issues. Your "under 40" prospects, don't talk as much on the phone as before. It's time to start learning and testing Social Networking... yes Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs and more....
Small Business Applications are Moving from old Client / Servers to Web or "Cloud Computing" If you need to replace or upgrade an old application or computer system this year, you should seriously consider replacing the application with a cloud computing application. The new Cloud Apps are designed to work with the new Smartphones and Tablets. Sales Leads are delivered real-time to your Sales Teams and Channel Partners which will increase the number of sales contacts per day. As a small business, you can also save significant money over the next three years by moving to this newer technology. You can usually reduce your start-up, training and conversion costs for employees. If you are new to Cloud Computing, this article and video should help explain this basics: ABC News Brief Article: "What is the Cloud?" YouTube Short Video: Computer Basics: What is the Cloud?
Web Training Programs will Increase the Professional Skills of your Employees Technology is rapidly changing almost all industries. Some companies are being turned upside down due to these changes. You need to help your people keep up (and get ahead) of all the changes.... or you may NOT be in business in the future. Web-based Training is ideal for remote sales teams working out of their homes or small offices. Affordable Web-based training can now keep your costs down, your peoples' skills up and improve sales productivity.
Web-based Meetings/Events Increase the number of Sales Calls, Demos & Seminars per month Web-based Meetings and Event technology is now used by most larger companies on a daily basis. The cost of Web-based Meetings and Events has dramatically decreased and Small Businesses can now take advantage of this technology. It also reduces their cost of sales significantly. ROI is in months, not years.
iPads are Increasing Sales Productivity A dirty little secret is that many Sales Reps still leave their laptops at home, in the hotel room or in the trunk of a car when they make sales calls. The Tablet is replacing the need to carry around a laptop for everyone. Tablets also lower the cost of training remote staff and laptop maintenance. I recently traveled to Europe for two weeks with an Apple iPhone, iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. It's the first time I ever traveled without my laptop and I never missed it for a minute. One strategy is to keep your old desktops and laptops for another year. Invest in new tablets for your key people this year and run pilot tests on how to improve productivity.
Web Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is Replacing Old PC and Client Server CRM The modern Web-based CRM Systems were developed for the Web / Cloud and Mobile Apps. Older systems just do not work as well with the new Smartphones and Tablets. This increases your maintenance costs and many of the real-time updates are just not available to your employees.
Evaluate Replacing or Supplementing MS Office with Google Office to Reduce Costs & Improve Collaboration Most employees only use 10-25% of the features in Microsoft Office. As more Applications are moving to the Web / Cloud, there is less and less need to buy and upgrade expensive Microsoft Office Applications for everyone in the company. Note: Google Office is less polished and has fewer features when compared to Microsoft Office. Many Small Businesses are moving to Google Office (@ $50 per person per year) or Zoho Office or other solutions to save money, and improve staff, client and partner collaboration.
If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call @or comment in the field below.
Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Please share your comments below on any other key trends that you think are important in 2013.
Are you starting to think about planning for next year? Do you have any feel for the top cost-effective new technology that will boost your company sales and productivity? During the fourth quarter, we asked Small Business Executives, Managers or Owners to share the Top 3-4 NEW Technologies that they were thinking about implementing in 2012. Based on the survey, the following are the top 4 technologies for 2012:
- Upgrading the Company Website with the Latest Technology
- Implementing Smartphones and Tablets
- Testing and Implementing Social Marketing
- Adding Video Content for the Website including: Customer Demos, New Product Announcements, Success Stories and Best Practice Tips
Note: The votes were anonymous and we do NOT collecting any personal info. All poll results are available now.
Please share the poll results with other managers or owners... and add any comments or questions in the comment field below.