How to Determine Your Jumping-On Point
The number of new technology solutions geared toward helping companies do business better increases every day. Two areas where this is particularly true are customer communications and CRM tools. While every new release claims to be the definitive answer to all of your company’s woes, it is tough to determine when to adopt a new system and when to hold off. Businesses that blindly cling to old tools are doomed to be left behind, while others that jump too quickly to the latest and greatest solutions will run up expenses quickly while seeing little or no ROI. Following are a few key considerations that will guide you in choosing the best technology to fit your business.
Fit the Product to the Plan
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but one need only turn to the gross misuse of social media to see that many businesses adopt new tools without any real understanding of their purpose. Any tool you adopt should tie back to specific goals. Simply having the tool means nothing if it is underused or poorly implemented. The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here. Rather than trying to fit a plan into the constraints of a popular new technology, look inward to your business goals then determine what tools will help achieve them. Create a list of your needs and compare each tool against how well it will answer those needs. Further, be sure that you have a system in place that will allow you measure the value of these tools so you can determine which strategies are the most profitable for you.
Ensure Internal Competency
Once you have chosen a tool, you need to make sure there are best practices in place for its use. For instance, many businesses implement a costly CRM system with incredibly diverse functionality only to use it as a fancy address book. Technology expenses (particularly in SaaS offerings) are ongoing and often drain resources. Therefore, it is essential to provide training while issuing protocols that ensure that everyone derives maximum value from new technology. It pays to revisit these protocols often, particularly after major updates or new add-on implementations, to guarantee that your team maintains proficiency. If you deem it too time consuming or costly to invest in training, then it is best to hold off on the purchase.
In sales-focused organizations, outward facing tools often seem the most attractive for enticing and marketing to customers. However, your best tools are always your human resources, so any products that make their lives easier (and thus more productive) should always be your first investment. Time tracking tools give you insight into employee activities and can help determine which processes give employees the most headaches. Additionally, such tools can help diagnose and correct project costs before they spiral out of control, preventing costly and frustrating setbacks down the line.
Technology is an incredible thing, but because every business has an equal opportunity to acquire new tools, the marketplace will favor those who make these decisions intelligently. Make your selections with an emphasis on goals, competency and efficiency, and you will be able to leverage them for maximum profitability within your organization.