The complexity and variety of business technology today can be overwhelming. With so many different software tools, programs and cloud solutions, it can be difficult to know what's really going to help your business.
When considering what business technology you should be investing in, it’s important to consider your short and long term goals to ensure any technology will support this vision. In addition to this, you should also be taking into account the potential return on investment the technology will deliver.
Like any other investment, business technology must pull its weight in creating and supporting business growth. Whether it’s buying all new mobile devices for your sales team, or investing in a custom app to impress your customers, business technology needs to create value that benefits the business and its goals. Otherwise, it’s just time and money down the drain.
Focusing on business solutions that can increase sales is a clever way to demonstrate ROI. To help you make sense of what you may want to invest in, here's the top 4 types of business technology that can help you boost sales.
1. A LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn has over 645 million users worldwide so the odds are that you already have a LinkedIn account. However, are you using your profile to its fullest potential?
The biggest mistake many professionals make when it comes to LinkedIn, is they use it as an online resume. This might be fine if you are actively looking for a new job or career, but you are missing out on huge opportunities if you want to use LinkedIn to help grow your business.
The three main strengths of LinkedIn for business growth, which are: 1) It helps you to profile and position yourself as a thought leader and subject matter expert in your space; 2) it assists you in creating a network of people who can help your business, including potential leads, suppliers, advisors, employees and referrers; and 3) it allows you to interact with your network and showcase what’s new in your business and what makes your business unique.
Beyond offering the ability to set up a free profile, LinkedIn offers some powerful solutions that can help drive business growth even further. Whether you’re on the hunt for new employees, building a strong network of contacts or needing to generate quality leads, LinkedIn offers a range of paid tools and products to help you. These include advertising opportunities, inMails and premium accounts geared to how you use the platform.
2. A WordPress website
If you need to build a new site or need to redevelop your existing one, opting for a website using WordPress.com can be a great option.
Basically, WordPress is a platform that drives your website, much like Microsoft Windows is the operating system on your computer. It’s one of the easiest to use website tools available and one of the most popular.
While the platform is free to use (otherwise known as open source), it doesn’t include the use of themes (i.e. the design of your site), or hosting. Here’s a rundown on why WordPress is free and what you need to think about.
One of the great things about WordPress is there are countless themes, plugins and integrations that make a Wordpress website highly customisable. Plus, since it is so popular there are many website designers and developers familiar with the platform that can assist you to create a standout site for your business that is geared for sales and business growth.
A popular WordPress plugin for sales is WooCommerce. It will allow you to sell both digital and physical products, will calculate shipping, add in GST and other taxes, supports a range of different payment options, like PayPal or credit cards, and also allows you to add affiliate or external products for purchase on your site.
There are also a number of cloud ERP systems, including JCurve ERP and NetSuite, that offer WordPress integrations which will enable you to access real-time product information, pricing, stock levels, back order details and more. Having cloud ERP software support your website setup can help you create a first class experience for your customers.
3. Cloud-based email
Email has become as essential business technology for just about every organisation. And now, it’s more important than ever to be able to access your emails while on the go and from any device.
Cloud-based email, like Microsoft Outlook on Office 365, has many benefits. For instance, in addition to mobility and ease of access, the latest version of the software is always current as updates are automatically applied, they’re usually subscription based so there’s no large upfront payment required and you only pay for what you need, additionally there’s good security features (as long as your provider is reputable).
The other big feature you can’t ignore with cloud-based email is there’s no dealing with multiple licenses and different employees having different versions of the same email software. Now everyone can have the same access to the most current version and only one license is required to cover the entire organisation, so no worrying about licenses for individual users.
Most cloud-based email providers include clever technology that synchronises data, like contact details, across devices. It makes things much more efficient. Now when a sales rep enters a contact into their mobile phone, it is also available on their laptop and tablet - no more double entering data or searching for contact details on various devices.
4. A cloud ERP system
Many years ago, ERP software was only available to large enterprises. But thanks to cloud deliver, this powerful business technology is now more accessible to SMEs. It is particularly ideal for those organisations that are planning for significant business growth.
With ERP platforms now being available in the cloud, they can deliver even more return on investment thanks to greater mobility and the ability to deliver data in real-time. To find out more on how an ERP can deliver great ROI, take a look at this post on ERP Bringing Profitable Returns.
Sales teams that have access to a cloud ERP are more effective. This is because they can easily and in real-time see accurate stock and inventory levels, back orders, pricing and product information, even when they’re away from the office and on their smartphone. They can also update customer records in an in-built CRM system, plus view what specials the client may have received over email as part of a marketing campaign, even drilling down to whether an individual has clicked on a link in an email promotion.
Just like with cloud-based email, cloud ERP systems, such as NetSuite and JCurve ERP, offer significant benefits. For instance, they are subscription based so no need to invest large fees upfront and it also means predictable monthly costs. In addition, ERP cloud providers host all your data so no need to invest in expensive servers and the implementation process is usually much simpler and quicker.
The type of business technology you implement can have an immense impact on your ability to generate sales and thereby achieve business growth. Choosing business technology options that will have a good return on investment will help you to strengthen your business by empowering sales teams and creating efficiencies in your business processes. Technology like LinkedIn, WordPress, cloud-based email and cloud ERPs are great options to consider in your business growth strategies to help you unlock increased sales.
Looking for more ways to increase sales? Get your free business guide - How to Increase Sales: the 5-Step Strategy Guide.