Reducing overhead costs while maximizing profit is the goal of every business. With the right software and technology, more businesses are able to save money, increase customer base, and improve profit rates.
This article will share five important software products that will help your business to save money, and ensure that your business achieves its maximum goals. You will learn what they are, how they work, and how you can use them to effectively save money.
1. CRM Software (Customer Relationship Management Software)
CRM software tools provide information on client history and behavior, and when used expediently can provide insights into the best ways to improve corporate performance. The benefits of businesses knowing their customers cannot be overemphasized. As a business, you need to know:
- Your clients’ demography
- What products they prefer and why
- How they find similar products
- What factors influence their patronage
- What services they would like to see in the future
The best businesses anticipate their customers’ needs and use this knowledge to maintain result-yielding practices, improve upon lacking products, train employees to understand client expectations, provide customer support, and drive sales. Popular CRM software tools include Zoho and Hubspot. Businesses can analyze customer information, and train employees to respond to customers based on their findings.
How businesses can utilize CRM software
- Take advantage of social media. Connect social media sites to your website and monitor customer satisfaction, grievances, sales, and cash reconciliation, and settle conflicts. This is an effective way of improving operational performance and reducing person-hours.
- Optimize your customer or call center. Analyze information received via call centers. For this reason, most customer centers record calls and seek customer feedback regarding services provided.
- Another way of optimizing call centers is to automate the system, by integrating a self-help service that guides customers to the help they need. You can also use instant messaging for business and ultimately reduce the overhead cost of your company.
If businesses do not take advantage of the CRM software, they lose sight of important client information that can be lost using manual spreadsheets, and create gaps within their marketing approaches. In summary, businesses will only have an idea of what they think their customers want, they will not know it.
2. Ecommerce Software
This software helps to facilitate the ease of taking your business online by ensuring that customers are able to pay for and access your products and services on an online store. Simply put, it is like a virtual salesperson and inventory accountant. Needless to say, the eCommerce software has become a must-have, especially in post-COVID 19 business operations.
Ecommerce software can either be developed with your website or added as an external feature (plug-in). They provide a variety of functions which include:
- Inventory: the software ensures that your inventory is automatically updated with every transaction that occurs. It also helps to identify the nature and availability of stock – fast, slow, low, adequate – and provide insight into marketing strategies.
- Receipts and sales reconciliation: eCommerce software can issue receipts on behalf of the business, provide a virtual ledger of transactions, and guarantee proper bookkeeping.
- Product information: the software helps to provide more information about products and services, customer reviews, and sales information such as pricing and discounts.
- Logistics and shipment: with its information extraction function, the eCommerce software is able to provide information on logistics and shipment of the product. This means for instance, that customers can see how long it will take for their goods to reach them and factor this information into their purchase decision. This also means that businesses can plan their logistics more effectively and manage person-hours.
Businesses that do not deploy eCommerce software, will likely suffer revenue decline caused by lag times of in-store purchases, and lose customers to online stores which prioritize ease of shopping, purchase, and delivery.
3. Communications Software
The benefits of communications tools have become more apparent with the popularity of remote work, brought about by the coronavirus and restriction of movement all over the world. Organizations have had to explore more means of working from home, selling products virtually, and achieving and maintaining business goals without conference room meetings and physical brainstorming sessions.
The main objective of communications software is the quality of facilitating and maintaining corporate communications via text, audio, infographics, and videos. Communications software functionalities include:
- Live chat applications and video telephony programs to facilitate the planning and execution of meetings with the aid of tools, such as Slack and Zoom.
- Spreadsheet and presentation programs to prepare the presentation of reports and research via such as Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Teleconferencing programs (like Skype) and application software which provides file printing, creation, and management services such as Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word, to aid employee training and functionality.
- Effectual publishing features to maintain and improve external communication with stakeholders and the general public, through the production of video (with Adobe Premiere Pro), and infographic makers (such as Adobe Spark).
4. Project Management Software
Teams and project managers require effective tools to plan, track, and maintain project goals and milestones. Project management software tools help to achieve this and are more useful for organizational teams because of their specific function to aid the accomplishment of specific projects. Different teams can work to provide various solutions to a major project, and project managers can use these tools to oversee tasks, mini-projects, and the general progress of the larger project. They can also use project management tools to invite external team players to collaborate on projects. Popular project management software products or tools include Microsoft Project and Primavera.
Project management tools are useful for:
- Monitoring the timeline of projects and assessing milestone completions
- Planning of resources, budget allocation, task assignation, and project processes.
- Estimation of project success, setbacks, and required budget
- Team communication to ensure collaboration, file management, and security, time management and project delivery
It is difficult to track the performance of projects manually and consistently. Hence, without project management tools, work is cumbersome, slower, and will likely suffer setbacks and ultimately deviate from the initial goal.
5. Security Software
Since more organizations are communicating offline and making use of diverse communication tools, there is a need to ensure the safety and security of these conversations, bearing in mind the existence and threat of hackers, viruses and information loss. Organizations are one click away from their most important information being exposed, corrupted, stolen and likely used to defraud them. Popular software companies include Bitdefender, Avast, and McAfee.
Security software tools provide various functions, such as:
- Malware detection: this prevents harmful programs and malicious attacks (such as viruses) from corrupting your company device or information. It also includes the prevention of intrusion – which usually results in loss (or theft) of proprietary data, trade secrets, and reputational damage.
- Fraud detection: signals the activity of unauthorized or suspicious transactions.
- Anti-spyware: this function ensures that no one is spying on your business and business plans. Small businesses are at particular risk of being spied on, and subsequently, become vulnerable to attacks and blackmail from illegal organizations.
- Spam prevention: this keeps your website from unwanted attempts to advertise alien products on your website, and therefore put your customers at risk of being defrauded.
- Phishing prevention: security software products can prevent phishing attacks that aim to steal financial information and put your business’ financial assets at risk.
When the necessary security software is in place, trust is gained by customers and this usually translates into direct sales and increased profit margins. It goes without saying that companies that suffer malicious attacks (as a result of non-existent or inadequate security software) will spend precious time and energy recovering from it, and possibly lose their organizational strength.
How do you get these software products?
Most of these products are paid for. A monthly or annual subscription fee grants access to the continuity of features that keep your organizational processes and tasks simplified and solid. To ensure that they cater to a range of businesses and individuals, these software product companies usually have several paid plans to choose from. So it is up to you to decide which plan is sustainable and suitable for your business.
However, there are usually free plans with basic features to get you started. So, sign up and access the free plans, especially if your business is young or small and you cannot afford the paid options.
The important thing to remember in using these five software products is that they exist to make your business processes easier, cheaper, and more effective.
No matter the staff strength or size of your business, these tools help you not only understand your customers but also develop products and solutions that cater to their future wants and keep them coming. Importantly, these software products ensure effective management of company time, consistent revenue growth that is unimpeded by inadequate operational methods, and the preservation of company information and trade secrets from hackers and malicious competition.
As a result, your business is able to operate more efficiently without the limitations of human capacity. Most of all, your business saves money in overtime and overhead costs.