Reactive vs. Proactive business management. Is your monitoring holding you back?

The difference between Reactive vs. Proactive business management

I’ve spoken with many business leaders across Australia and NZ who feel held back by their systems and processes, and they’re all familiar with many of the same issues…

‘I didn’t know’ / ‘Out of stock again’ / ‘System won’t let me do that’ / ‘finding new business is hard’ / ‘Forgot to follow that quote up’

You’ve probably heard them all too.

And it’s easy to think that as a business owner, it’s your direct responsibility to ensure that these issues are addressed as soon as possible to keep your customers and staff happy.

But without the right technology, you spend 90% of your time monitoring staff and processes that should already be operating smoothly, and the other 10% of the time fixing things that actually went wrong. That’s most of your time spent maintaining the status quo and supporting the system – rather than proactively making any real improvements that could take your business further.

At most businesses, this hands-on, reactive approach is just not practical if you want to scale the business up.

Shifting to a new approach doesn’t happen overnight, but here are some ways you can stop reactively managing your business, and start proactively planning for the future.

Three ways to encourage proactive business management with technology

1. Get visibility of your whole business – in one platform

Put your data in one place

With all your information in one platform, you’ll get easy access to all the business critical data you need to make informed strategic decisions for the future.

The easiest way to cut down the time you spend monitoring your business is to bring all your information into one platform, giving you a full overview of business performance in real time – as it occurs.

A platform like HARMONiQ for example, not only combines your Financials, Inventory, Sales, Marketing and Admin in one platform, it also allows you to customise your dashboards – we call them Control Desks – to display the metrics that indicate what is actually occurring. You can stop chasing up departments for status updates and reports, and get accurate information presented visually and in time.

By giving you easy and quick access to the data you need, it gives you more time to decide what to do with it, make informed decisions, and set a strategy for the future based on business performance.

2. Make it easier for Sales staff to hold themselves accountable

Stop chasing your sales team

Eliminate the need to chase your sales team for updates repeatedly – instead, encourage your sales team to proactively meet targets by making it easier to track their performance and hold themselves accountable with a CRM.

If you’re running a business, most of your time is probably spent chasing sales staff to make sure they’re talking to customers. You  know – doing their job!

Instead of getting harder on your sales team, you can make it easier for them to hold themselves accountable – have constant visibility of their progress against target, and only notifying you when you need to get involved. To achieve this, think about implementing a CRM into your business management platform that actually automates this.

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform primarily stores all your customer and prospect information – but it can also easily track activity, such as what emails were sent and engaged with, what orders they made, which staff member they spoke to last, and when. This gives your sales staff all the information they need to target the right prospects and customers.

An integrated platform like HARMONiQ also goes a few steps further and can automate activities such as follow-up reminders, and notifications for cross-sell or up-sell opportunities – so that ‘forgetting’ is no longer an option. If you really want to stay on top of things, you can even set up automated alerts if any one salesperson drops well below their target or forgets to follow up an important opportunity.

With that level of visibility over their performance, your sales staff will be motivated to up their game and proactively meet their targets without you having to play ‘bad cop’ all the time.

3. Automate ‘what good looks like’ and eliminate uncertainty

Know what good looks like

Once you’ve determined what good looks like for your routine business processes, allow all your staff to easily access and action them through in-built workflows.

The next step of ‘proactive-ness’ is mapping out your ideal sequence of actions for routine business processes – such as onboarding new customers, taking prospects through the buying journey, dealing with unhappy customers, and so on.

Having these workflows readily available gives your staff the knowledge to proceed with almost any scenario in a consistent and professional manner. It also reduces the time you spend fixing problems and answering questions so that you can dedicate more time to developing strategies for future improvements.

You should look for business management platforms that allow you to build and embed these workflow templates directly within the system, easily accessed by all staff.

Sophisticated business management platforms like HARMONiQ, also allow you to escalate problems after a certain time period automatically, or if the issue has not been resolved satisfactorily.

 

Shifting to more proactive business management processes has a definite impact on your long-term business outcomes. But it can’t be achieved in isolation. That’s why we’ve developed our platform, HARMONIQ to provide all the functionality that a business owner would need to encourage growth, automation, and efficiency.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one ERP solution that includes financials, inventory, sales, marketing, and more.

  • With advanced reporting functionality, HARMONiQ can easily generate the data you need for forecasting, KPI generation, and give you all the metrics you need in an easy-to-digest visual dashboard.
  • HARMONiQ has built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) functionality and can combine and track activity of your customer, prospect, and sales staff alike.
  • Sophisticated workflows and can be built, accessed and replicated across your whole business – eliminating uncertainty for staff and making even your most labour-intensive processes run a lot more smoothly.

If you’d like to make the shift towards a more proactive environment using technology like HARMONiQ, get in touch with me by calling 02 9542 2000 or leaving your details here.

If you’d like to go one step further and see HARMONiQ in action, you can request a demo here.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Is your business ready for an ERP solution?

Implementing an ERP solution is something you’ve probably considered at some point for your business. It’s a smart, strategic investment – and a good one doesn’t come cheaply or easily. But the advantages of investing in the right ERP solution at the right time can be invaluable, perfectly positioning your business for growth and expansion.

Your business doesn’t need to be in distress to warrant an ERP solution. Quite the opposite, most businesses are doing well when they choose to switch because even though they’re growing, with an ERP platform in place, they could be growing even faster.

So how do you know when you’re ready to be considering an ERP solution for your business? By working with a number of businesses around Australia and New Zealand, I’ve noticed these tell-tale clues that signal that a business is ready to benefit from ERP software.

I’m sharing three of them in this blog:

  1. You’re not able to get the business data you need quickly and easy.
ERP solution image

1 Without easy and quick access to business critical data, you’ll lack the information you need to plan strategically for the future

 

Either your current systems aren’t tracking the information you need, the data is inaccurate, or difficult to extract. By not being able to access the right information at the right time, such as stock on hand, or monthly sales performance, you have little or no ability to get the business-critical data you need to forecast and plan strategically.

With the right ERP solution, you can get a holistic view of business operations at any time to help you plan more effectively for the future. Other members of your staff will also have access to the information they need to better serve customers and make more sales. For example, with an ERP your sales team will have access to a customer’s full order history, and be able to proactively find more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling other products in your range.

  1. Your current systems don’t support more complex activities.
ERP solution image 2

2 Multiple systems and databases make complex tasks even more difficult for staff tasked with manually configuring them.

 

You constantly find that your current systems are incapable of handling more complex tasks – such as forecasting, generating purchase orders, KPI generation, or import costing. Your team is having to repeatedly carry out this tasks manually, or find and master new tools to help them complete these activities – wasting valuable time, energy, and resources. Overall, your current system can no longer support vital business activities and is negatively impacting your growth.

An ERP solution integrates your business processes into one platform. So if it’s taking your staff ages to find, consolidate, and analyse information to perform more complex tasks – it’s already simpler if all the information is in one database. What’s more, the right ERP solution should be able to crunch the numbers and automate these processes for you – saving your staff time, but also providing you with more accurate outputs.

  1. You lack the resources to handle what your current system can’t.

 

ERP solution image 3

3 Don’t rely on short term band-aid solutions, it’ll result in a lot more trouble down the track.

Many businesses try to avoid implementing an ERP solution by hiring more staff or installing additional add-on systems when they need new functionality. Eventually, this approach is guaranteed to result in more pain than gain.

Constantly hiring and training additional staff to do work that is best left to software will eventually lead to low staff morale and high staff turnover. Resulting in even higher HR costs to your business. Installing smaller, add-on systems to alleviate some of the growing pains is also a short term solution. Eventually the IT costs of integrating and maintaining these systems will catch up with you. And you’ll also have to invest in training staff to use multiple different systems.

Rather than adding more staff and software to an already ineffective system – you’re better off considering an ERP solution that can be customised to grow with your business.

If you’re experiencing these challenges in your business, it might be time to consider an ERP solution. If you’re looking for something that’s customisable, powerful, yet user-friendly – consider HARMONiQ.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one ERP solution that includes financials, inventory, sales, marketing, and more.

  • With advanced reporting functionality, HARMONiQ can easily generate the data you need for forecasting, KPI generation, and more.
  • HARMONiQ is built with a beautifully designed interface that’s user-friendly. Empower your staff with all the tools they need to grow your business and better serve your customers, including workflow automation, targeted marketing, and built-in customer relationship management software.
  • Business growth is not an issue. HARMONiQ is built for the long-term, so you can add to and customise your platform as you grow.

To see all this in action, book in a demo. We’ll take you through a customised demo, showing you exactly what HARMONiQ could achieve for your business. Click here to tell us what you’d like to see more of.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Common software implementation mistakes that end up costing businesses.

Very rarely do big software implementation projects go off without a hitch – especially when you’re implementing whole-of-business software solutions like CRMs or ERPs.

Therefore, it’s always in your best interest to be proactive and plan for potential challenges. Being complacent will mean you’re forced to react with haste when they do arise, often sending you over your deadline or your budget – or both!

Having overseen hundreds of implementation projects across Australia and NZ, here are some of the most common software implementation mistakes I’ve observed others making, and how to avoid them.

Common software implementation mistakes | #1:
You don’t set the right expectations with your client

Software Implementation Mistakes: not setting realistic expectations

Don’t let Sales set unrealistic expectations. Instead,  involve a Technical resource at the start of the process to set the scope.

When your Sales team is trying to get a project over the line, all too often they make promises you can’t realistically deliver on – just to get a signature on the contract. Even when it’s done with the best of intentions, it still puts your technical implementation team in a tough spot and  they’re doomed from the onset, as they’ll fail to meet the expectation set up by Sales.

At HARMONiQ, we always make sure to involve a technical resource early in the implementation process, in addition to a salesperson. This ensures that while you’re selling, you’re also helping to set the scope and expectations according to what can realistically be achieved by the technical team.

Common software implementation mistakes | #2:
You lack a clear plan and process

Software Implementation Mistakes: Lacking a clear plan

By lacking a clear plan for the implementation, you’re easily diverted from the overall goal by conflicting priorities and deadlines.

One of the most common mistakes I see is a lack of an implementation plan. How often do you rely on the client to dictate priorities, or take an ad-hoc approach to the project?

The problem with this approach is that it ultimately fails both you and the client.

For every project, you’ll be inundated with requests from Accounts, Sales, Marketing and more – and if you don’t have a clear plan that maps out the implementation step-by-step, it’s all too easy to get side tracked by other people’s priorities, and you’ll fail to set the right foundation. In the end, you’ll be over deadline, over budget, and left with no time for training and on-boarding staff.

The solution? Have a clear implementation plan, and stick to it! To see how we do it at HARMONiQ, download our Channel Partner Pack, for an example of our step-by-step implementation plan.

Common software implementation mistakes | #3:
You neglect change management

Software Implementation Mistakes: Neglecting Change ManagementAvoid negative feedback and unhappy users by involving a key set of users in your implementation process.

People intrinsically dislike change – especially when it involves processes and routines they’ve worked with for years. As software implementers, change management is a big part of what we do – but you’d be surprised at how many of us neglect it completely. Neglecting change management opens you up to negative feedback and poor uptake once the project is completed.

At HARMONiQ, we overcome this by getting user buy-in from the beginning. Part of our implementation process is to get a group of users from various departments involved in each step. Diversity is important here, as they’ll act as our ‘change managers’ on the ground – informing other staff of updates and what to expect. By doing frequent user-testing and getting feedback throughout the implementation, we can fix potential issues early on, while also getting buy-in and user accountability right from the get go. We’ve found that this approach helps alleviate any pain when things finally go-live.


If you found these tips helpful, or want more resources to help you better implement software more effectively for your clients, download the HARMONiQ Partner Pack to get the full overview of how we equip our Partners to better serve their clients – including revenue streams, sales and marketing support, and of course, implementation support.

If you’re looking for a new platform to revolutionise and refresh your software offering for clients, request a demo of HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software. It’s a customisable, powerful, but easy-to-use platform that combines accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and more. See it in action with a customised demo for your clients’ needs.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, request a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own.

How automated lead generation processes can help you bring in more revenue

Are great leads the life-blood of your business? Some businesses have no trouble generating enquiries and getting repeat customers. But for many it can be a struggle altogether. Lead generation can even be seasonal and hard to predict – making strategic planning a challenge.

Traditionally, most businesses think they need to burn more shoe leather, make more calls, and run regular special offers to get their share of leads – but there are smarter, more technically advanced ways to generate leads without expending as much energy.

Here’s how to take steps to introduce automated lead generation in your business:

  1. Automate lead generation through quote follow-up and enquiry responses

Surprisingly there are businesses who actually get many qualified leads, but struggle to cope with the numbers. An eventual client of mine once confessed that he was potentially losing up to $1 million a year in revenue solely because he was failing to follow up on smaller quote requests.

In his case, they lacked the sales resources to follow up the small deals. So by automating the quote follow-up process, you could be sending personalised messages to potential customers without needing anyone to physically write and push ‘send’. Not only will you alleviate some of the pressure for your sales team, but you’ll also be making sure no good lead goes wasted.

Take the guesswork out of quote follow-up and other critical, but mundane tasks. Automate these simple processes to save your staff time, but also ensure no lead gets left behind.

Take the guesswork out of quote follow-up and other critical, but mundane tasks. Automated lead generation processes like quote follow-ups allow you to automate these simple processes to save your staff time, but also ensure no lead gets left behind.

 

  1. Revitalise old leads with triggered workflows

Lead generation is not just about new business – it’s just as valuable to look at your existing customers for opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, or replenish orders proactively.

With an integrated CRM like HARMONiQ, your sales staff have access to every customers’ transaction history, allowing them to cleverly use that information in their conversations with them. An even more useful feature is date-triggered workflows. This allows you to create triggered campaigns to go to specific customers, for example, when their next order is due, or if there’s a new product in stock that they may be interested in.

Triggered workflows allow you to create opportunities, rather than wait around for them to happen.

Triggered workflows allow you to create opportunities, rather than wait around for them to happen.

 

  1. Target and segment your marketing campaigns

CRM like HARMONiQ can help you automate targeted marketing campaigns but easy segmentation and creation of marketing lists.

CRMs like HARMONiQ can help you automate targeted marketing campaigns but easy segmentation and creation of marketing lists.

Most systems and databases make it tedious and manual to extract targeted marketing lists. This means that you’re much more likely to send generic marketing material to your prospects and clients – even though it’s not as effective.

With a CRM like HARMONiQ, you could easily create segmented marketing lists using key contact data, such as location, industry, or product type. This allows you to then send marketing material that’s specifically relevant to them – such as special offers for a complementary item. With in-built integration with Campaign Monitor, a leading Australian email marketing platform, you can easily configure automated workflows with branded templates.

 

  1. Hold your Sales team accountable with measurable KPIs

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In many businesses, it’s unclear exactly what activities your sales people are carrying out day-to-day. Are they spending enough face-to-face time with clients? Are they following up on their leads? Are they neglecting any key accounts?

Instead of hounding your sales staff for this information – wouldn’t it be more helpful if all of this was tracked in one location? With a CRM like HARMONiQ, not only does it automatically track all your sales activity down to an individual rep, it also ties it back into the financials. This makes it easy for you to generate reports for monitoring KPIs, keeping targets on track, and highlighting areas for additional training or coaching. Even the most dedicated sales staff can benefit from extra motivation through better monitoring of KPIs – especially when the software does it for you.

If you didn’t already know, HARMONiQ is a powerful new platform brought to you by Micronet Systems, with plenty of in-built automation to really revolutionise the way you do things – such as generate leads.

With HARMONiQ you can:

  • Empower your staff with great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency – ensuring no leads are ignored.
  • Configure simple and powerful workflows to ensure you capitalise on opportunities with old leads or existing customers.
  • Easily segment contacts and accounts according to contact criteria. Create segmented marketing lists, and then use Campaign Monitor to send beautifully designed, branded emails to your database.
  • Get better visibility of your sales teams’ activities through automated reporting to improve KPI monitoring and overall performance.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve additional process automation, outside of lead generation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

4 ways Australian businesses are leveraging process automation for competitive advantage

In competitive industries such as manufacturing, distribution, or wholesale businesses, continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way to being left behind. This is why many Australian businesses are leveraging process automation.

While operational change can be daunting – it can often involve a significant investment of time and finances – the benefit of updating your processes and leveraging the right technology, greatly outweigh such costs.

While working with many Australian businesses to help them take some innovative steps towards leveraging process automation, I’ve observed some impressive examples of how they are using technology for a competitive advantage by:

  • Increasing staff productivity;
  • Streamlining their reporting;
  • Better managing suppliers; and
  • Improving customer satisfaction.

I’ve compiled a few of them here, so you can find out how to spend less time on manual and administrative tasks, more time on income-generating activities, and also become more effective at driving revenue for your business.

Here are 4 clever ways businesses are leveraging process automation to their advantage:

  1. Use systems that integrate rather than isolate

While I’ve just talked about how technology is the best way to improve efficiency in your business, it’s important to remember that the wrong technology can also be your downfall.

While it may be necessary to have a variety of different systems providing point solutions, having multiple systems working in isolation can create a range of inefficiencies, such as having to:

  • Import and exporting data between systems;
  • Enter the same data multiple times;
  • Deal with errors and inconsistencies; and
  • Make decisions without whole-picture visibility of your businesses.

Businesses that use software that integrates all aspects of the business (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify, and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry. It also provides staff the opportunity to use a single sign on. So you can minimise time wasted on these mundane and easily automated tasks.

Ask your software vendors if they can offer you the ability to automate the integration of your key business systems. While this is not the ideal solution – managing multiple integrations between solutions can become quite tedious as a business grows – it can make a real difference in the short term.

If your software vendors can’t deliver such integration, or you want to get it right from the word go, ensure that any business management system you implement provides a single platform for all your key functions to achieve optimum efficiency, visibility, and control.

  1. Outsource your reporting – to your software!

Monitoring your KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure your business stays on the right. But to do this, you often need to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics.

However, savvier businesses know that this doesn’t always have to be the case. You no longer require a full-time staffer to crunch the numbers, conduct analyses, and keep you on track. You can make your business management software do it for you!

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure their financials are on track, to hold sales staff accountable for their targets, and to generate pipeline analytics. So not only do they track how they’ve done in the past, they also use data to plan intelligently for the future.

If you already have a business management system, make sure you’re fully utilising your range of reporting tools. If not, make sure that a strong reporting and analysis capability is part of what you demand in your next business management software investment.

  1. Proactively encourage better service from your suppliers

In industries such as your own, it’s quite common to deal with numerous suppliers every day. And I’m sure you’ll agree it can be quite laborious to chase them up every time you’re out of stock, or they’re overdue on their deliveries.

Best-of-breed businesses have found ways to simplify this altogether. Here are a couple of examples of how businesses have leveraged their software to manage their suppliers more proactively:

  • Whenever they are out of stock, the system will automatically trigger an email to the supplier, and can even send reminders if the shipment if not received by a certain date.
  • Another solution is to set up a DIFOT (Delivery-In-Full-On-Time) report that ranks suppliers according to their performance. The right system should not only automate the generation of the report for you, but can also send a notification to your suppliers to keep them motivated to deliver the best service to you.

These are a few examples of set-it-and-forget-it tasks that can encourage improvements in the level of service you get from your suppliers, while also saving time for your staff. And of course, while this particular example relates to supplier relationships, this is far from the only application for such automation.

  1. Keep your customers engaged with regular communication at minimal effort

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries, but on occasion, a task will fall through the cracks, an opportunity will be missed, and your customer service record may be compromised as a result. In a situation where you depend heavily on referrals and return business, this can be a serious problem.

This is where I’ve seen businesses that use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes;
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months; and
  • Prompt repeat business by triggering personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits.

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, you could be saving time and effort for your staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with your customers and driving increased sales!

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

HARMONiQ is a unique platform that gives you:

  • Integration between various aspects of your business by incorporating accounting, inventory management, sales orders and customer relationship management modules into one easy-to-use solution;
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing you to forecast your outcomes and make more informed decisions;
  • Visibility over inventory and supplier performance, and allows you to automate tasks such as generating alerts for out-of-stock items or late deliveries; and
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise your business processes. As a truly customisable and scalable software, you can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in your business, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

Wholesale & Distribution KPIs you need to start tracking right now

As a distribution or wholesale company, there are probably a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you’re keeping a close eye on. With so many moving parts, you can’t really afford not to. But the best-of-breed companies always seems to do things a little differently, and that includes the wholesale and distribution KPIs they track.

If your goals are to increase revenue, grow customer loyalty, and increase retention of valuable customers, then you should probably be thinking about two very specific distribution KPIs. And I’m fairly certain you aren’t already measuring yourself against these two.

Here’s what you should be tracking…

Must-track Wholesale & Distribution KPIs 1:

Lost Sales

wholesale and distribution KPIs: image 1

By measuring lost sales as one of your wholesale and distribution KPIs, you can start to devise a strategy for clawing back potentially lost revenue.

I don’t know a single business that doesn’t track the number and value of sales they’ve made every day, week, month, quarter, and year. But are you tracking the sales you could have made, but lost?

Sure analysing Lost Sales can stress out your sales reps – but if they’re leaving money on the table, wouldn’t you want to know why? By diving deep in to your Lost Sales data, you could uncover a few kinks in your sales process that could be worth fixing.

  • Are quotes not being followed up?
  • Is a certain sales rep losing out on more sales than the others?
  • Is a particular region or office performing badly?

In one instance, I met a prospect who was losing out on up to $24 million annually in quotes that were never followed up. I had to examine a lot of data to get to that figure eventually. But if he’d been tracking it all along, I can guarantee you it would have been fixed a lot sooner. It might be a rude awakening, but by measuring your lost sales, and the reasons for losing them, you might be able to claw back a lot of revenue you might otherwise lose by implementing some process changes and establishing accountability.

Must-track Wholesale & Distribution KPIs 2:

Measuring activity per key account, sales rep, or region to improve customer centricity

wholesale and distribution KPIs: image 2

Give your sales reps measurable goals for customer interaction that they can work towards. Start measuring activity types to establish an idea of what good looks like for your business.

The importance of being customer centric is continuing to grow, and more industries are seeing the value in updating their business processes and culture to put the customer at the core of their business – especially in their sales process. The journey towards customer-centricity takes time, and can be quite vague unless you establish measurable goals and expectations your staff can work towards. So how do you do it?

One way is to measure the activity, and types of activity, taking place between your sales reps and their prospects and customers. For example:

  • What proportion of their time is being spent on calls, face-to-face meetings, or emails?
  • Are they spending too much time on a particular account, and neglecting others?
  • Are there key accounts that aren’t seeing any interaction at all?

By having visibility over types of activities, you can potentially deduce a pattern for what seems to work for clients, and what doesn’t. By setting an expectation of ‘what good customer service looks like’, your sales reps will be motivated to meet, and exceed, those expectations when dealing with prospects and clients.

Easier said than done

Measuring specific wholesale & distribution KPIs are great – as long as you have the infrastructure to actually measure them.

Some of the best KPI tracking I’ve seen have not been by large, global firms. Instead, I’m proud to say that the best examples of KPI tracking (the kind that actually leads to results) I’ve seen are actually from a few of our customers using HARMONIQ Business Tuning System – and this could be you, too.

HARMONiQ is powerful platform that includes accounting, operations, inventory, and Customer Relationship management (CRM).

Specifically around KPI tracking:

  • HARMONiQ’s advanced reporting functionality allows you to track lost revenue easily and efficiently with their ‘Lost Sales Analysis’ report. HARMONiQ’s customisable workflows and automation also makes it easy to combat lost sales by implementing an automated follow-up process for quotes.
  • With integrations with Outlook and other third party applications, HARMONiQ can easily track and compile all interactions and activities and assign it automatically to the correct account, sales rep and branch – giving you visibility over your team, and also an easy way to measure your progress towards customer centricity.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM’s advanced functionality to improve revenue generation and grow, let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Three of the best inventory management techniques every SME should be using

If you’re in the manufacturing, warehousing, retail or distribution industries, you understand the challenges of staying up to date with the best inventory management techniques.

Working with similar companies across Australia and New Zealand, whenever we discuss inventory, it’s always bout how much everybody just hates keeping track of stock. And due to this disdain, business owners struggle with stock losses, wastages, and dead stock – all eating away at their bottom line.

Considering the amount of investment tied up in inventory, as well as its revenue potential, there are plenty of reasons to start treating your stock with more respect. Especially considering that stock-taking and inventory management don’t have to be painful. Ever wondered how the best-of-breed businesses do it?

Here are three of the best inventory management techniques to improve how you deal with your stock.

 

1.    Start treating your stock like cash

Start treating your stock like cash

You wouldn’t tolerate mismanagement of cash – so why tolerate mismanagement of stock? Start treating your stock like cash!

Most businesses don’t treat their stock with the same importance of cash. Mismanagement of cash wouldn’t be tolerated in most businesses – so why do so many businesses continue to mismanage stock?

When staff have little respect for stock, it gets neglected – stocktakes are inaccurate, products aren’t replenished, and there’s little accountability. And many businesses just don’t have the processes in place to easily track, monitor, and understand stock movements within the company. But that’s not an excuse when it directly impacts your bottom line.

If you want to minimise risk, losses, and wastage – you have to start treating stock like cash. That includes crunching the numbers in order to understand:

  • How much stock you’ve got coming in;
  • When you can expect that stock;
  • How quickly you will move the stock;
  • When you’ll need to re-order;
  • From whom you re-order to get the best price; and
  • How much you need to order to get the best price.

Getting some process and rigor in place around understanding your stock, allows you to plan better for the future, avoid making unnecessary orders, and make smart decisions based on actual data.

2.    Improving your DIFOT performance with automation

One of the reasons staff hate dealing with stock so much is because it’s just so tediously manual. And it’s not surprising why staff dislike stocktakes, placing replenishment orders, and following up late deliveries – there’s not much to love. But it still needs to get done if you want to meet your DIFOT objectives.

So how do you kill two birds with one stone? Automate!

With automation, not only do you save your staff from manual, error-prone tasks they hate doing – you’re also very likely to improve your DIFOT ratings through sheer efficiency. And that helps you stay ahead of competitors who are late to the automation party.

With the right inventory management system, you could automate a range of stock-related tasks. For example, with automated workflows and reports you can set your system up to:

  • Detect which stock items are nearing depletion, and notify your staff;
  • Create an auto-replenishment request to your chosen suppliers for items low in stock;
  • Identify and notify suppliers when they have not delivered on time or in full.

Here’s an example of how we detect items low in stock using HARMONiQ.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishments.

Here’s a report generated by HARMONiQ that highlights exactly which items are low in stock. Allowing you prioritise replenishment orders.

 

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

HARMONiQ can even suggest replenishment orders for a particular supplier based on the min, max and reorder quantities on each stock item – all based on previous sales history.

 

3.    More functionality to better support your staff and customers

Accurate inventory figures makes for better-informed and more confident sales staff

Empower your staff with visibility over accurate stock information – allowing them to confidently make sales and avoid disappointing customers.

There are few things more tiresome than inaccurate stock data – this kind of misinformation results in frustrated staff, and even more frustrated customers.

So how do you,

  1. Make sure your inventory data is up-to-date and accurate?
  2. Give your staff access to it?

Firstly, you need to make sure you have an inventory system that’s capable of integrating with your POS (Point of Sale) system – so any time an order is placed, your inventory system is automatically updated, with no lag times due to data entry.

Secondly, choose an inventory system that gives all staff visibility over all inventory data, whether they’re back in operations, or customer-facing at retail stores. This arms them with the knowledge to make sales confidently, and accurately predict delivery times for out-of-stock items. By shaping your customers’ expectations accurately – you’ll be minimising the chance of disappointing them, and driving them to competitors.

So if your systems are currently not supporting you with accurate, automated and insightful inventory management, consider HARMONiQ.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning System is an all-in-one platform with advanced inventory management functionality. Including:

  • Advanced reporting to give you insights into inventory movement and performance. Create reports to show you exactly how stock is behaving, who your big buyers are, and who hasn’t ordered in a while. Make better decisions by being better informed about your inventory.
  • Customisable workflows to automate everything from stock replenishment to late delivery notifications to suppliers, allowing you to get rid of manual processes, and improve against your DIFOT objectives.
  • All-in-one platform with seamless integration to POS systems to provide all staff with visibility of accurate stock figures to better serve customers.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional inventory and stock management. As a truly customisable and scalable software, HARMONiQ ensures that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you’re looking for a system that supports improved inventory management techniques, let me give you an introduction to HARMONiQ in a quick, personal demo.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at drew@micronet.com.au.

 

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Beyond the software implementation process: 3 ways to add ongoing value to your client’s business

So you’ve completed a business management software implementation process for a client. Job done? Far from it, I’m afraid.

Selling and implementing the software is only half the battle. Now’s the time to be thinking about how you can leverage that software to become an indispensable adviser for your client.

Here are 3 ways to make sure the software platform you implement is the gift that keeps on giving – and that you get all the credit.

  1. Be proactive about change management and minimising client downtime
A good software implementation process should include change management to avoid downtime

Factor in change management for all your implementation projects – because if there’s one thing we want to avoid, it is frustrated employees who reject the software altogether.

One of key causes of new technologies failing is because the importance of change management is not sufficiently prioritised – or in some cases, completely overlooked to minimise spend. While this may save dollars in the short term, it’s likely to result in far more expensive issues down the line.

As a result, a software implementation process must include managing the change of migrating to this new system and updating existing processes accordingly. If people haven’t bought into the use of the new platform, it will create some resistance, and in some cases, rejection altogether. Not only will that tension impact your client’s staff morale and productivity, but it can also spell disaster for you – by blowing out timelines, increasing downtime, and damaging your clients’ perceptions of the value of the platform and your services. After all, how can they appreciate software that no one uses?

Almost every company has an implementation horror story. But by being mindful about people, processes, and the need for proactive change management, they’ll be singing your praises instead.

  1. Be useful by identifying the highest value areas for quick improvements using automation
Get some quick productivity and efficiency wins under your belt by automating tedious manual processes.

Get some quick productivity and efficiency wins under your belt by automating tedious manual processes.

Once you’ve got the software in place, it only makes sense to start delivering some tangible efficiency benefits straight away. While there’s always a learning and adoption curve, you’ll still be able to identify some high-value areas for quick improvements.

My tip? Look for tedious manual processes that have the potential to be automated.

Some examples from our HARMONiQ Partners include:

  • Automating the quote follow-up process, to save time for the Sales team, and make sure no customer enquiry goes unnoticed.
  • Implementing auto-replenishment rules to ensure the right person is notified when stock is low and in need of replenishment.
  • Identifying and notifying debtors using an automated follow-up notification, to take yet another manual task off the Finance team’s to-do list.

A few quick wins can do wonders for software adoption and retention, and clients are a lot more likely to refer you to their friends of colleagues.


Further below, I’ve listed all the different ways HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software augments our partners’ value proposition to their clients. Scroll down to read or download our Channel Partner Overview.


 

  1. Be informed by familiarising yourself with the right data
Use the reporting dashboard to back up your expert recommendations

Work with the software to identify key opportunities for improvement, or critical risks.

With a new business management software in place, now’s the perfect time to reshape your client’s perception of you from software implementer to trusted adviser.

The right business management software provides you with a framework for making the most of all the data you have at your disposal. The reporting dashboard should give you a variety of business critical information that you can use to shape your expert recommendations to clients.

And if it’s a customisable platform, you should be able to adapt it to suit your client’s priorities, whether they value stock, customer, sales performance – or all three!

So to summarise, simply completing the software implementation process doesn’t mean you’re at the finish line. It’s actually the crucial time to:

  • Ensure you include change management as part of your implementation plan, and continue to factor that in well after implementation is complete.
  • Identify manual processes that can be automated for quick efficiency improvements.
  • Leverage reporting capability and data you now have at your disposal to power-up your recommendations and advice.

Becoming a trusted adviser for a client is no easy feat, and starting with the right software platform can make things a whole lot easier. As a HARMONiQ Partner, not only will you be implementing a powerful, customisable, and fresh business tuning platform for clients, you’ll also be armed with our in-depth partner training, best practice implementation framework, and sales & marketing resources.

How HARMONiQ helps you establish yourself as a trusted adviser

  1. We’ve already done the hard work for you by creating a solid software implementation framework – complete with change management.

At HARMONiQ, we equip our partners with a eight step implementation framework that builds in aspects of change management all the way through. This ensures that your client always has the right people involved at appropriate times, gets varied input and participation throughout – while keeping your project scope well in check.
By having a replicable process based on best practice, we find that partners who use our framework finish implementation projects with time and budget left over to spend on additional end-user training or on-boarding sessions.

  1. HARMONiQ is a powerful software with customisable workflows and automation tools – enabling you to get some quick efficiency wins.
  1. In-depth reporting functionality giving you quick access to business critical insights to dazzle your clients.

HARMONiQ Partners often use our inquiry style reporting capabilities to really drill down the data provide insights for their clients such as:

  • Which inventory items are moving quickly, and which items are not moving at all?
  • Which customer accounts haven’t ordered in a while, are you at risk of losing them to a competitor?
  • Is your sales team tracking against their KPIs, and if not, who needs an extra push?

They find that having access to ad-hoc reporting tools like this really support their recommendations to clients with data and hard numbers – and enables them to start playing a key role in shaping the future of their business. HARMONiQ Partners are also encouraged to book in ongoing review meetings to make continuous improvements iteratively. By adding these meetings into your client engagement process, you are motivated to look for more ways to showcase your deep knowledge of their business, and leverage your expertise to help your client achieve their revenue objectives for years to come.

Partner Information Pack Download

If you want to know more about the benefits of the HARMONiQ Channel Partner Program, download our Partner Information Pack for more details on the how, what and why of becoming a HARMONiQ Channel Partner.

Want to see what HARMONiQ can help you achieve for your clients? Book in a live demo.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, request a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

1

But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have gotten where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

2

With a Micronet system already in place, it’s clear that you’re already thinking about business process automation – but it’s never enough to just rest on your laurels. Are you doing enough to stay ahead of the competition?

I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

3

So how do you do it?

Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow-ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation. HARMONiQ even integrates with your Micronet Distribution System, so it could make your existing platform more user-friendly and powerful.

Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff knows what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicates best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to really revolutionise the way you do things. With HARMONiQ you can:

  • Empower your staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

 4

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

1

But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have got where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

2

I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

  1. Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

3

So how do you do it? Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation.

  1. Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff know what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicate best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to:

  • Empower your staff with staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

4

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.