Systems investment to grow your business: How to ensure a return

If you’re serious about growing your business in 2016, no doubt you kicked off the year with a clear plan for growth… But have you considered whether your systems investment is right to support your business’s growth?

Unfortunately, when it comes to implementing software, most SME business owners hold themselves back by heavily focusing on price when choosing which application to go with. In doing so, they not only fail to purchase the right system to execute their plan for growth, but they also fail to see the cost savings a scalable solution can achieve for them.

The lack of a scalable, integrated solution that is capable of supporting growth is often a key impediment and can prevent your business from achieving its potential.

By continuing to make software purchasing decisions based on price during a period of growth, businesses like yours run the risk of:

  • Using a variety of unconnected systems that may cost less individually, but have large cost implications due to the inefficiency of using disparate applications;
  • Conducting specific functions manually or using workarounds, due to the lack of capabilities of your system;
  • Being unable to manage your stock optimally due to poor visibility of stock levels, resulting stock outs or excessive storage costs;
  • Being unable to source information efficiently when it’s required; and
  • Impeding the growth of your business.

Systems investment, not systems cost: Think of your software spend as an investment, not a cost

Take the example of inventory management:

In many cases, avoidable costs around the management of complex inventory can often run into the tens of thousands. However, many businesses accept this as part of the status quo.

That said, when it comes to a systems investment with the potential to help the business eliminate some of these costs, that’s when decision makers seem to become price sensitive, making tight-fisted decisions that end up costing them more in the long run.

In such situations, I find it more accurate to think of the cost of implementation as an investment towards the growth of your business, and a good measure against quietly bleeding money in the background.

So, what does a good systems investment look like?

Ensure your systems investment provides you with a return on your investment and make sure your system is:

  • Integrated – Automatically transferring data between systems, saving you time and reducing the risk of human error;
  • Enable efficiencies – Eliminating the need for manual consolidation of data from different systems;
  • Automated – Automatically tracking orders and stock allowing you to optimise your stock control and order delivery;
  • Scalable – Able to grow as your business grows; and
  • Customisable – Able to be tailored to suit your specific needs.

Recognising this need in the market, we set out to develop a solution that met all these criteria – one that business owners could invest in with the clear expectation of ROI.

Finding the right solution to help you grow

As a result, HARMONiQ is both a scalable and integrated solution, incorporating Financials, Commercials, Business Intelligence (BI) Dashboards and CRM / Marketing modules within a single system. In addition, it’s unique in that it can be truly personalised to match the way you want your business to operate and your people to work together.

Specifically, HARMONiQ’s inventory and order management capabilities extend to:

  • Multi-warehouse management;
  • Tracking every purchase order;
  • Developing discount metrics;
  • Identifying trends in purchasing; and
  • Conducting regional analysis.

So, if you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging scalable, integrated systems to achieve significant efficiency improvements and cost reductions in your business, 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 see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

3 ways CRM software can help you improve customer retention and grow your revenue

Chances are, it’s that time of the year for you: you’ve reviewed your performance in 2015, given yourself a kick in the shins, or a pat on the back, are now looking over the horizon into 2016… what can you do (even) better this year?

There’s always one goal at the top of everyone’s list: acquire new customers.

But here’s a non-conformist thought: Is there perhaps a better use for some of your marketing and sales horsepower?

During my time advising small and medium businesses around Australia and NZ, I’ve noticed a common mistake – and it seems to happen in nearly every industry. I call it the New Business Trap.

The New Business Trap occurs when a business continues to doggedly pursue new customers while failing to nurture and grow business with existing ones.

Why is that such a bad idea?

It’s almost universally agreed upon that the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than the cost of retaining / growing an existing one. So why expend so many resources on such expensive marketing and sales efforts, when you could be tapping into a very warm list of leads – your own customers!

I’m not advocating you forego marketing to prospects all together, but here are a few key tips on how you can easily and efficiently use technology to help you actively create opportunities with your existing customers, rather than just waiting for them to materialise again.

  1. Effective customer relationship management to prevent losing your customers to competitors by staying top of mind

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is typically a software platform that allows you to efficiently manage your relationship with your customers. And just like your inventory system or distribution system helps you make decisions about stock, a CRM ensures you make informed decisions about your customers and prospects – by capturing all their information, communications, and purchasing data in one place.

HARMONiQ software from Micronet actually integrates with your existing Micronet Systems to give you an overall view of what your customers are doing – from orders, to financials, to their interactions with their marketing. So while many businesses see CRMs as a ‘nice-to-have’, in today’s world where competition is around every corner, it’s more important that ever to protect your customer based from being poached by the competition. After all, just because you’re not talking to your customers regularly, doesn’t mean that your competitors aren’t.

A CRM is a valuable tool that makes staying in touch with your customer base extremely simple. Since you have all the information you need, in one place, it’s easier than ever to send relevant and targeted messages to your customers.

  1. Using information you already have to grow your sales opportunities

If you’re lucky enough to have a CRM that integrates with your distribution and inventory systems, then you’ll have a whole-picture view of your customer behaviour. By using the information you already have about your customers’ purchasing habits, you can tailor your marketing material to be extremely specific, and stay on the front foot when it comes to generating opportunities. So rather than waiting for your customer to come to you – go to them!

With HARMONiQ, you can create trigger campaigns to automatically send pre-written emails to customers reminding them to re-order stock they may be running out of. Upgrades or cross-sells can also help create more opportunities for you, by helping you sell complimentary products to buyers of another product. These are just a few of the ways you can make use of HARMONiQ’s sophisticated workflow functionality to grow your revenue without acquiring new customers.

  1. Giving your customers the best possible experience of your brand

With so many sales reps and points of contact for your customers, it’s often difficult to ensure that they have a positive experience of your brand and company values.

By implementing an all-in-one business management system – or, at least, one that integrates all your existing systems – you’ll be simplifying many processes for your staff, and that efficiency is passed on to your customers in the form of quick responses and accurate dealings.

The right software system can also ensure you maintain a consistent and polished brand presence to your clients. For example, HARMONiQ has an inbuilt integration with Campaign Monitor, a leading Australian email marketing platform. This allows you to create beautiful, custom-branded email templates that your sales and marketing staff can easily re-use and edit whenever they need to.

With consistency in both visuals and frequency of communication, you’ll ensure your brand values are constantly reinforced with your existing customers, allowing you to stay on top mind when they need to purchase again.

If you’d like to know more about how you can better use technology to interact and sell to your existing customers, let me know. There’s a lot that HARMONiQ is capable of, and I’d love to be able to show you what you can achieve by integrating HARMONiQ with your existing Micronet systems.  You can also call me on +61 2 9542 2000 or email me on drew@micronet.com.au if you’d like to get in touch.

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.