Digital technology is good for small & midsize business

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


A new report by Salesforce and Deloitte, finds that small businesses that embrace digital technology benefit by increasing both customers and revenue.

The report (SMBs in the digital race for the customer) commissioned by US cloud computing company Salesforce and undertaken by Deloitte, is based on a survey of over 500 New Zealand and Australian businesses and found that small-to-medium-sized businesses that embrace digital technologies such as mobile platforms, social media and cloud computing (no surprise there).

Here are some of the key findings:

How investment in digital services helps SMBs win customers and generate revenue

  • Each 1% increase in spending on online services leads to a 2.9% increase in annual revenue growth (an average AU$100,000 a year among businesses surveyed)
  • Adding two extra communications channels provides a 4.8% boost to annual revenue growth (average of almost $160,000 a year)
  • Every 10% increase in customer relationship management software usage leads to a 1% increase in annual revenue growth (average of $30,000 a year)
  • SMBs which use social media in a wider variety of ways – for advertising, for customer service, for targeted offers – generate increased revenue of more than $30,000 a year

Trends in investment

  • SMBs are responding to an increasingly digital marketplace by investing in IT. In the last year, the average SMB in Australia and New Zealand spent 6% of their average total revenue – $144,000 of $2.5 million – on IT
  • SMBs plan on increasing spending across all three categories of IT – hardware, software and online services – but their spending is growing at very different rates. SMBs’ hardware spend is set to rise by 30%, software by 34%, and online services by only 14%
  • Australian and New Zealand SMBs are embracing hardware spending over online services to a much greater extent than larger players in international markets – for example, planned growth in online services spending falls well below global business projections of a 19% annual increase
  • This could be a missed opportunity for SMBs. This report finds that, after controlling for business size and industry, each additional 1% increase in online services spending leads to a 2.6% increase in the proportion of sales conducted via digital channels, and a 2.2% increase in digital lead generation. SMBs with higher spending on online services also report a lower cost of obtaining new customers

Why digital is key to customer loyalty and retention

  • The Salesforce and Deloitte report found half of respondents rated retaining existing customers as the number one factor for business success, yet only 15% of small businesses have the ability to personalise the online experiences of customers
  • Small businesses are facing a more discerning and critical customer than ever. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. Given it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a negative one, small businesses have a challenge on their hands
  • Almost half (48%) of SMBs with no digital tools or transactions do not know what proportion of their sales are to new or existing customers. Not surprisingly, the lack of even the most basic data about their business and customers are associated with a longer than average response time to customer enquiries and complaints

Becoming a digital business is worth the change

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


Digital Transformation might sound like an overused buzzword.

But embracing digital tools in the right way can help your business achieve real results.

The truth is, for a lot of organizations, the digital transformation has already taken place but that doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the rewards of implementing digital technologies and innovations in your business.

Let’s look a bit closeer at five of the benefits you can realize by embracing digital technology…

Improve the customer experience

A good customer experience starts with your internal team. The more efficient your internal processes are, the easier it will be to deliver an excellent standard of customer care. A recent study carried out on behalf of Accenture found that 63 percent of the organisations surveyed planned to improve their online customer experience this year.

The average customer will interact with your organisation through more than one channel. Ensuring you deliver a consistent service across every channel can be challenging, but it’s something a digital transformation, driven by the customer, can help you achieve.

Streamline operations

Adopting digital technologies can help you increase the automation, usability and level of collaboration in your processes. Project resource management software is one example of a digital tool that allows you to streamline your operations by seeing the impact of a new workload on your existing projects and resources in real time. You then know exactly what extra resources you require, when and at what cost. The result is improved decision making and streamlined projects that are delivered on time and within budget.

Increase sales

According to a global study conducted by the MIT Center for Digital Business, ‘digitally mature’ firms outperformed their industry competitors on multiple financial metrics. Not only do they generate 9 percent more revenue from existing assets, but they also outperform their peers by 26 percent in terms of profitability.

While the amount of sales that are made is clearly important, digital technology also gives firms more information about how those sales are made. This allows business to market to their customers more effectively and make the most of their spend.

Create a forward-thinking culture

In an age of such rapid technological change, businesses that are reluctant to move with the times and embrace new innovations will not be able to survive. By taking the initiative to change big things within the company, you are cultivating an environment and a culture that is open to change. This type of culture, where change, innovation and improvements are encouraged, is the type of forward-thinking culture that will help your business and employees thrive.

Boost employee productivity

Implementing the right digital tools can help to streamline entire business processes and empower your workforce. Digital tools can improve the flow of data and ease collaboration across departments and locations. The result is a reduction in the number of delays, mistakes and tasks that fall through the cracks. Employees will be able to use their time more effectively, resolve problems more quickly and ultimately boost their productivity.

Why have your competitors embraced digital marketing?

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


It is important for businesses to realize that integrated digital marketing is not just a fad, but rather, an evolution in marketing.

Sure, one-off ad campaigns still exist, but they are no longer the cornerstone of ROI that they once were, back in the days of Don Draper when newspaper and radio slots were all the rage.

To succeed in today’s techonomy, businesses need to adopt sophisticated marketing strategies (via @SynecoreTech). But where does your company even start? Digital marketing can be overwhelming, and it’s changing every single day. But it’s also important to realize that if you don’t change, you’ll be left in the dust and your competitors will have the upper hand. In this post, we start to explore some of the benefits of digital marketing

THE BENEFITS OF DIGITAL MARKETING

What will digital marketing actually do for your business? CJG Digital Marketing put together these 10 Benefits of Digital Marketing for companies that are just getting started in the digital world:

  1. Digital Marketing Connects You with Consumers on the Internet
  2. Digital Marketing Generates Higher Conversion Rates
  3. Digital Marketing Saves You Money
  4. Digital Marketing Enables Real-Time Customer Service
  5. Digital Marketing Connects You with the Mobile Consumer
  6. Digital Marketing Helps Generate Higher Revenues
  7. Digital Marketing Delivers Higher ROI from Your Campaigns
  8. Digital Marketing Keeps You at Par with Competitors
  9. Digital Marketing Can Help You Compete with Large Corporations
  10. Digital Marketing Prepares You for the Internet of Things (IofT)

As much as 72% of consumers are already connecting with brands through their various digital marketing channels and activities according to reports from Mashable. Most businesses are adapting digital marketing strategies – and those that don’t will likely be forced to in the short term or will be forced out of the space by their competitors.

Digital marketing budgets are increasing:

It’s no secret that companies are spending more and more on digital marketing activities every year. But why? These digital channels prove to be an important way to connect with consumers, and consumers are demanding that companies meet them where they are: email, Web, and social for starters.

Marketers are investing in the customer experience to drive business advantage and profitable revenue growth, according to a survey of marketing executives by Gartner, Inc. The survey found that marketing budgets remained healthy in 2014, with, on average, companies spending 10.2 percent of their annual 2014 revenue on overall marketing activities, with 50 percent of companies planning an increase in 2015. Digital marketing spending averaged one-quarter of the marketing budget in 2014. The survey found that of the 51 percent of companies who plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2015, the average increase will be 17 percent. (via @Gartner_Inc)

Are you just getting started?

When something works well in the world of big business, it’s usually just a matter of time before smaller companies start adopting the same strategy or some scaled-down version of it. With digital marketing, that process is already well underway.

In a recent survey by Inc. Magazine, the publication asked participants “Which of the following tools/solutions does your firm currently use in its digital marketing strategy? Which are found to be the most effective?”
 

Tech savvy small & midsized businesses outperform their peers

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


Boost your business by adopting cloud technology

Did you know that moving to the cloud can help your business be more successful?

A recently released Boston Consulting Group1 study on the economic impact of technology on small business discovered dramatic differences between tech-savvy small and midsize businesses that were using the cloud and other technologies, as compared to those who were not.

The tech-savvy businesses grew revenue 15 percentage points faster and grew jobs nearly 2x faster than those that were not using much technology. Cloud technology gives your business unprecedented flexibility to pay as you go, add and subtract users, and offers accessibility for mobile users.

Jump out ahead of the competition

According to the same study, nearly 2 out of 3 tech-savvy small and midsize business owners say that new technologies will lead to higher revenues and profits or more jobs at their company. The business advantages don’t end there. These businesses use technology to reach new markets and customers: they are 6x more likely than their less tech-inclined counterparts to have international customers.

Think about your business goal. Is it faster time-to-market? Outstanding online presence? 24/7 access for customers, staff, and partners? Superior customer service? Opening new markets? All of the above? Agile, right-sized technology can help.

Leadership in the Digital Economy

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


The new digital economy brings with it pressures for organizations to be agile in their marketing.

The outcome is a new breed of CMOs labeled entrepreneurial CMO – marketing executives known for their speed, agility, technical savvy and the ability to scale on a tight budget. This breed of leaders sees trends emerging from around the corner and leverages them to engage customers in new, innovative, powerful and disruptive ways.

[source: http://www.enterpriseinnovation.net] As social technologies evolve, customer engagement takes on ever-greater importance. CMOs who behave like fast-moving entrepreneurs—combining scientific precision with artistic passion, marshaling financial and technological resources from diverse places, leading global teams, and exploiting new technologies to drive growth—will win.

As Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for global software giant, SAP, Maggie Chan-Jones cherishes the challenges that digital to her team, the company, and its customers and partners. She speaks about how technology is helping steer the direction of marketing towards more engaging conversations that are borderless and across multiple platforms.

Maggie Chan-Jones: Companies that have dominated traditional channels are disrupted daily by customers who don’t think nor care about channels, who enter and exit on their own terms, and who journey through digital discovery, awareness, comparison, and purchase with little regard for tradition. Across verticals and across the globe, omni-channel customer engagement and commerce is a fundamental tenet of how business must be done today.

CMO Innovation: In the digital era, how do you form a genuine relationship with existing and prospective customers? What is the role of the CMO in this new imperative?

Maggie Chan-Jones: Marketing is changing. We have to engage, lead and ultimately champion the conversation with customers while delivering business results. It starts with the brand, but doesn’t stop there. A CMO must be both a business leader in marketing and a marketing leader for the business. The CMO’s imperative is to streamline and oversee complex data and product innovation platforms to truly understand (and predict) employee behavior, consumer behavior and generally understand your core audiences. CMOs must think like an IT leader and build customer loyalty by leveraging cloud-based analytics technologies to gain deeper insights, improve CRM experiences, better connect with stakeholders and ultimately generate more revenue.