Strategies to Drive Your Business Forward - Automate Improve Evolve
Strategies to Drive
Remember when everything you did at the office was manual? You spent
long hours writing formulas, performing calculations, making revisions, and
printing reams and reams of paper. You were determined to find a better
way. You tried spreadsheets. You tried stand-alone business applications to
automate key financial tasks. By implementing an ERP solution, you were
finally able to streamline key processes, maximize productivity, and improve
collaboration and decision making. Does it end there?
Of course not. To be a successful business, you have to be willing and able
to change. You have to anticipate challenges and find new ways to beat
your competition. And, to do that, you need sales and happy customers.
Your business peers agree. A recent survey found that 94%1
increasing sales as their top investment priority.
That begs the question, what are you doing to increase sales? How do you
increase revenue, retain more customers, and make your business more
efficient now—and into the future? Where can you go for help?
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result
of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and
— Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation International
1 Source: Sage Customer Survey 2012
Ready, Aim, Where?
To drive your business forward, you need to find balance between routine tasks and
strategic responsibilities. If you want to enable business growth, you need to set goals
and empower your employees to meet them. But how?
To help your sales team achieve success, you need a process. One that tracks account
history, ensures consistent contact, and measures progress. One that provides the
right information to the right people at the right time. Business software leverages best
practices to help you improve sales, margins, and customer service with tools that help
you evaluate your pipeline. Best of all, by automating key tasks, you have more time for
strategy and more time for selling.
“If you aim at nothing,
you will hit it every time.”
— Zig Ziglar, salesman, author, and
Get the Right Tools for the Job
You need the right tools available to increase sales. A 2013 Aberdeen report2
that better processes lead to better solution selling.
Does your organization have a formal sales process? How do you compare?
2 Sales Performance Optimization 2013: Aligning the Right People, Processes, and Tools, Aberdeen Group, February 2013
85% of best-in-class companies had a formal sales process
77% of average companies
64% of laggards
Build Your Muscle Memory With Automation
If you’ve ever heard athletes talk about building muscle memory, you know that they
spend countless hours practicing particular movements or sequences. The perfect golf
or batting swing. Boxing combinations and blocks. The goal is to be able to repeat the
desired task when needed, even when under extreme pressure.
Business automation is kind of like building muscle memory. It empowers your business to
operate efficiently even in difficult conditions. For example, a 2012 Aberdeen report found
that 52% of best-in-class companies standardize business processes in order to combat
the lack of available skilled resources and increased competition for customers. These
automated, repeatable processes ensure consistent service delivery and quality no matter
what obstacles you are facing.
“Modern organizations are faced with increasing
complexity in the way they operate. It takes a
combination of strategies, operational capabilities,
and enabling technologies in order to define objectives
and strategy, maintain cohesion, and deliver tangible
and repeatable business performance.”
— Nick Castellina, Aberdeen Group
Standardizing and Linking
Processes Through ERP*
Every business seeks to follow best
practices. It is equally important to
standardize those processes across the
organization to ensure alignment with
corporate objectives and make those
processes work independent of people.
How does your company encourage
*Source: Aberdeen Group, September 2012
of best-in-class organizations
procedures for procurement, cash
collection, and financial reconciliation
vs. 67% of all others.
of best-in-class organizations
operations with customer service,
logistics, and delivery organization
vs. 40% of all others.
Results from a Deloitte survey, reported by CFO Magazine, found that 70% of businesses experienced productivity improvements in the
past 3 years—with about half reporting gains of 5% or more. “Respondents attributed the gains largely to improvements in business
processes and technology. Among the technology investments, business process automation tools ranked first in boosting productivity
scores, followed by business intelligence tools.”
To help your organization achieve success, review your current diagnostic, forecasting, and management tools. In many cases, you will find
manual processes still at work. This represents an opportunity for you to:
1. Document and establish formal processes.
2. Automate manual processes with software solutions.
3. Support your back office with tools that provide sales analysis and exception reporting.
4. Establish early warning systems or measure supplier delivery performance.
5. Focus on strategic decision making.
Get There With a Little Help From Your Friends
Implementing your ERP system is just the first step to streamlining critical business processes. But, it’s not enough. As Jeff Bezos, CEO of
Amazon.com, said, “What is dangerous is not to evolve.” It is imperative that your business stays agile to achieve long-term success.
One piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is your business software maintenance and support practices. Access to updates and
improved integration opportunities are critical. Modern maintenance practices are far more than a break-fix relationship centered on
support—instead, they are evolving into strategic partnerships.
More and more, customers with active support plans are taking advantage of key insights from their software provider. Through interacting
with and supporting millions of customers, your software provider develops new solutions based on industry trends and best practices and
is a great resource for ways to improve sales and other processes. An active maintenance and support plan is an invaluable instrument
that keeps your business in tune now and into the future.