There are a number of different operations and processes involved in the management of a company. As your business grows, overseeing each of those processes manually becomes highly time-consuming and inefficient. Therefore, acquiring the essential tools to help you streamline operations, increase productivity and improve communication becomes the obvious next step. Here are 8 business management tools that every growth-seeking company should use.
1. Customer Relationship Management Software
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a core tool for businesses that regularly deal with a number of clients, each at a different stage of their relationship. This tool essentially provides you with a centralised platform to process, manage and analyse all of your customer data, including sales, satisfaction rates, loyalty, effectiveness of marketing campaigns and other interactions. It gives you a valuable insight into the needs and preferences of individual customers, helping you improve and personalise your communication with them.
Additionally, CRM systems allow you to assign stages of customer interest (e.g. lead, opportunity, clarifying needs, lost, etc.) as well as the relevant sales teams that will be collaborating in that particular project. Most advanced software will also let you automate repetitive and time-consuming CRM processes. All in all, it is created to help you build and maintain strong, long-lasting relationships with customers.
2. Project Management Tools
When projects get larger and more complex, it becomes increasingly more difficult to manage them efficiently. A variety of project management tools and software exist in order to help businesses better organise their activities, ensuring that all project-related tasks are completed on time, within budget - from start to finish.
Such tools help you break each project down into a more structured plan with clear tasks, creating a realistic roadmap for how it will be achieved. This includes managing and organising resources, schedules and budgets, assigning tasks to each team member, tracking deadlines, monitoring progress and meeting overall goals and objectives. By leveraging these tools, companies not only improve the collaboration among team members and increase their efficiency but also have a clearer understanding on the progress of the projects as well as any potential risks or issues that may arise.
3. Human Resources Management System
HRM (Human Resources Management) systems aim to support businesses in administering, managing and engaging their staff. There are a number of processes involved in HRM, including onboarding new team members, processing and storing personal data, tracking work time and attendance, administrating sick or holiday pay, allocating bonuses and so on..
A single HRM system can help you streamline and automate the majority of these processes, overall improving efficiency and productivity as well as making better-informed decisions regarding your workforce. For example, automating the tasks related to employee onboarding will allow your HR teams to focus on more strategic tasks, such as analysing staff performance and planning the workforce accordingly.
Furthermore, using a centralised database for all employee information will not only help quickly access relevant data, gaining valuable insights and finding the best methods to further engage your staff but also help ensure compliance with labour laws and regulations.
4. Accounting and Invoicing software
Accounting is one of the business areas that can greatly benefit from process automation. Such time-consuming tasks as invoicing, bill payment, bank reconciliation, generating reports, etc. can easily be automated with accounting and invoicing software. By doing so, you don’t just reduce the risk of manual errors and ERP security breaches but also save your accounting team lots of time spent on these repetitive tasks.
Using a centralised software will provide you with real-time access to all of your financial data, tracking your performance against budgets and long-term goals. It also improves the overall efficiency of your accounting management processes, as you are able to track your cash flow more effectively, improve collaboration between the finance and other departments, and better monitor your compliance with tax authorities.
5. Time and Task Management Programs
A user-friendly time and task management tool is perhaps one of the first acquisitions every entrepreneur makes at the early stages of their business. They are here to assist companies and employees in organising their workload, tracking their own time and the progress of their tasks, ensuring that they are able to prioritise them effectively in order to meet deadlines.
Such dedicated tools as Toggl or Trello provide visual representation of project timeline as well as each individual task you are working on, allowing you to manage them more effectively. The ability to generate reports increases organisational transparency too, representing how much time was spent working on particular projects and how productively the teams have collaborated on joint tasks.
6. Marketing Automation Tools
Marketing campaigns involve a number of different activities and customer communication channels - while a lot of it relies on the creativity and strategic thinking of the marketing teams, there are also many repetitive tasks which can be automated. For instance, market research is a highly time-consuming process when completed manually, however, a dedicated marketing software will be capable of collecting relevant consumer data, analysing it against chosen criteria and generating valuable customer insights that can be used for future campaigns.
Moreover, AI-powered marketing automation software will provide you with a number of different tools that will help manage day-to-day marketing activities more efficiently. This includes automating email or SMS campaigns, pre-scheduling social media posts, monitoring PPC campaigns’ effectiveness, handling app notifications and dealing with any customer queries quicker and more effectively.
7. Team Collaboration Tools
Ensuring that your teams have the right tools to collaborate with one another is a key factor for your long-term growth and success. Such activities as sharing documents in real-time, working on tasks together, viewing others’ availability on calendars, scheduling virtual meetings or logging project-related notes for the relevant colleague should all be smooth and frictionless. Team collaboration software provides you with exactly that - it is essentially a single platform that hosts all of your employee communication and interactions.
8. Data Collection and Analysis Software
Data is one of the most important assets a business can own. It provides you with a deeper understanding of your historical performance as well as valuable consumer insights for better-informed future decisions. It is the most structured and realistic way to measure your success and the progress of your long-term goals. Therefore, the way you collect, manage, analyse and report this data is of paramount importance to your overall business success.
Acquiring a professional software that allows you to do this not only safely but in an automated way too will help you use this data to its maximum advantage. This is particularly relevant for businesses that have multiple different data collection points - storing and analysing it within a single dashboard is the most effective way to manage your data as well as stay compliant with security regulations.
Is there an all-in-one solution?
Acquiring 8 individual tools catered to each of these business processes certainly won’t bring you the best value for money. Each will have a subscription fee, which together will add up to substantial outgoings every month. They will also have individual databases which may cause unnecessary friction in your day-to-day business processes, as not all of them will accept integrations with third-party apps.
Therefore, most businesses choose to centralise all of these activities and opt for an all-in-one solution to manage all of their business processes: an integrated ERP system, such as Odoo. This ERP software will cover all of the above business tools as well as give you the possibility of customisation for industry-specific requirements. It is also the best option for companies that are expecting to experience growth in the near future, leaving a lot of room for scalability.
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