Online Tools for Your Business

3 Reasons Online Tools Don’t Work for Your Business

As a business owner, the success of your business relies on the strength of the understanding you have of your target market. If you don’t have a firm grasp on what they want and need, your products and services won’t be their first choice.

So, how do you learn more about your target market? Since conducting countless face-to-face interviews is probably out of the question, most of us turn to online tools like Google Analytics. Google Analytics lets you see data on the audience that visits your website, which allows you to then cater your content, including blog posts and website copy, to them. This tool can be extremely powerful, but the time it takes to explore and compile all the information it offers is hefty—often much more than the average solopreneur can spare.

If you were to analyze all the ever-changing data and then create and execute a plan from it, you wouldn’t have time for much else.

For nearly any task a business owner faces, there’s an app, online tool, or software designed to either make it easier or to handle the majority of the load. One that’s crucial for client-business growth is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Whichever one you use, it’s likely not being fully utilized, and your business is missing out.

Here are three common weak spots in CRM usage, which also apply to any online tool you may have or will try to implement in your business:

Ability

CRMs are used by small businesses to do anything from keeping track of contacts to building marketing campaigns. Infusionsoft is an example of a robust tool with many complex functions, but if you don’t know how to use the utilities offered, it won’t be valuable to your business. The technical, sophisticated mechanisms are great—if you know how to use them. Simply owning the tool won’t help—you need someone with skill and ability to make the tool work for you. For example, if you want to use CRM software to segment your customers for a special marketing campaign, someone has to actually design it and run it within the tool.

Interest

CRMs require a lot of attention and maintenance in order to have any value for your business. Every person on your team with customer contact needs to be committed to using the tool. If even one person fails to keep accounts up to date, the entire information batch is flawed.

Let’s say, for example, your team is using Salesforce to keep up with your client list and build a sales pipeline. Missing client data will skew the reports and potentially endanger the relationship if the entire team is unaware of specific project needs or notes about a sensitive subject. An incomplete CRM won’t help you make any sales—it may even cost you some. You’ll need to get team commitment and buy-in for your CRM tool and incorporate its use into employee job requirements.

Time

Time is something any small business owner could use more of, and implementing a CRM in your business takes up a lot of it. First, you’ll have to dedicate time to setup a new CRM. Once it’s up and going, you will find trouble spots in your data that need attention (usually you notice these at crunch time).

For example, if a bunch of emails are sent by mistake to one of your clients, you’ll need time for damage control with the client as well as tech support to see what went wrong. Was it something you did (or didn’t do) that caused the emails to be sent out or was it a glitch in the system? Just be aware that having a CRM will take time even as it helps your business be more successful in the long run.

The Good News

Fortunately, delegating tasks and outsourcing for these tools is an option. Setting up and running a tool like a CRM can be outsourced to qualified, certified partners of the CRM tool you choose. They have the knowledge and expertise to quickly get your CRM setup and can often run regular reports to make sure everything is in order.

For whatever tools your business decides to integrate into your operations, make sure you have the ability, interest, and time available to make the most of these investments.

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