How to Boost Profits By Utilising Software
Modern tools are making small businesses more profitable. Read this guide and learn how to avail of the latest tech to streamline your admin
Business software has come a long way since the early days of project management programs in the late 1980s. In its infancy stages, this software – then little more than a collection of spreadsheets – was so revolutionary that it retailed at several thousand pounds. Now, software is a fraction of the price and can provide functionality that keeps track of figures and can complete tasks remotely, improve process efficiency and even boost profits.
If you were to ask most businesses how they would go about widening profit margins, the chances are that one of the first suggestions would be to cut departmental or staff funding. This idea of cutting from the bottom and putting a freeze on spending is a traditional approach to increasing net business profit, following the logical thought process that profits will rise as expenditure dips.
However, this has consequences for the overall activity of a company. If one of those cuts is to the marketing department, for example, business owners may find that their rate of growth falls significantly due to a drop off of brand visibility. Alternatively, reductions to the budget of a human resources (HR) team may lead to lower staff satisfaction or increased vulnerability to dismissal liabilities – which will directly raise business costs. Before you know it, these overhead cuts have undermined the development of a company while leaving profit margins untouched.
Fortunately, the days of sacrificing budgets to stimulate profit are over. The development of business software has meant that it is now possible for organisations to maximise profit margins by using business automation software to streamline processes, improving company-wide efficiency and reducing overheads. While this may initially sound improbable, it makes perfect sense in the end.
How does software help?
The best way for companies to maximise turnover is to look at their employee’s working habits. A survey conducted by Harris Poll in 2014 found that over 50% of US office workers’ time is wasted on tasks other than their primary job function. However, this time isn’t being spent reading gossip websites or watching cat videos on social media, it is dedicated to completing administrative tasks.
This startling figure means that, based on an average office worker salary in the United States being $30,000 (roughly £20,500), more than $15,000 (£10,000) per employee is spent solely on admin.
Companies seeking to prevent the financial black hole created by administrative tasks can find a solution in business automation software. Instead of staff spending hours sifting through inboxes for important emails, programs such as Parker Software’s ThinkAutomation can organise inboxes to highlight anything that requires attention and send notifications so action can be taken.
Of course, the possibilities of automation software far exceed simply browsing e-mails and giving notifications. The real cost savings come from a chain of interlinked processes that can all be completed automatically alongside employee work, such as updating internal databases after sales calls and automatically generating reports, which means that the need to manually enter data is minimised. As a result, employees can focus more on the tasks that generate revenue.
Can software directly influence profit?
While addressing administrative tasks helps businesses to streamline procedures and improve potential for profit, business software can actually guide customers through every stage of the sales funnel to directly impact turnover.
When a customer lands on a website and begins browsing products and/or services, they enter tier one of the sales funnel. This makes them a sales lead that could potentially become a customer. To ease this process along, these visitors can be identified using reverse IP lookup software that can track site browsing in real time.
The key here is to set up software that produces a visit history for each IP address and indicates returning visitors, which are often those most likely to convert. This moves a potential customer into tier two, which is make up of prospective customers who show a clear interest by adding items to a cart or downloading service brochures, and software can help reach out to these visitors. Whether this is by email to remind them that they left items in their cart, or through a live chat window that connects them to a sales representative, this opens a channel of communication and starts to build relationships.
With the right balance of attention, you can manoeuvre prospects into tier three – being a customer. From this point, it becomes a matter of ensuring that they receive the support they need. Automation makes this simple by identifying when someone visits a customer service page, cross-referencing this with a database and connecting customer service personnel through live chat or even via phone. While earning a loyal customer requires the human touch of the employee, business automation can aid the process.
Without business automation software to identify the most receptive visitors, guiding each customer through the sales funnel would be a case of trial and error and hot leads are often allowed to cool off. With that taken care of, and all of the administrative tasks that come along with a sale automatically dealt with, businesses can boost profits without cutting budgets. That is the magic of modern software – it allows businesses to connect and keep everything, while still making it cheaper overall.
Howard Williams is the marketing director of business engagement specialist Parker Software.