Starting with a small business provides entrepreneurs a lot of excitement and motivation since there are more business opportunities to take in order to grow a business. With dedication, determination, and hard work, any small business owner can make a business grow especially with the use of the right business tools. If your small business has been slowly growing for the past years and some systems are already impacting your business’ growth potential, then it’s time to use business solutions that will improve systems in your business.
There are now a lot of companies offering dynamic small business solutions. These business tools usually allow businesses to have better insight about the business, improve financial management, and increase sales. When it comes to effective dynamic business solutions for small to medium businesses, some of the most popular tools used today are the CRM and ERP.
What are CRM and ERP?
CRM or Customer Relationship Management and ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning are tools developed to increase business profitability. These business solutions function in similar ways as they both aim to help business increase profits and improve growth potential by improving various business systems.
Some businesses have integrated ERP and CRM systems since some functions of these two tools overlap. However, the core functions of these two systems differ in various ways. Before using these tools for your business, it is important to have a clear understanding of these two tools as a separate system so you can also clearly understand the impact of each tool in your business operations.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM software focuses on the customer-side of your business operation. CRM tools manage customer information and data which are used all across your business operation from managing and sales to accounting. With a quality and effective CRM system, a business should be able to capture and put into data all interactions with a customer and with this data, business can have better insight about customer relationship and devise a plan to build and improve customer relationship.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
This business solution is the system focused on your business operation. It is designed to help business processes to become more efficient and effective. With an effective ERP system, core business functions can be really improved from accounting, inventory, warehousing, and management. It provides real-time updates to various departments of the business so employees and executives can have the latest information about the business. ERP software can also provide business owners a heads up with its forecasting ability which is very vital in solving business problems. With a business forecast, businesses can predict outcomes and make preparations in case a problem is anticipated.
Now that you understand the functions of each business solution, it is now easier to identify their differences. While both systems are designed to increase business profits, their approaches differ in various ways. As mentioned above, ERP focuses on the business process while CRM focuses on the customers. Another great difference is that ERP is designed to make business operations more efficient by reducing capital expenses on business processes like cutting costs. CRM, on the other hand, increases profits by helping the business improve sales volume. This is because improved customer relation translates to customer loyalty which in return results to increase sales and profits for the business.
Most companies nowadays use business solutions integrating these two important business tools. With an integrated CRM and ERP systems, you can achieve customer expectations and satisfaction while also reaching your business goals. These tools require cost but it is definitely worth it, especially for small businesses, once processes in the business is improved and better customer relationship is achieved. Small businesses will not only be able to increase business profitability but will also be able to take advantage of its growth potentials.
Digital Marketing Strategy
We now understand the differences between ERP and CRM. And that’s great, but what good does a solid CRM do an average business owner unless you actually have a flow of new prospects/clients/customers to manage? If the lead flow isn’t there, you can have the flashiest CRM solution on the planet, and it won’t do you much good! This is where a robust and smart digital marketing strategy comes into play. Some of may think, well, I’m a (fill in the blank) and we really do not need a digital marketing strategy. That is becoming true for less and less businesses as time goes by. You just cannot succeed in today’s digital world without it – that’s where your customers are looking for you – online!
Each month we’ll turn the lens a few industries to discuss digital marketing tips and tricks. This month we are looking at lawyers/law firms. You may be a family law attorney in Atlanta, or perhaps a Washington DC personal injury attorney, and the fundamentals still hold true. You need to address your DC law firm’s organic presence in the search engines, first and foremost. In order to do that, you must address both on-site and off-site optimization factors – both are equally important to building a robust on-line presence for your firm.
You may also elect to roll-out a social media strategy for your law practice to include a firm Facebook page, regularly updated with engaging posts, and paid Facebook Advertising to include Facebook’s new Local Business Awareness Ads.
Lastly, video marketing is a fantastic component to add to your law firm’s overall on-line approach. There is no way around the fact that different clients/customers respond on-line to different marketing channels – some will sooner call you from seeing your video ranked in Google or on YouTube than click your site in organic search results, and vice versa. If you want to market your legal practice effectively, the best approach is to hit multiple marketing channels.
More next month!