Your business is growing.  You use paper or spreadsheets to manage sales and manufacturing, but it’s getting a little chaotic. You know software can help, but your business is unique – so where do you even start to look?

Contrary to popular opinion, your search for software to help your business doesn’t start with Google.  It starts by looking at your current, existing processes.

These processes are why you’re successful.  They’re why you’ve grown past your existing setup in the first place.

Your business processes have developed organically as your business had developed.  Sure, a lot of it may be in people’s heads, but crucially, it works. You and your team understand things deeply, far better than any outsider will. And this is the key to successfully choosing software that’ll help you grow.

What’s the secret?

Companies who transition successfully from spreadsheets or paper-based systems to a new software solution spend time on one critical task.

Before doing anything else, they map out how they currently do things and the outcomes their current processes generate.

Taking this simple step saves businesses literally thousands of pounds compared to those who dive straight in without any preparation.

With over a decade of helping customers get the full benefits of integrated business management software (sometimes called ERP or MRP), we’ve seen this play out over and over again.

So we’ve developed a series of 5 simple steps that will put you in position to select and implement the best software for your particular business.

Spend just a few hours with the exercises below, and they will give you the foundation to make confident decisions about which software system is right for you.  Because no one knows your business like you do.

(We’ve added suggested times to spend on each step, as well, so you can break these up over a couple of sessions).

Step 1. (60-90 minutes) – Identify your process

This is the easy bit – you know it already! Get some paper, sticky notes or a whiteboard.
Ideally, do this with your key team members, as each person will have detailed knowledge of their part of the process.

Mapping your process at this stage doesn’t mean changing it, it means giving you a foundation to make improvements and to communicate your business goals and problems effectively to any vendor you approach – as well as to other members or your organisation.

To understand how things work now, a common question to ask might be:  “How do we currently get new customers from their initial enquiry to dispatch of their product and invoice paid?”

Other questions you might ask:

  • How do our customers contact us and what do they ask for (quotations? orders? pricing?)
  • How do we currently follow up with them?
  • What do we do with orders, step-by-step, across spreadsheets or paper systems, to track customer details, orders, stock, purchase orders and the like?
  • How do we currently track where a particular product for a particular order is in the manufacturing process?
  • How do we order new stock?
  • Where does the system commonly break down or cause frustration among your team?
  • What information do we need to report on every day, week or month? How do we do that now?

This DOES NOT have to be perfect. Whatever you discuss, just draw out the steps in your business process on the board.

Start with a rough outline and refine as much as you can. Spending even 30 minutes with your team finding out the bare bone steps of their (and your) process is a lot more than most companies do before diving into the wilds of software implementation, and will put you on the path to a vastly more successful project than if you do nothing.

  • Here’s the key: We have found that businesses who have mapped out their process in this way can save well over 50% on their software implementation costs, simply because they have a clear idea about what they do now, how they want it to improve, and what outcomes they need.  

Understanding your existing process will also let you quickly rule out systems that won’t work for you. This serves two key purposes:

1) Save time: You won’t evaluate systems that don’t meet your specific processes and business problems – because you’ll be able to see clearly if a system will work for you, or not.

2) Get it right first time: it helps avoids the real risk of buying a system that isn’t right for your particular business and your specific business problems.  The cost of a failed implementation is massive, even life-threatening, for most businesses – spending time now will dramatically lower the risks at later stages.

For more on developing and refining processes, read our free eBook. (no email required)

Step 2. (30 minutes) Are you REALLY ready?

Can you answer yes to any of these questions?:

  • Are you wondering how much profit you make on each job?
  • Wondering how effective your sales people are?
  • Do you and your team complain about your current system daily?
  • Do you need to get control of stock holding and cash?
  • What about insights and sales/production data to drive positive change in your business?

Often companies start a new software project for the wrong reasons. Halfway through the evaluation process they realise they don’t have all the answers they need, they haven’t fully defined their process, or there is still capacity in the team to manage things as is.

Looking at your process, your capacity and your priorities will help decide where to invest time and money in the short term and whether the time is right.

Read our blog ‘Change Minds Before You Change Software‘ for more insights on readiness.

Step 3. (30-60 minutes) Choose your priorities – You can’t do everything at once

Most business software systems can solve problems right across your business – Sales, Marketing, Workshop, Accounting.  But that creates a new problem.

You might have limited capacity to adopt a new system or perhaps you can’t devote someone completely to drive the project: so you’ll need to prioritise. Look at your process and, preferably with your team leaders, ask:

  • What is your biggest problem? What would you solve first?
  • Where are the bottlenecks?
  • Can you release valuable team members’ time by reducing the admin they need to do?
  • Where can you do that the most in relation to your current process?
  • How will you get key people to buy in to the new system? (the clue is in stage 5)

Often the answer is simple, but by looking at the process with your team, you can make decisions about what will have the most short and longer term impact. With these agreed, you’re ready to test how software systems will enable you to achieve quick wins and release capacity for the bigger picture.

Step 4. (60-90 minutes) Research – What solutions are out there?

With the previous steps, you have armed yourself with a deeper understanding of your requirements – and put yourself head-and-shoulders above most other companies considering the same problem.

Now, you can test these against the options available, and also the suitability of implementation services provided by each one.

  • Talk to colleagues in the industry and ask for suggestions
  • Figure out your budget
  • What is your time worth? What are the new insights and data you’ll get worth?
  • What is the opportunity cost of not investing in a new system?
  • Watch videos and and see what products feel like to use
  • Most vendors offer free demos or trials. Sign up and try a few in context of your process.
  • Be prepared to use your own data and attempt to work through your process using it, referring to your priorities from Step 3.
  • Check and examine feature lists of prospective vendors online for essentials and ‘nice to haves’
  • These can include integrations with existing software, like your accounts package
  • Check the support available to get you up and running and ongoing support (and associated costs) that’re available

Finally, shortlist the solutions that meet your needs.

Step 5. (30-60 minutes) What is your company vision?

With your shortlist, there’s one more step before you reach out and start trialling or taking on demos.  Just as important as your present situation is your vision of the future.

Think for a second about how would you sell the prospect of this change to your entire team? Do you have a vision of the future of your business? If you haven’t described what the future looks like, how can your team visualise success?

Do they buy in to your vision for the company? How will your shortlist of software solutions help achieve this? How will you get the most from your software investment?

Connecting your vision with your process and your new software system will help you and you team decide whether the system you choose will actually help you achieve that.

  • Write down what it feels like to do your job a year from now, in three years?
  • How will the business be performing then? What will your competitors be doing?
  • Share the vision with your team. Get feedback. Delegate ownership of elements of the vision.
  • Check for alignment between your vision and the options and priorities on your list.

For a deep read on developing a vivid and actionable vision for your business, we recommend reading ‘Double Double’ by Cameron Herold, (summary on his blog).

Conclusion – Are You Ready?

Buying software is a big decision, but you have the power and knowledge to maximise the potential benefits of the change.

Following these steps will help take the risk and worry out of the process, not by getting you all the answers, but by helping you understand what your particular business needs, what is available, and how you’ll get the most out of any solution.

Lots of companies sit through hours of demos with badly matched vendors, wade through free-trials or even hire an expensive consultant to create a list of must-have features and then have them shortlist and select a system on their behalf.  Time and again we’ve seen companies without this prior knowledge try and implement a badly suited software solution, to everyone’s frustration and cost.

But you know what’s best for your business. Take control. If you invest just a few hours of going through these steps – whether in a single block with your team, or over the course of a few weeks – you’ll save thousands of pounds and a mountain of stress. But you’ll also clarify your vision, improve communication with your colleagues, strengthen your team’s morale and ultimately put the right system in place to help your business succeed.

What’s next? Download our FREE Flowlens Process Checklist to help you work through this process.

Got something to add? Contact us today!

So the search begins….

You’ll know when your business is ready for CRM when you are:

  • Spending too much time re-entering information over and over
  • Chasing people for information at the last minute
  • Losing out on enquiries or quotes that never got followed up
  • Failing to track customer complaints and service issues, or not responding quick enough
  • Not keeping on top of customer information and GDPR compliance
  • Storing vital information in people’s head – if someone leaves they take the knowledge with them

 

Maybe you are the owner of the business, or perhaps you’ve been tasked with selecting the CRM.  In either case you’ll be aware of the pains and challenges you are trying to solve for your business. Choosing a CRM system involves identifying systems that solve as many of these challenges as possible. Remember,  no software will meet your needs 100%, so be prepared to prioritise your ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ features.

Current pain points and objectives for CRM may include:

  • Tackling inefficiencies
  • Improving poor communication among your staff
  • Integrating sales and operations for faster order processing
  • Supporting strategic growth plans
  • GDPR Compliance
  • Monitoring and understanding sales activity
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Automating manual processes
  • Getting reports and insights into your business performance

We’ll tackle all of these pain points in this article. So, what should you be looking for?

 

Mapping out your process

Before you begin your research, you need to understand your own process.

With your team, get a whiteboard or some post it notes, and write down the stages of your typical customer journey, from initial enquiry, qualification, quotes, nurturing, decision, order, and ongoing relationship touchpoints. Think about the information you capture (and in many cases duplicate) at each stage. Look for inefficiencies and bottlenecks.

No off-the-shelf system will handle 100% of your requirements or processes. Once you have a map on your process you can see how different CRM systems can handle your needs. Prioritise your requirements and score these against the systems you are evaluating.

Then, it’s important to think about what outputs and metrics your CRM should give you.  What reports are essential for you to make decisions? Perhaps you want to track how many enquiries turn into closed deals, or forecast your sales for the year?  Think about your “must have” metrics and ensure they’re easily available in any solution you consider.

Understand the Flavours of CRM software

There are many different types of CRM systems, designed to meet the needs of different businesses and circumstances.  We’ve outlined 3 basic tiers below:

  • Basic systems – these typically manage customer contacts, sales pipeline data and help you manage sales and customer service.  These tend to be focused on sales and enquiry management, without much scope to expand into other areas of your business.  Most “free” CRMs are in this bracket.
  • Integrated CRM systems, also called “CRM+”- enable all of the above, but also allow you to add modules for other parts of your business, and integrate with your accounts:  Quoting, Sales Orders, Inventory Management, Dispatch and Service Jobs are all common features of Integrated CRMs. Flowlens is an example of a “CRM+”
  • Sector Specific CRMs – built around the needs of particularly sectors and processes, for example financial services, membership organisations, charities etc. and can have different names.  CRMs used by charities can also be called “Electronic Case Management” systems, for example

Each of these has positives and negatives that are worth weighing up. And depending on the size of your business and your budget, you may find an integrated system meets your needs even though a sector specific system would be ideal, but out of your budget, for example.

Ask colleagues in your sector about the systems they use. Are they effective? Do they require minimal data entry? Do they handle the needs of your sector well?

Tackling Wasted Effort

As most businesses grow, processes spring up to address basic needs. Some aren’t even aware that a process exists.

Typically these consist of basic emails, spreadsheets, documents, bits of paper and verbal communication.

These work fine when you’re a small operation, but they soon crumble as demand grows for your products/services, and as you bring on more staff. What made sense for a small team will fail as you add more customers and more people to your business.

The simple process mapping exercise outlined above is a good way to benchmark your current system.

Perhaps you want to grow faster, and bring on more sales people, or increase revenues from existing customers. How do you know how to do this without reliable reports and an agreed system that handles your processes?

Inefficiencies take many forms, it could be:

  • Rekeying of data between systems
  • Losing information that is stored in people’s heads
  • Losing paper
  • Information stuck in emails that you can no longer find or access
  • Unclear capture of customer requirements leading to poor handover between your sales and operations functions
  • Limited or no ability to get reports from your information
  • Errors in spreadsheets
  • The list goes on

A good CRM will let you streamline these inefficiencies and should at minimum replace the vast majority of these pain points.

 

Improving Communication

Confusion and misunderstandings are the most common cause of inefficiencies inside a business, and customer dissatisfaction. Many business have developed ‘silos’ around the main functions of sales, marketing, finance, operations and service.

This causes different teams to think inwardly, instead of collaboratively, which doesn’t serve the best needs of the customer.

A basic CRM will improve the communication of management and sales and enquiry teams while an integrated CRM allows the whole business to store data on a shared platform, for example.

Not only does this mean that you reduce the amount of rekeying of information, and potential for errors, you also get one ‘single version of the truth’ for your business. All customers, order, product and service information is in one place.

If you plan beyond the basics of capturing and storing customer data before choosing a CRM you might be able to see how systems can streamline your overall business process.

This will save your time and money in the long run, and make it easy to onboard new team members as your business grows.

 

Strategic Growth & Sales Tracking

You want to grow your business, but how can you develop your business plan without data?

CRM system can help you quantify your sales cycle, giving you valuable data to obtain funding/loans for your business, and justify spending money on sales and marketing.

If growth is a key concern you’ll want your CRM to include

  • Tracking of inbound enquiries, sources and conversions
  • Tracking of sales cycle
  • Customer service / retention
  • Customer repeat sales

Manual systems and disjointed spreadsheets make it difficult to capture and analyse this information. With the right CRM you can quantify how much it costs to get new prospects, how long it takes to convert them into customers and how long they stay.

 

GDPR Compliance

All businesses have a duty to protect sensitive customer and personal information. The GDPR regulations are providing additional impetus for businesses to develop compliant policies and systems to track the information they store.

If you handle personal information about customers, it is important that you’ve gained their consent to store relevant information. For communication purposes who also need to know if they’ve consented to receive emails, phone calls, etc, and for what purpose.

Similarly, individuals have the ‘right to be forgotten’ meaning upon request you must delete personally identifiable data/information stored about them.

When choosing a CRM system, look at it’s features for handling GDPRs, and ensure it aligns with your company policy for data and privacy.

 

Controlling Sales Activity

Do you know how effective your sales process, and your people are? Do you rely on the gut instinct of your sales people and their memory for quotes, dates and promises made to produce a sales forecast?

Sales-focused CRM systems offer a range of features to help you take the guess-work out of sales, and at the same time give your team tools to help them, and you, make more money!

Many CRMs support the concept of Marketing and Sales Pipelines, structuring your sales process around the key stages of your buyer journey.

If you sell bigger ticket items, or have a long sales cycle, Sales Pipeline management tools will help you stay on top of the process, and monitor sales team activities to ensure it is optimised for success.

For businesses who buy and supply materials, products or services with a shorter and more repetitive sales cycle, you need to consider a CRM that offers integrated sales quotes and order processing. This will keep all your customer enquiries, quotes and orders in one place, and reduce delays in serving customers.

 

Improving Customer Satisfaction

You may have heard the rule of thumb that its seven times easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new customers. So how can a CRM help you enhance your existing customer relationships.

Making it easier for customers to do business with you is paramount. Look at your current ‘after sales’ interactions with customers and figure out what information requests and processes are being followed. Is it simply handling calls, or do you need to provide service or maintenance support? These will be important factors in choosing a system, as it should help you capture customer information, respond quickly to requests, and handle service-related processes to their conclusion.

Capturing data about your response times can also provide a useful internal benchmark and powerful marketing tool. Do you know how quickly you respond to customers? How quickly you address their problem? Most companies don’t monitor this information, but it can be powerful competitive tool when winning new customers and keeping existing ones.

 

Getting Reports and Insights

Most business start looking for a CRM out of frustration around reporting. It’s natural to assume a CRM system will help you get better reports, because it captures structured information.

Some CRM systems include basic reporting as standard, for others it’s an expensive upgrade, whilst some system will let you integrate with your preferred reporting tool.

Before you start, consider the key metrics that are essential for managing your business growth. These could include:

  • New Sales pipeline growth
  • Customer Repeat Orders
  • Margin
  • Marketing Channel Effectiveness
  • Service Response Time
  • Sales Team Activity and Effectiveness

Handling Your Existing Process

Your team will be very familiar with the current manual process they follow to manage your customers currently, as well as the terminology used. In most cases there is nothing wrong with this process, its simply the manual steps, paperwork, unnecessary repetition and errors that are not sustainable.

Basic CRMs will generally aim to improve the sales or enquiry management process.

Integrated CRMs (CRM+) can also offer modules to streamline and integrate other parts of your business your stock management, purchase order and after sales processes too.

Most businesses struggle with communication between the sales and operations functions. If this is a concern for you, consider a CRM+, which can offer Stock Management, Order Processing, Purchasing, Manufacturing and After-sales Service features.

No system will perfectly mimic your processes, unless you’re prepared to invest in bespoke software, so its important to first understand your process, and then to find a good match in a CRM.

 

Justifying CRM investment / Budgeting for CRM

If you’ve never had a system, budgeting for CRM can be tricky, however its is the return on investment that will truly help you justify the spend.

Your existing, clunky, error prone manual processes cost your business money. Count the minutes and hours needed to manage the process to estimate the savings a system will bring your business.

For example, if you process 50 sales orders a month, how long in admin time does it take to take a sales order from enquiry all the way to despatch?  If the average wage (in the UK, at least) is £14/hour, how much does each sales order cost you in salary alone? If you could cut that time in half, by improving processes, you’re instantly saving money.

In most cases the level of duplicated effort and time wasted copying between spreadsheets, document and emails alone will justify the investment. The CRM system can make your team more productive by giving time back to find and nurture more customers, or build better relationships with existing ones.

One important thing to remember:  most CRM systems are priced on a ‘per user’ basis, unless you buy a license outright. It can be tempting to pay for only the bare minimum users on a new system. However, consider the effect this has on team morale for those who haven’t been given access. Anyone customer facing has a justification to use your CRM, provided your goal is to enhance your customer satisfaction.

 

Getting Buy-in for your CRM Project.

For most SMEs, software is a natural place to go when faced with mounting paper work and duplicating effort. The monotony of paperwork, endless spreadsheets and copying and pasting, not to mention the missed and forgotten opportunities are all a great motivator to change.

As a leader in your business, how can you ensure the success of this investment in time and software? Firstly, ask yourself a few questions…

Does your SME have the capacity to adopt a new system while keeping the wheels turning? Have you considered the habits that will need to change to adopt new software into the business? Are your people ready for this change? Are you prepared to lead from the top and demonstrate how the new software will support the business strategy and achievement of its vision?

Start with the goal in mind: What goal will unite your team on the need for change?

Ask your team to identify the activities that slow them down the most. Ask customers what frustrates them the most. Share the pain points that unite you, your team and your customers and you’ve got your shared vision.

This vision provides the catalyst for change, and team buy-in for adopting software to make things better. But remember, adopting CRM or any other system is a both a strategic and cultural decision. And culture drives from the top.

 

Complexity versus simplicity – making the change successfully

Implementing a new system is a challenge for any business. Many CRM systems are offered on an arm’s-length basis with training and support resources provided via the company website. Others provide professional assistance to help you plan, configure and implement their software.

If you have had no experience with implementing changes, consider that you have the resources and buy-in to ensure success. If you’re confident with software, and learning new systems, you’ll be happy to learn and configure off the shelf systems.

In either case, the process will require engagement and buy-in from the rest of your team, and will be a distraction from normal business activities.

Therefore it’s important to have

  • Team alignment on expectations from the system
    • Benefits and outcome for the company
    • Benefits for individuals and how it will make them more efficient
  • Leadership buy-in for the system and why its important
  • Staged approach to configuration and roll-out
  • Plan to run alongside and then phase out existing manual processes or older systems
  • Regular review and reporting of results to reinforce the benefits

 

Take the first, small step.

As we’ve outlined above, any new system change can be daunting, so it’s important to have an ‘early win’ to demonstrate which the change is worth the effort.

CRM systems offer many starting points, whether its tracking enquiries, sales or service requests. One successful technique worth considering can be the management of inbound Enquiries. This is logical as Enquiries typically happen at the start of the sales process and engagement with a new customer.

Most CRM systems will let you capture website enquiries directly. This has two benefits. Most company enquiry forms simply send an email to the sales or marketing manager. This is risky as emails could get overlooked on a busy day. By capturing the Enquiry in your CRM, you’re changing the behaviour to monitor enquiries and track that follow-ups happen promptly.

This simple approaches means that you team start to use the system, and learn how it works whilst actually completing a valuable task. After qualifying the Enquiry the next natural steps is to move to the next stages of the sales process, and again this can happen in the CRM.

It takes the average person 3 weeks of consistent effort to make a new habit. Many people will complain about the extra effort needed whilst still doing the day job. So it’s important to show the value to them, and the company.

However you choose to implement your CRM, make sure you’ve thought about the best way to help your team build this important new habit.

Conclusion

There can be a lot to consider when choosing a new CRM. There are many flavours, offering different features, payment and training options.

The first step is to understand what your business really needs from the system and look for the best fit.

As you’ve seen above the cost of NOT using a CRM can easily justify the investment. It is therefore essential to make sure you are investing in the right product, and have the right plan in place to implement it.

Flowlens provides customers with controls to help support their GDPR compliance policy. The stringent requirements include the need to prove that you have consent to communicate with contacts, how you got that consent, and the purpose of the communication.

The Flowlens GDPR module helps you setup, and manage this easily.

Firstly, security of data is paramount. With Flowlens, all data is stored in a database, and can only be accessed via individual password protected user accounts. The connection between your computer and the database is also secured and encrypted.

Within Flowlens, all changes made to contact data can be tracked against the user. It’s possible to see when and who makes changes to GDPR settings using our activity log.

Secondly you have control over the types of communication you want consent for….

…and the methods you typically use to obtain them.

You can also ensure users on your website can indicate their communication methods with our embeddable contact form.

Day to day, maintaining GDPR consent is straightforward, with prompts to ask for consent prominently placed wherever you are inputting or updating contact data.

Flowlens GDPR and Marketing modules also work together. Flowlens prevents users from adding contacts with no consent to Marketing Lists. Our integration with Mailchimp means that email recipients who unsubscribe will have their relevant preference updated in Flowlens.

Finally, the right to be forgotten is another key strand of GDPR. If a person requests that you remove their record from your system, you can choose the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ option. This redacts the contact record of any personally identifiable information, without breaking the integrity of your data. Plus, GDPR Reports let you quickly identify those contacts you don’t have consent for.

The Flowlens GDPR module provides a user-friendly and comprehensive set of tools that support your GDPR compliance and staff training. For more information about how Flowlens features can make your life easier and free up time, why not give us a call or request a demo.

Have you hit a brick wall with your CRM system? We adopt tools like CRM and spreadsheets to solve a problem, until we discover they create yet another silo of information in the business. And when it comes to turning orders into cash, these silos just slow you down.

We’ve all been there, copying data out of one system to paste into another. Often spreadsheets become the glue of most businesses, bridging data between departments. Its natural to make do with an approach like this, it’s works, kind of. It works because the people in your business know the steps and tricks needed. It works as long as someone doesn’t overwrite that formula in the excel.

FREE GUIDE – 5 Steps to choosing the right CRM

And maybe you put up with it because you believe there isn’t a system that can handle the whole process.
But apart from the inevitable errors, and the wasted time, the bigger problem is that a ‘Franken-system’ can’t give you the reliable information needed to get control, never mind serve customers better and grow your business.

Don’t get me wrong, basic systems and spreadsheets are great when you need something fast and flexible to capture and work on data. They don’t care what you’re asking them to do, but that flexibility also means risks. Typically one person knows how the spreadsheet really functions, if they leave, they take that knowledge with them.

These systems typically fail because they don’t bring your people and processes together.

  • Are you wasting time and money fixing inaccurate order details?
  • Are you quoting off the latest cost prices to calculate margins effectively?
  • Are you working off correct stock levels or scrambling to buy to meet customer promises?
  • Are you in the dark about sales forecasts and planning fulfilment and production?
  • Are your competitors serving customers faster?
  • Do you feel in control of the information that drives your business?

CRM systems have evolved to support more than just contact data and sales pipeline reports.

Software is now available that handles the steps of the order process in one seamless flow:

* Create Quotations (create accurate quotes in seconds, rather than minutes)

* Set follow-up reminders (ensure you don’t lose a sales by simply forgetting about it)

* Generate orders, dispatch and invoices automatically (less time copying and pasting)

* Integrated Bills of Materials and Purchasing (stop re-keying data between orders and production jobs)

* Built-in Inventory management (real time visibility of stock)

* Production and serial numbering (integrate order data with job cards for effective stock management)

* After-sales servicing and job tracking linked to the product sold and the customer record.

* integration with your accounts software

Take Control

Joined up thinking like this puts SME businesses, managers and owners back in control. It creates visibility across the business. It reduces wasted time on manual, repetitive tasks. It gives peace of mind that nothing can be missed. And it creates a platform for growth.

Don’t ‘make do’ any longer.

CRMs should no longer fail your business, because they have evolved to support your entire business process. At Flowlens, we’ve seen customers reduce their order processing time by over 50% with our joined-up cloud software. This means that our customers get paid faster, with fewer errors.

For more information on how to select a CRM for your business, download our free ebook.

As leaders of growing businesses we’ve all been there, sleepless night after sleepless night, your mind racing with niggles that you’ve pushed out of the way during the day. There are so many things to juggle in business, however one theme stands above the rest.

I speak to business owners and management teams every day about management software for their businesses, and the common theme of those sleepless nights is the feeling of control, or lack of it!

Where do you feel most out of control?

Sales forecast – do you have enough properly qualified opportunities in the pipeline?

Inventory – what’s the current value of my stock?

Data Accuracy – as we transfer data manually from one step to another, what has been mistyped or just missed?

Stock Accuracy – are we back-flushing our bill of materials to accurately adjust stock?

Pricing and Quoting – are we ensuring quoted product matches the customer needs and is actually feasible to produce?

Margins – are you making enough money on each sale?

Purchasing – how much cash is committed, and to which suppliers?

Goods Receivable – when can you expect support deliveries to ensure you meet customer/manufacturing demand?

Job Profitability – you know what you quoted, but did the actual costs exceed budget?

Customer Satisfaction – struggling to answer questions about orders and historic activity, and responding quickly enough to customer requests?

GDPR – have you got consent to communicate with customers, and for what purpose?

Serial Number Register – what products are out there, who do I stay on top of asset service history, components?

Sales Activity Tracking – what are people doing, how are they planning their time and tasks to meet customer expectations?

Daily Reports – laborious and inaccurate collation of data to get basic management information, or waiting till you get end of month or quarterly accounts to see if you’ve made a profit?

If any of these questions rings a bell with you, Flowlens small business management software has the answer. Here’s a quick video showing the product in action. If you think Flowlens can help, call us on 028 90998597.