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You Can’t Ignore Weaknesses in Business Technology for Long

Stay on top of inventory with real-time dataBusiness is good, which means production lines are humming, products are getting shipped and customers are getting attention. It looks like everyone from the front office through the back warehouse are busy, and that’s a good sign. The last thing you want to do is disrupt the flow of a busy business. However, even a seemingly small problem with business technology can quickly grow into a larger problem if not corrected early. Here’s why you can’t ignore weaknesses in business technology for long.

Don’t Let Small Problems Become Bigger, Costly Ones

Small businesses may not have difficulty managing inventory with specialty software or spreadsheets, especially if the product line is limited and fairly straightforward. However, with growth, you may find the need to increase production, which means burning through raw materials faster. You may also find customers have certain preferences or customizations, or you may expand product lines. These changes complicate procurement plans and inventory management.

Relying on employees to perform physical inventory counts takes time. There is also risk for mistakes from the count to the data entry that follows. On the other side of your business, sales representatives are taking new orders every day. Reconciling information as orders come in and as products go out, while using specialty software or spreadsheets, becomes increasingly time-consuming and complicated.

Taking a proactive approach to procurement and managing inventory gets murky without real-time, reliable data. Your procurement team doesn’t know when to place an order for raw materials or be confident with the quantity to order. You could just as easily experience frustrating stock-outs, as you purchase more raw materials than you really need. A few of the mistakes that can happen as a result of inaccurate, outdated inventory information includes production shut-downs, backorders and stocking obsolete inventory – all costly to your business.

Current, Reliable Data is Essential to a Strong Business

As your business grows, small problems become big ones. There could be weaknesses with inventory management, sales and customer orders, financial transactions, or other areas of your business. At the root of many growing pains is the challenge of maintaining current, reliable data. Specialty software, spreadsheets and disconnected systems make it harder to capture and use data. A growing business needs all of your attention. You don’t have time to chase down information and validate it to make critical decisions.

Modern business management systems, including innovative enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, will centralize core business data. Today’s ERP systems are affordable and can be implemented quickly and efficiently, with little to no business interruption. The faster you can replace inefficient, outdated systems with a modern ERP solution, the faster you can gain control and insight over data from across your organization. With key metrics at your fingertips, you will be able to streamline operations, realize cost-savings and time-savings, and position your business for growth.

Get Ahead of Your Data With ERP

While you don’t want to disrupt the flow of a busy business, you can’t let small problems grow into bigger ones. Get ahead of your data and position your business for strong growth with ERP. Contact OTT, Inc. for guidance with finding and deploying the right ERP solution that will support your unique business needs today and for years to come.

Initial implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP with associated modules was successfully tested and implemented in 60 days. “Our new system has increased efficiency, allowed us to integrate our operations, improved inventory tracking and accuracy, streamlined purchase and sales order processing, generated cost savings, saved time, and facilitated our growth into an industry leader. The ease of administration of Dynamics GP, its collaborative environment and information management, and OTT, Inc.’s commitment to helping Salon Innovations succeed has fueled that growth.” Sam Hanson, Finance Manager, Salon Innovations

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Increase Marketing ROI with CRM

The marketplace is crowded and every business is competing for attention. Getting noticed is challenging with so many marketing messages being released across multiple channels. How do you know whether your marketing messages are effective or being ignored? Don’t waste time or money on marketing campaigns that aren’t generating leads or sales. Deploy a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to measure and monitor efforts and get a continuous return on your marketing investment.

Are You Sure Your Marketing Campaigns Are Successful?

Many businesses rely on multi-channel marketing campaigns and there is no shortage of platforms in this digital age. In addition to traditional print and email efforts, there are a variety of other digital and social options. While many businesses would want to cover all the bases, this isn’t always a good use of time and resources. In addition, you may see better results by focusing on certain platforms, targeting demographics or engaging prospects or customers in different ways.

To create effective marketing campaigns, you need to know what works just as much as what doesn’t. Understanding potential marketing successes and failures requires more than anecdotal examples or gut feelings. You need to be able to hang your hat on specific, accurate data. Deploy CRM to capture, analyze and monitor marketing efforts and the resulting leads and sales.

Gain Valuable Insight, Strengthen Marketing Efforts with CRM

Casting a wide net and trying to take advantage of every potential marketing platform is not only expensive, but puts your marketing and sales team at a disadvantage. While you may find many potential leads, not all are worth following. Your sales team will then be distracted by weak leads and could miss better opportunities or be unable to nurture existing customer relationships. CRM delivers data, streamlines the lead and sales cycle, and delivers the insight needed to build a strong return on your marketing investment. Here’s how:

  1. Capture, analyze and use data: CRM integrates with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Leaders can capture and access key performance indicators (KPIs) about inventory movement, product trends and customer buying behaviors. CRM focuses on the data pertaining to marketing campaigns. With CRM and ERP, your marketing and sales leaders will be able to enter, access and analyze current, reliable data. If it can be measured, it can be monitored and improved. Armed with data, not gut feelings, you’ll be able to determine which marketing platforms deliver the strongest return.
  2. Quantify leads, follow sales: Not all leads are worth following and CRM will help you separate the cold leads from the hot ones. Built-in workflows also streamline how leads are handled. As a lead comes in, details are captured, then the lead is forwarded it to an appropriate sales representative. Automated workflows save valuable time and reduce the chance that a lead is lost or forgotten. Then, as follow-up takes place, you will uncover more information that can be used to identify which leads to focus on and which to let go. Similarly, automated workflows streamline the entire sales cycle from lead to order to post-sale delivery. Each customer receives the same level of attention, which goes a long way toward improving customer satisfaction and nurturing long-term relationships.
  3. Turn data into actionable insight: The rubber meets the road with powerful business intelligence (BI) features within CRM. Role-tailored interfaces, data visualizations and robust reporting tools deliver the data and insight needed to track key metrics in real-time. You can monitor marketing campaigns, leads and sales data and identify trends with greater accuracy and reliability. This offers several benefits, but most importantly, your ability to determine which marketing campaigns elicit the best response from your customers. You can release an email or social campaign, for example, and track how new prospects or existing customers respond to these efforts. You will find that customers have preferences such as how they use social media, for example, or which promotions they respond to. As you evaluate these interactions and compare different marketing efforts, you’ll identify trends and uncover ways to further fine-tune campaigns in a way that delivers stronger results.

Use CRM for Marketing Success

Successful marketing takes more science than luck, and CRM puts the power of data in your hands. Businesses that use CRM will be able to:

  • Identify customer preferences and understand buying behaviors
  • Streamline lead-handling and the sales cycle efficiently and effectively
  • Use data to more effective and targeted marketing campaigns

Contact us for more information about CRM and how we can help you build a stronger return on your marketing investment.

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