Three people, two men and a woman, sit next to each other and look at the screen of a laptop, which is out of focus and facing away from the camera. The man in the middle is speaking and the woman, seated on the left, has her chin in her hand.
Technology can allow your small business to better connect with customers and save time during the sales process. — Getty Images/skynesher

In our Startup 2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can take toward launching your business in 2021.

Growing sales is the top priority for all small businesses. There are hundreds of ways businesses can grow through their sales strategy; the challenge is deciding the right avenue to take for your business that combines scalability with realistic expectations. No matter your goals, there is technology out there that can help you accomplish them. Here are four technology solutions to help you increase your sales.

Why technology is important to sales

Technology is incredibly important for a small business to create a robust and efficient sales process. Software and applications can streamline a sales team’s strategy, while VR headsets or chatbots can improve the overall consumer experience. By implementing different technology, companies can improve their sales communications, pitches and customer relations.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed small businesses that they are capable of working remotely. This new mode of work offers more flexibility — though there's less in-person interaction, which is why it's so crucial that sales teams leverage technology to compete in a digital landscape. By using emerging technology, businesses can stay connected to their clients and find new customers.

Technology options for growing sales

Using technology for your sales strategy allows your company to better understand your target customers, specify your market and improve efficiency. There are many different types of software and applications that a company can use in their sales process depending on priorities. Here are technology recommendations for businesses looking to improve their customer relationship management, nurture leads, optimize point-of-sale systems or analyze and enhance a sales process.

Tech for customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM software helps businesses nurture their relationships with their customers. Through a CRM platform, a small business can store and organize all of its customer data for easy access, allowing decision makers to track important customer information and create detailed reports from data. CRM systems take in hundreds of points of data to help your business make more informed decisions.

Besides keeping your sales team organized, CRM systems can also help your company gain more opportunities by growing your customer base. The information you have on hand from your existing customers and their purchase patterns can tell you about who your sales team should target when acquiring new customers.

Businesses can also design their CRM system to reflect their company and customer experience. A hallmark feature of a robust CRM allows customization or personalization to the processes that make your business unique. This helps build your relationship with your customers through personalized conversation, recommendations and more, increasing the odds that they will work with or purchase from you again.

Some of the most popular CRM systems include:

  • Airtable.
  • Freshsales.
  • Hubspot.
  • Zoho.

[Read more: Everything You Need to Know About CRM Software for Managing Customers and Sales]

Companies can automate chatbots to give predetermined responses based on a customer's inquiry and can direct them to resources, solutions or a member of your sales team.

Tech to nurture leads

Companies can also use technology to find and nurture potential client leads. Augmented reality and virtual reality can help customers visualize your products in their daily life. You can create sampling experiences through AR and VR that allow customers to virtually “try before they buy” or experience the advanced features of a product.

Another way small businesses can leverage technology to generate leads is through automated processes. Email drip campaigns are an example of a process in which fully automated emails are sent based on specific timelines or the user's actions. These actions could include a user subscribing to an email list or even opening up one of your company's emails.

Chatbots remain yet another way companies can use technology to connect and have discussions with their clients. Companies can automate chatbots to give predetermined responses based on a customer's inquiry and can direct them to resources, solutions or a member of your sales team.

[Read more: 4 Creative Ways Small Businesses Are Using AR and VR]

Tech that optimizes your points of sale

When companies use technology to optimize their points of sale, it can potentially increase the value or number of sales. Small businesses can build a mobile app that gives customers an accessible way to purchase products or enable self-checkout for an expedited experience at the brick-and-mortar location. Mobile apps can connect you to customers as well, enabling message features, collection of customer data and more.

Companies that have a physical location and make their sales in person can implement a payment processing system like Square or Stripe to make customers’ checkout experiences quick and easy. These systems are easy to use and can reassure customers that their personal data will be protected. Another way to optimize in-store experiences is to offer free Wi-Fi. This makes the customer feel valued during their experience while also giving them the ability to easily access your mobile site or app while they’re shopping, potentially leading to more or continued sales.

Tech to analyze and enhance the sales process

Every sales team evaluates its own process, finds ways to improve it and adapts to customers. There are many platforms that can help analyze a company's current sales process, point out its strengths and weaknesses and identify new opportunities. With valuable insights from this software, sales teams can make informed decisions about how to improve their process. Here are some popular systems for analyzing and enhancing sales processes:

  • GoTo Meeting.
  • ExecVision.
  • BigTinCan.
  • Altify.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published September 07, 2021