If you want to start and manage a business, then you better get ready to be the busiest person alive. There’s so much to think about: finances, finding customers, providing support, and marketing, just to name a few.
There’s little margin for error, and you can’t ever afford to spend too much time on just one aspect of the business unless you want the others to end up falling by the wayside.
So how do you run a business when you’re constantly losing time by having to switch between different apps just to manage the customer lifecycle, not to mention the overhead those multiple subscriptions have tacked on to your operating budget?
I recently spoke to TechnologyAdvice about how to do exactly that. Read on for the audio interview and a short transcript.
Daniel Barnett, the CEO and Founder of WORK[etc], was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode, we discuss the different software needs at various stages in the customer lifecycle, the biggest challenge with working out of separate systems, and the growth of remote workers impacting the software businesses use.
Below are six key takeaways from the conversation.
1. We offer everything that a small business needs to interact with a customer.
It starts off with finding the customer, marketing and selling to that customer, delivering the product and service to that customer, billing the customer, after-sale support, customer support, and then a process of following through to sell again to that customer.
If you can see that as a nice big circle then you can see the entire customer lifecycle management flowing around that circle from finding the customer all the way through to re-selling to that customer again.
2. It’s five to ten times easier to sell to an existing customer than to go out and find a new customer.
So the entire benefit of following a process of managing the entire customer lifecycle is that you know everything about that customer. One of the tools that we have in WORK[etc] is a thing called SmartList. That allows, say, the business owner to pull up a list of customers that meet any range of criteria across that entire customer lifecycle.
For example, I want to see every customer in California that I’ve marked as a priority one customer, that has bought blue widgets in the last six months, that still owes us $10,000. By pulling up that list, there might be an opportunity there to, well, obviously, collect the $10,000 they owe us, but also to sell them a related product.
By managing that entire customer lifecycle process in the one software tool gives us the ability to pull up those lists in real time.
3. The reality is a business owner is already so busy running their business, and to force them to spend the day switching in and out of different applications, it becomes very annoying.
The software gets in the way of doing the work, whereas, really, the software should be helping you do the work. While it might sound cool to say, “I’ve got a product for billing, and I’ve got a product over here for support,” jumping between those products all day long – annoying.
And then you’ve got, as a business owner, I’m paying for five or six different subscription fees every month to get keep products live and active. Plus I’m then training my team on those different products. And then, finally, I’ve got to integrate between those different products.
Now there’s any number of different services out there that will help you do that integration, but you’ve got to pay for those services again. The whole time, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, “Well, actually, did that data go across okay? Is it still working that integration in the background?”
I bring all those tools into the one product. We get rid of a lot of those headaches.
4. With an all-in-one software it’s much easier to learn everything all-at-once.
Let’s say your job is mainly in sales, but every now and again, you want to go into billing to find out whether customer’s overdue or whatever. To do that in another platform, you’re going to have to jump across and actually learn a bit about the billing platform.
Because WORK[etc] is all based around the one product, the one interface, you inherently know how to find your way around the billing platform only because you’ve used those other modules extensively. You’ve got that efficiency in terms of training.
5. From day one, we’ve had teams around the world working remotely.
We’ve never had a centralized office. If anything, we built the product to solve the remote working problem — one of our immediate needs was actually, how do I grow this business with staff in the US and in the Manila and in the UK and in Australia and actually make this business work?
Right from the ground up, WORK[etc] was built with that as part of its DNA. We have a remote team for this business to work, we need to use our own software. We are going to make that software function as best it can to help remote teams to come together and collaborate and get the work done.
6. The all-in-one concept is definitely building momentum.
We’re seeing more and more new customers come to us now with the story of just being fed up of having to switch between different products all day long. In terms of the future of customer lifecycle management, there’s a lot of opportunity to build out solutions in vertical industries.
And so that — I’m coming to a piece software like WORK[etc] and, let’s say I’m in the commercial real estate industry, I can actually then go and grab a module that has been customized for that particular industry. And I know that’s the probably the best of breed way of running my business in that industry.
This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company looking to help buyers find the best CRM software, marketing automation systems, and more. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.