Starting a new company is easier now than it was just 10 or 20 years ago. Everyone has unprecedented access to information, contacts, and resources to make the startup process easier and expand reach quickly. Technological advances can unfortunately come with trade-offs, though, including feeling a bit lost in the wealth of information and options available out there. If you’re struggling to find your way, this list of essential tools every startup needs to stay afloat and thrive in the modern age of business will help.
Customizable CRM Solutions
One of the most essential tools for business is a functional CRM platform. Collecting and organizing client information is crucial to having a great relationship with your clients, and CRM makes that process so much easier.
Tracking your own personal data can make your head spin if you live by a schedule; imagine that multiplied out to thousands of clients. Manually keeping tabs on all of your clients’ needs and schedules without technology costs you time and money. A well-integrated CRM platform will enable your sales force to have a high level of engagement with your clients by streamlining their personal information.
Lead Tracking and Marketing Automation Software
Investing in compelling marketing strategies is essential for any company, but it’s a must for startups. Young businesses need effective ways to get their name and brand out there, and they have to do it quickly while staying ahead of the pack. One of the most efficient ways to find new opportunities without getting bogged down is to automate your marketing through the use of AI-driven tools.
Unfortunately, new enterprises commonly underestimate the value of marketing automation tools. They believe their business is too small to benefit from whatever complexity comes from automating their processes. It’s just not true.
The fact is that automation at any scale can cut down on your workforce needs so you can focus on more important activities. And more advanced ERP platforms often make use of these automation standards to help you be a better business. Familiarizing yourself with automation now makes future expansion much easier and more seamless than switching gears later on.
Customer Service Management and Support
The customer is the central focus in businesses (whether or not they’re always right is a whole different ball game). Building your infrastructure around their needs as much as possible improves the quality of the connections you form with them, thus improving your conversions.
But there’s a catch: modern consumers want more from their transactions than just a one-time sale. They want to know you, be a part of your business, and feel like they’re interacting with a real human being at all times. Providing them with ongoing support is a new standard for many industries.
Improving your customer interactions increases the value of your services and encourages them to promote your brand to their friends. Build a strong customer relations team and provide them with customer service management tools to strengthen your initial consumer connections.
Content Development and Management Platforms
Content creation is an undying marketing buzzword for good reason. Posting original content for your website and social media platforms is an excellent way to foster a loyal following. Those followers are much easier to convert into customers than people you’d reach through blind marketing and cold calls.
Many startups underestimate the importance of the reputation you’ll gain from being active with social media. One common tactic is to walk them through the process of becoming a consumer by engaging with them. Show people how your services can improve a buyer’s life to hook their interest. Then, you can post exactly how they can obtain your products or services. The possibilities for your advertisement campaigns are limitless, but you need a reliable content development strategy to make them happen.
Now, here’s the secret: Content development and management tools (like content delivery platforms) make this process a cinch. Some even generate ideas, curate potential topics (you still need to write, sorry – no autospinners) or analyze trends for you at the same time. Once you have your words or media down, the same tool lets you roll it out to platforms like WordPress, self-managed websites, social media, and more.
Integrated Communication Management Functions
Creating and using a social media platform is only part of the equation. You must master the management of your accounts to unleash their full potential, and that means getting to know each platform as they are at each moment. For example, social selling is an invaluable way to expand your reach, but you need to approach it on the right platform at the right time or else it won’t work.
Communication management platforms help by allowing you to gain a bird’s-eye view over all of your communication: telephone, email, ticket, social media, in person, you name it. They also assist you in finding where the hotspots are in the vast social media landscape and help you build that strong following every business needs to make it in today’s digital market.
Data Management and Analysis Tools
We’re halfway down the list, but we’re far from done. Now, let’s address the problem of data management and analysis. As you might suspect, there are tools available in this area, too, and most of them integrate with your other equipment almost flawlessly.
Startups generate a ton of data: market research, potential leads, conversions, statistics, traffic, sales, funnel efficiency info, the list goes on and on. In the process of ramping up during the first year, you will accumulate more raw data than you’ll know what to do with from the process of running your business.
Using data management and analysis programs, often in tandem with AI support, lets you manage, analyze, and protect big data. And if the Cambridge Analytica issue teaches us anything, it’s that it’s critical to use the right tools with top-notch safety measures in place.
User Interface Design Programs
User interface design programs let you create mockups and potential drafts for new UI designs on websites, apps, programs, and tools. In a world where strategies can turn on a dime, this is a really handy thing.
By integrating user interface design programs into your ERP platforms, you give yourself the power to create change. Whether it’s making an app easier for visitors to use or tweaking your website for better navigation, your designers can toss around ideas and play until they find what works. And, since outdated designs don’t convert, that’s a really sensible approach. Keeping the same style forever will hinder your progress, so you need a tool that lets you easily play with new ideas.
Companies used to make entire copies of their websites to test new design philosophies. Now you can design a new UI in a safe environment with minimal resources and fewer headaches.
Development and Deployment Solutions
Creating new programs, mobile apps, programs, software, cloud-based services and UI facelifts helps, but remember that implementation is also key. Your website is no good if your new UI overhaul breaks it, and new apps for employees won’t be helpful if they take thousands of dollars and man hours to successfully implement.
Moreover, an app that is difficult to implement or deploy when it comes to updates will be cumbersome. Adding features to your needs to be easy, seamless, and unhindered by technical difficulty. Look into business deployment and implementation tools to remove any technical burdens from you and your staff.
Project Management and Collaboration Tools
Every businesses start small – usually, with just an idea or a thought. From there, you work tirelessly to build it up until it’s self-sustainable. But the journey between that thought and your eventual success? It’s filled with good intentions, difficult tasks, stress, and quick thinking.
Campaign and project management tools let you smooth that process out and stay on track by providing an easy, central location from which you can hand out tasks, juggle responsibilities, and plan for the future. Whether it’s a week or a year, you can create and remove projects at will, add people to teams, remove them, and see where everyone is at and what’s needed at any given time.
Project management tools also increase the quality of collaboration efforts between team members who, if current trends abide, may be anywhere in the world or right beside each other at any given time. Which tools, programs, and technology you’ll need largely depends on what your business is doing. Find the right project management tools for your workforce to increase their happiness and productivity.
President and founder of DVI, Aaron Boerger realized early in life that he had a unique combination of x-ray vision and business acumen for seeing the weaknesses that held businesses back – and the ability to define the right tools, technology and strategy to make them stronger.
From founding a successful technology support business in his early teens, to serving as Chief Operating Officer for several companies in the financial, technology and marketing industries, Aaron has developed a reputation for reinventing technology implementation tactics – and the willingness to tell people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear, in order to achieve success without overwhelm.
Aaron will always go the extra mile to provide the accountability and support his clients need to achieve their goals, yet isn’t afraid to tell them when they are doing something wrong.