Common Problems the Right Tech Tool Can Solve

With an overabundance of technology today, it’s common for businesses to struggle with which tools are best for them. Small and medium businesses might reasonably assume that they won’t benefit from complex systems designed for conglomerates. In many cases, they’d be right. 

Yet this foundational belief is also what stops business owners from exploring what is available, and how it can be adapted to fit their everyday operations. Between the tech jargon and superfluous promises, it’s easy to miss the specific benefits of better technology. We’ll take a deeper dive into which problems that can be solved with the right upgrades.

#1 - Stalled Projects and Missed Deadlines 

The Problem: There are a number of ways to approach a project, depending on its scope, team, and criteria. When the schedule stumbles, as it so often does, it’s often because the goals were never clearly defined in the first place or the project requirements kept shifting.

When there’s a lack of progress, how do team leaders respond? Endless waffling about how to correct the delay? A focus on the faults of individual employees rather than the big picture? This kind of sidetracked thinking results in frustration and a lack of direction. It leads employees to feel stuck or afraid to make a decision for fear of wasting time or complicating the matter further. 

The Solution: One of the biggest reasons why projects fall apart is due to a lack of communication and planning. From task sequences to contingency plans, people are often kept in the dark. This can increase resentment on top of the loss of efficiency. 
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can give a team a better way to communicate effectively and clearly map the dependencies between each task. It organizes the information/resources of each project and identifies who is in charge of what. This way if requirements change, you can update the CRM to show how the new criteria will affect each member of the team.

#2 - Keeping Remote Workers Productive

The Problem: We’ve all seen that businesses can stay productive when working from home but that doesn’t mean remote workers don’t face inherent challenges. Isolated workers might have a difficult time getting answers when they need them the most. Instead of popping into an office for a quick discussion, they have to wait until someone sees their voicemail, email, or text message. 

Without that face-to-face communication, it’s easy for messages to get lost in translation. You might find yourself constantly having to check in on workers to ensure they’re staying on task — especially if they’re younger or inexperienced. Plus, there are fewer opportunities to build the trust and rapport that results in great ideas and effective collaborations. 

The Solution: The truth is that nothing can substitute for an in-person conversation. There’s an intangible magic that seems to occur when two people are in the same space. But when this isn’t an option, video conferencing can be the answer.
When it comes to finding out what works for your remote workforce, think about what makes in-person work effective. Then, be creative about how to use video in a way that mimics the most important aspect of your work culture.
For example, we have an interactive team environment, where techs are accessible to each other throughout the day. In our tech environment, it’s advantageous for team members to be able to exchange ideas and work together to solve problems. So, we held all day video sessions, where team members were consistently available for one another.
Another idea is asking team members to chat via video at least once a day, thereby stepping up accountability and enforcing consistency across the board. (Trust us, team members will appreciate the genuine interest in what they’re doing all day.)
Along the same lines, another possibility is to make video your go-to communication style, even if it’s just for a quick discussion. You might think you’re wasting time with all that small talk, but this is the key to having real relationships and inspiring loyalty in your team members.

#3 - Duplicate Efforts

The Problem: It’s common for colleagues and managers to find that someone has spent all day researching information that was readily available in one file or another. In some cases, this can be beneficial to the company because it might result in updated data. In most cases though, it’s just a waste of time. 

Who’s doing what? How is that data being organized? How can new employees know that the information they’re compiling has already been done before? Duplicate efforts are usually due to a lack of communication. There are too many reference points for any one person to keep track of, making it likely that someone will redo work in some way or another. 

The Solution: How you track your resources is one that’s specific to each business. However, you can’t expect everyone to remember everything, especially if you only off-handedly mention it once or twice. What you can do is implement better strategies that establish an effective protocol.
This might mean setting up task data in an ERP or reorganizing your company drive to be easier to search. Once you’ve decided on an approach, you need to both mention it frequently and follow your own directions. Be meticulous in your explanations and clear in your directions. For example, you might tell an employee that you’ve completed one leg of a project and then request them to update a task that’s assigned to them.

When everything you need is conveniently located in the right dashboard or drive, it becomes a lot more feasible for employees to double-check things before they make their official to-do list. As long as everyone adopts these processes, it will become part of the company culture. Until then, you can rely on emails, links, Sharepoint, etc to reinforce your expectations. 

 #4 - Lost Sales Opportunities 

The Problem: Leads, follow-up requests, upselling opportunities: there are a lot of profit-drivers that get lost when you don’t have the right technology. Salespeople end up developing their own processes, which can quickly become confusing about what’s already been done for a client or what the client is ultimately looking for.

It’s an unfortunate reality that clients have come to expect long-winded spiels for products and services they don’t need. Clients may find that repeating themselves or explaining their problem in five different ways is a given. These frustrating interactions quickly turn people off and result in a loss of business for your company. 

The Solution: The right CRM can help you define a consistent sales process, one where everyone understands the priorities and has easy ways to measure progress. These systems help you track every lead, confirm where they are in the funnel, and notify associates when anyone needs a follow-up.

CRMs detail the customer journey. They make it possible for a salesperson to focus on what the client needs, so they’re not pitching them to upgrade products when they haven’t even decided to purchase yet. 

#5 - Unproductive Meetings

The Problem: Meetings can quickly stray from the original intent, ending in a disorganized and unproductive mess. Leaders want to give people a chance to voice their concerns, but the conversation or topics just devolve into tangents that don’t actually go anywhere.

Whether it’s because people become sidetracked or the company is legitimately failing to address the needs of team members, unproductive meetings can become a source of more than just irritation in a company. If employees feel as though their time isn’t being respected, they might begin looking for a company that can keep things on track.

The Solution: A mind-mapping tool can help you brainstorm during the meeting, which can help people organize their thoughts and ideas more. When people are focused, they can start to see where the problems might lie and how to either get around them or pitch solutions that will prevent them from burgeoning in the first place. When you have a concrete plan that can be visualized as a logical sequence of events, it can give employees the premise they need to get to work.

#6 - Coordinating Everyone and Working Together

The Problem: Projects are often based on assumptions of who’s doing what and how communication should take place. Whether people get stuck on certain tasks or they spend an hour looking for something that doesn’t exist, it’s a sign that the processes need to be adjusted.
The Solution: An ERP makes it possible for project members to assign work to team members, record the status of tasks, and map out file locations. No matter what information people need, companies will find it easier to separate when they have the best possible resources.

Making the Leap

Investing in new technology shouldn’t be an easy decision. The number of tools available and the rate at which they evolve should make even the most tech-savvy person pause. But if you’ve been making excuses about how your business is too small to consider an upgrade, it might be time to tally up just how much productivity you lose by staying the course with outdated processes.

These problems are by no means outliers for most businesses. They’re common issues that can be addressed with comprehensive tech tools like CRM or ERP systems. Want to talk about CRM/ERP or get a demo? We’d love to chat – contact us today!

About Southeastern Technical

We help leaders discover how they can have stable, reliable information technology (IT), so their organizations can experience fewer IT problems and security threats.

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