When shopping for the critical software your small business needs, you may be surprised to find how many categories and overlaps there are on the market. To help you narrow your choices to the right integrated tools, you should understand that most business software falls under one of four basic categories; sales, accounting, communications and websites. These categories are designed to help streamline and automate processes for less hassle and fewer chances for mistakes or typos.
Sales and marketing software is one of the largest categories, with many solutions overlapping the other three areas. One of the most crucial tools is an easy-to-use customer data platform you can integrate into your sales dashboard, accounting software and inventory system. This solution platform allows your sales department to quickly separate customer lists into categories for targeted marketing, to quickly pull up customer accounts to help streamline incoming calls, and much more. One of the most significant advantages of integration is having a single dashboard with your critical information grouped for ease of use. Meaning that you can log in to the platform and immediately see where your sales numbers are. Using customer information platforms integrated with your sales dashboard and other critical systems can also reduce the human error involved in manually moving information and streamline processes across the company.
Some critical accounting software includes tax and bookkeeping solutions, but payroll and time tracking applications and transactions processing software can also fit in this category. Integrated accounting software can help streamline processes within the accounting department and the rest of the company. For instance, accounting software integrated with inventory and point-of-sale solutions will instantly update all three when a transaction is made, a shipment arrives, or supplies are ordered. Sometimes you can find accounting solutions that integrate with a cloud-based business platform so the firm you outsource to can securely access your books offsite. Adding some of these tools to your dashboard can help you see related metrics, such as your labor costs compared to your sales and how much stock you have ready to sell.
Communicating is crucial to running a successful business, especially when you have business partners, employees and customers to interact with. There are software solutions to help with various communication needs, such as intraoffice chat or email systems, interoffice communication platforms and phone and voicemail management tools. Many business dashboards will have some or all of these features integrated into them, so it is vital to determine which ones are the best for your needs before committing to an integration system. When you have critical communication methods on your dashboard, you can quickly communicate with team members or business partners worldwide to collaborate on various projects.
In the age of the internet, local clients often overlook companies without a website, as customers are more likely to use a search engine to find what they need than a phonebook. Your company will need software solutions to build, update and maintain a website. You can outsource much of this, but knowing how to update the site can be helpful if needed and integrating these tools with your dashboard can streamline that process. For instance, you can display the date and title of your last blog update on your dashboard and set up a reminder to write and post another on schedule. Finding website tools integrated with some sales or marketing ones can help you boost your ranking in search engine results, check site performance metrics at a glance, and even manage your social media accounts from the same place.
Finding the right software tools and platforms can be difficult when so many solutions are on the market. It is a good idea to start with a solid platform with integration capabilities and then add sales, accounting, communication and website solutions to your custom dashboard. While not every process in your company needs a software solution, integrating as many applications and software tools as possible will help streamline seemingly unrelated processes and help reduce human error.