Connecting your CRM, ERP, IMS, and other systems to your website is critical for business success in the future. August Ash has extensive experience doing just that.
In our line of work, it’s all too often that we peruse a B2B website to learn about products or services but get distracted by some burning questions.
Namely, we ask ourselves, “is this website doing everything it can for this B2B company?” Then we ask ourselves, “is this B2B company doing everything it can for this website?”
It’s a tough life—not being able to browse a website to purchase a product without these thoughts. We’d love just to navigate page-to-page, freely and uncritically.
Unfortunately, we live, eat, and breath this kind of stuff—and frankly, we embrace that mentality.
After all, when approached with the correct mindset, a website is a beautiful thing, like an art-form of sorts. It’s somewhat akin to a swiss army knife for any small B2B business looking for an edge.
“A swiss army knife?” you ask. Yes, in that a website can be an extremely versatile tool for small businesses. It can cut through the complexities of the eCommerce landscape to find and entice the ideal audience for an organization’s products and services.
But the number of circumstances that play a role in a website’s effectiveness as a profitable entity are too plentiful to track on your own. Whether it’s analytics, data tracking, marketing, or customer relations, for instance, these various business systems must integrate with your website. When the two become one – reacting in real-time to trends, mistakes, and even industry disruptions become much likelier. The results are there for you to see, with all potential boundaries removed.
This way, as opposed to your website just being “there” as a tick-box, so to speak, it will actually be your business. Your organization and site will go hand-in-hand.
Let’s Take a Further look below:
Section 1: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Look, we will never speak ill of a website that boasts eye-catching designs, immaculately written copy, and seamless browsing capabilities. Without those core foundational facets firmly ingrained into a business’s website’s framework, the pages generate as much value as a paperweight.
Still, even when you think the essential facets are in place, it doesn’t mean your website will bring the return on an investment that it should.
Yes, what seems like a well-programmed, keenly designed, and cleverly written website can come up short, and for a variety of nuanced reasons. It’s challenging for the naked eye to pinpoint these factors. Especially without a savvy system in place that will offer in-depth insights on where your website is both succeeding and failing.
Your website is as much a part of your small business as the products, services, project managers, presidents, and CEOs. A website with a sound strategy and excellent execution generates revenue, increases brand recognition, and acts as a key contact point with customers. Even better? You don’t have to pay it a full-time salary.
With websites being such a crucial facet of businesses, they can’t operate as a separate entity if they’re going to be profitable.
Instead, websites and business systems must interweave with one another harmoniously. In short, your website is your business and vice versa. When one of them struggles or suffers, so does the other.
It’s all well and good for us to talk about integration as some vague concept—but it’s really quite specific when you delve deeper.
One of the primary tools for these integrations is known as enterprise resource planning software (ERP).
Businesses in all industries, shapes, sizes, and styles benefit from the various streamlining and automated attributes of ERPs.
What kind of components does ERP software encompass?
Well, there’s probably more than most people can count. Generally, they can mold to the varying needs of your business. For some organizations, they can integrate metrics and systems for accounting purposes, human resources, distribution, sales, revenue, and so forth.
A Central Data Hub for Your B2B Business
As most business owners will know, a business functions best as a well-oiled machine. All departments should tie into one another cohesively.
ERP integration promotes that cohesiveness because it’s a point where all manners of an organization’s workflow intertwine. As such, there’s evident transparency between departments, giving all involved a clear illustration of the machinations of a given business.
When there’s a sale on your website, for instance, ERP software can send that information to both accounting and marketing departments.
Generally, such financial data would have to be accessed or processed manually, depending on the department. Conversely, with ERP, the workflow of every relevant department is streamlined so they can focus their efforts on what’s most important.
Postmodern ERP Strategies
What’s most impressive about ERP systems is the seemingly limitless flexibility of the technology.
Those who developed this software and its array of tools did so with one core principle in mind; not all businesses are made the same.
As a result, businesses can customize and apply the specific tools that fit their business and website model.
In fact, there’s now something referred to as ‘postmodern ERP strategy.’ No, it has nothing to do with a picture of a Campbell’s soup can. Instead, it has everything to do with ERP software being developed proprietarily, completely catered towards the exact systems and structures of a given business.
As opposed to a business purchasing a program, then ad hoc customizing and choosing the tools they prefer, postmodern ERPs are unique to one organization.
As a small business owner, you only have so much time in the day—carefully combing over every single task is impossible. Automating various procedures is proven to eliminate human error (like typos).
Not only will this product benefit ensure better work is completed, but it saves a tremendous amount of time.
ERP and eCommerce Data Entry
One of the most enticing prospects of ERP in eCommerce is that it combines back-office practices with customer-facing systems.
In the absence of these systems, there are clunky data entry processes that act as a barrier in providing businesses with essential buyer information. ERP system implementation means the information is already there. And companies won’t be waiting on people to grit their teeth and perform the mind-numbing data entry tasks.
More specifically, by keenly utilizing ERP, there will be enhanced visibility with revenue tracking. The process of compiling monthly, quarterly, and annual revenues relative to costs will be automated, versus being an arduous time-wasting practice.
Another website integration that must be considered by any business involves customer relationship management software.
For example, many customers will make contact and request further information, a quote, or they might even have a complaint.
With CRM software integrated into your website, the customer’s query (or complaint) can be allocated towards the appropriate party. So, the right team and person can handle the question, as opposed to an overworked customer service agent being over-ridden with questions they don’t understand.
CRM software can be impressively customizable and specific. It can assess a customer’s referenced product, industry, or location, for instance, and determine the adjacent staff member or team.
The software takes the appropriate information from the website without prompting.
What’s the result? Customers will be impressed and satisfied with lightning-quick response times.
Enhanced Customer Profiling
CRM fills you in with data from the customer journey in its entirety. It provides businesses with analytics from the moment of their first inquiry to their sales and feedback. You’ll have keen insights into your customers’ behaviors, which will allow you to be predictive and strategic when you form marketing campaigns and client service initiatives.
Integrate with Experts
The truth is, not all small business owners have the time to become tech-savvy.
And while a do-it-yourself attitude in a small business serves many purposes, there are times when you must outsource.
Customizing ERP, CRM, web analytics, and a variety of other integrations into your business model requires an expert touch—not a DIY approach.
Integrating platforms such as Shopify, Drupal, Magneto, and WordPress, really isn’t a matter of making a few purchases, taking a day, and getting the job done. These online programs are all as unique and nuanced as your business itself.
You must hire experts with a proven track record for understanding their clients’ business models and strategies. It’s the only way that your customizations will help your website generates the highest potential return.
They’ll also provide the education and training on how to properly leverage the integrations, so you aren’t spending too much time trying to understand your technology.