They say that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. While this may be true, it’s not a good way to run a business. Every craft requires adequate tools, and in this day and age, the majority of these tools are digital.
A lot of medium-sized businesses have a pretty big pool of remote workers. Even field teams check their to-do lists via collaboration tools and need communication software to stay online with the headquarters. Office workers often continue working when they get home, even if it’s just to check their emails.
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are the top 5 types of tools that every medium-sized business desperately needs.
1. Communication Tools
Finding the right communication tool is not as simple as it seems. First of all, you need segregation of personal-professional communication. Using your Facebook Messenger to send instant messages to people back at the office is not as effective. Why? Well, because of all the intermingling chats and content on social media. You see, there’s a reason why during the 2020 lockdowns so many people picked up Slack and Zoom instead of using platforms like Viber and Skype (that they were already familiar with).
The second reason for this is the accessibility of conferencing. They say that office workers waste more than 30 hours per month on unnecessary meetings. Well, the duration of these meetings can be cut a lot shorter with these platforms. For instance, even canceled meetings waste time, and this way, canceling and rescheduling is instantaneous.
The key thing to consider is the accessibility and beginner-friendliness. Keep in mind that the majority of people using them are not that tech-savvy, so you need something intuitive with a sleek and minimalist UI.
Having good customer relationship management (CRM) software can help with your marketing automation, as well as improve your customer service case management. Now, the main reason why people use this is to improve the efficiency of their customer service. However, there are so many different perks for you to consider, as well.
This way, you also get to boost your customer retention. The reason why this is so important is that about 8% of your return customers make up about 40% of your profit. There’s an estimate that it’s five times cheaper to keep customers than to attract new ones. Seeing as how CRM helps you with retention, this is a deal that you can’t miss out on.
Lastly, you learn from your mistakes but only the ones you notice. This way, you’ll have more detailed analytics and reports on customer problems and dilemmas. In other words, you get more insight.
3. Project Management
A project management tool or a collaboration tool, as they are sometimes colloquially called, are virtually cloud-based to-do platforms. They are great for scheduling, task management, and even document sharing.
Let’s say you’re in a service-providing industry and have a field team. One person on the team takes out their smartphone, logs into the app, and checks their next task. They go there, resolve the issue, take a photo that they can post as a comment under this task, write a comment or a note, and head out to the next place.
For people working in a digital environment, the benefits of this system are even more obvious. File-sharing, simple communication, and the transparency of the project to-do list are essential in enabling a decent workflow. Chances are that you’ll have to supplement this platform with a communications tool, but this is really not that big of an issue.
4. Content Management System
With so many documents, content, and data in general, it’s often hard to keep track of it all. Sure, with cloud or HDD storage, it’s fairly easy to keep it all in one place, but what happens when you need to access it quickly?
The problem also comes from the fact that some of this data won’t be structured. Sure, you can find something that you’ve entered into a table (Excel or Sheets) in a matter of seconds, but what if it’s unstructured data that we’re talking about?
The simplest way to resolve this problem is to find a sophisticated content management system. According to the team behind M-Files, this tool can facilitate and streamline the work processes of your staff. In other words, it can make this tedious task of going through volumes and volumes of data into something quite simple.
Now, when you take into consideration just how many hours you and your staff have spent on these trivial tasks, it becomes clear that the sooner you introduce this, the better.
5. Recruitment Tool
Businesses grow, employees leave, and new departments get added to your organization. Now, one thing that all of these situations have in common is the fact that it needs a great recruitment tool.
Recruitment tools increase the chance that you’ll find the right person for the job more quickly. Sometimes, you’re racing to find a new person to fill a newly vacant spot to reduce the length of an ongoing downtime, while in other scenarios, you’re looking for a replacement for a team member that’s leaving.
Now, there are many different recruitment tool types. For instance, social media recruitment tools and strategies are vastly different from candidate management platforms. Then again, applicant tracking systems give you something else entirely. The key thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of your own specific needs. There’s no best tool, there’s only the right tool for the job.
In the end, every business needs a way to streamline its work processes and facilitate its operations. These tools are the simplest, most efficient, and most accurate way to do so. Also, you don’t have to choose between them, seeing as how they work best together. The biggest challenge lies in finding the right tool for you within each of the above-listed five categories. Now, seeing as how these will come to define your work in many different ways, what you need to do is conduct your research thoroughly and give some thought to it all before you commit.