The Top 3 Challenges Faced by SMEs

There are a myriad of challenges faced by SMEs in the UK. To set up, grow and manage a successful SME is no easy task, especially with the rapidly evolving business environment. Disruption is fast becoming the new normal.

At OYF we understand the needs of SMEs and have put outlined the top 3 challenges faced by SMEs in the UK, as well as how Salesforce can help meet these challenges.

Keeping up with customer expectations

It’s not just the business environment rapidly evolving, it’s the customers themselves. By definition, customer expectations are any set of behaviors or actions that individuals anticipate when interacting with a company. Historically customer expectations have extended to quality customer service and fair pricing. Brand loyalty was much more stable because of the hassle and time it took to switch, and information was received via the news, adverts and direct mail dropped through the letterbox.

Enter, the internet. The power of the internet has completely revolutionised consumerism. Customers are now armed with an abundance of knowledge, and the confidence that if one business can’t meet their expectations, there’ll be another that can. It’s never been simpler to find the cheapest, fastest and smartest alternative, anywhere in the world. Research has found that 80% of customers need to trust a brand if they are going to stay loyal, whilst 67% admit the standard they hold companies to is higher than ever.

Customers are now expecting seamless handoffs and contextualised engagement. They want their experience to be personalised and are looking for an immediate, responsive service. This means that providing a first-class customer experience is amongst the challenges faced by SMEs.

Managing Opportunities

Balancing day-to-day running whilst effectively managing opportunities is one of the challenges faced by SMEs. Being able to successfully convert leads into sales is critical for business growth, yet this process can be a difficult one. From viewing your website content to sending an email, potential customers are continuously interacting with your company. Thus, being able to spot and manage potential opportunities, as well as quickly close the sales is a must for SMEs.

Ultimately, SMEs require a strategy to get their deals over the finish line and to secure business growth. For successful opportunity management, businesses first need to know what it is and put simply, opportunity management is the process of guiding opportunities through the sales cycle until they close. Secondly, it’s important to know who the opportunity involves. Do you need to handover to sales reps? Sales managers? Once the what and who are established, it’s time to figure out the when, specifically when is the best time to take the initiative and close the deal.

There are numerous benefits to managing opportunities efficiently. Particularly developing a successful strategy increases the likelihood that your business will close a deal, every time. As well as this, you’ll have insight into the work pipeline and can rest assured that your deals are constantly moving forward towards a close.

Despite the benefits, opportunity management seems to be a common challenge faced by SMEs. Strategies can be overlooked in favour of ad-hoc approaches which is a downfall for many small-to-medium businesses.

Collaboration across the business

In a world where information is exchanged at lighting speed, being able to store and share this information in a way conducive for collaboration is essential. Collaboration is critical to team and company growth, however this is one of the challenges faced by SMEs.  

For an efficient, streamlined business, sales reps and staff members need the ability to easily communicate and collaborate with each other. And with more and more companies expanding to multiple locations or going fully remote, having infrastructure which can accommodate a fluid workforce is crucial. Enabling your team to access applications and documents easily both within and outside of the office is essential for the success of a company and its culture.

So how can Salesforce meet the challenges faced by SMEs?

The good news is that Salesforce is designed specifically to meet the challenges faced by SMEs.  An all inclusive CRM platform, Salesforce allows for seamless interactions both inside and outside of the business. From contacting customers to closing deals, an effective CRM system will catapult your business into the fast lane.

  • Salesforce gives you a 360-degree view of the customer. By gathering all your customer data in one place, your agents are given an intuitive, unified and real-time view of every customer interaction across your business. By putting all employees on the same page customer interactions become seamless, with no prolonged handovers. This massively enhances the customer experience in which such prompt and contextual communication is expected.

 

  • An omnichannel approach to Salesforce allows cases to be matched with agents who have the best skill set to solve them. Being able to do this from a single CRM platform creates an effortless customer and agent experience with no need to switch between softwares. Cutting out time-consuming internal communication means cutting down the time to solve a customer query, ultimately enhancing the customer experience.

 

  • To get a deeper understanding of your customers, Salesforce includes service analytics. The ability to track the relevant analytics means key business questions such as what happened, why it happened and what to do about it can be answered. Understanding what went right and what went wrong allows for continuous improvement within the business, enhancing the delivery of customer service.

 

  • Sales Cloud is designed specifically to allow for optimal opportunity management. Incorporating a wide range of data including social profiles and online activity ensures that everything is in place when the deal is about to be closed. Einstein AI is an impressive artificial intelligence technology which can predict and recommend optimal times to contact customers, ensuring opportunities are maximised.

 

  • Being a cloud based system makes Salesforce the ideal CRM solution for SMEs. Expertise, files and data can be shared easily across your company, meaning everyone moves together, regardless of where they are. This clearly meets the challenge of collaboration for SMEs but also is a future proof solution for SMEs with the potential to go remote or to expand into multiple locations.

To read more on how Salesforce can specifically help small businesses, check our last blog post.