Operational efficiency is a key factor in the success of any business. When you have an efficient workplace, you can focus on what matters most: ensuring customers have a positive experience with your business and increasing sales performance. Approximately 80% of CEOs shared that they’ve planned operational efficiencies to drive revenue growth this year, according to PwC’s 2022 CEO surveys.
Does that mean you should focus on cutting costs? The answer is no. Achieving operational efficiency goes beyond simple cost-cutting measures. It’s more about investing in digital transformation, big data, machine learning, AI, and people.
If you’re not already doing these things, here are 4 actionable strategies to help you get started.
1. Embrace Automation for Labor-intensive and Repetitive Tasks
Automation is a powerful tool for streamlining manual labor-intensive and repetitive tasks, such as data entry, invoicing, and customer service. It can also be used to increase productivity by reducing errors and increasing accuracy.
For example, retailers can implement digital self-service channels to deal with high-volume transactional requests like providing tracking orders, paying bills, or updating subscriptions. Or an AI-powered platform can make real-time supply chain decisions autonomously. The machine will automatically identify products that need to be sourced from suppliers and order them based on their availability in the market.
Another way to embrace automation is using a business process automation (BPA) tool like automated merchandising to quickly clean, enrich, and add contextual meaning to product data. This will ensure your product discovery experience is meaningful and successful—in any language.
2. Capitalize on Technology to Set Up Channel Partner Syndication
Businesses syndicate their products through multiple channels like wholesalers and retail stores. It’s important to have consistent product information so that all channels are aware of the latest changes or updates in the product line. Many still use spreadsheets to handle this process.
The problem with traditional data management is it requires a lot of manual effort. Your team will have to manually create the spreadsheets on an ongoing basis and then email them out one by one to your channel partners. This inefficient process takes up valuable time and resources—which could be better spent elsewhere, not to mention errors and inconsistencies that might happen along the way.
If you’re still using spreadsheets, it’s time to capitalize on technology to help streamline syndication. With the right platform, you’ll have a single source of truth for all product content and information. You can also be sure your data will be enriched and distributed seamlessly and consistently across channels—at the right time and in the right format.
Lindy, a computer and audiovisual connectivity product manufacturer, is an excellent example of succeeding in setting up product content syndication. The company runs multiple websites to serve customers from different countries. Previously, they used several platforms to manage data across those channels, making it challenging for them to ensure a consistent content discovery experience. But all problems were resolved after they implemented content syndication. Lindy now finds it easy to provide customers with clear, comprehensive, and user-friendly—no matter where they are.
3. Take Advantage of Configurators to Improve CPQ
Configurable products are a great way to engage shoppers, give them the power to customize their orders, and increase your sales. They allow you to offer various options and ensure every customer can get exactly what they want.
It’s important to note, however, that configurable products can also be a major pain in the neck for sales reps and customers alike. The longer it takes for a sales rep or a customer to get their price and quote back for a configurable product, the less likely the deal will be closed. This is especially true if multiple options are available for selecting a particular configurable product type.
Here’s the good news: you can take advantage of interactive, visual product configurators to improve CPQ. No IT or coding is required, meaning it’s easy to set up this feature on your online store. Plus:
- It displays all available products and their compatible accessories so customers can build their own products quickly and easily. The result is an improved customer experience, with less time spent searching for the right components and more time spent creating the perfect product.
- It shortens sales cycles by removing tedious processes like quoting and ordering, leaving less room for error and providing more opportunities for sales reps to focus on closing deals instead of filling out forms.
- It acts as a guided selling. Customers can build a product in real-time and add parts and features as they go along. They’ll see the price update instantly with each change. By making it easy for customers to choose what they want and giving them confidence in the price they’ll pay, configurators help remove sales complexity and build buyer confidence.
4. Provide Sales Teams With Better Training Material
Sales teams are always on the move. They need to be able to access product information, have a way to communicate with customers, and remember all the details of your company’s offerings. If they don’t have these things, they won’t be able to do their job properly.
That’s why providing sales reps with the best training material is crucial. For example, think about digital assistants and configurations that can help them easily find the information they need when they need it—without having to spend time searching through files or calling the product support team for assistance.
One way to do this is by providing sales teams with easy access to customer information and other relevant data they need, such as product information and pricing details. This makes it easier for sales reps to understand customers’ needs and, more importantly, how those needs align with the product or service offered.
Improve Operational Efficiency for Sustainable Growth
It’s no longer a nice-to-have for businesses to operate in an efficient manner; it’s a necessity if they want to survive and thrive in today’s world. Businesses that have the greatest value to their customers are the ones that can deliver their products at an affordable cost and with the best quality. This requires significant operational efficiency, which can be achieved through automation, technology, and well-trained teams.