Thanks to the emergence of advanced tech, a level playing field may be closer than it seems.
By Brandon Spear, president of MSTS
For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), competing against big-name brands can seem difficult, if not impossible. Numerous advantages, including greater brand recognition and larger budgets, often stack the deck against SMBs.
But thanks to the emergence of advanced technologies, a level playing field may be closer than it seems. From analytics platforms to chatbots, new innovations now enable SMBs to go toe-to-toe with industry leaders.
Simplify the purchase process
B2B customers crave convenience, and they’re not afraid to look elsewhere if the purchasing process is too complicated. In many cases, SMBs increase conversion by working with a payment provider capable of expanding payment options.
While traditional options like checks and credit cards are a good place to start, you may also want to consider new payment technologies that are poised to provide customers with a seamless checkout experience. One such solution is Credit as a Service™(CaaS). By enabling you to offer payment terms, issue credit lines and onboard customers almost instantly, CaaS goes beyond just payments to pave the way for a top-notch customer experience and faster growth.
If you’re not sure what other payment technologies might fit your target audience, just ask. Focus groups or post-purchase surveys can unearth valuable information about the payment options that matter to your customer base.
Make the most of data
While 74% of businesses want to be data driven, just 29% are adept at using analytics to inform their decisions. Capitalize on information collected across your organization with an analytics platform that highlights key insights.
For example, instead of assuming a specific segment of customers will be interested in a product or service, use purchase history data to identify the offerings that are most relevant to the segment.
When selecting an analytics solution, opt for the platform that offers the greatest flexibility. From a data perspective, customizable technologies are far more effective at unearthing actionable insights than solutions that cannot be easily configured to your unique requirements.
When competing against larger companies, fewer employees coupled with a less robust budget means your business will have to find ways to operate more efficiently. Not sure where to start? Try marketing automation technology. Rather than spending time manually steering leads through the pipeline, your employees can reallocate work hours to more important initiatives, such as enhancing the online experience or addressing customer concerns.
Outsourcing offers another effective strategy for freeing up employees’ time and saving money. Recruiting platforms can identify qualified freelancers to tasks like accounting and risk assessment and subsequently lighten the load of full-time employees. Better yet, portions of your budget that may have been set aside for roles like A/R and collections can instead be applied to more pressing needs. This decline in labor costs will help you achieve the financial flexibility required to compete with more established organizations.
Raise customer service standards
Experts predict chatbots will manage 85% of customer service interactions by 2020. With the right technology, chatbots can introduce a number of advantages to your organization, including 24-hour service, instant responses and automated answers to common questions.
While human interaction will always play an essential role in customer service, chatbots can handle minor issues that prevent your staff from tackling more complex problems. Hours previously dedicated to customer service can also be reallocated to provide support to other departments.
There’s no denying the fact that larger organizations enjoy certain advantages. But those advantages shouldn’t deter smaller companies from competing effectively. From payment options to marketing automation software, your ability to leverage new technology can make it easier to capture market share from leading brands.
Brandon Spear is the president of MSTS, a global B2B payments and credit solutions provider. Brandon excels at managing large, diverse global teams while connecting with and motivating staff across all levels of an organization. He helps companies overcome challenges with an entrepreneurial spirit and a technology-first focus. Connect with Brandon on LinkedIn.
Tech stock photo by FoffeeFon/Shutterstock