reducing resistance it is not the biggest companies that crush the smallest. But the most agile that overtake the slowest. This saying highlights that agility is one of the keys to success. Especially when it is difficult to anticipate the future. As is the case today. This idea is also the basis of growth hacking strategies. With the adaptation of so-called “agile” development methods to all of its activity.
This is why, in this article, I will focus on the tools that allow you to gain agility simply and quickly. In particular through the digitalization of exchanges in order to make your business more fluid on a daily basis. Indeed, productivity gains are now found in all that is “services” (marketing. Administrative, etc.): electronic signature, project management, customer relationship management, etc.
How to gain agility by reducing resistance to change?
Putting in place digital tools to be more efficient is good. The problem is that faced with the vastness of the tools available to you, the problem is rather to know:
- Where to start,
- How to choose your priorities
- And how can you be sure that it will provide leverage?
The easiest way is to simply see what others are doing (customers, suppliers, etc.).And thus find simple ideas to put in place because they have already been proven. However, this is not necessarily going to have a major impact on your business. This is why, it is rather necessary to analyze. Where you must act in priority in your customer journey (points of friction, loss of time, etc.). And where you spend energy and time unnecessarily. For example, if every Monday morning you spend 1 hour doing manual reporting for a client. You need to find a way to automate all or part of this action.
Similarly, we must dare to question the achievements
For this, a good practice is to set up an internal continuous.Improvement project by involving operational employees by asking them. What should be done to help them do their job better and increase customer satisfaction. (Well heard to generate more profit). Of course, before digitizing your actions and setting up tools, check that.
- Your customers, collaborators, suppliers… will accept them.
- Sometimes you come up against resistance to change on the part of your employees. Sometimes only for reasons of principle. (“We have always done it this way”) or of skills (eg lack of computer knowledge). It is therefore necessary to defuse and convince without imposing.
- A little trick is to say “We try for 1 month, and if it doesn’t work we go back”.
- The fact of offering a “risk-free” trial reduces a lot of reluctance.
- With some suppliers, it can be just as complicated to change processes. For example for administrations that have a lot of formalism. large companies that already have EDI tools… it’s hard to get out of the nails.
- In this case, it is necessary to check that at least 80% of your suppliers enter into the new process. Below this number, you risk mixing up your brushes and making oversights if there are several processing modes.
- The cost of setting up must be greater than the direct and indirect gains over a maximum of 2 years.
- The era of pharaonic projects is over, each decision must have a short-term economic reality.
- One of the simplest ways is to perform a simple ROI calculation on an Excel file with the direct and indirect gains over 2 years.
- By quantifying the time savings, the fluidity that this brings… you force people to rationalize their proposals and to clearly position themselves on the interest of such and such a tool and to move forward in the reflection.
- For example, if you spend 1 day / month getting your customers to sign documents, an electronic signature tool should save you 1 day a year or speed up sales processing or reduce the risk of unpaid (e.g. customers who never sign their quotes).
- On the other hand, you should not close the door to all ideas whose ROI is difficult to measure, otherwise you will never make fundamental changes which are nevertheless essential (eg changing ERP, setting up a CRM) .
- This kind of structuring projects must go beyond the simple calculation of profitability because they are strategic and essential.
- And conversely, dare to say “banco” for small, simple changes that will have an immediate positive impact for a low investment.
This kind of “quick wins” not only allow the company to make leaps forward, but they also help motivate employees to innovate and offer tools.
- Human and interpersonal relationships are not affected by the digitization of processes.
- If automation makes it possible to go faster, it sometimes harms relationships.
- We must therefore always maintain this human aspect, whether in the company or towards its ecosystem.
- You have to either plan meetings (eg: make an annual update with your top customers and suppliers if you start to favor video conferences, etc.), or also digitize your customer service via satisfaction surveys (customers and employees) to compensate the lack of face-to-face interactions…
- The tools you select are GDPR compliant and secure.
- A good reflex, even to set up a small tool, is to carry out a risk analysis.
- This simply consists of listing everything that could go wrong and implementing corrective or limiting actions.
- The goal is not to kill the idea, but just to anticipate problems so as not to end up in the water halfway
- For example, the fact of hosting personal data requires ensuring that the provider complies with European legislation.
- Similarly, for binding or financial documents, the validation and verification of processing must be secure in order to limit any misappropriation or errors.
- For example, limiting online payments without management validation to €5,000, creating validation levels, etc.
digitalization of interactions
In the context of a VSE / SME, the first steps in the digitalization of interactions now concern all processing related to services and human relations which have for a long time been spared by the search for productivity. In particular, it is possible to gain agility through the digital transformation of everything related:
- For the exchange of papers (GED, document signature, etc.)
- By voice (voicebot, contact center in the cloud, IP telephony, etc.)
- Interpersonal exchanges (internal company chat, calendar, etc.).
5 tools to digitize the activity of an SME and gain in agility!
Now that you know why you need to change, and how to start your digital transformation, here is a selection of 5 simple tools to put in place to gain agility. Of course, this is only a small list as an example, there are dozens of tools to put in place (see this list of marketing tools ). Prioritization can be done via a simple comparative grid with a score from 0 to 10 (0 not relevant – 10 relevant)
- The impact of implementing this solution in your company.
- The cost of the tool (installation and operation)
- The desire to set up this tool
For example, this allows you to choose rationally between two tools:
1 – Electronic signature for customer, supplier and employee documents
Who hasn’t experienced the hassle of the contract that the client must return and which blocks the start of the project, the quote that is never returned signed with a client who disputes the services, the certificate that has been forgotten to sign by an employee.This is why the electronic signature is one of the most accessible ways to start digitizing your business.
Indeed, in an SME, or even for a Freelancer
For example, a Freelancer can send a quote by email and request an electronic signature immediately to validate the signature. It’s a great way to engage your prospects and protect yourself in the event of a dispute.At the level of a company, it also makes it possible to accelerate the signing of a contract in a way, by avoiding the paper signature, the stamp of the company.
However, beyond these commercial aspects, the electronic signature can also simplify all contractual aspects, such as an amendment to an employment contract , the signing of internal documents, etc. This is all the more useful with the generalization of telework. It took me 2 seconds to sign electronically via an SMS sent to my smartphone (proof of signature).
At the level of the implementation, the opening of the account is done in a few minutes only. The pricing is within everyone’s reach, with a price of €25/month for an unlimited number of signatures and a validation system, as well as rights management. It is therefore a tool that will appeal to both very small businesses and very large companies.
2 – Managing appointments and diaries
One of the daily wastes of time is setting up an appointment with customers, prospects, suppliers.It always ends with proposals for dates that do not suit everyone and many exchanges of emails. With solutions that allow you to make your agenda visible via a private link (without displaying the details of your appointments, but just your availability), the headache of finding free slots disappears…
3 – CRM to optimize commercial activity
The current economic context makes it no longer acceptable to miss a sale due to lack of follow-up or poor use of your contact database. A CRM allows you to structure your business process and above all not to forget anything. This tool quickly becomes essential in the context of long sales cycles, when many businesses have to be managed at the same time.
or when the sales team exceeds 4 people. The CRM also makes it possible to digitize its exchanges via the programming of automatic emails, the management of calls in 1 click from the software, the taking of voice notes with transcription, etc. However, you will have to be careful not to forget the human and the relational: you have to dare to pick up your phone, be a teacher… and not hide behind your screen or your CRM.
4 – Internal Messaging
Agility is one of the keys to helping an SME make a difference and improve its efficiency. In the context, the speed of communications, the monitoring of exchanges, etc. are essential.This is why it is essential to set up a messaging tool between employees but also with customers and suppliers.
Two types of tools can be used:
- Internal chat tools like Slack & Microsoft Teams that allow you to create discussion threads by project, by client, etc., which compensate for the weakness of management by email. Slack and Teams also allow you to manage video calls and remote meetings in order to centralize everything in a single tool for your communications.
- Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram that allow you to quickly exchange information. The difference with the internal chat is the notion of immediacy and responsiveness. We will therefore avoid having too many messages on this kind of platform.
5 – Project management
All companies have projects, whether internal or for customers. To avoid having to keep everything in mind, in Excel files or on paper, it quickly becomes necessary to use project management software. These tools can be very simple, requiring too much time wasted entering information. With tools like Monday.com, Wrike.com, Asana.com, Trello.com.
collaborative work becomes much easier. and allows you to have a clear vision of the actions to be implemented. the provisional agenda. For more complex projects Wrike and Monday will be more complete. and for advanced project management (Gantt chart, resources, retro planning, etc.). the use of Asana will be of great help.
In conclusion, the electronic signature,
Agility is what makes the difference between companies: being closer to its customers, being more responsive, avoiding wasting time… allows you to move up a gear and optimize your resources. Thanks to the many applications on the Cloud and the extremely affordable prices, there are no more excuses , you have to get started and set up a pilot with a few people or customers.
Also test new solutions, and don’t hesitate to bring in new ideas. in particular with the integration of new blood via interns, work-study trainees, etc. who will make you benefit from their expertise in new technologies. Also look at what your customers and suppliers are doing. to see if there isn’t a simpler and more affordable tool that you too could adopt!