What can we learn from businesses growing even in a crisis?

More than 2,300 entrepreneurs and business leaders around the world have spoken about how to deal with the crisis in the wake of the epidemic.

Those who remained stable or able to grow in 2020 typically skilfully reorganized their freed-up capacities and stepped on long-overdue developments such as digitization.

The world we know changed radically last spring, with the Covid-19 epidemic posing unprecedented challenges to all existing companies, regardless of their size. But the leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises are creative people who have been programmed to survive and who still want to invent, innovate and create. In a recent study, they were asked how to navigate their company through a period full of these challenges and how they prepare for the future.

For the fourth year in a row, Salesforce has been continuously innovating in line with market trends. trend report. The latest analysis shows, among other things, how the goals of business leaders changed during the pandemic, how much flexibility the digital switchover requires on their part, and how decision-makers plan recovery and then growth in the post-Covid-19 era. Let’s see, based on the answers, what are the main trends in the world that are worth considering for small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for more than 99% of the companies operating in Hungary!

Customer retention is a priority for SMEs

Typically, businesses were able to avoid a recession in the first three quarters of 2020 where they strengthened their customer relationships through flexibility, deepening customer relationships, and improving services to partners. Prosperous firms 49, while stagnant firms 41 percent said they give their customers more leeway, for example, with extended payment or redemption policies. Why is this important? Nearly half of SME executives (48%) said that the biggest challenge now in the company’s life is gaining new customers.

The vision of SMEs is still positive, but optimism is declining

In addition to pre-pandemic challenges (customer acquisition, capitalization), business leaders now also have to meet new expectations such as reviewing business operations, complying with epidemiological regulations, or meeting growing customer needs such as immediate online availability. Nevertheless, in August, 72% of respondents said they were optimistic about the future – true, that proportion was still 80% in March.

“Understandably, in the surveys covering the SME sector as a whole, the optimists are in the majority overall, as the specificity of the crisis caused by the epidemic is that it does not hit everyone a bit in general, but a narrow layer very much. In addition, the economic effects of the second wave are more moderate, for example, there is no trace of the spring shock in the manufacturing industry, so it really affects some sectors very seriously, such as tourism and hospitality – comments on the research results István Madár, Senior Analyst at Portfolio. “However, the general optimism is not only due to the serious problems of some actors, but the fluctuating development of the economic situation over time also highlights that the SME sector is much more sensitive and hectic in its response to the epidemic.”

So whether there will be a third wave in 2021, when the restrictions will be lifted, or how the sector will respond to economic developments could have a major impact on the prospects of the businesses involved.

It can stand out by making effective use of the opportunities offered by technology

Experience shows that in this rapidly changing environment, SME managers who can boldly integrate technological opportunities, such as opening up a new digital age in customer relations, can keep their company moving.

“Businesses on the rising track are increasingly reluctant to introduce automated customer management (CRM), use customer service and email marketing software ”

He claims Ádám Bükkösy regional sales director at Salesforce, who commissioned the study, who said industry-specific, company-specific IT and technology solutions can maximize processes not only in sales, marketing and customer management, but also on the back office front.

Momentum SMEs are also preparing for the next crisis

Although the main consideration for company leaders is to deal with the loss of traffic due to the epidemic, many have also begun to pay attention to creating a much more flexible company structure due to the unpredictable future.

“To this end, three key areas are planned to be digitized: customer management, workflows and internal communication,” he says. István Kellényi founder of BitMist, an IT consultant for business automation. – The tasks performed by the marketing team could be automated in up to 70% of most companies. As a result, the return on marketing expenses becomes available and reportable through real data, which greatly aids cost-effectiveness and even allows for immediate intervention. Anyone who first takes the essential first steps in digital reorganization will have an advantage over their competitors. ”

This kind of efficiency increase also creates the opportunity for reorganizations that would keep the current workforce at a time when, according to the survey, 25% of company executives are considering downsizing. The responses show that those who did not set cost optimization as a short-term goal but to increase productivity, and solved the resulting challenges through digitalisation, were able to move forward and even multiply their income during the crisis. Many also reported other unexpected benefits of business development: such a common example was when the company wanted to be made digitally available to customers, but the reorganization also opened up the possibility for company management to make teleworkers transparent and traceable. using new technologies.

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Source: technokrata by www.technokrata.hu.

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