If You Want to Attract and Retain the Best Employees, You Need to Be Using This Tool CRM solutions can reduce workloads and improve processes to help increase employee satisfaction and entice new talent.

By Steve Oriola

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It is no secret the labor market has been dealing with ongoing talent shortages. Hiring and retaining top-tier talent has been a challenge for businesses throughout the country, particularly small businesses. This issue has been a hot topic for local and national media outlets as it has impacted nearly every industry. With so many companies struggling, how can small businesses expect to attract top talent when competing with larger, better-resourced and more recognized organizations?

One way for small businesses to remain competitive in the job market is to increase operational and employee efficiency by integrating innovative software, like CRM and marketing automation. Employers who seek to simplify operations, thereby reducing employee workloads, can increase job satisfaction and foster loyalty.

Related: A Simple-to-Use CRM for Small Business Means an Easier Day-to ...

Reducing workloads and simplifying day-to-day operations

According to Indeed's 2022 State of Small Business Hiring Report, of the 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S., more than half (58 percent) have had between one and four open roles over the last three months. Further, one-third (33 percent) have experienced burnout and 31 percent have been unable to take time off or enjoy a vacation. And, 41 percent say their stress level has significantly increased. To put it bluntly, small businesses are understaffed and their employees are overworked. Softening workloads and simplifying operations are becoming necessary for small businesses.

CRM software can solve both of these needs. It can give employers and their employees a 360-degree view of their customer operations to limit wasted time and facilitate faster collaboration. Too often, a customer request, lead or important message is overlooked. Once teams realize this error, they must drop everything to go back and address the issue. Giving employees a singular view of operations allows teams to quickly determine who is working on what and where additional attention is needed. This helps to ensure no work slips through the cracks and obviates time-wasting back-and-forth email chains.

CRMs also offer time-saving tools essential to reducing workloads and streamlining operations. Things like customer-facing self-service portals filled with step-by-step guides and FAQ pages empower customers to search and find solutions to commonly asked questions and needs. These free employees to focus on more strategic tasks. Many of the best CRMs also integrate easily with third-party communication applications, like Outlook, Microsoft Office and Google Workspace. Users can seamlessly share data and operate on a single platform rather than having to manually import and export data from one solution to another.

Fusing CRM and marketing automation

Many businesses today use separate software applications to fulfill their entire customer relationship needs. Unfortunately, this approach increases costs and requires employees to spend additional time task-switching and managing a more complex tech stack. With a CRM, small businesses can fuse their customer relationship management capabilities with marketing automation to gain a unified view of the entire customer lifecycle. This allows teams to streamline and automate outreach strategies by engaging with prospects and customers with targeted messages to better drive sales.

Integrating marketing automation into a CRM also helps to integrate marketing campaigns and simplify content creation. Small businesses with individual or small marketing teams can leverage automation tools to speed up the creation and delivery of marketing communications. Many marketing automation tools also provide built-in reporting that generates valuable customer insights. Teams can more accurately target customers with offerings like:

  • discounts and promotions
  • welcome messages for first-time visitors
  • pop-up, short-term promos
  • special deals on customer anniversaries and birthdays

Marketing automation integration with the CRM software enables businesses to perform critical functions like increased lead capture, enhanced engagement, improved conversion and better retention rates, just to name a few. All the while, these solutions help to save time and allow marketing and design teams to focus on more creative activities, like building meaningfully targeted messaging.

Related: 3 Key Trends Leading the CRM Revolution

Improving job satisfaction and fostering loyalty

Throughout the Great Resignation, more and more employees are questioning their role within the company. How it might serve their professional growth and how the company values their impact. However, a recent Harris Poll found that employees spend only 45 percent of their workday on primary job responsibilities. Most of their time is occupied with repetitive tasks, administrative duties and other activities outside their job description.

In the past, employees may have been satisfied with a title change. Today it is more important to provide employees with the ability to better perform critical tasks. Employers can do just that by leveraging CRM tools, marketing automation and interaction insights. The use of cloud-based CRM applications makes operations more accessible. This allows businesses to offer more flexible and remote-friendly business models — a powerful negotiating tool in today's competitive job market.

Using a CRM to simplify processes, reduce employee workloads and make operations more accessible will free employees to focus on more purposeful and impactful duties. It allows employers to offer more flexible business models that don't contort operations. This will directly — and positively — affect employee job satisfaction and loyalty, helping small businesses continue to attract and retain top-tier talent.

Related: 5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Benefit from Artificial ...

Steve Oriola

CEO of Act!

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