With many new software solutions coming into the marketplace every day, it’s an exciting time to explore business tools and the different ways in which you can integrate them into your virtual phone system.
The marketplace is fast-paced and digitally driven, meaning businesses need to stay abreast of the latest developments to remain competitive in the long term. It’s always a little unnerving to let go of traditional systems and processes in the beginning, but there are many advantages to adapting modern business tools, like their ability to help your company be both competitive and sustainable.
Something else that’s important to consider is how new business tools work with virtual phone systems to offer greater functions, features, and capabilities. Contrary to what many people believe, a virtual phone system and digital tools aren’t just for large corporations. They have just as much value for startups, medium-sized businesses, and small business owners.
Overall, a virtual phone system and business tools that bolster your sales and support operations are the keys to growth in today’s markets.
The Role of Business Tools
There’s no question that there’s been a huge evolution in small business tools in recent years. As new products have been introduced, business owners have implemented various digital tools, adding to their customer relationship management (CRM) system and virtual phone system as they go. Ultimately, they’ve wound up with a wide variety of programs that work, but don’t necessarily work together very well.
Fortunately, technology has also brought us an open API. That’s opened the door to crafting digital tools which are easy to install and work together seamlessly. By approaching your needs for small business tools holistically, you gain the advantage of streamlining all of your internal business processes.
For example, having integrated business tools eliminates the need for sales or support agents to continually log into and out of different business tools while they’re talking to customers. The right digital tools give your sales and support agents quick access to customer data, which results in improved efficiency and productivity in your call center. Also, as a business owner, you get lots of valuable data that provides you with actionable insights, enabling you to be more agile as you face new changes in the marketplace.
Why Your Teams Need to Leverage Digital Tools
The business tools that have been available in the past were traditionally designed to support a hierarchical structure of sales and support operations. However, for smaller organizations, the team model of selling to and serving customers is typically easier to achieve with resources at their disposal, and the new small business tools now making their way to the marketplace are designed to reflect this changing organizational demand.
Teams work together better when they can leverage business tools that are cross-functional and digitally connected. The right digital tools automate many processes and give your sales and support agents access to important data in real time. For example, your customer relationship management system gives your sales or support agents many customer details on its own, but this information can be further enhanced with data collected by your sales and support teams using a cloud-based phone system.
Today’s business communication tools therefore allow you to be more agile as a business owner. You can form teams and rearrange them quickly as your business needs ebb and flow. Teams that have some basic guidelines and the right combination of business communication tools to work with feel empowered to make timely decisions, and, with the right training, you won’t have to worry about needing to micromanage them.
Best Tools for Your Startup Business
Obviously, the startup and growth phases of business development are crucial times to get the right digital tools into place, so business owners can get out of the gate running and keep the momentum rolling.
Here’s a brief look at some of the best small business tools for startups:
- Cloud-based phone system with dashboard analytics – This lets you set up toll-free and international numbers for a local presence, cut down on startup expenses by setting up a virtual call center, and much more.
- Customer relationship management – You can connect your CRM to your virtual phone system. Business tools like Copper and amoCRM are good CRM choices for startups who want to connect the two, because sales and support agents can make calls using their existing phone system, while seamlessly integrating CRM functions.
- Email marketing – An email marketing business tool like HubSpot automates sales and support messages to your clients to keep them continually engaged.
- Quality assurance – Programs like EvaluAgent and Klaus let business owners view real-time information about calls, so they can offer feedback to sales or support agents quickly, while the call is still fresh in the agent’s mind.
- Survey – Business communication tools like Diduenjoy and Nicereply allow you to automate the process of gauging customer satisfaction, so you can gather useful feedback to improve your services.
- HR and recruiting – HR and recruiting software, such as JobAdder and Bullhorn, save you time in identifying the best talent and setting up orientation programs. This is especially important when you’re scaling operations and need to hire and onboard lots of new sales and support agents.
- Data and reporting – Software integrations like Fire Tiger and HappyFox BI can help you get greater insight into your call center dashboard in real-time and use your data to make informed strategic decisions.
Best Small Business Tools to Enable Growth
Your virtual phone system and CRM are essential small business tools. During this phase, you may want to place a heavier focus on sales, customer support, and improving the customer experience, and tools like these allow you to scale your sales and customer service operations efficiently and sustainably.
These business tools help business owners grow their organization through technology:
- Help Desk – Digital tools in the help desk category save your support agents time, as these types of business tools automatically log calls and create tickets on agents’ behalf. Some of the best small business communication tools for setting up a help desk include Freshdesk and Front.
- AI & Transcription – Digital tools like Avoma and Fireflies work with your virtual phone system to automate call transcription and leverage AI to analyze customer conversations.
- eCommerce – If you sell products through a digital storefront, you can connect your eCommerce site to your cloud-based phone system using digital tools like Richpanel and Shopify. These give sales agents all relevant customer details before they even answer a call.
- Live Chat – Business tools like Intercom, Drift, or LiveAgent automate outbound calls and consolidate call data – including phone, email, and chat – into a central location.
- Productivity – With a business tool like Callingly, you can increase productivity by routing leads to the correct sales agent quickly, and also move them through your sales funnel more efficiently. You can also increase productivity by using tools like Integromat and Zapier to connect your apps and automate workflows.
- Billing and payment – Voxpay is a popular integration that allows customers to make safe, secure payments online.
- Sales Tools – Streamline outbound call processes with click-to-dial or power dialing voice features. You can also use business tools like LeadsBridge and Outreach to dial quickly and get access to a prospect’s details before they answer.
Leveraging the Right Business Communication Tools
As you can see, there are lots and lots of options for connecting your virtual phone system with various business communication tools. So, to simplify things, let’s break down a step-by-step process for leveraging the right business communication tools in your organization:
- Establish your business goals. What are your objectives? Look for small business tools that help you reach your goals.
- What business tools are you starting with? Do you already have a virtual phone system, and will it work with the types of integrations you need most? Do you already have a CRM that works well, and is it connected to a virtual phone system?
- What’s your timeline to get a comprehensive set of functional business tools up and running? Put together a realistic timeline and consider things like easy installations.
- Clean up the data in your current system. Get rid of duplicate entries. Make sure you have current phone numbers and email addresses. Consider dropping entries that clearly aren’t interested in your business.
- Decide whether your current staffing needs are sufficient. You may need to hire a few people to work with your IT staff to put the most efficient system in place.
- Consider how your preferred tools will serve you for the short and long term. Take advantage of free trials if possible. You might also consider building a custom application, if it makes more sense.
Don’t rush through the assessment step. As an astute business owner, you’ll want to get this right, so you won’t be disappointed with your choices later on.
The Importance of a Virtual Phone System
After dealing with the limitations and frustrations of other types of business phone systems, small business owners really appreciate all that a virtual phone system offers.
Here’s just a sampling of the reasons why a virtual phone system is so important:
- With virtual phone system software, your teams can work anywhere they have an internet connection.
- Have the capability to set up remote teams and distributed teams, allowing you to save on facility costs and leverage talent from outside your geographical area.
- Get visibility on the call center in real-time, along with dashboard analytics to help set up metrics and KPIs that allow you to measure progress toward goals.
- Can leverage a robust set of voice calling features, such as call routing, voicemail, call transfer, call queue, call recording, desktop notifications, and much more.
- A virtual phone system brings all customer information into a single source of data, so your sales and support agents have it at their fingertips during customer calls.
- Virtual phone system software makes setting up self-service options, such as a knowledge base, fast, easy, and flexible.
- A good virtual phone system allows you to set up toll-free and international numbers for a local presence.
- Can save costs on equipment and maintenance. A virtual phone system helps with budgeting, as your subscription fees are upfront and transparent.
- A virtual phone system works seamlessly with other small business tools.
The Benefits of Integrating Your Virtual Phone System
Costs are always a big concern for small business owners, especially during the startup phase, when budgets are tight. One of the big benefits of integrating business tools with your virtual phone system is that it works seamlessly with most CRMs and other small business tools.
Virtual phone system technology is VoIP technology, or cloud-based technology, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds. It’s cutting-edge technology that supports the team model for small businesses, because it automates the process of syncing data. Sales and support agents can easily make calls through any internet device without using a handset, and still have access to all the business tools you provide for them through a centralized hub.
- Pro Tip: A virtual phone system gives you lots of voice calling features, but it doesn’t give you all the business tools you need for specific sales and support functions. When you add sales business tools to your virtual phone system, you gain the ability to automate sales workflows with the goal of getting new customers and increasing profits. As your business matures, you’ll need quality business tools that are dedicated to keeping your customers engaged and ensuring a good customer experience.
The features of a virtual phone system, when combined with the features of business tools for sales and support, improve the overall efficiency and productivity of the people answering your small business phones.
To break things down a bit further, we’ll list the benefits for support teams, sales teams, IT staff, and your other small business teams.
Benefits for Support
- Offers Multi-channel communication, so support agents can use various channels, like phone, email, chat, and instant messaging singularly or together.
- Syncs data to bring the call history and other customer details into a pop-up window for easy accessibility.
- Gives support agents the ability to personalize calls.
- Works with help desk software to automate ticketing and sync data.
- Facilitate ease of internal communication.
- Provides objective data about customer interactions to ensure quality sales and service.
- Leverages automated surveys to gauge customer satisfaction in the customer support process.
Benefits for Sales
- Automates many of the details for eCommerce transactions.
- Sets up automated sales workflows to nurture customers and keep them engaged.
- Works with your CRM to bring all customer details and the call history to the sales agent in real-time, so there’s never a question about where the customer is in the sales funnel.
- Leverages voice features, like click-to-dial and power dialing, so sales agents can dial faster and increase the number of calls they’re making.
- Leverages call transcription and call recording to evaluate calls and assist with training efforts.
- Automates sales reward and incentive systems with gamification, contests, and automated leaderboards for transparency and improved performance.
- Leverages automated surveys to gauge customer satisfaction at each stage in the sales process.
- The benefits of increased efficiency and productivity help you to outpace the competition.
Benefits for IT
- Your IT staff will spend less time on troubleshooting and fixing system problems.
- There is less concern over security, as your virtual phone system provider typically takes care of it on their end.
- Your IT staff will spend less time onboarding staff and removing employees from the system when they leave.
- IT staff will be able to invest more time in researching the best business tools, benchmarking solutions, and negotiating with vendors.
- Business owners may be able to rely less heavily on IT staff for technology needs, and save on costs in the process.
- Virtual phone systems and integrations work off an open API technology that takes the work and frustration out of ensuring that all business tools work together seamlessly.
- Gives business owners more confidence in making technology purchasing decisions.
Benefits for Your Other Business Teams
While the benefits of digital tools are fairly obvious for your IT, sales and support teams, the right digital tools also benefit other parts of your business.
For example, your human resources department is hard at work identifying the best talent for your sales and support teams and preparing them to get up and running quickly. HR and recruiting business tools automate many of the processes needed for recruiting, processing applications, hiring, and onboarding. Business owners can therefore expect the hiring and training processes to be streamlined and more consistent.
Digital tools also improve your operations in other parts of your business. For example, having the ability to sync data lets sales and support agents know whether products are available, out for delivery, out of stock, or discontinued. Better communication about inventory and shipping also helps to inform customers and improve the customer experience.
In summary, there are many benefits to integrating your business tools into a virtual phone system, like Aircall. VoIP technology eliminates the problem of disparate systems that don’t talk to each other. It opens up organizational silos, so you can leverage automation to create efficiency and flexibility. When everything works together seamlessly like this, the end result for your company is better internal communication and a better customer experience for your current and future customers.