What technology areas to focus on in 2021?

It’s that time of the year when you are most likely to be planning and budgeting for the next financial year. The COVID pandemic is still raging, and it is bound to impact how and where you spend your capital. Consumer Confidence will return slowly and while that happens you need to prepare for the way business would be conducted in the future. 2021 will be the year to focus on shaping your future instead of grinding through the present. Most business owners would like to invest in areas that help increase revenue, reduce costs, and increase profitability. Here is a rundown on what you focus on whether you are a 10-person business or 200.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can no longer be treated as a sidekick in your marketing mix.  It has taken center stage in a time when more and more people are interacting with businesses online. While businesses in the B2C segment were already using digital marketing in some way or the other, the ones in B2B segment must seriously look at allocating a bigger share of their marketing budgets.

The amount of revenue generated from video-related interactions has jumped by 69 percent since April 2020. Together, e-commerce and videoconferencing now account for 43 percent of all B2B revenue, more than any other channel.  

This is a good time to put together a well-defined digital marketing strategy and invest in tools that can help you serve your customers online.

Digital Retailing

eCommerce is something that you cannot ignore whether you are in B2B or in B2C segment. This is enabled by marketplaces (for smaller players) or by high conversion eCommerce websites for businesses that have their own brands and labels. Consumers worldwide are buying items rarely purchased online before the pandemic, like groceries, health and hygiene, and home essentials.

The pandemic has amplified the consumer’s desire for convenience and immediacy. The permanency of these shifts will be determined by how satisfied consumers are with online experiences.

Unlocking the future of retail means offline-online innovation that allows consumers to buy anywhere they shop, try on your products with augmented reality (AR) before buying, and engineering virtual versions of retail shopping experiences.

SaaS adoption

Tools like CRM software, Marketing automation software, Video Conferencing, Scheduling App, and Social Media selling apps have moved from nice to have to the essential category. A good robust CRM tool is vital for a business to make for their sales team. Make sure that you have a CRM that is simple to use, has excellent support, and can integrate with your website, social media properties email, and other channels.

Choose a marketing automation software like email and SMS marketing tools that can automate the delivery of your marketing messages to contacts, capture leads from social and online campaigns, support automatic welcome and lead nurture campaigns, segment and tag your contacts and save you tons of valuable time.

Remote Operations

The pandemic forced businesses to take their operations online. This means that work that was done offline has to move online too. In the B2B segment, self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders, and arrange service, and customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience. Only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products.

The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts. Not so anymore. Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.

With the massive shift to digital resulting from COVID-19, video and live chat have emerged as the predominant channels for interacting and closing sales with B2B customers, while in-person meetings and related sales activities have dropped precipitously.

Remove work has also accelerated the need to move from desktop and laptop-based software to web and mobile apps that can be accessed from anywhere. Businesses that have lagged on onboarding new technology in their backend processes now have no option but to replace those excel sheets and pen and paper with off-the-shelf SaaS or custom-built software.

This is the next normal and now is the opportunity to transform your business with the right technology interventions.