Technology keeps evolving to better serve today's digital workforces and the processes they use day-to-day. And that has leveled the playing field for small businesses, who now have more options to compete against large enterprises.

Thanks to a highly competitive enterprise software market, small businesses can take advantage of enterprise-level offerings at prices they can afford. 

By using the right tools and implementing the most effective processes for your company, small businesses can give their customers exactly what they desire. For example, improving your sales process, personalizing communications and maintaining relationships will all help your business rise above your competitors, regardless of their size.

Still, many small businesses find it challenging to take advantage of these opportunities. Here are five guidelines small businesses can use to incorporate enterprise sales processes into their operating rhythm to increase efficiency and potentially sales.

1. Choose the Right Tools

Most small businesses don't need the same complex and costly software that large enterprises rely on. Instead, focus on functionality and usability.

Using cloud-based software is ideal for any business, because it makes it easy for employees to access information anywhere and on any device. This ensures all pertinent data such as the sales pipeline and customer information is automatically updated in real time and that there is never any disconnect.

Keeping data up to date and organized is key for being an effective organization.

Software applications take time and effort to integrate, especially when lengthy user training is involved. To make the transition and onboarding smoother, choose software that functions well with your existing suite of tools.

Not only will this save you substantial implementation and maintenance costs, but it will also save your team valuable time so they can focus on increasing sales.

2. Implement Smart Processes

Repeatable sales processes provide the framework needed to scale your business. These processes allow new employees to get up to speed on day-to-day tasks and start selling right away; they also make it simpler to optimize sales tactics and therefore improve the overall sales effectiveness of the entire sales team.

A clearly defined set of sales processes make it easy to disseminate information across all communication channels, therefore ensuring that you send coherent and consistent messages, capture crucial customer data and minimize duplicated steps.

A sales strategy built upon repeatable processes will help your team build smarter marketing tactics in order to better target and communicate with potential customers.

3. Build Deep Relationships

Small business have the ability to invest more time into connecting with individual customers, which gives them an advantage over their larger competitors. Ultimately, closer ties mean deeper relationships, a better understanding of your core customers, and greater sales.

While you may be able to get away with generic communications at the very beginning of the sales funnel, once people express interest you’ll need to move quickly and respond with personalized messages tailored to each point of contact.

As this communication continues, each step becomes more and more crucial. Once the deal is closed, you’ll see it was all worth it. Whether you know it or not, many of you customers likely appreciate the personal touch that a small business brings to the table.

4. Leverage Your Data

Every business has a great amount of data from its customers. This helps create personalized messages and identify key customer segments that must be targeted.

By infusing relevant and current information into your messages, your communications become much more powerful and outreach proves more effective.  This also helps you better understand which approaches work better with which types of customers and why.

Leverage your data by conducting a simple A/B or multivariate testing technique to try out various sales strategies and copy. From there, find the ones that work best and continue refining your message.

When you’re testing, see that the groups you use have similar qualities so you can get clearer results. It may take some time, but once you find a strategy that performs well, your outreach and conversion rates will improve dramatically.

5. Tap Your Existing Customers

After establishing strong relationships with your customers, ask them about ways in which you can help improve their experience through new features or products.

You’d be surprised at how vocal customers can be when voicing their opinion on these topics. Their responses may give you invaluable insight into current market trends and ideas on how you can improve your own offering.

Title image "Five." (CC BY-SA 2.0) by chintermeyer