Mastering the Marketplace: 9 Tools for Business Success in the Digital Age

The digital age has changed the way businesses function, allowing them to access a global market. The skills that drove success a few years ago may no longer be sufficient to differentiate oneself. However, with the right attitude, businesses of any size may prosper.

May 28, 2024

–  8 mins

 By Megan Isola

Megan Isola
Mastering the Marketplace

The marketplace is largely online, and succeeding online requires certain tools. The right tools can help improve customer experiences, streamline processes, and provide actionable data for informed decision-making. Specifically, these nine tools can help your business succeed in today’s digital age.

1. Customer Relationship Management Software

Even as technology becomes pervasive in all areas of the customer experience, knowing customers on a personal level remains essential. Customers want to feel connected with the businesses, and often salespeople, that they hire or purchase from. This is especially true for ongoing contracts and expensive purchases.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms help salespeople and other team members connect with customers. A robust CRM program centralizes customer data, tracking interactions, sales history, and preferences. Salespeople and representatives can then use this information to better personalize each customer’s individual experience.

Salesforce and HubSpot are two of the most well-known CRM platforms, but there are other general and industry-specific ones too.

2. Project Management and Collaboration Tools

Efficient project management requires a way to track tasks and progress and a means of communicating among team members. This is especially the case with remote teams, but it is also true when team members are all at the same location. Centralizing tasks and talk makes it easier for everyone involved to do their part in a project.

The best project management tools can track time and budget on an individual task basis and across the entire project. They also have built-in messaging, meeting scheduling, and other features. Asana and Monday.com are two popular platforms.

3. Accounting and Tax Software

From basic bookkeeping to full-fledged tax preparation, accounting, and tax software are essential to maintaining accurate financials. 

The right accounting software doesn’t just save time, but it also ensures accuracy. Many figures can be imported directly, which avoids typos when entering a bunch of numbers and decimals. Having a computer complete calculations removes the possibility of basic math errors. 

While accuracy is important to all matters financial, it’s particularly essential when filing taxes. Inaccuracies can lead to underpaid taxes, penalties and interest, and audits in some cases. 

For this reason, make sure to use tax software that integrates seamlessly with your business’s accounting software. It’s also highly preferable to have a cloud-based solution, to make sharing and uploading financial data easier.

Intuit makes some of the best-known tax preparation software solutions and also has robust accounting software that seamlessly integrates.

4. Marketing Automation and Analytics Platforms

Marketing automation platforms empower you to streamline and scale your marketing efforts. 

Tools like Mailchimp, Marketo, and Constant Contact make it easy to create automated email campaigns, nurture leads, and track engagement metrics. For analytics, Google Analytics has in-depth insights into website traffic, user behavior, and campaign performance.

Tools like these give marketers the information they need to design effective campaigns that convert.

Marketing Automation and Analytics Platforms

5. Cloud Storage and File Sharing

Teams are no longer always centralized, and storing data locally rarely makes sense even in the uncommon situations where all team members are together. 

Cloud-based storage lets team members focus on their core competencies and responsibilities, rather than constantly calling IT for problems with a local server. Additionally, files stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere. Team members can send, receive and access what they need when at the office, at home, or traveling.

Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive are some of the most-used cloud storage and file sharing solutions, but they’re far from the only ones. Whatever platform your business uses, make sure it’s well-protected and highly reliable.

6. Social Media Marketing Tools

No matter what your business does, it needs a presence on social media. Accounts can be used to connect with customers, engage your target demographic, build brand awareness, and even directly generate sales. 

Social media is most obvious for business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses. Business-to-business (B2B) businesses can also benefit from growing a following on the right platforms.

Which platforms are the right ones to focus on depends on the target demographic. Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are just a few that might be worth posting on. No matter which platforms you choose to focus on, you’ll likely have to manage accounts on at least two or three different ones.

Maximum effectiveness comes when businesses are active on multiple social platforms, but managing more than one account can be extremely time-consuming. Social media marketing tools (SMM) make it easier to manage multiple accounts across platforms. Some common ones are HootSuite and Sprout Social.

Social Media Marketing Tools

7. E-commerce Platforms

For businesses selling products online, a robust e-commerce platform is absolutely necessary. A website provides legitimacy even when selling through platforms like Amazon, Etsy, or social media. It also can provide a direct channel for additional sales (without commissions).

Platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce offer comprehensive solutions for setting up an online store, managing inventory, processing payments, and handling shipping and fulfillment. All-in-one services like Shopify also handle most backend processes, so retailers can focus on selling rather than IT.

8. Online Video Meeting Programs

The transition to so much remote work has made online communication more important than ever, yet there’s still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. Online meeting and video conferencing tools enable virtual meetings, screen sharing, and real-time collaboration from different locations. All attendees can see and talk directly with each other.

Popular platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams facilitate team meetings, client consultations, webinars, and virtual events. Hosts usually need paid (not expensive) accounts so that their meeting times aren’t too restricted.

9. Email Marketing Solutions

Email offers a way to communicate with customers and anyone else who signs up. This is one of the few ways to proactively reach people who have expressed interest, without them returning to a website or your business relying on an algorithm. Tools like MailChimp make managing lists and emails easy.

Succeed in Today’s Digital Age

These tools can help your business succeed in today’s digital age. If you’re not using all of them, evaluate which additional ones would be most useful. With the right additional tools, you can streamline operations, increase sales, and otherwise grow your business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Isola
Megan Isola

Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.

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