The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

How Technology Can Help You Get Ahead in 2021

Four ways that investing in technology now can help your distribution business emerge from the recession stronger than before.
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2020 was tough. Although some distributors were anticipating a minor economic slowdown at the end of 2019, no one could have forecast the global pandemic — and the recession that came with it.

Technology has played an outsized role in the ways that individuals and companies have dealt with the ups and downs of this year, from Zoom- and Microsoft Teams-based virtual meetings to an urgent need for effective e-commerce platforms. More distributors are now looking at cloud-based solutions, as well, to drive more agility in responding to crises in the future.

In fact, embracing new technology is one way that businesses have ridden out the recession with an eye toward better days ahead.

Here are four ways that investing in technology now can help your business emerge from the recession stronger than before.

1. Gain Efficiencies

Rather than dwelling on things that are out of our control, successful distributors have been turning their attention inward. Business leaders might ask themselves: How can we improve internal processes to better serve our customers? In what ways can we deliver excellent service remotely? What are some sales or operational challenges we’ve been facing, and how can we address them now? Are there ways we can look at historical data to improve efficiencies going forward?

2. Boost Sales Productivity

Your sales team may have fewer leads to follow right now, but investing in technology can help them focus on more promising opportunities. Additionally, the right technology can reduce turnover and retain your best people. Consider combining tools that can help you reach more professionals online while working remotely. Revisit sales goals and see how you can enable them to take more initiative and greater ownership.

3. Solidify Customer Relationships

Maintaining customer relationships during an economic downturn is critical. A 2019 article in MDM states that “Too many firms reduce their marketing expenditures during a recession only to find that when the market rebounds they have lost contact with key customers.” Consider technology that offers insights into customer behavior. Additionally, consider customer communication tools that could help better reach the customers you do have, and examine your customer-facing technology to be sure customers continue to have positive experiences with your brand.

4. Thwart Risks With Updated Systems

Major disruptions, such as a recession and the pandemic, have a way of exposing the places where your technology is no longer up to snuff. Older on-premises technology may not function like you need it to — especially when forced to make big changes such as working remotely or updating old security policies.

Embracing cloud technology can limit risks to business continuity and security while allowing employees to access their data and applications from anywhere. If you haven’t already, consider migrating to cloud solutions and cloud infrastructure to streamline your systems.

Although many companies are hesitant to adopt new technologies in a time of crisis, it could be the ticket to coming out of the recession even stronger than before. Instead of scrambling to catch up, turn your perspective toward getting ahead now.

Taylor Clements is a wholesale distribution and supply chain expert at Enavate. Reach him at taylor.clements@enavate.com.

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