Before the pandemic, business success was often defined by budgets, resources, or location. But now businesses, big and small, are finding themselves playing in a more unrestricted field and working with more tools in new ways including: laptops, video conferencing software, and kitchen tables or home offices.
This shift to remote work has driven adoption of new technologies and created new opportunities for businesses to adapt how they conduct business to win more of their market — especially as remote work looks to be here for good. In fact, the remote work experience has been so successful, 66% of leaders say their company is planning to redesign their office around hybrid work.
But the opportunities for SMBs could slow as businesses with bigger budgets inevitably find new ways to capitalize on the moment – even in a digital world. Thankfully, with the right tools, mindsets, and technology, SMBs can hold their own in a highly competitive market.
Here are the five ways:
1. Customers expect a different sales experience
One of the biggest opportunities for SMBs is in sales. Traditionally, bigger deals have been reserved for those who could fly to visit prospects, host big dinners, and really wow their targets. But it can be hard to bring that level of excitement through a screen.
What’s more, 82% of customers now expect immediate responses to their sales and marketing questions, and 67% of customers now prefer self-service rather than speaking to someone directly. Couple this with the mobility restrictions and there’s actually a big opportunity for creating new ways to land more and bigger deals.
Fast-footed SMBs are already making the most of this shift by delivering faster and differentiated experiences with nearly half of SMBs saying they’ve already expanded the ways customers can reach them. But if SMBs can deliver a buying experience that customers want – from first contact to signed contract – they’ll be well placed to win more deals. And with the right tools, this is possible.
2. The promise of automation and integration: do more with less
With sufficient tools to automate processes like agreements at scale, SMBs can further maximize the opportunity. There are an abundance of SaaS tools out there that are not only helping SMBs work digitally from anywhere, but also deliver more in the process.
eSignatures, for instance, deliver efficiencies to previously paperwork-heavy processes. With features like templating and API-enabled bulk sending, critical business documents such as NDAs, sales contracts, and employment offers are sent in minutes, rather than manually prepared and individually sent every time.
Most SMBs are already recognizing that less is more with the average number of apps SMBs use to run their business dropping over the past year, coinciding with a 24% increase since 2019 in CRM usage.
The takeaway here is that businesses are moving towards more integrated solutions that unlock even more efficiencies.
Take our eSignature example from above: not only are sophisticated eSignature tools streamlining customer and employee experiences, they also play well with other digital applications. For instance, eSignature tools that integrate with Salesforce let salespeople prep and send contracts directly from their CRM, saving them the time-consuming task of switching between applications.
It’s this bundling of services that are helping businesses do more in less time and with fewer tools where they’re already working.
3. Attract top-tier talent
In today’s distributed world where remote work is king, what employees want is shifting. Free coffee and on-site massages are making way for flexibility, freedom, and work-life balance. This creates a field where SMBs are as attractive as big businesses to potential employees.
The flexibility of SMB companies gives them a greater ability to adapt to employees’ new expectations more quickly. This can come down to SMB’s ability to reach talent with digital-first hiring practices that reflect the new expectations of employees.
By streamlining the hiring and onboarding experience by using technologies like video screening tools, eSignatures, and automated background check services, SMBs can give candidates a competitive hiring experience and lock down top talent faster.
4. Communicating in a hybrid workplace
One of the biggest advantages SMBs have is their agility. There’s no slow-moving hierarchy or lengthy processes to hold things up, SMB decisions are collaborative and fast.
However, changes to communication during the pandemic has slowed some SMBs’ capacity to make decisions at pace, with 37% of employees noticing decreased productivity because they couldn’t easily turn to a colleague for answers.
So how can SMBs reclaim their speed advantage?
First, by solidifying how they communicate by setting clear communication processes and policies. Then by implementing communication tools like Slack and Zoom to really speed up their communication.
The result? SMBs can adapt and produce faster than their lumbering competitors.
5. Securing remote business deals
Fraud and cybercrime reached an all-time high during COVID. Large-scale data breaches grew in intensity and frequency in 2020, with the number of breaches increasing 273% in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
And it’s no coincidence this happened synchronously with the mass adoption of digital tools and stopgap work-from-home solutions. What was critical at the start of lockdown to get remote employees accessing the same resources at home has now become a risk to the security of businesses everywhere.
But more alarmingly, when organizations moved online, so did business deals. And that opened them up to more potential fraud than ever.
Fortunately, there’s a wide range of cost-effective tools that can help, like credible eSignature technology which digitizes the entire contract process, eliminating the chances of physical tampering or theft. Plus they come with audit trails and bank-level security that keep your information traceable and tamperproof.
By adopting these technologies, businesses can be better prepared and better secured against most, if not all, types of attacks.
Don’t let your window of opportunity close
We’re in a new world of working that values more flexibility, agility, and security than ever before. For SMBs it’s an opportunity to harness those very strengths to sell more, attract talented employees, and challenge competitors. That’s why SMBs need to act fast in adopting the tools and technologies to maintain their edge.
HelloSign is powering SMBs’ shift to remote work with secure, fast, and reliable eSignatures. Find out how SMBs are thriving with HelloSign.