February 4, 2020
To Keep Growing, Mid-Market Companies Need the Right Tools
Posted by Ryan Prindiville
As a mid-market company grows, its owners and managers need stronger technology tools to sustain those results. Spreadsheets and accounting packages better suited for a small startup just aren’t enough anymore.
Your basic financial results – captured by your profit and loss statement – remain important, of course. But you also need to improve your planning capabilities by using dedicated tools that turn your financial and operational data into insights that help you understand how your company is performing at a deeper level, identify opportunities and plan strategically for further growth.
(In our latest CFO Evolution survey, best-in-class CFOs unanimously cited investments in analytics as key to their transformation initiatives, and 57% said a technology roadmap is important to setting the stage for success.)
The key tools for mid-market firms include:
- ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems integrate data from different sources and functions to help you manage areas such as planning, budgeting, sales, marketing, finance and HR within a centralized application.
- CRM (customer relationship management) software helps improve your sales, marketing and customer service efforts by tracking every interaction with specific customers and prospects in one system, automating follow-up efforts, and providing detailed reporting and forecasting.
- BI (business intelligence) tools, either within your CRM platform or standalone software, help you make data-based decisions instead of relying on intuition. BI can provide insights into customer needs and preferences, sales cycles, revenue and market trends, and other important metrics.
- Analytics software helps you generate more accurate forecasts by analyzing customer, sales and external data to identify trends and buying signals more efficiently.
Together, these tools will help you understand your company’s performance and identify opportunities with less manual analysis. They’ll provide insights faster than you get by only reviewing monthly or quarterly sales data, and enable you to study performance metrics on an ongoing basis instead of waiting for your accounting team to generate reports manually.
Choosing the Right Solutions
You can choose from a wide variety of cloud-based tools designed to meet the needs of mid-market companies while providing the flexibility to add features as your company grows.
Even the best new technology won’t work if your people aren’t on board, however, so it’s important to look for software that offers powerful features but is also easy for your team members to use. Your sales team is likely to resist using a CRM tool that has a complicated interface, for instance, which means your data can remain scattered while your subscription fees are largely wasted.
You’ll want to take advantage of trial periods to test different solutions and, ideally, you’ll want the team members who will be working with these tools to take part in the test. Their insights will be important in helping you choose a platform your people will actually use.
And once you’ve made that choice, don’t overlook the importance of training by the software publisher or your IT consultant. A small investment in training your team can easily pay for itself in productivity gains and stronger insights from your software.
Need help choosing the right technology for your business? Learn more about our services here.
Ryan heads the Strategy and Transformation consulting practice, providing management consulting, assessments and roadmaps for clients in all of Armanino’s business segments. He has extensive business, technology, cybersecurity and operations leadership experience in Fortune 50, mid-market and entrepreneurial environments, and has led global teams in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
He has held line leadership and consulting roles in a range of industries, including retail/consumer goods, entertainment, hospitality, technology, healthcare, biotech and financial services. His multi-functional experience includes strategy, technology, product commercialization, innovation, operations, solution delivery, process improvement and management consulting.
Co Authors :
Jenn has more than 25 years of outsourced accounting and finance experience, with a particular expertise in startups and the advertising and creative production industries. She is passionate about seeing companies utilize the latest accounting technology to maximize their efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, success.
Before joining Armanino, Jenn founded and led Team Jenn Corp., a firm dedicated to the strategic financial management of startups and small businesses, offering a comprehensive back office solution with accounting, finance and HR solutions. Previous roles include stints at advertising giant Ogilvy and Mather, and in the cash management industry.
Jenn has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pepperdine University and is a member of several professional associations including the National Society of Accountants, ProVisors and the Women’s Business Enterprise Network.