Especially in challenging markets, managing business expenses and costs effectively is key for businesses to survive, and then thrive.
But taking a measured approach can be hard when you’re under pressure to reduce costs or when you’re battening down the hatches for a rough period ahead. Keeping a cool and analytical head is vital. And so before you blanket freeze purchasing, hiring or marketing, consider both the short- and long-term consequences.
To do that you need to first understand the purpose and ROI of all your costs. The more your business and expenses systems are connected, the easier it is to calculate and evaluate the value to your business. There are many digital expense reporting tools that can help you understand which spending lines are directly fuelling growth and supporting revenue.
It’s also important to keep an open mind. Be prepared to consider radical changes to the way your business operates. Moving from an office-based to a remote-based model might challenge your business culture and beliefs about productivity, but it could also cut fixed overheads dramatically. Taking paper systems online could incur an initial cost but save many times that in processing hours and wastage.
Two – or more – heads are almost always better than one for spotting smart ways to save on your biggest expenditures. So here are our top tips for managing six major business expenses effectively – and the systems that can help:
1. Salaries and benefits
You want to pay good people a good wage in context of what they could get elsewhere but without over-spending. Benchmark constantly and measure employee satisfaction to make sure your people feel valued. But also make it clear what results are expected to earn their wages. Continuous performance reviews – not just annual appraisals – ensure your people stay accountable for contributing to company revenues, growth and profit, directly or indirectly.
XCD is a HR and Payroll system built on Salesforce. It helps organisations to recruit, manage, develop and pay their people, delivering time savings of up to 70%.
2. Travel and expenses
Travel expenses are the biggest variable cost to a company and, even in a strong economy, often the first victim of cost-cutting. But it can be the worst possible move. Usually marketing, sales, business development and delivery teams incur the most expenses, 80% in fact – but they also generate the leads and close the deals that bring in revenue. If you stop them operating effectively, the pipeline will dry up.
An automated expense management system that connects customer projects with spending is crucial to knowing which expenses are directly supporting income. It can also help cut out non-essential travel by using AI to predict when travel is necessary – something that will become crucial to warrant travel in the future.
SalesTrip’s expense management and expense reporting system enables detailed analysis of spend by linking it to business purpose. This could be an opportunity, account or campaign in Salesforce. By capturing spend against these records, you’re automatically linking expense data to revenue data, and get real-time visibility of ROI in the meantime.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven thousands of businesses to adopt remote working across the board. Many companies assume that their premises are necessary to keep people visible, productive and collaborating effectively but the 2020 experience has proven to some that it’s no longer necessary to pay out for costly leases. As long as you can maintain service delivery and essential customer interaction, there is no reason why you can’t cut back on permanent physical space. Apps like Zoom, Slack and Docusign have been helping remote workforces to collaborate for years. And when it comes to managing project resources and costs, there are a number of systems can help.
Kimble is a Professional Serves Automation system embedded with Salesforce CRM. It helps businesses with resource planning, client billing and time entry, ensuring costs are billed back to clients where possible – all helping to hit company revenue targets.
4. Technology systems and infrastructure
If you’re still running on-premise systems, it could be time to look at moving to the cloud, especially with people working remotely as just discussed. Subscription-based services can dramatically cut IT maintenance and management costs as well as fees associated with the physical space taken up by traditional hardware and infrastructure. Cloud solutions are secure and scalable with many operating as integrated business management platforms, providing reliable, real-time data insight and expenses reporting for sound business planning and strategic growth.
Salesforce is the pioneer of cloud computing and is the world’s most trusted enterprise cloud platform – used by leading brands all over the world for core business functions.
5. Energy consumption
Make it everyone’s responsibility to reduce electricity consumption wherever possible. Taxation on fossil fuels means that reducing the need for company cars and fuel can help reduce further expenses across your business. When travel is back on the cards, look for other ways to travel. Enforce don’t just encourage vehicle sharing and consider whether electric or hybrid vehicles could be cost-effective for employees who need to be on the road.
An integrated travel booking system like SalesTrip can help employees to make more cost-effective options when it comes to travel. By putting this alongside customer and revenue data, it provides real-time insight to encourage choices based on what’s best for the business.
The evolution of Marketing in direct response to the online world we have come to live in has already cut out significant print, production and distribution costs. Today, in most modern business markets, webinars and video are the preferred way to consume information when looking for a new product or service. Smart, creative social media and online marketing methods can be highly effective, particularly if you use the latest digital systems and tools to segment and target the right audiences for your business offering.
Pardot offers marketing automation to empower marketing and sales teams to work together. Find and nurture leads, close more deals and maximise return on investment – all through a suite of sophisticated tools and data analysis.
You can find all of the systems and apps mentioned in this article on the Salesforce AppExchange; it’s the fast and easy way to extend Salesforce, the world’s #1 CRM. With thousands of solutions that install in just a few clicks, there’s something for every business challenge.