How to Drive Growth with an Integrated PIM
Analysts define business growth as a process of improving some or all aspects of the operations of an enterprise. Typically, many organizations pursue business growth through some means. PIM drives growth for all companies that sell a product.
These methods include boosting the top line or revenue streams of the business with increased product sales or service income.
Some schools of thought also use the term ‘business development,’ as a form of business growth. Business development serves as the aggregation of tasks and processes for the creation and implementation of growth opportunities within and between organizations.
Business growth/development can be taken as subsets in the fields of business commerce and theory of organizational structure. Some scholars also regard business growth as the pursuit of medium to long-term value for a business concern from employees, customers, markets as well as relationships.
In a review of scholarly work, professionals view business growth as a concept relating to discrete projects, specific/targeted types of growth, and enhanced organization processes.
Business growth measures value increases in one or more units in a business concern. Such groups may include one or more of the following: Sales, marketing, Finance, Mergers and acquisitions, Strategy as well as proposed management.
Fundamentals of Business Growth
Business growth does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, businesses and organizations undertake deliberate and measured steps toward achieving growth in desired areas of their enterprises.
Business growth entails cultivating long-term value from a business or enterprise within the limits of available resources. In other words, entrepreneurs look to achieve sustainable business growth. While no two companies share the same peculiarities, there are viable growth fundamentals that are common to most enterprises. They are as follows:
Clear Statement of purpose
Every business/enterprise needs a clear statement of its purpose. Also called the “Why we are here and do what we do” term, a statement of intent serves a bulwark or foundation upon which entrepreneurs execute business ideas and strategies.
A definite purpose affects decisions regarding what employees to recruit, what relationships to cultivate among other issues.
Sustainable growth thrives on a sense of purpose. A strong statement of intent forms the basis for the company’s Unique Selling Point (USP). A business’ USP gives an insight into why a venture’s product or service is better than a competitor’s.
With a clear statement of purpose, a company can chart the best route or process path to achieving its growth objectives.
Another important vehicle for creating sustainable business growth is having a powerful brand. Your company’s brand speaks for you when you are not there. All the time, every time! It is the medium by which your business makes an emotional connection with your customers.
A strong brand focuses on a business’ target audience. It also connects with the general public as well as inspire your existing and potential customers.
If you desire sustainable growth, it is crucial to build a strong brand that ensures repetitive business and fosters customer loyalty.
Build Partnerships and Collaborations
Business owners might multitask at the early stages of the venture. Such entrepreneurs may function as business directors, managers, stock keeper and secretary among other roles. However, as the business gathers momentum, it might be damaging t take on more than one can handle.
Achieving sustainable business growth entails business managers focusing on areas of strength while outsourcing other tasks.
Maintain your customer base
Research reveals that is costs more finding new customers than retaining existing ones. Other studies show that reducing customer defection ratios positively impacts on profitability by as much as 25 percent.
Statistics such as the ones above show that sustainable growth hinged on making your existing customer base happy and contented with your products and services.
Be mindful of Business Ecosystems
Organizations in the new millennium thrive in a functional business environment with mutually beneficial inter-relationships.
One such ecosystem is the Information Technology sector where website designers/developers, software programmers, SEO marketers work together to achieve common aims.
For your business to experience sustainable growth, it is essential to identify communities and relationships that provide structures and support for your business.
Hustle for repeat sales
One of the hallmarks of a business that desires sustainable growth is creating avenues for repeat sales. Beyond having a clear purpose and powerful brand, it is essential that your product satisfies a want, on a consistent and profitable basis.
Repeatable sales hinges on a sales model that is scalable. Once businesses meet this criterion, then sustainable business growth is possible.
Proactive and Adaptive Management
Business plans help to give a venture solidity and focus. However, times will come when prevailing realities demand that the entrepreneur makes decisions to match such extraneous factors.
A proactive and adaptive leadership ensures that businesses possess the leverage and freedom to create, adjust, innovate and lead.
When personal, interpersonal and working lives cohabit in mutual understanding, then achieving sustainable business growth becomes a concrete possibility.
The Stages of Business Growth
Businesses, no matter their sizes, organizational structures and management styles, face almost similar challenges on the path to growth/expansion. However, companies can overcome these problems by applying themselves to the stages of business growth. These stages equip businesses to make informed decisions and follow the most expedient pathways to growth. They are as follows:
Under this stage, the company is concerned with acquiring new customers and providing products/services paid for.
Entrepreneurs, at this stage, grapple with questions such as:
Can the business get enough customers, deliver products, and provide services well enough to become a viable business?
Can the venture expand from that a first customer or pilot production process to a much broader sales base?
Is there enough money to cover the financial demands of this teething phase?
This stage of business growth is peculiar to small businesses, whose primary concern is staying afloat. Companies in the Existence Stage range from newly founded restaurants and retail stores to high-technology manufacturers that have yet to stabilize either production or product quality as well build a steady clientele base.
Ventures that reach this stage demonstrate that their business has the potential to succeed. At this point, the organization has built a pool of customers and offers them products/services when needed.
The survival stage shows that the business has progressed from mere survival to determining the relationship between revenue generation and running expenses.
Sustainable growth is assured when businesses can create a balance between income and expenditure.
Some critical decisions face the owners of the business at this stage. The question is whether management should take advantage of a positive cash flow, a reliable brand as well as an increasing pool of loyal customers, to seek expansion. Or would it be preferable to steady the ship and consolidate on the gains recorded thus far?
Sustainable growth for companies at this stage depends on whether the owners decide to divest their interests by bringing on more shareholders or selling the business outright
At this stage, the business is nearing most of its laid down goals/objectives. The business features surplus amounts of cash (a favorable bottom line), a powerful brand, loyal customers, scalable sales as well as a stable organizational structure.
Operational and strategic planning is another feature of business at the Take-off stage. The power of delegation forms an essential tool at the disposal of the venture.
Maturity signifies that a business is expanding on most or all of its projected sales and revenue streams. Repeat business takes place across multiple customer engagement channels, with a management structure that is responsive and competent.
Sustainable growth for companies in this stage includes implementing key budgeting tools, strategic planning, and management by objectives and operating standard cost objectives.
What is an integrated PIM System?
An integrated Product Information System (PIM) System communicates with other essential systems to automatically to display real-time, updated and accurate of products /services for sale.
These critical systems include E-commerce websites, online marketing platforms, web portals, internet services as well as electronic product catalogs. These systems link to the integrated PIM System seamlessly to obtain product information, specifications and images. Employees display these data in the desired information channel or route.
Overview of an integrated PIM System
It is established that storing product information in a centralized PIM system is powerful. However, present-day business realities also demand to share these data/information packets with other business systems to boost sales and increase revenue earnings.
Businesses opt for an integrated Product Information Management System to retrieve and distribute information from a centralized location to other business ecosystems.
Issues such as customer facing, prospect -facing, and peer-facing systems associated with e-commerce websites, web portals, and electronic catalogs need information obtained from a central store. An integrated PIM system comes to the rescue in this regard.
Linking Products for Kits, Bundles and Increased sales
An integrated PIM system allows businesses link product and other items for transactions like up-sells, cross-sells, kitting and bundling.
These terms are features of a typical business ecosystem, involving mostly related industries or sectors. Linked products are defined as similar items or items that often lead to the purchase of other products.
Businesses that deploy integrated PIM Systems can have their products featured alongside sister items. The product data is extracted from their electronic catalog or e-commerce website.
Indicators that a business needs integrated PIM
Specific signs indicate that a business concern can make the most of an integrated PIM system. These indicators are as follows:
- The haphazard search for product information within and outside the organization
When pieces or sets of essential product data are stored in various locations within and outside information repositories, a business needs an integrated PIM.
A scenario where some product information is on a spreadsheet, some others are on a hard drive while some are stored in a sister organization’s repository reduces efficiency and promotes customer drawbacks
Such a PIM system collates and organizes these pieces of information into a cohesive whole. Access to multi-channel and multi-organizational structures are enhanced, and customers gain quick access to various levels of product data, across similar/related fields, boosting sales and revenues.
- Employees spend unnecessary time on searches and queries
If staff and team members spend copious amounts of time rifling through tonnes of product data, it is time to go for an integrated PIM system. With no organization or structures to access product prices, images and specifications what obtains is an inefficient process that may yield no tangible results.
The situation worsens when customers demand information for related product and services.
An integrated PIM system efficiently links and extracts relevant product information across multiple repositories and channels, so an employee attends to customer queries in good time.
- Conflicts in Product information and its veracity
Customers need accurate and updated product data to make informed purchases. Where this is lacking, sales drop and customer retention plunge as well.
When employees find it difficult to select appropriate product data as well as the accuracy of same, the business suffers.
An integrated PIM system creates linkages to verified and accurate product data as well as the structures for accessing such data, at the click of a button.
- Inconsistent storage of data
Product data stored in various formats poses challenges for sales staff in any business organization. Uniformity in product data storage including product prices, images, and specification plays a vital role in ensuring that employees can access and distribute such information across multiple channels/funnels for customer engagement.
This feature assumes greater significance for collaboration among firms offering similar product type, where sales of one item, lead to the purchase of another.
- Errors discovered post sale
Mistakes detected after the sales of a product usually stem from incomplete pricing and specification details available to the affected staff at the time.
Underpriced merchandise may stem from missing or outdated information; the employee might charge less for a product having extra useful features.
If this shortfall in information transmits to inter-related systems, the losses become significant. With an integrated Product Information Management system, all of the systems that need product information can automatically retrieve it from the PIM.
- Customers and Inaccurate Information
Customers need to make informed purchase decisions based on accurate product data and specification. Time also counts when such clients visit any numbers of similar site offering related products.
If available product data is inaccurate, customers get frustrated. And frustrated customers hurt the revenue and sales target of any business.
An integrated PIM system averts this potential crisis. Such a system is structured to effectively link, organize, retrieve and distribute accurate product information from data repositories to the connected systems.
- Receipt of Inaccurate orders
This problem stems from point 5. Inaccurate product information leads to purchasing the wrong product based on misplaced expectations.
If product data listings fall short by some parameter, it may translate to a customer receiving a dress with a wrong color or size.
Businesses can prevent mistakes like these from occurring with using an integrated PIM system.
How does an Integrated PIM system drive growth?
Businesses desire to work in cohesion and with strategic focus. Both within its borders and in cooperation with other companies, suppliers and vendors.
This desire translates to the ability to harmonize operations involving the availability of product information in an accessible manner.
When employees can retrieve product information across multiple channels of engagement, to serve the needs of clients, there is a boost in sales.
An integrated PIM system provides the platform for attaining this level of operational efficiency. With an integrated PIM, businesses are empowered to Maximize Profits, Streamline Operations, Cut Costs, Increase Customer Satisfaction and Optimize Productivity
In more detail, an integrated PIM system boosts business growth in the following ways:
An integrated PIM Enhances Ecommerce
Firms manage their e-commerce websites from backend portals by using an integrated PIM system. The process begins with product information added or updated in the company’s PIM system. The linkage to an integrated PIM ensures that the e-commerce site seamlessly retrieves and displays the affected product data, with a click of a button.
Smooth access to product data ensures that customers find the information they need on the go. This feature, in turn, ensures that the business makes sales on a consistent basis.
This functionality exists for other engagement platforms like web services, web portals, and electronic catalogs.
An integrated PIM boost employee productivity and reduces downtimes
Businesses save on labor costs and experience a boost in operational efficiencies with an integrated PIM system.
For starters, with all product information and data in a single store or repository, it is easier for affected staff to retrieve targeted information and relay such information to customers.
Another benefit is that updated or added data in individual PIM systems are communicated to other systems via an integrated PIM. An integrated PIM also plays the crucial role of ensuring the accuracy of product data, including for prices, images, and specifications. With improved data accuracy and a reduction in contradictory information, employees and customers do not grapple with the consequences of fixing intensive/extensive marketing mistakes.
An integrated PIM assist with Kitting and Bundling
Businesses achieve cross-organizational cooperation, whereby products are linked together. Take for an instance a toothbrush and a toothbrush holder.
An integrated PIM system retrieves the information to automatically show the companion item (the holder) on the primary item’s (the toothbrush) product page. In this way, customers have options of picking one item along with the other, if they so wish.
The cycle flow for an integrated PIM shows that that the toothbrush has a companion item and staff can then offer that up-sell to the customer.
The norm for many businesses is pushing the narrative toward conducting transactions on e-commerce platforms across various channels, with efficiency and accuracy.
At the heart of this projection is the need for accurate and qualitative product information. Wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, vendors as well as customers require comprehensive information management and workflow automation.
An integrated PIM system harmonizes the various facets of the business ecosystem by offering automated client/server systems, web-capable solutions for customer relationship management, order entry, inventory control, shipping, returns management, accounting, Electronic product Data Interchange, and E-Commerce enablers.
Now that you know how PIM drives brand and distributor growth, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.