Spring sees a lot of us lace-up our trainers or head back to the gym. COVID lockdowns notwithstanding, warm weather usually means it’s time to tone up and slim down for sunny days ahead.

With vaccine programs underway and everyone looking forward to the end of restrictions, why not make your company leaner too? After a long, socially-distanced winter, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for products and services just waiting to be released. It’s time to gear up and get ready to capture as much of it as you can.

Software is one cost category where you might be able to trim some fat. Some companies may have bought more than they needed in the rush to implement new work-from-home tools and collaboration platforms. Others might have the right tools but need to wring more value out of them. Everyone needs to demonstrate that IT investments are delivering ROI.

Whatever the case, this blog has some tips to make your software and web services fit for purpose.

1. Start using smart tools

There’s probably never been a better time to take a hard look at your legacy software tools. 

Over the last eighteen months, most of us have had to adapt ourselves to new systems and re-think how we work with colleagues and customers. That’s opened the door to conversations about process, and whether old IT tools can be replaced with ones better suited to the digital moment.

The companies doing best under lockdown and social distancing have made their workflow and admin fully digital, often using cloud-based solutions to automate and simplify. That’s reduced the need for face-to-face meetings, eliminated unneeded paper, and slashed the time between negotiating new business deals and closing them.

You’re likely well down this road already, but if you’re still considering software categories for investment, you might start with this list:

Four essential digital tools to try

  1. Marketing automation manages campaigns and pulls data from multiple touchpoints to let you personalize campaigns based on customer behavior.
  2. Customer relationship management (CRM) profiles customers according to purchase behavior and preferences. CRM also provides the segmented data marketing automation platforms needed to make communications more targeted and effective.
  3. Content management systems (CMS) let you create, edit, format, publish, and send content from a single integrated solution. Marketing needs content, and that makes an effective CMS a must for any growth-focused business.
  4. E-signature solutions fully digitize the process of obtaining signatures on vital documents. There are many options to choose from and of course, we think SignRequest is the best around. But don't take it from us. Have a look at what users say about us and how we stack up against the competition.

2. Make the most of the tools you have

Talk to any software product manager, and they'll tell you that user engagement and retention are the two metrics that keep them up at night. When end users aren’t applying all the capabilities of a software solution, it can be a sign of waning interest.

Alternatively, it can mean they just haven’t been adequately exposed to everything a solution does or the practical benefits it can deliver. Show people all the ways something can make their working lives easier, and they’re much more likely to dig deeper and put them to use.

If there is under-used functionality you think teams could benefit more from, an awareness campaign followed by training could be the answer. 

Internal emails and newsletters are one vehicle. See if the software package you want people to use more has notifications capability. If so, you might be able to build in reminders like 'Have you tried function xxx?’ or ‘Now might be a great time to look at feature yyy.’ 

Often these can be tied to user actions so that they’re triggered whenever a task is started or completed, especially if the information generated could be used to do something else.

Short training videos or tutorials are another great way to show people how to use their digital tools more extensively.

3. Get rid of tools and features you don’t use

Every CIO buys software and services to get as much value as possible for every dollar of budget spent. Usually, that means packing contracts and licenses with as many modules and functions as you can. 

But businesses change, and the value that software and services deliver can change too. Sometimes new solutions emerge that render the old ones redundant. Some of the capabilities you invested in initially may simply fall out of favor or no longer be needed.

Either way, it makes sense to revisit your tech spend and check that it’s still in line with actual usage. From back office to front line, teams need the best digital tools to work efficiently and keep customers happy.

Are they using what you've provided for them? If the answer is no, find out why. If the answer is yes, see what functions they use and which ones they think are useless. Then you can line up all the features you're paying for and see if some of them could go in favor of better pricing.

4. Make sure workflow is simple and straightforward

When every hour counts, you need to optimize digital workflow across your teams to avoid missing opportunities. Delays in communication or finalizing a new deal could mean missed deadlines that jeopardize revenues.

Look at the software tools you use daily and ask your team which functions take up most of their time. Do software tasks take more steps to execute than they should? Are there dependencies that have to be sorted first, or other software tools that need to be used in tandem?

Given how vital they are to actualizing sales, contracts can provide a helpful lens to assess how well your document management software works. Can it handle contract workflow from end to end, starting at document generation through approvals and signatures? Consider whether or not you can speed up the preparation, negotiation and final sign-off.

5. Measure the return your digital investments are delivering

Spring is the perfect time to ask if your software tools are delivering all the value they promise.

One key metric of end-user engagement is feature adoption. Companies often find that the expensive feature-rich applications they've purchased licenses for are under-utilized. Despite a long list of functions and options, end users only switch on the core features. 

It seems counter-intuitive — everyone wants more, right? Solutions with extensive functionality certainly cost more. But in a category like e-signing, buying something drenched in features could depress engagement metrics and impact your projected ROI.

At SignRequest, we focus on core functions first and continually refine them to optimize the user experience (UX). When we can, we do. Rather than try and be amazing at all things, we listen to customer feedback and keep refining the features and benefits that matter to them most.  

It’s an approach that delivers. Our customer FlightRefund recently added SignRequest to its platform and doubled its conversion rate — after an implementation that took just 90 minutes.

Springtime is growth time

Technology companies have been saying for years that digital transformation will raise productivity, make us more adaptable to changing business conditions, and enable organizations of all sizes to move faster. The time has come to put those claims to the test.

Wringing every last drop of value from software investments can help you automate more manual processes, close deals faster, and stay lean-and-mean for whatever the coming months have to bring. 

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If you’re looking to slim down your software spend, why not try SignRequest? We’re one of the most cost-effective e-signing solutions out there. If you sign up for a paid plan, we’ll even plant a tree.

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