What’s holding back your business?
For many companies, it may be a problem or challenge they don’t even recognize.
The company finds some success early on. They have a niche, a customer need they can solve. They have a few great customers and steady sales, but growth slows to a crawl. Finding new customers and generating new business beyond the niche is difficult, even frustrating.
Business leaders and sales teams will waste time and resources trying to solve the problem and re-discover their earlier success, never adequately identifying the underlying issue.
Is Information Holding the Company Back?
In many cases, the problem is information. There’s a point where the business grows beyond the ability of a spreadsheet and employee talent to manage information. At that point, inefficiency accumulates and errors increase. The result is lost sales and customers.
Efficiency suffers when the business can’t control of the information, there’s no assurance in the validity of the data, the employees can’t easily access it. The business won’t be able to seize opportunity and grow. That’s the frustration that company leadership feels.
How To Unlock Product Information
The ERP isn’t designed to manage product and service information for sales or customer support. As the business scales, no longer can information kept on a personal spreadsheet or the memory of key employees adequately support new sales and new customers. A word document on your desktop or a quick call to a product manager isn’t enough.
Without ready access to accurate information, the company and their customers waste time looking for answers. Efficiency drops and frustration grows. Adding a new customer is difficult when a business is struggling to manage their existing customers. Without a strategy for managing data and information, customers will leave and go to a competitor that can better serve their needs.
Companies looking to grow and scale need a Product Information Management (PIM) system.
What is Product Information Management (PIM)?
As we discussed in a previous article, a PIM provides businesses a central repository to collect and manage product information. With it, users (employees and customers) can access and use the data necessary to market and sell products through multiple distributive channels. With integration channels and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), the business can connect with, support and update channel partners instantaneously.
Simply put, a PIM handles product information more efficiently and effectively than the spreadsheets, MS Access files, word documents, or personal notebooks and desktops that have been the tool for companies in the past.
The Benefits of PIM for Business
Many companies take time to investigate PIM systems to handle their product information, but end up waiting to make a change.
What we have is good enough, they tell themselves. What if it doesn’t work, or something breaks? they worry.
Companies typically implement a PIM to solve a specific problem, such as problem with a channel-specific customer or a compliance issue, only to discover the new system provides benefits across the organization, including:
1. Better Product Descriptions and Accurate Specifications Across Distribution Channels
Without a PIM, your product content can suffer. Reproducing data over and over again for channels or customers can mean mistakes. Validating data and ensuring accuracy can be frustrating and costly. With a single source for all product information, you can more easily validate and approve production information in an efficient, structured process.
Updating product information is managed in the PIM, and through the API and integration any change is immediately made through all marketing and distribution channels. This includes the website, a configurator, your e-commerce system, price lists, and literature. Any application integrated with the PIM will be update.
2. Centralize and Manage Data More Efficiently
With a PIM, the company now has a single point of storage for all product information. Employees aren’t managing multiple systems, instead they are loading information once and distributing it as needed. They have a single place to find the information they need, and aren’t repeating the process with every system.
The entire company, as well as customers, are accessing the information from the PIM. You have optimized, consistent, rich data that supports all your sales channels. ERP data changes can be automated in the PIM, so you can be confident your product information is correct across the business.
3. Link Documents, Media, and Additional Information to Products
Increase efficiency and productivity for internal teams by linking all relevant product information in a single location, the PIM. Rather than struggling to find data or asking unnecessary questions, the team works with the most accurate and up-to-date information. This includes front-line and customer facing employees like support and sales.
4. Empower Channel Specific Information to Increase Market Reach & Speed
For many businesses, the PIM is the key to becoming a successful omnichannel merchant. With the API, the business selects and modifies the information for specific channels. This includes fulfilling specific contract requirements or customer demands. Rather than building another process and adding complexity to handle different market segments, the business uses the PIM to rapidly increase market reach, outperforming competitors and growing sales opportunities.
5. Clear Information Ownership and Transparency
For any business, managing information isn’t just about collecting data, but also determining who is in charge of the information and how it can be validated. With a PIM to centralize your data, the business can streamline the data collection process. Ownership of the information can be assigned, and if needed users have access to where and how the information was validated. Processes for product information can be developed and implemented with transparency and efficiency.
6. Enrich Product Information to Increase Sales
The PIM provides easy access to a wealth of product information, including specifications, technical information, instructions and usage information, and marketing information. This opens up new marketing and sales opportunities, especially for channel partners and customers.
For example, with easy access to a marketing video or sales support information, channel partners can optimize their marketing efforts and provide a better customer experience. Those companies with unlimited product configurations can rely on the PIM to drive enriched product information to a configurator and provide a unique buying experience.
Business Runs on Data
Today, business success means selling product across multiple channels. You need to find your customers and deliver personalized experiences. The customer experience is just as important to product sales as the product itself. Inefficiency and slow responses mean lost sales.
A PIM addresses all these needs, helping businesses of all sizes scale and maintain market share. The benefits we’ve covered are the ones most often realized by the businesses that implement a PIM, but they are not the only ones. Often, a business will realize additional benefits and savings, depending on their internal processes, market, and products.
If you have questions or would like to know more, then contact GO2 Partners today. With a background in ecommerce and business technology, we know how to help companies better manage their product information. We’re happy to help.