August 2, 2013
Learn how to get your team to work together (finally!) with an online CRM
As a small business owner, you may have a right hand man or woman. But does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?
Most people think of CRM as being primarily about customer/contact management. But an equally important purpose is managing the flow of information in your own team, and promoting collaboration. Here’s how to harness the unique properties of online CRM to reduce your stress and improve how your team works together.
Take advantage of the medium. The move to online tools allows for information to become decentralized and accessible from anywhere. The consequence of this is that we need to stop thinking of one person as the single locus of information and accountability, and make things transparent and lightweight. you have the opportunity to keep things fresh on the go, so do it
At the same time, delegate. It’s amazing how quickly the buck gets passed when lines of responsibility aren’t clear. Who is updating which parts of the system, and why? Does everyone know the point person for a particular part of the system? In this sense an online CRM is the best type of CRM for small business, since everyone tends to have their hands in multiple pies–what it helps with in general is imposing some level of order.
Respect the vulnerability that comes with being truly collaborative. People don’t want to open up enough to be collaborative when stress is high and accountability is low. It’s too much of a risk for the individual as well as the project. So be aware of that when you’re implementing a CRM, and don’t be too hard on those resistant to change. Show, don’t tell–allow the organizational benefits in CRM to flow to the actual business processes these team members participate in, and they’ll see the value of opening up.
Address learning issues early and proactively. You don’t want people stymied by a lack of understanding. It’s easy for people to fall into bad practices when they don’t think they can adequately (and efficiently) do what they need to do by adopting the system.
Be sure the system’s workflow fits in well with your team. An example of this would be how some productivity applications have integrated social sharing features. People have already gotten used to, and enjoy, interacting on social networks. If you can make some aspects of work feel like goofing off on Facebook, that’s a major win. But don’t go too far on this point–if your team’s culture is entirely broken, you have bigger problems to deal with.
So what do you think? Do you have any success stories from implementing a web-based CRM or other productivity application? Let us know in the comments!