Your customer relationship management (CRM) platform should be the nexus of your team communications (if it isn’t already). With the current and prospective customer data it holds, the CRM application is the perfect starting point for collaboration among your sales, development, operations, and customer success teams.
Here are a few ways CRM makes team communications easy.
Create a CRM Cloud Community
With the rise of internal and external community clouds, they could be a ready solution for improving team communications centered on your CRM solution. Sales teams and other internal groups involved in sales and other customer-facing activities can build online chat groups around sales deals and other initiatives.
Creating such a hub also means pushing for a culture change among your sales, marketing, and other customer-facing staff. That culture change starts with one small step, like having teams collaborate on deals in the hub. For example, the teams can upload requests for information, requests for proposals, and the marketing collateral salespeople need to help close the deal.
Use CRM to Promote Transparency
Back in the days of pen and paper, it was too easy to lose information between sales and marketing. Salespeople would keep private Rolodex cards and notebooks, making it difficult to track sales accounts much less collaborate. CRM can be a powerful tool for transparency into sales team performance and accountability.
When you set the appropriate permissions and rules for CRM data, you break down the silos around those data, opening access to the whole team rather than just the salesperson working the deal. You can create dashboards for sales management and the executive team to track the progress of deals through your sales pipeline. You can then extend those dashboards to other stakeholders, like the head of your customer success team.
Take CRM Mobile
Salespeople are mobile workers by nature. When you equip your field salespeople with mobile CRM apps, they can phone home to your CRM platform regularly to update CRM records and contribute to the community you should be trying to build around your CRM solution.
However, you aren’t going to get there simply by throwing up a company-approved CRM app in your enterprise app store. You’ll need to write mobile usage into your data governance and sales processes.
Integrate Your CRM Solution with Other Back-Office Systems
CRM shouldn’t be a silo. Instead, take advantage of application programming interface integration with your other back-office applications, including enterprise resource planning, financial management, project management, and collaboration. Being able to access customer data across your back-end systems provides a new level of transparency because you’re giving supporting departments real-time information about customer deals. With data accessibility open to cross-functional teams, you can create better customer on-boarding and related processes because the customer information is now available to other key internal players who will be working the project. For example, when you populate your project management tool with customer data early, your customer success team can start forecasting team availability to service the customer.
CRM: The New Communications Hub
The advent of cloud CRM is as much about extending communications to salespeople as it is opening customer data to them. Your challenge is to find the right strategy and technology mix to bring your sales, marketing, and other customer-facing teams onto your new communications hub.
About the Author
Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device, and cloud computing. He has worked as a contract technical writer for clients in the cybersecurity, investment banking, Internet services, and broadband industries. Will’s other areas of technology interest include big data, collaboration, and enterprise social platforms. Will is a Studio B analyst.