Three Mistakes Organizations Are Making That Kill CRM Collaboration

Many experts are talking and writing about how collaboration can improve the relationship between a company and its customers, but most of them assume that employees collaborate naturally and are willing to work together for the success of the company.

This is not always the case.The main reason—human nature being what it is—is that employees are motivated first by their own objectives and only secondarily by the goals of the company. In other words, even if they have basically the same goals (i.e., the goals of the company they work for), employees will work primarily based on their own priorities.

Some are seeking financial profit, others are looking to build a reputation for themselves, and others simply want to get the job done and go home.

In other words, employees may not in fact be able to collaborate in order to attain the objectives of the company when it comes to managing relationships with customers. This is the root of all your CRM collaboration issues, and typically cannot be magicked away by business software, as it’s an internal problem that only you can fix.

What sabotages collaboration in customer management?

First of all, defining and setting unclear (and sometimes contradictory) goals for the company. If profit is your only strategy driver, you’re heading for disaster. Your relationships with customers will suffer, as your employees will not be able to convey a clear message about your company. Profit should be the result of activities in your company, not the core impetus for them.

But even if you are clearly defining your goals and strategies to attract and retain customers, conflicting internal relationships can have a negative impact on the way you apply everything you planned. Separate agendas—especially if they are driven by key decision makers—will confuse employees, create duplicate work, and clutter communication. The end result: your strategy and goals will have theoretical value only.

However, even strong management teams that agree on objectives and work together to attain them can be hamstrung if the employees who are supposed to put everything into practice are not motivated to do it. An employee’s motivation starts with a clear understanding of their role in the company, followed by recognition of their efforts and rewards. If you’re not sure what motivates them, just ask. Even in today’s rough-and-tumble economy, it’s wrong to assume that they should be happy just to have a job.

These are the three main issues that can jeopardize collaboration internally, but there are others, such as lack of training, inefficient software tools, unmotivated staff, etc. Limiting the negative impact of these issues will not only help you set and implement clear objectives, but will also help your employees get the message out to customers and deliver on your company’s promises.

CRM software is not a magic bullet for fixing these issues, but they can certainly help. CRM vendors have started offering functionality that can help you manage internal business processes, projects, and even content and human resources. Another relatively recent innovation includes integration with product development tools, social media and crowd-sourcing platforms, and business analytics. Check out my recent CRM buyer’s guide for extended analysis of innovative CRM solutions offering the capabilities mentioned above.

Is your organization making these mistakes? Similar mistakes? If you have experienced other CRM collaboration-killers, let me know in the comments below!
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