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Transform your Company Culture with CRM

By Alessandra Ceresa

The concept of leadership is evolving as we speak, as is the concept of the CEO. Gone are the days when CEOs sat in their top floor offices completely cut off from the workforce that makes up each moving piece of their organization. Instead, we are seeing a trend towards a more networked approach to how a business is structured. This means, the siloing of information and the lines between departments are blurring and slowly disappearing. Why? Because business leaders are recognizing the increasing demand for a better customer experience, a more holistic experience, if you will. As customers become more educated, and are given more choices to choose from, it has never been so important for a company to wear its heart on its sleeve. This does not mean sharing every little secret they have. Instead, it means building a brand that has style, personality, and most importantly, loyalty to the customer.

So, what does this have to do with leadership? Well, all of this starts with the leader, with the culture that is shared throughout an organization. A true leader of a business wants to provide one thing, the best product or service they can to their customer, because the customer is always the focal point of the business.

Customer starts with the letter C, obviously; however, here me out on this. The letter C is becoming more and more powerful: collaborative, complete, cool, creative, clear, capable, cooperative, confident, and the list continues. All of these words have something in common, they can all be used to describe a person, a leader, but they can also be used to describe how a customer perceives a company or brand. These attributes do not just pop out of nowhere, they are inspired. Just as an entrepreneur is inspired, so should be the employees that make up the foundation of a solid organization.

Inspiration comes from multiple places, but it should initially stem from the culture of the company. A culture of collaboration, creativity, innovation, sharing, support, and genuine caring, is paramount for an organization that will thrive in the future. Each and every part of the company should be involved and vested in the overall success of the business. Sales and marketing should not be on different floors, just as the CEO should not sit atop his throne looking down on his subjects. A true leader is on the ground, getting his/ her hands dirty, sharing, inspiring, and motivating.

Take Zappos, for example, they have recently implemented a ‘Holocracy’, or an organizational structure where authority and decision-making are distributed throughout the organization rather than resting at the top of the hierarchy. This does not mean there is no hierarchy, but instead it means that decisions are made democratically, where everyone has a say. This sort of structure breeds creativity, as well as productivity and gives the employees a reason to invest in the why, rather than simply the what or the how.

A structure like this is not easy to accomplish, and a ‘holocratic’ company culture is not the only element needed for this type of structure to succeed. Technology, especially CRM, is critical in facilitating this type of leadership and networked organization.

Why CRM? Here we go again with the ‘C’. The C in CRM is more than just customer; it stands for complete, collaboration, competent, confident, and caring. A CRM, specifically an integrated platform, helps you track and manage your contacts and their engagements with your brand. This is critical if a business is looking to up their sales and marketing.

The ability to track website visits, emails opened, social interaction, events attended, and more lets everyone within an organization get a holistic view of their customers, so that they can better segment them and provide them with the upmost customer service/support.

When customer service, sales, marketing, and overall operations come together as a whole the organization works as a unified, cohesive entity. It is like a car, in order for it to move down the street, all four wheels must move simultaneously in the same directly. These wheels are all connected to the axel, which acts as the foundation. The foundation in an organization being the company culture that the leader exudes and inspires everyday.

You may also compare an organization to a sports team. There is one team captain, yet, as the cheesy statement goes, “there is no ‘I’ in team.” Every member works just as hard to take home a W, just as if a company breaks down its hierarchal barriers and silos of information, to achieve more sales and boost revenue overall.

Moral of the story? The sort of networked structure that is moving businesses into the future is not always easy to achieve, especially if it has been stuck in what we would call the ‘old fashioned’ way for so long. However, the moment the leader of an organization commits to making a change, culturally, as well as technologically, is the moment that the business becomes innovative, dynamic, and productive, not only internally but with its customers as well. 

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