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5 Tips for Building Effective Cross-Functional Teams
Having a cross-functional team offers a number of powerful benefits. Getting people with different expertise to work towards a common goal helps to build a collaborative culture, fosters employee engagement, keeps work interesting, and enhances productivity. To make the most of the different skill sets of your team members, you need to ensure that your cross-functional teams are effective. This will go a long way in enabling you to reach overarching business goals.
So, how can you build effective cross-functional teams?
Here are five tips to help you.
ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION THROUGH STRONG LEADERSHIP
To build effective cross-functional teams, you need to encourage collaboration among the different departments. Creating a culture of collaboration improves the chances of your team members embracing teamwork as a core value.
Project strong leadership through regular team meetings, guiding discussions, delegating responsibilities, and holding members accountable. You should encourage the leadership to manage the project as a whole instead of as bits and pieces. This will motivate your cross-functional teams to dedicate their efforts to achieving a common goal.
When the entire team understands the WHY behind what they do and how their specific roles affect the overall mission of the organization, they become more committed and engaged as employees.
BREAK DOWN DEPARTMENTAL SILOS
While independent work is fine, you want to make sure that your teams are not working independently of each other. You need to get rid of the idea that each department is its own entity. Grouping multiple departments together ensures everyone sees the big picture and moves in the same direction. This will enable you to pursue the shared goal more efficiently.
Once you create a culture of collaboration, you should open up the doors to more effective communication. Open and frequent communication will allow team members to articulate their needs. When team members are heard and understood, it becomes easier to move the project forward.
For example, sales and marketing teams should be working together regularly. Sales needs to relay to marketing key information about their leads and clients, so marketing can use that information to create more personalized and targeted communication. Both sales and marketing need to connect with customer service to get an understanding of the types of inquiries and issues that come up with customers. Customer service data can help other departments find innovative ways to address common issues or complaints. Customer service can use sales and marketing data to better understand the emails the customer has received, ebooks downloaded, conversations with sales, etc.
The customer experience spans across all departments. When you have a siloed team, you have a fragmented customer experience.
Each department has to have a 360-degree view of the customer. We have all had that conversation where you are passed along to different departments, having to repeat the same thing over and over again. Breaking down silos, with the help of the right technology helps you avoid these embarrassing and frustrating customer interactions.
USE INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY
CRM and marketing automation tools enable your team to communicate and collaborate more effectively. When working on building a cross-functional team, you should consider investing in the right software stack. Integrated technology, like Complete CRM, integrates sales, marketing, customer service and operations into a single database. The software provides you with the tools you need to manage these functions under one roof. Investing in a CRM system will help to create more transparency and accountability amongst teams. In the end, your cross-functional team will be more effective.
When an integrated system like GreenRope, you have unlimited users, allowing for the entire team to be onboarded and using the same system. Not only does this save a lot of money in TCO (total cost of ownership), it means that every team member has access to up-to-date, real time data without having to log in or export information from disparate sources.
CREATE A COMMON GOAL FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM
It is important to have both specific goals for each team and a common goal for the entire team. While each team has its own set of goals, projects, and to-dos, the end result is the same. A business wants to generate more quality leads, convert those leads into paying customers, and retain relationships for longer. If you do not align your team’s goals, they won’t work as collaboratively, resulting in a lack of innovation and transparency within your team.
It’s not enough to just have smart goals on an individual and team level. To ensure your cross-functional team is effective, the goals must be aligned with the company objectives. This way, everyone will understand the project's priorities and pull in the same direction.
We suggest meeting once to twice a year to review your goals with the entire team. Then, have each team and team member develop their own goals, and make sure they are aligned with the company’s overall vision.
SHARE YOUR SUCCESS AS A TEAM
When you have a cross-functional team, each team member is a stakeholder in the project. Everyone is playing their part, meaning their efforts should be acknowledged equally. The success of the project is the success of the team, and should be shared as such. Effective leadership should not only encourage team members to pursue a common goal but also appreciate individual efforts that contribute to the shared success.
REMOTE vs. IN-PERSON TEAMS
These rules apply to both remote and in-person cross-functional teams. However, when building remote teams, you need to make better use of technology like Complete CRM, Zoom, chat services, among others.
Successful remote work requires communication, technology, persistence, and accountability. When you are not all in the office together, you must place an emphasis on ongoing and open communication. That is why integrated technology is so important. When your entire team works in the same system, they are updating the same contact records, have access to the same data, and can more readily view and share information. This not only increases productivity, but accountability as well.
Once you have assembled the right team, you should keep your cross-functional team on track. This involves monitoring progress regularly, staying adaptable and celebrating every small win.
In summary, 2021 is the year of the cross-functional team. Working with the right professionals will enable you to build an effective team that will help you reach your goals. At GreenRope, we are a CRM and marketing automation platform. We can help you create more effective cross-functional teams to enable your business to achieve maximum growth and efficiency. Contact us today to find out more.
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