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Make Your Business Culture a Collaborative One

Many companies pursue CRM as though this is just another program. If CRM is to have enduring impact and really transform the customer relationship, a collaborative culture is a pre-requisite. Any required changes that need to be made should start at the top, with executives leading the charge. This can be a challenge for people who reached positions of prominence in the usually intense manner. But, although it is hard for CRM to flourish in an environment where collaboration is a veneer, getting a genuine and ingrained collaborative culture can be even harder. How then to help people to naturally listen to the needs of others, create new value for the enterprise and with their immediate internal value chain suppliers and customers, and go beyond new ideas to innovation. The CEO can aid cultural change in a number of ways:

  1. Communicate to the organization the importance of CRM, in writing, presentations, internal meetings and in-person, so the terminally sardonic will understand the political will here;
  2. Provide training in CRM principles, starting with direct reports. Begin with training in human relationships and transfer learnings to business relationships. Then go beyond, to principles on new value creation. Consider employing the services of a speaker such as Martha Rogers, Don Peppers or others, including members of our firm, to provide base-line training;
  3. Require that all your direct reports describe how they are making the company more collaborative. What new value did they create for the customer or internal customers in the last quarter? Every business decision has a CRM context and this should be recognized as the decisions are made.
  4. Change compensation programs to focus on group behaviors and team results, including customer satisfaction measurement. Reduce commissions to individuals, but retain variable compensation to encourage performance improvement. The team gets the compensation and may divide, at their discretion, some of the funds among themselves;
  5. Ensure your organizational structure is designed to follow your strategy, not the reverse, and is built around your customers.