Reasons why organisations are stuck with their CRM. 4 – CRM and organisational culture, a possible match.


Organisations problems with CRM: what values and beliefs support the success of a CRM investment.

Today we face a critical point, when organisation expect an output but no one is prepared to support it:

  • People do not really use the CRM or the data input is inconsistent?
  • Sales people nurture they own contacts and when sales happen they seldom record them in the CRM.

Choosing a CRM: CRM and organisational culture, a possible match.

Sale is an odd job, paramount for business, but experienced people do not always love it. Stressful and demanding, sales requires sometime to deal with over demanding clients. Experienced salespeople quite often develop their own “secret way” to succeed in sales, ultimately, this is their main asset, the subtle value of a long career. An organisation where people have the ability and the willingness to support the learning process as team as nowadays is required to succeed is called a Learning Organisation. Any group of people can create a better know-how than any single individual, learning organisations are companies keen to support sales people development through learning processes involving many other functions in the company well beyond just sales. This process may bring to light the great value of collaborating. Implementing a CRM that requires open collaboration, information sharing over deals, clients and forecast, is a great achievement to organisations. CRM can be seen as an information sharing platform where each team managing sales process can effectively boost front-sales / backend-staff collaboration. Information that creates value to each deal with more actors required bringing  different expertises to build the service/product for the client. CRM is yet a repository of information and contact data, but also a store of each interaction record, everything that helps in close the deal and to support on the execution. The CRM ultimately is the backbone of collaboration upon the sales process.

How do CRM and organisational culture can collide

Everything depends by the business model, but when client are sparse and each deal is highly valuable, the role of sales people is even more critical. An organisation can design its own sales process that salespeople are used to roll, even if they have room to adjust it to each client. Upon that process, sales people and staff can actually collaborate, by sharing information and managing each stage activities easily. When company’s culture relies on team goals, then personal success and team success go frictionless. If the success is rewarded mainly at individual level it can incentive sales people to play hard in order to get rewarded. This could neglect any kind of sharing. Some entrepreneurs are keen to incentive competition between salespeople, they believe that strong individual reward incentives people in working hard. Here is when organisational culture matters: team sharing into a learning organisation, or hard competition where winner takes it all.

When companies introduce CRM its focus is on collaboration, often on job sharing. The clash can happen when the organisational culture is not designed to it. Of course a CRM can also work individually, but for that it could be enough using Excel or a phonebook. Even if a CRM dramatically helps humans to organise better their life, their job at individual level, most of the people who work alone just do not bother with data input. The CRM enables people in creating routines to save time, enhance effectiveness, create easily reminders for activities and rely on centralised information always available. But the best of a CRM is when teams work as …team. When sales people, back-end staff and  marketing people are all working together for the common goals.

The role of happiness

Jurgen Appelo, author of Managing for happiness, has developed great tools and among others we refer: The Celebration Grid. Its purpose is to clarify how rewards should be considered not only against result, but also against outcomes. According to behaviours applied along the process people can reach different outputs and different outcome. Jurgen’s great hint shows that results can yet depend by hard, qualified work, as well as from just good luck. Between the two extremes we can observe a range of combinations behaviours/results. Appropriate behaviours can or cannot lead to results, and bad behaviours that can bring no results at all or even a great goal. The difference is that learning organisations do not pursue result at any cost, their focus is on how people do things, on the outcome of each action, and ultimately, on team’s health.

Organisational culture and CRM match 

We at Pipedrive CRM have the solution for transition time: teams in the CRM are groups of people, small as you like, that have complete independent view of their information, their pipelines, their contacts and activities. Organisations that are not in the situation to benefit by becoming a learning organisation can use the CRM separating teams’ information. Each team will see and work only on their own pipelines, contacts and activities. Each salesperson will be able to manage their clients and share the information required with the company management.

Clearly we have a preference for learning organisations, where the approach can be inclusive of people within different functions, but the CRM doesn’t have preferences for it any organisation should be enabled to develop the system that works better by empowering people to reach their goals.

Then if later a company would like to change its way to work the flexibility of Pipedrive CRM will help: companies can easily reconfigure teams at any time.

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