Company growth is the objective of most senior managers and owners who are forever seeking ways to expand and build their business. However, whilst ultimately desirable, and, generally considered a show of success and power, there are clear drawbacks to growth. Essentially, as a company increases in size they will find themselves facing a wide range of challenges including mounting costs, the need for new talent as well as a profound push to manage and control their growing business.
It is a challenge seen right across the board as companies increase their capacity: How can you grow without losing your company personality? How can you expand whilst at the same time retaining that personal service? Sadly, in a growth process what often happens is that companies naturally segment themselves, meaning as they grow in size each part of the company withdraws and becomes, almost, an independent body. This is, often, referred to as an operational silo and means, for example, that a company is fragmented into parts. It means sales doesn’t necessarily know what marketing is doing whilst customer support is, similarly, a lone soldier. If a company was a body – the right hand wouldn’t even know what the left hand was doing. In fact, according to an incredibly interesting whitepaper by Amy Scott, “Why Silos Damage Customer Experience,” Scot found that 41% of customer experience professionals believe that operational silos are the biggest barrier in providing a seamless customer experience.
A damning indictment of just how detrimental operational silos are. As, really, the relationship a brand has with its customers is vital in ensuring a business thrives. Let’s take Sony as an example. Absolute forerunners in their industry they were well ahead of the curve when they released the first digital Walkman. Two years before Apple hopped on the bandwagon, they were veritable vanguards. Except for one clear problem, they didn’t release just one version of their new product, they delivered three. Gillian Tett, in her seminal work, The Silo Effect, points to one clear problem that lead to this business decision, Sony “was beset with silos: different departments of the giant Sony empire had each developed their own, different digital music devices.”
In fact, in her seminal work Tett even goes as far as to say that the financial crisis was caused by a catastrophic lack of communication between departments in the biggest banks. This, crucial gap, ultimately engendered a culture of “shadow banking system,” and sadly helped to lead to the catastrophic collapse in 2008.
Whilst silos can be incredibly harmful, it is not all doom and gloom and companies can grow at a rate that is sustainable and measured. They can put in place technology and mechanisms to prevent silos developing and impeding their future growth.
One technology that can really help address silos is a CRM system. When used early enough, a CRM can help prevent the development of silos altogether – ensuring that each team is communicating with each other properly and that visibility of the customer journey is truly end to end across the business.
In fact, a member of staff could simply type in the name of an individual or an organization and know every touch point, interaction and penny spent all in a few simple clicks. A simple way of helping to ensure each client has a clear user journey that can be followed, it also helps companies plan for the future seamlessly.
By offering a centralized system that can be accessed by everyone in the organization it becomes extremely simple to input important information to help manage the customer, assign tasks to another team, define what needs to be done next etc. You can ensure your teams are truly speaking to each other and working together, – to offer a far higher quality experience. In fact, through a CRM system you can manage and control all of your campaigns and activities, meaning that each member of staff has insight into the data as well as what’s working and what isn’t.
Essentially, what a CRM offers – which is invaluable in this competitive market place, is the creation of invaluable insight. This allows a company to track their growth alongside offering an understanding of the user journey of each and every customer – from start to finish and across the business. Connecting the marketing team (who originally brought the prospect into the company) and the sales team (tasked with closing the business.) to the customer service team who will look after the customer once they have signed on the dotted line.
You won’t be surprised to read that at Workbooks we eat our own dog food. Having implemented our CRM from the start, we have been able to prevent the growth of silos within our organization. This has provided a solid base for our recent growth of 24%, alongside the doubling of our staff. Unquestionably, this rapid growth has been underpinned by our CRM, which works to bring the entire organization together as one interlocked and interconnected body. And we are not alone. Many businesses across the globe are seeing the benefits of CRM, helping to draw together companies – large and small – and making sure the entire organization is working together at an optimum rate.