While CRMs essentially started as contact databases, they are increasingly a crucial aspect of all parts of business, and have become much more than a one-trick-pony. Some functionalities of CRM aid marketing teams with lead qualifying, customer success teams with relationship management, or financial analysts with customer lifecycle data for forecasting reports.
This is why your CRM shouldn't just be a place for users to store information, but it should be more focused on collaboration for teams.
A CRM should be able to make silos when you need to
There's an obvious trend taking place right now in most workplaces: the cubicle walls are coming down, spaces are becoming multi-purpose, and teams are becoming cross-functional.
However, sometimes we still need silos for information, tasks, and ownership over specific processes.
Emphasizing collaboration within CRMs means that these silos can become more simplistic. When we increase capabilities of the apps we use, and reduce the reliance on the number of separate apps we use, the modes of communication and ways that we engage around information, tasks, and processes become much more simplified.
While business functions, such as customer success, are now embedded in company culture and more of us are taking an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to these types of activities, there is still a need for an organizational system of who does what and when.
CRMs should promote this organization, not inhibit it, which is why thinking about CRM through the lense of collaboration rather than as a free-for-all information hub, could make a significant difference in the effectiveness and productivity of businesses.
Business applications should allow for greater workplace transparency and oversight
There's nothing worse than when the tools and processes of a business ends up making it easier for people to hide within the organization. Collaboration can underscore the need for everyone to do their part, especially when action items can't move forward without some particular input.
Nevertheless, there is a fine line between having reasonable organizational oversight and micromanaging. This is where collaboration plays an important role in distinguishing between the two.
With collaboration, teams often strive to hold each other accountable, and individuals also tend to rise to the occasion when they know others are counting on them.
You should consider, though, that a mindset of collaboration isn't enough, because without the tools and processes in place to reinforce it, it can be difficult to execute. This is where you, and your CRM, come in.
Distributed teams and remote workers are driving change
As the product manager or engineer of a CRM system, you want to enable your users to successfully work within your app and get the most value from it. This means developing your product aligned with the current trends in technology, but also looking to the future of work.
And the future of work looks bright: tech reliant, fast-paced, and more innovative than ever - which means the need for apps like CRMs won't be slowing down anytime soon.
But, as knowledge workers need to do more in less time, teams will increasingly be composed of several different types of experts (rather than generalists). Distributed teams and remote work numbers will continue to grow, therefore business will increasingly need to center around transparent collaboration.
CRMs - and dare we say all types of SaaS, are going to need to fit into this new reality. This means product roadmaps should include features and functionality which help users become true team players. It also means working more efficiently with better processes for achieving consensus and sharing all ideas in one place.
Want to learn more about how the state of collaboration will affect the CRM industry? Download our new E-Book now.