Get Your Sales Force to Buy Into Your CRM System
By Linda Christie
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Up until now, 'knowledge economy' advocates have focused their attention almost exclusively on how knowledge assets and intellectual capital can increase internal productivity. Ross Dawson, CEO for Advanced Human Technologies, an Australia-based international consulting firm specializing in investment banking and knowledge and relationship development, believes that the next important step is applying that knowledge to business transactions and client relationships. And the way to do that is to make sure that everyone who contacts customers is a willing participant in the CRM effort.
"When you understand your customers' cognitive thinking, you can customize the way you interact with them. You can provide them with information in a way that integrates into the way they think about things," Dawson says.
Personnel who are in contact with clients possess a rich lode of information used to understand how the customers make buying decisions: their views and opinions, past experiences, requirements for depth of information, preferences for visual, auditory, and presentation layout, etc. The tough part, Dawson continues, is convincing your sales force that sharing this information with the organization will help them get more business--something current reporting systems rarely do. That's why he says it's a good strategy to have the sales force involved in the database specification. This solves two problems: It gets the sales force to buy into sharing their customer information, and it provides those folks with an incentive to enter quality information about customers and clients so that you have a more complete customer knowledge base to work from.
"The path to creating the most value for your customers is quite simply in making your own people more knowledgeable," said Dawson. "Once this is recognized, managers must devote their attention to how to maximize the value of that internal knowledge to customers, and tie that directly to developing enduring and profitable relationships."
"Only when knowledge and relationships are understood and treated as interdependent elements in creating value and profits, can a solid foundation be built for lasting business success," Dawson said.
You can buy Ross Dawson's new book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships: The Future of Professional Services, published by Butterworth-Heinemann.
For additional information, visit the Advanced Human Technologies Web site at http://www.ahtgroup.com/.
Here are some further references from Dawson. "Knowledge Capabilities as the Focus of Organisational Development and Strategy," by Ross Dawson http://www.ahtgroup.com/Knowledgecapabilities.htm
"Shared knowledge creates balance," by Ross Dawson published by "Financial Review" http://www.afr.com.au/reports/dates/991124/report12.html
Linda Gail Christie is a contributing editor, based in Tulsa, Okla.