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Too Many Apps for Sales and Support Teams Aren't Helping Communication A Q+A with Dimitri Akhrin, President of

Courtesy of CRMDialer

What are your best practices for effective communication?

Akhrin: The most important idea that I believe in, is that the less number of systems a sales or support team has to log into throughout the day, the more successful and happy they will be.

For internal communications, an organization-wide CRM platform should be adopted, and the entire team effectively trained on how to use it, as opposed to allowing each department to determine their own platform of choice. This maintains transparency, and avoids departmental siloes of information. The proper CRM should include features such as chat, email, SMS and a phone system which all live within it. Calendar sharing and note tracking and customer history should also exist within to access within seconds to streamline efficiency. The most important idea is that all employees are working through a single system.

For client communications, the same platform is leveraged as well. Chat, incoming calls with instant caller identification and routing, helpdesk tickets and SMS are very useful ways to ensure questions are answered quickly and efficiently. You'll probably also need accurate records of lead and customer interactions to ensure prompt, effective customer service and avoid leaks in your sales pipeline. Leveraging call recording and transcription services will give businesses the leg up when analyzing their call data.

What tools do you recommend to aid in communication?

Akhrin: The thing about the most popular tools on the market today is that most teams are still using them as separate applications. Popular applications such as Slack, Zendesk or Gmail need to be integrated or their native functionality already has to exist in a single CRM for a business to achieve maximum efficiency. For organizations of all sizes, but small businesses in particular, the fewer tools you have to implement and train staff on, and use every day, the better.

That's why I recommend an all-in-one dashboard tool—incorporating chat, voice, text, email, helpdesk and CRM. Integrating these systems has been a game changer for the companies that I work with. Having a unified systems has so many advantages and does not only mean better reporting, analysis and deal tracking, but it makes it easier for your team to openly share, collaborate and raise questions or concerns. You end up with shorter learning curves and less manual housekeeping, allowing your team to focus on building the business.

Why is communication so important to small businesses?

Akhrin: Whether you are running a business with millions in ARR or are starting a new business, being an entrepreneur is one of the most attractive propositions in 2018. Creating your own vision and maintaining a work-life balance is important to so many of us. We search for efficiencies at work and in our personal lives for the processes that we perform repetitively. Tasks that take a few seconds, such as logging into Gmail to respond to an emails, compound quickly when you are performing them 50 times a day. Now multiple that time by every member of your sales and support teams. Finding efficiencies is one of the long term goals of a well-run business. Once you venture out on your own, having your sales and support departments work together as a cohesive unit is vital. How we communicate internally, not just externally, reaps great rewards by making happier and less stressed out teams.

Communication is a huge priority for any business and it's also advisable to any entrepreneur to embrace remote workers, as it can keep overhead lower and open you up to a broader talent pool. In and out of office, efficiency is the key and you should develop an official communication structure to allow for brainstorming and collaboration, sending files, calling out leads for review, and client helpdesk tickets that should be addressed immediately. How we communicate internally within a company is a reflection on our reputation.

How do you encourage communication and collaboration between teams?

Akhrin: First, you have to foster a company-wide philosophy of openness and collaboration. Employees should always feel like they can discuss issues and ideas with their managers and with each other. Your company and team goals should be clearly addressed and you should create a structure that makes space for teams to work together.

Secondly, you have to provide easy to use tools and set expectations for each of them, as well as for each type of communication. Reporting not only offers accountability, but also provides records that can be analyzed to determine successes and shortcomings, so you can optimize your business practices. Many might feel that communication and reporting just creates more work for them, so it's important to offer incentives and even gamification where possible.

How do you incorporate employee feedback?

Akhrin: For employee feedback in particular, providing a centralized system for reporting and ticketing helps you address issues as they arise and give employees a way to express opinions, ideas and frustrations. We like to use the TypeForm application to send out feedback requests which have worked really well for us over the last 12 months.

Your employees are on the front lines, so it is vital to check in with them regularly to keep a handle on what is working, what issues they or your customers might be having, and ideas on how to improve. Maintaining open lines of communication and giving them tools and incentives to do so helps everyone do their jobs better.

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