3 Ways To Improve Your Bottom Line with Collaboration Tools
Peter van Stralen, CEO of Sunshine Brands, spoke about how his organization’s The Grounds Guys uses collaboration tools to improve the overall health of the business. As part of this session, salesforce.com customers shared their best practices for small-and-medium size businesses looking to achieve greater sales success. Van Stralen offered up the following takeaways on the importance of collaboration.
1. Promote Quality
Having a quality product make selling much easier, your sales teams sell that much easier when they’ve got a terrific product to stand behind and easily show-off to prospects. Peter van Stralen’s team uses their internal collaboration tools (in this case, Salesforce Chatter) to promote quality whenever possible.
He notes that his team is in various locations taking pictures of the fine work they’re doing, posting it to the network and encouraging other regional teams to try to top their latest beautiful landscaping effort. “Someone will come back and try to beat it.” van Stralen says. “Internally, peer-to-peer, they’re driving quality without us (management) even having to touch it.”
2. Get Personal
“We get people talking about personal things.” van Stralen notes. With many husband-and-wife franchise teams amongst his locations, he mentions couples sharing pictures of their new baby as an example of the types of personal details they encourage employees to share.
“It’s everything from business, production and quality, to personal stuff, which helps to really drive our fun company culture across the board. New franchises come in and they get involved in the chatter first and by the time the year-end conference comes, everybody feels like they know each other. It’s really been a great thing for us.”
3. Crowdsource for Competitive Advantage
With franchises scattered across the United States and Canada, The Grounds Guys team has members in sometimes very remote locations and getting together once per year at their year-end conference simply won’t cut it. By selecting a collaboration tool that’s easily accessible via mobile, it’s in the hands of every team member, across the continent.
“People are sharing by the minute now and communicating minute by minute. The sharing of knowledge is really giving us a competitive advantage. People are posting questions, crowdsourcing. They post a question out to the group and all of a sudden a hundred other people in your industry, non-competing people, are now shooting out answers for you. We find that questions are being answered a lot quicker than we could even with our support team at head office. And people like to listen to their peers rather than head office anyway so it really helps to drive that competitive sales advantage.”
With quick answers to tough questions being so key to beating the competition to the sale, van Stralen hammers home the value of working collaboratively for the win. “In the past, we’d have to shoot an email to 25 different people. Now, we’ve got everybody going to Chatter. Any questions are posted there and then they’re answered for the entire team. One answer takes care of it for everybody. If there’s a document or an addendum to a document that’s required, those are posted as well. Everybody gets it. Everybody’s notified. It’s just an amazing, amazing collaboration tool."