The Advancing Leadership Blog

Leading Integration

Integration is co-operation on a large scale. It’s organizing your best minds and tactics into a holistic, practical strategy. Without integration your employees will remain segregated, and your customers will feel alienated. That’s why it’s imperative that your leadership guides a strong, organized integration process that keeps in mind social media, customer response and departmental/employee planning. By maximizing these key areas of your business, your work will flow better, easier and will be more effective.

Create your Social Media First Response Team

The sales process has changed. Customers are interacting with businesses in a completely different way: through social media, Internet review sites and through each other. On average, an unhappy customer will tell 10 other people about their bad experience with a business. Then there’s no telling how many those 10 people will tell. Can you afford to lose that much business? It is critical to have an integrated first response team ready to seize upon bad press, and turn negative issues into positive experiences for the customers.

This is where an integrated social media plan will greatly improve your customer service approach. Find the social media channels that best represent your business. Not everyone will be able to do well on Pinterest, or LinkedIn. Once your focus is narrowed, synch your social media profiles and align them with your company values and culture. Social Media should be where customers go to find the personality of your company, where they see it at its most human. This is where they will interact with your company over your products and services. If you aren’t quick to respond, then you miss an opportunity. This can be devastating to your business! By synching your Social Media profiles, and launching a strong top-down approach that has a social media literate executive on one end, and an enthusiastic employee on the other, your customers will be encouraged to become part of your branding. They will be your number one advocates on markets you can’t tap into. Integration allows speed, organization and a channeled, universal mission statement. These three points will revolutionize your social media approach.

Stay One-Step Ahead of Your Customers

Integration should not stop there. Since leadership is the one crafting the customer service strategy (or should be), they are in the best position to lead integration. A good way to start is by integrating your CRM with the rest of your business. The benefits of a well-thought out, holistic, integrated CRM strategy are endless. It will not only make collecting customer information and improving customer relations easier, but the shared knowledge that integration leads to will make it easier to convert more leads and bring in more customers. It will provide each department with a complete understanding of their customer base, thus helping them really understand what exactly they are selling, and who their customers are, a crucial lesson in sales. An integrated CRM will also make resolving customer concerns easier as answers can be pulled interdepartmentally. As information continues to flow through departments, productivity will skyrocket.

Get your Business Running like Clockwork

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of integration to customer service and response, you might ask, “Does it stop there?” The answer is of course not. The better integrated a company is, the better its productivity and profitability. While organizing a complete business integration strategy sounds like a massive feat, the pros far outweigh the cons. With business-wide communications and connectivity, critical decisions are made faster (as departmental information is more easily accessible), future strategies will be stream-lined, risk assessment will be more informed and redundancies will be reduced, or even eliminated.

Don’t think that any of this happens naturally. Integration requires strategy. It needs careful planning, excellent leadership and motivational guidance to soar to success. Once there, your business will run like clockwork, and elusive goals like scalability and increased revenue will be well within reach.

To thrive in today’s economy your team needs to buy into your organizations purpose and process so that your customers are reminded every day why they should do business with you. As an expert in executive leadership, customer relationship development and CRM strategy, Adrian Davis and Whetstone Inc. can help you better understand your business challenges and your buyer’s perspective towards helping you achieve more sales, faster with better customers. For more information, contact Adrian Davis, President & CEO, Whetstone Inc. at 

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