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  • April 5, 2022
  • By Jim Dickie, research fellow, Sales Mastery

Evolving CRM from the Enterprise to the Extraprise

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IN THE EARLY DAYS of sales force automation (SFA), the focus was on providing sales teams with tools designed to promote efficiency and effectiveness at the sales organization level. As SFA adoption became more widespread, the realization set in that selling success was dependent not just on what sales organizations did but also on what other functional areas, like marketing, customer service, finance, and product management, did as well. Thus, a broader goal for technology emerged, which was pivotal in the transition to CRM enterprise-level solutions that were focused on enabling the performance and collaboration of all customer-facing areas within a company.

Fast-forward to today. We’re now seeing companies looking to take CRM to the extraprise level. The goal is to provide support to the external players—suppliers, partners, influencers, and customers—that can help optimize revenue performance. This goes far beyond previous attempts to implement partner relationship management (PRM) solutions, which all too often focused on deal registration and tracking. With extraprise CRM, we’re talking about creating a community where all engaged parties have access to tools, insights, content, and knowledge to meet their own agendas, as well as contributing to the success of the community as a whole.

A case in point is Boston-based Salsify, a leading developer of customer experience management solutions. During an interview, their team shared with us how Salsify is leveraging CRM at the extraprise level, and the impact it’s having.

In the second half of 2020, Salsify launched a project to update the company’s sales enablement efforts. A cornerstone of that initiative became the implementation of a new platform for learning and content delivery. What was required was a solution that was scalable and integrated into their existing customer-facing system of record, which was Salesforce. The team evaluated several options in the marketplace before selecting myTrailhead (now part of Salesforce’s Sales Enablement). They leveraged that framework and functionality set to develop a learning path management system, which was internally dubbed “Hubs and Spokes.”

In evaluating Hubs and Spokes, the team saw that the solution would meet not only their internal needs but those of partners and customers as well. The solution easily handled the process of tracking enablement progression and accountability by continuously assessing the who, what, where, and how of skills and knowledge optimization.

Internally, the initial focus was optimizing the sales organization’s performance, soon followed by customer service, customer success, HR, and finance. From the perspective of Salsify’s partners, Hubs and Spokes centered on the learning and certifications that directly contribute to optimizing their success. The vision behind Hubs and Spokes also includes identifying key concepts that Salsify’s customers need to know to execute, optimize, and improve their customer experience strategy over time.

Leveraging Hubs and Spokes enables Salsify’s teams, their partners, and their customers to navigate the myriad changes in today’s economy, the continued COVID crisis, and the ever-changing political landscape with an entirely new level of speed and agility.

Salsify stressed the importance of Hubs and Spokes as a vehicle for providing information transparency to everyone in Salsify’s community. The solution delivers training and content to everyone when they want to consume it, and it does so in a way that is not only effective but fun.

Here’s the real power of extraprise CRM: It goes beyond helping Salsify and their partners connect. It goes beyond deepening the relationships with their customers. The ultimate win is that it allows those customers to deepen their relationships with their customers as well. 

Jim Dickie is a research fellow for Sales Mastery, a research firm that specializes in benchmarking case study examples of how companies are leveraging technology for sales. He can be reached at jim@salesmastery.com or on Twitter @jimdickie.

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