Expert Interview: How (and Why) to Simplify Information Sharing Across Your Organization


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Stephen Ankenman, of Bitrix24, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

Stephen joined Buckner to discuss social intranets and workplace collaboration platforms, as well as the importance of task and project management technology.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: How important is it for your social Internet, for your own internal communication to be searchable, and how are you able to access that information faster?

Stephen: There certainly are a lot of advantages when you know the search box at the top of your screen covers all of your tasks, all of your discussions, your files, content of your files, your Wikis, or any piece of information you might be saving in your Internet. That includes the CRM piece. You can look for something in the CRM platforms, just from the same box that indexes the Wikis and the other stuff. That greatly reduces repeated conversations. You don’t have to ask people the same questions every however often.

It’s very easy for me to forget deep, technical details about one thing or another. So I can just open up my chat. Many times it’s in chat, sometimes it’ll be in a discussion. But I can just open up chat with a given developer or a given technical support person. And that, of course, is a great plus to the experts, because I’m not always coming to them asking them questions that are more or less similar to what I had before. I find that to be a lifesaver for me because then I know I’m not wasting their time. If I’m coming to them, I’m coming to them with a new question.

TA: You’re able to be more efficient when you can segment your internal communications differently than your external communications with customers or other key partners. When you’re able to actually go use that information, you can save time. That is a great example.

Stephen: If you say something once, you don’t have to say it again in this format. And because all of that information is more accessible than my e-mails that I send out from the CRM or the calls that I make through the telephony module, they turn around a lot faster. I get the answers to whatever questions that I need, turned around a lot faster, and I’m answering the client much more quickly than I would be otherwise.

TA: A social Internet within your company can make your customer relationship management technologies more efficient. What trends do you anticipate in the future of CRM software? How is will communication happen with customers, partners, and internal employees?

Stephen: Because it’s so much easier now to provide information, to share information, it can be legitimately called a revolution. Our job is more becoming sharing vital information, and so we’re not selling things quite as much. We’re informing people more. We’re consulting them. We’re answering their questions in their context. One of the main games for salesmen 10 or 20 years ago was to drive the conversation the way you need it to be, so that the customer reaches your conclusion. Well, information is so much easier to communicate. We have so many better means of communication with each other now that we can be more exact with each customer.

There’s a tremendous difference between the fact that we don’t have to meet physically so much anymore. And because we have so many different tools, we can build a much stronger context for the information that we’re providing to each other – in this case, of course, to the clients.

TA: Most of the social Internet conversation seems to center around larger sized companies. How many employees do you need before you decide,”Okay, we’re growing. We are now going to need to make sure we have a really well organized social Internet.”

Stephen: We base that on kind of the fact that once there’s more than even 30 or so people, when a new person is on board, it gets a little bit difficult with all the new faces. And, of course, our product has an organizational chart or company structure with photos and who’s in what department, with all their pictures, who the head of that department is, and all of that stuff. That was always the piece that we keyed off of, once you get to around 30 or so people, the names really can be a little bit difficult and things like that.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.

Charlotte Ritter
Charlotte Ritter is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice . She covers a variety of business technology topics, including business intelligence, gamification, and project management software.


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