4 Tips on How to Manage a CRM Team

A CRM Manager, or any other department manager, will have several employees helping to deliver results and reach the department’s goals. Whether the department meets or misses its targets depends greatly on the effectiveness, or lack, of the manager’s supervisory skills.

A manager must not only serve as a best practice role model by helping their employees to see a project through to the end and meet deadlines but they must also work hard to maintain a positive, productive work environment.

Anyone who thinks that managing a team is just bossing people around then sitting back and letting them do all the work for you should probably reconsider this position.

The following approaches should help any CRM Manager keep their team on track.

1. Communicate clearly and effectively

Communication is by far the most important skill required in team leading. As a Manager, you will be expected to instruct and give information in a clear and effective way. Your team will most likely consist of members with educational or cultural differences so you need to be able to get your message across using simple and universal words. Avoid creating confusion and wasting time rephrasing by delivering the message effectively the first time round.

It is a fundamental skill to make sure the person you are communicating with fully understands what you are saying so avoid using industry jargon or abbreviations that some may not know the meaning of, especially new-comers to the industry. For example, the term “RFM” may be a completely normal customer behaviour analysis method to CRM veterans but to a newbie it’s just three letters. Go into a certain level of detail and use examples when giving instructions to make your message clear or, if you really do insist on using jargon and have no tight deadlines to meet, make the effort of explaining the meaning of the term.

You can also avoid miscommunications by finding out in advance how each employee responds best to instructions or advice. Some are more receptive when you send them straight to the point instructions by email whilst others may take in more when you explain the details to them in person.

Before speaking, you should consider how what you are going to say will impact your listeners and aim to adopt a neutral, if not positive, tone and attitude especially when discussing an employee’s flaws. Instead of just putting the worker down you should be able to help them improve by offering constructive feedback.

It is also very important to keep your team updated on everything involving your department, even if it isn’t tremendous news. Sometimes it is easy to underestimate the importance of keeping others informed on little details and assume that this information isn’t relevant to anyone else yet when it usually is.

2. Be consistent, knowledgeable and well-timed

To gain the respect of your team members, you will need to be able to show that you know all about what the job entails and that you have the required knowledge by being technically proficient. Remember, you must constantly serve as advisor and person of reference to your employees for whatever they need to know, not the other way round.

You will also be required to make decisions for them (some very hard ones), keep everything and everyone organised, plan smooth time management, be capable of delegating tasks correctly and be able to influence your employees’ actions, initiative and attitude.

Your statements and decisions need to be consistent at all times. Above all, you must never contradict yourself and should avoid coming across as unsure or indecisive when making a request or deadline. Make your mind up and keep your ideas clear before sharing with others and if a change of plans is inevitable then make sure you inform your team as a whole, rather than selectively choosing who to tell. It’s not one team member’s job to inform the others, it’s yours.

It is crucial that your team has a clear picture of your role and objectives as well as those that are expected of them. This can be achieved by putting performance guidelines and benchmarks in place. You should also have a fair and well-balanced approach towards delegating tasks.

Most Managers will be expected to present reports on their team’s performance so they should be able to write clearly with good grammar as well as master reporting tools such as spreadsheets or available project management tools in order to get the stats and message across correctly. The same principles apply for writing staff notices, memos and sending emails to the whole team.

A good tip for earning respect is to remember to give credit to your team or individual team members for their accomplishments. Taking all the credit for everything all the time will most likely reduce your team’s drive and performance whereas acknowledging their efforts will encourage them to keep up the good work.

3. Be a good listener and teacher

Keep in mind that Managers usually don’t do the same tasks as their team members so they don’t tend to come face to face with the same problems. Being a good listener is therefore a very important skill as listening to the problems your employees are faced with will allow you to work with them to solve the issue rather than not doing anything about it. 

A Manager should also be capable of taking their employees’ suggestions and concerns into consideration as well as being willing to answer questions that team members may have regarding the tasks at hand. You may be required to correct an employee’s mistakes and this should always be done by encouraging the individual rather than putting them down.

You should always take the time out to identify each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, what motivates them, ambitions and skill sets as well as lacking skills that a bit of training could fix. These bits of info are necessary in order to mould your team and improve their overall performance.

You will often need to provide training and teach your employees how to perform specific tasks or new responsibilities effectively. A good Manager will possess the necessary patience and capacity to take the employee through the learning process and pass on the required knowledge correctly.

The team leader must always set a good example by meeting tight deadlines in the same way that is expected of them and providing them with assignments, material and tools necessary to do the job. You must have a firm grasp of everything your team could possibly need to perform their jobs properly and make sure they have these things available to them at all times.

A good Manager will sit down privately with an individual employee to address matters involving them rather than saying it in front of others of talking about them behind their back to others. 

4. Be assertive but not overbearing

A Manager should come across as a leader and good example to others. You will therefore need to put these principles into practice every day in order to be an effective manager.

It is essential to be assertive but at the same time avoid becoming overbearing. Assertiveness is necessary to make sure your employees know they are not to overstep you and know where they stand whereas becoming overbearing may turn you into the enemy. It is advisable not to become a bully as the effects this will have on productivity and employee performance can be devastating and can lead to a slowly losing the respect and control of your team. A Manager should be fair at all times, will have self-control and know when to stand off.

During your time as Manager, you can expect to deal with some very difficult situations and conversations. You certainly should not let a team member get away with unacceptable performance or behavior out of fear of being hated or because they once worked alongside you in your previous role. These types of issues should be addressed and concluded straight away to avoid allowing others to follow in these footsteps and affirm your authority.

You must also be prepared to stand up for your team if appropriate when being questioned by your Director. Bad-mouthing your team members or putting them down is completely unacceptable, if they aren’t performing well then it’s most likely your problem not theirs. A good Manager will remain loyal and dedicated to their team no matter what and will be willing to find a way to improve the team’s performance at all costs.


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