Collaborative CRM Meetup- April 2020 Recap

Symphony for the Internal Salesforce Team

In April 2020, North Peak hosted our quarterly meetup for organizations managing, implementing, or considering shared CRM solutions– Collaborative CRMs. At these meetups, a group of nonprofit executives and Salesforce admins, developers, and consultants discuss their experiences with Collaborative CRMs (CCRMs), ask questions, and share resources. If you’re interested in joining us for the next one, sign up here.

At our latest meetup, Sam Dorman and Chris Zezza of The Build Tank gave a presentation on “Symphony for the Internal Salesforce Team” based on this whitepaper. Their work gets to the heart of challenges with governance, resourcing, and system evolution that this group exists to tackle.


About the Build Tank

The Build Tank is a strategic technology advising firm. They help organizations break the cycle of dysfunction in technology by building and incubating internal teams who are ready to take full ownership of their systems’ and organizations’ success.

The Build Tank has a particular focus on the social sector, where technology is too often a low priority for overstretched resources. They work with organizations to change this mindset and make managing and evolving technology a core competency.

The Recap

Our session focused on The Build Tank’s white paper: “Resourcing Your Salesforce CRM Product Team.” The paper lays out their approach for helping teams break the cycle of technology problems that organizations spend valuable time and funds to fix, only to find themselves with a new problem in short order. Over years, the technology debacles, drains on staff time and brainpower, compromised constituent experience, and misses on insights, efficiencies, and opportunities pull focus and resources from their mission. This is the exact inverse of what can and should be true: that technology super-powers organizations’ work. 

So how can organizations change course? The Build Tank argues it’s not about the tech, but the people. They encourage organizations to approach their technology teams as product teams– where their responsibility goes beyond the technical into the strategic. Consider the essential areas of work that a complete technology team must address: 

  • Architecture & development
  • Database administration
  • User support & training
  • Data guardianship
  • Tools & integrations
  • Product management & leadership

For many organizations, covering so many, and so varied, responsibilities with limited staff capacity means they need to get creative about how to structure their CRM teams and what is done in-house vs. via outsourced help. According to The Build Tank, most organizations get this part wrong: they prioritize in-house expertise in database administration, tools & integrations, architecture & development. In fact, those are areas most teams can successfully outsource. 

The areas of expertise orgs need on their product team fall into three categories: technical, leadership, and human. Significant portions of the first can be outsourced, the last two cannot. This means product management and leadership as well as user support and training are critical for the product team to provide, and especially the leadership. As The Build Tank points out, what do organizations do to ensure success for other teams? What do they do if they want a first-in-class programs team, Development department, Marketing operation? They hire an excellent leader– someone with vision and passion, someone you believe in–to lead it. The same thinking must apply to their technology if it’s going to be great. They argue that technical product leadership must be a core competency of any high-functioning organization. 

Their white paper details approaches for structuring CRM product teams, what each area of work entails, and what teams can expect when they prioritize the leadership and human expertise. 

Additional Resources

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this discussion, and huge thanks to Sam and Chris for bringing their insights to our group. We’re looking forward to our next meetup! See below for ways to get involved. 

Get Involved

Continue the discussion in the Power of Us Hub group.

If you have colleagues interested in this community, encourage them to join the Hub group and the list for updates and invites.

About North Peak

About North Peak

North Peak helps nonprofits and foundations increase institutional intelligence through healthy CRM (constituent relationship management) and/or GMS (grant management system) systems and practices. Contact Us to learn how we can elevate your organization's impact.