Modernize your CRM with Transformational Data for Sustainability

Unsheathed for the first time, the theme center of the 1939 World’s Fair stood erect above a former ash heap of New York’s coal waste. The World of Tomorrow! The Fair hit all the high kicks of Democracy and set the post-war playbook we inherited from America’s fossil-fueled corporations and industrial business systems focused only on financial growth. (AP Photo)

It’s time to include at least one sustainability metric in quarterly sales reports.

Today’s database administrators and sustainable business leaders have a tremendous opportunity to become the change you wish to see. Bring a new metric of success into your CRM by weaving sales and social benefit together. Keep them apart and you maintain the unsustainable architecture, pomp and vanity, of biggest ball capitalism that has been so deftly sold by profiteers (pictured above).

Over the past three generations CRMs have become a cornerstone of the global economy and we have had little time to reconsider the metrics of success they were built upon. The pandemic gave many people, including me, just a bit of time to pause, breathe, and reset.

Looking back, it’s obvious we inherited binary business systems (punchcard calculations were first exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair) born from plantation spreadsheets and matured with stoic masculinity through the trauma and grief of wars, addictions, silent springs, and a dream too long deferred.

It’s time to reconsider those metrics.

Logic methods are great for problem solving, machines that go ping!, and charts that go up. As logic evolved into databases we were given systems devoid of the emotional intelligence and heart wisdom needed to scale collective impact for ecosystem regeneration and the healing of painful societal wounds.

Now is the time to bring our whole selves to the challenges we face and follow the money.

As an AppExchange partner I often hear Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speak about the importance of Zen master Shunryū Suzuki’s “beginner’s mind” approach: remain open and free from the trappings of past actions or future desires, ask for help and allow new opportunities to become reality. If your sales department uses incentives to close opportunities, then fire up your beginner’s mind and put a sustainability metric into the deal:

  1. Look upstream at how your business makes its money. Is your business making money from accounts that are making a mess?
  2. Give staff researchers or consultants the job to review your company’s top 10–20% of accounts. Are your accounts aligned with your company’s own sustainability objectives?
  3. Turn on a custom account field in your CRM and rank them. An easy +3 to -3 will do. During the next deal, incentivize based on alignment value.

Need a set of sustainability indicators?

Learn the mantra “soil not dirt,” and set your objectives based on measurable results like these 14 business related indicators from the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals shown below. Why these? Well, they feel manageable from a business perspective and your taxes already paid for them. The SDGs were adopted by representatives from all 193 countries of the United Nations. They represent priorities and language the world has agreed upon — an achievement unto itself and certainly worth our attention. (Poetically, the UN’s first home is also pictured above, bottom right.)

Bring all or some of these sustainability metrics right into the heart of the business of your business.

A list of 14 Sustainable Development Goal Indicators suitable for businesses.
A list of 14 Sustainable Development Goal Indicators suitable for businesses.
View and download: A simple list of sustainability indicators you can build measurable impact around.

Internally, these objectives can be managed by Human Resources, Operations, Catering and Facilities divisions. Communications and marketing will have progress to report to employees, customers and investors. Externally, you can give incentives to aligned accounts that are acting to avoid harm (+1), benefiting stakeholders (+2) and contributing to solutions (+3).

Sustainable cross-corporate coalitions will naturally form as we move from talking about it, to being about it. The one thing that flows naturally from a beginner’s mind? Change.