Why your company should have a single email address (guest post)
My second (ever) guest post has been published today by Jason Cohen, founder at WP Engine: Why your company should have a single email address. This discussion is mostly based on our experience at Lokad, I will address of concerns expressed in both the comments on the original post and on the Hacker News discussion.
This is not an email problem, but a CRM problem. Very true. The secret ingredient to make single email work is, I believe, a CRM such as Relenta (or their next best alternative). Yet, most CRMs completely miss the point and ignore that email plays a central part in B2B nowadays. If sales people are expected to manually feed the CRM, then as I far I have been able to observe, the amount of data actually entered into the CRM is a small fraction at best of all the information that travels through emails.
Non-issue if sales properly update support and vice-versa. As I was pointing out in the original post already, the world is full of greyish situations. Boundaries within sales / support / billing … are far from being airtight. The problem with early partitioning is that it vastly hinders your company to even realize how much overlapping there is between those subjects. Don’t under estimate the pain you’re inflicting your prospects and clients by letting them to decipher which is the right address for their question.
Triage becomes the bottleneck, it won’t scale. If the setup is properly done, then everybody is responsible for the triage whenever there is nothing more urgent to do. Hence, you don’t end-up with iddle folks just waiting for the triage team to do its job; if they are iddle, they give a hand to triage. One of the most direct consequence of triage is that precisely it reduces email processing bottlenecks, and let you scale efficiently with a growing staff.
We are not comfortable passing sensitive information that way. Email is - by design - an extremely insecure medium. Not because of the technology, but because of the social practices that surround it. Your company can either ignore or embrace this fact. Then again, they are exceptions. As I was also pointing out, at Lokad, we kept our personal mailboxes. If a discussion with a competitor has to take place about a potential acquisition of the company, then yes, it will not go through the shared setup. But how many of such emails do you get? The fraction is simply negligible.