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Learning from the Best Managed Companies: Clio, Thinking Capital and Salesforce

Every summer hundreds of companies begin compiling their applications for Canada’s Best Managed Companies award. Award writers begin sifting through their company’s processes, policies and financial records to determine what makes their company successful. When they’ve submitted their applications, these organizations are evaluated on the caliber of their management capabilities by looking at the three key pillars:

  • Strategy – The business’ vision and how it positively contributes to organizational success.
  • Capability – An organization’s ability to innovate and build capacity for its employees.
  • Commitment – Each organization’s dedication to improving the workplace for its employees.

While we’re absolutely thrilled to be named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the second consecutive year, the true honour comes from being recognized alongside an incredible roster of Canadian companies that are continually inspiring us to improve. We’re thankful to have many Best Managed companies in our community as both customers and peers.

For those of you looking to get a head start on next year’s application, we’ve found three great companies in our community that exemplify Best Managed’s principles: Clio, Thinking Capital and Salesforce.

Strategy: Building for their Customers at Clio

When looking at this pillar, Canada’s Best Managed wants to understand the strategy that drives each organization. They look at the tactics companies take to:

  • Stand out from the competition
  • Adapt to the economic conditions
  • Ensure alignment through the organization

Our friends at Clio (a Burnaby-based law practice management software company) developed a strategy that has helped the company scale over the past 10 years and landed them their first Best Managed award. They recently wrote a blog that highlighted a few of the tactics they’ve implemented in the past decade.

Clio has been driving innovation since the beginning and it’s carried through to their current business strategy. In the early days when the product was still in beta, co-founders, Jack Newton and Rian Gauvreau, made sure they met with every legal professional that was trialing the program. The feedback they received from the customers enabled Clio to develop a SaaS platform that was built based on the needs of their customers.

While it isn’t scalable to have the co-founders sit down with their 150,000+ customers anymore, customers still play a huge role in Clio’s strategy and the development of the platform. Getting regular and honest feedback ensures that Clio’s platform is always evolving to meet their customers’ changing needs.

Capability: Increasing Efficiency for Customers and Employees at Thinking Capital

For a company to grow, Best Managed wants to understand how they are driving innovation and increasing productivity within the organization. This could be anything from a new annual review process that keeps employees accountable or new technology that increases the team’s efficiency.

For Montreal-based Thinking Capital, they’ve focused on investing time and resources into improving the customer and employee experience with technology. Thinking Capital is a three-time Best Managed company that partners with recognized brands (like CIBC, Money Mart and Moneris) to make it easier for small businesses to access capital.

Their legacy process was slow and difficult for small businesses to apply for financing. It added extra stress on their team and left their customers feeling frustrated with the process. To make the application processes easier for their team and customers, Thinking Capital introduced Salesforce. Their self-serve portal puts the power back in their customers’ hands and enabled the company to exceed their business goals.

After a successful implementation, their team saw some impressive improvements. The self-serve customer community meant that 80 per cent of small business loans were pre-approved without any manual intervention from call center reps. This gives reps more time to work with the customers that need support. Thinking Capital added capability with technology, so they could be as efficient as possible with their existing team.

Commitment: Encouraging Alignment among Salesforce’s Ohana

Finally, Best Managed looks at an organization’s commitment to its employees. Canada’s Best Managed Companies have a distinct corporate culture that:

  • Supports and retains employees
  • Creates alignment across the organization
  • Invests in leadership development

While Salesforce isn’t one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, we’d be remiss not to mention their employee alignment strategy. In fact, we saw so much value in Salesforce’s V2MOM methods that we adopted it across Traction last year.

V2MOM is an innovative framework that enables employees to align their goals to the organization’s overall success. For Traction, this meant that our CEO Greg defined his V2MOM first and shared it with the executive team. Each executive created a V2MOM that defined how their team could support Greg’s vision. V2MOM then worked its way through the company, with each employee defining their V2MOM to support their manager’s vision.

Since each employee is aligning their goals to their manager’s visions, the V2MOM framework instantly creates alignment across the organization. In the past year, we’ve found that Salesforce’s V2MOM strategy has given our team the ability to prioritize competing initiatives and grow together.

Putting it all Together

An organization cannot just rely on one (or even two) of the three pillars; strategy, capability and commitment need to work in tandem for a company to succeed. Since becoming a Best Managed Company in 2017, we’ve grown a lot and with, that we’ve learned a lot from the other Best Managed companies. Clio, Thinking Capital and Salesforce are just three of the many exceptional organizations that have business plans that balance strategy, capability and commitment.

Congratulations to all of 2018 Best Managed Companies! You can meet all of this year’s winners on Canada’s Best Managed Companies website.

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