Video Series: Managing a Remote Marketing Team
Day 8 - Collaboration
Being remote doesn’t mean working together less. It means working together more effectively.
In today’s video, I want to share with you the five essential systems that you need in order to have effective collaboration.
The first is a web-based project management software.
This is essential to increase visibility of the work that needs to be done and accountability to make sure that work is actually getting done. There are many good tools, like Notion, Trello and Basecamp, but it doesn’t matter which tool you use. What matters is that you actually use it.
A project management tool allows you to make sure that everyone knows the work that needs to be done, who’s doing it, and when. And that last part is critical. People need to know what’s expected of them and when things are due. And project management software makes that unmistakable.
Once your team understands the work that needs to be done, they need a way to work on it together. And this is where a collaborative workspace is so important.
Tools like Google Docs allow your team to create, edit, and share documents, together, in real time. This can save them time and make them more efficient, plus there’s always a recorded history or a log of all the changes that were made. This can be incredibly useful when you want to go back to a previous version or see what edits were made.
In addition, a tool like Google Docs has comments, which allow you to comment, rather than editing the document itself. This really improves collaboration and it’s super simple to use. Other tools that are worth checking out are Google Docs, Google Sheets, Notion and Dropbox Paper.
Your team requires an effective way to communicate with each other. And if you don’t have a dedicated communications portal, they’ll default to email, which may explain why you and your team already have a mountain of emails.
I highly recommend a tool like Slack. Slack combines all the necessary features of effective communication into one easy to use interface. As a text-based messaging platform, Slack allows your team to communicate with each other through text messaging, but you can time-shift here. I can send you a message on Slack, and you can respond when you’re available.
In addition, Slack has statuses. I can set a status, let you know that I’m out of the office, at lunch, or in a meeting. The paid versions of Slack also have a really long history. You can always go back, search messages, and see what people said.
The paid version of Slack allows you to have video calls, where you can see each other, phone calls through Slack, and you can screen share. I can share my screen, and other users can even draw on my screen to point to things. This is almost identical to being in person, working together. So, I highly recommend Slack.
There are also ways to organize your communication within Slack using what’s known as channels. Instead of having a group conversation with three or four people, you can create a channel dedicated to a particular project or campaign and then all communication related to that project or campaign exist within that channel. This is a great way to organize communication and makes it very easy to know where to look for things and where to send messages so the right people get them.
Regardless of what you use as your communication portal, it’s important to consider having a water cooler or a general chat. This is a place where people can communicate about things that are not work-related.
This allows them an outlet and lets them socialize with each other, connect and build those relationships, and also, helps remove some of the negative effect of being isolated and working from home. So, again, make sure that you consider or add a water cooler or general chat so that people can have some fun, because it can’t be work all the time.
Every team has way too many documents and you need a way to store, organize and access those documents. So, it’s essential that you have a document storage system and one that’s web-based.
Google Drive and Dropbox are the two major players here. And I highly recommend either one, but regardless of which one you choose, make sure you have an organization scheme set up so people know where to put things and how to access them. Having a folder structure predefined is extremely useful so that you instantly know where things are and how to find them.
In addition, this will require some maintenance. So, make sure you take some time every week or dedicate a person who is responsible and has ownership over this drive so that they can maintain the order of the system. Otherwise, things will get thrown in the wrong places, and it’ll become a mess, and then unusable.
So, not only is it important to have a place to share documents, to give the right access to them, but it needs to be organized and kept in order. Otherwise, it becomes unusable.
And finally, number five, I highly recommend a password storage system like LastPass.
LastPass is a great tool, because it helps you generate, store, and share passwords and access credentials to websites, accounts, et cetera. If you’re like most marketing teams, you probably have so many different websites and accounts that you have to remember their passwords and share access to different people. So, a tool like LastPass can save you a lot of time, and, most importantly, keep you safe and secure.
If you want to collaborate more effectively, these are the five essential systems that you need. And your action, then, for today, is to do an audit and identify which of these systems you don’t have or which one to make a change or upgrade. Then schedule some time this week to do some research, perhaps do some demos, and pick the right systems for you and your team.