You’ve built your team.  You want to keep them motivated.  Most importantly, you want to keep them productive.  Thank goodness it’s the 21st century, because there are technologies available right now that allow your team members to do their jobs wherever they are.

Everyone loves to get tech recommendations and you’re no different, right?  That’s because we all think that somewhere out there is the app that’s going to change our life – make us more productive, more profitable and even more attractive.  These apps I’m about to recommend for you will definitely help you achieve two of those three goals.  Want to guess which two?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a database, usually cloud-based or hosted, that holds all the information about anyone who does anything with your business.

  • Prospects
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Partners

When anyone in your team has any interaction with a contact or an account in your CRM system – email, phone, tasks, notes, opportunities, forecasts, sales, etc – it is logged in the CRM system.  That way, nothing falls through the cracks.  And everyone knows what everyone else is doing in the sales and service cycle.  There are dozens of great CRM systems out there.  I like Microsoft Dynamics CRM because it’s built right inside of Microsoft Outlook which is used by more than a hundred million people around the world.  It also integrates well out of the box with other team-building applications made by Microsoft, such as Office, Skype and Sharepoint.

Google Hangouts

If you’re like me you’ve got a face for radio.  But no matter, you (or more likely your company) can be a TV star.  An Internet TV star.  First, hire a nice kid from a local college who’s majoring in marketing. Then tell her: “kid, I’m going to make you a star.”  Then put her in charge of your monthly Google Hangouts on Air TV show.  She will soon find out that you were lying to her because she will never be a star this way. But who cares?  It’s all in good fun and great business.  Google Hangouts on Air is live and streamed to the world!

  • She can interview customers.
  • She can get tips from your managers.
  • She can show your products in action and your people too.
  • She can do video training or certification.

Everything goes out live to the world on Google Hangouts on Air (or Facebook Live or Twitter Periscope).  OK, yes – the reality is two people will watch this live show – you and your mom who’s very proud of everything you do.  But you’ll save this show on your YouTube channel and build up a library of great, information videos that will also demonstrate to the world how good a company or and what kind of culture you have.

There are “Hangouts” and there are “Hangouts on Air.”  Hangouts are video call sessions on steroids – you can connect multiple people on a call at the same time and have a conversation using your webcams or mobile devices.  It’s a great way to interact with your team rather than an old-fashioned conference call.  Hangouts on Air are like Hangouts…on more steroids.  These are public sessions where you can not only have team meetings but also make those calls available for the world to watch – customers, partners, contractors, whatever.  You can use Hangouts on Air to do training sessions, educational seminars, presentations from management or just hold a public conversation with a group of people.  Oh, and did I mention it’s all free? 

Related: 25 Free Ways To Use Google

Glint

This is a new, cool application that gets you fast, secure feedback from your team.  With Glint, which is a mobile app, you can send out questions to your team like:

  • “How is the project going?” or
  • “Is there a problem with Phase B” or
  • “How bad did the Phillies play last night” and get immediate responses.

You can set up multiple choice or free-form answers.  The answers come back into a database and are immediately tabulated for you to review to get up-to-the-minute feedback on how things are going.  Glint takes away the old school process of doing a “post-mortem” after a project is finished. Instead, it tracks the concerns, issues and opinions of your team in real time.

Basecamp

I don’t care what your business does, everything still involves projects.  You might be installing refrigeration systems or selling shoes, but there’s always tasks, emails, notes, timelines, deadlines and responsibilities.  There are external, customer-facing projects and internal projects.  Your team needs one place to go to get all the information needed about a project and that’s why I love Basecamp.  It’s an inexpensive, powerful, cloud-based project management system that your team members can access from their laptops, tablets or smartphones.  It’ll send alerts and reminders.  You can configure workflows so that when something is done, something else gets started.  You’ll get reports, dashboards and metrics.  It’s a one stop, flexible, scaleable project management application that will increase team productivity.

Related: 9 Tech Tools for Work from Home Employees

Slack

Remember, about six or seven months ago you had a technical problem with the PX174 Transisatchator unit with model number 5800/9J at a customer? And you, a couple of employees and a few people at the customer, were going back and forth about it.  And you solved it.  Well, guess what?  It’s back.  But this time at another customer.  What the heck was the solution?  No one seems to remember. But wait!  You’ve been using Slack for all your messaging (text, instant messages and emails because it integrates with your email system).  So you just search Slack using the keyword PX174 Transisatchator Model 5800/9J and boom!  All those communications about the problem are retrieved.  And there…right in front of you…Bob had the answer and it was just a lack of Peanut Butter.  See?  Makes sense now.  But thank goodness you had a system that stored all of your messages in one place for such easy retrieval.  That’s what Slack does, besides maintaining group messaging and other collaboration features.  Life and business changing.

San Francisco based Slack has raised $340 million to date and has recently been valued at over $1 billion…and most people I know have never heard of them! Well, now’s the time.  You know how your team is texting, instant messaging and emailing each other, all using different apps and programs?  You know how annoying and time-consuming it is to find that old email or message from months ago about an account, project or person that jogged your memory and suddenly became important?  Slack fixes that problem.  Your team uses the Slack mobile app for all communications.  Every single message is stored in Slack’s database.  Months or years later you want to recall a conversation, message or information about someone or something you just type in a keyword and anything about that conversation is recalled.  Awesome, right?  A billion dollars of awesome, actually.

DocuSign

You’re almost there.  The prospect has said “yes” and now all you have to do is just send over the paperwork.  But…oh no!  You sent the documents to the person sitting at the desk immediately to the left of your prospect instead of the prospect.  Or your email was caught in a spam filter. You know how those big companies are.  Anything out of the ordinary then the wheels stop turning and everything gets pushed back 60 days.  What about if your prospect suddenly goes on the road and can’t print stuff out to sign or review with his boss. That’s another 60 days. But now you get DocuSign.  DocuSign relies on e-signatures which (like marijuana it sometimes seems) is legal in pretty much every state.  So you send the doc to him on DocuSign.  He electronically signs it.  The document is stored forever for him to access and you get notified.  If he doesn’t sign right away he gets reminders.  It works on any mobile device.  It works wherever the prospect is.  Now your sales cycle is cut down significantly.  And your cash flow gets a boost.

The best thing about today’s teams is that they can be working from anywhere, anytime and from any device.  That’s because today’s technology allows a team to collaborate and communicate like they’re sitting across the table from one another.  Go team!

 

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