Ok, most of us are two weeks into a full remote work life. It might be old hat for us at ProFromGo, but if your business isn’t used to remote working, keeping all your ducks in a row can probably feel a little overwhelming. Seriously, keeping all of your employees, clients and vendors organized and on task probably can really feel like herding cats. Remember, technology is always here to help. Finding the right tools for remote working can be a real game-changer and get all your horses pulling in the same direction.
Sorry. I’ll stop with all the clichés now.
Why Finding the Right Tools for Remote Working Matters More Than Ever
For organizations that don’t routinely work from home, or with widely distributed remote employees, here are some of the tools ProFromGo uses that have worked well for our team of about 15 folks total (about a 50/50 mix between full time w2’s and high use 1099’s).
If you have anyone on your team who is somewhat technical, I’m confident that given the extra time many of us have on our hands right now, you can easily implement some, or all, of these WITHOUT hiring a consultant.
As a digital marketing agency, we probably take for granted that some of these tools, platforms and software aren’t as well-known outside of tech circles, but they will certainly help change and improve the way we operate if this public health crisis interferes with how small businesses endure beyond the next 2-4 weeks.
Here’s the cherry-picked rundown that only includes some “telecommuting” type tools we use that are NOT necessarily digital marketing agency specific:
Slack is a tool primarily that accommodates internal communications through instant messaging, with options for voice calls and/or screen sharing over the internet and from your computer/laptop amongst your co-workers. If you need to text (SMS/MMS) a lot right now, organizing your conversations into “channels” or by functional role helps everyone. Being able to search through past text-based exchanges is also invaluable. Numerous integrations into other common business tools are available, one of our favorites is Zoom, (described further below).
Our team also automatically gets relevant notifications about customer activity or business events in our various channels via integrations we have set up with other tools and software. Someone did something on our website? I get a Slack (HubSpot integration). A customer’s subscription is automatically re-billed? We get a Slack notification. Someone shared or requested access to a file on Google Drive? You guessed it. Slack notification. New customer support request? Slack notification. You get it, right?
Zoom allows you to conduct virtual meetings with video and/or screen share along with text chat capabilities. We love Slack, but a limiting factor is that it is difficult to use to communicate with people outside of your organization. Zoom solves that problem while also—in my opinion— offering better and more consistent video and audio quality for calls/meetings both internally and with clients/prospects.
It is also way, way, WAY easier to use with a client or someone who has never used it before (like a fresh sales prospect interested in an exploratory meeting) than other conferencing software. Zoom is easily ProFromGo’s most-used Slack integration. To be able to simply type in the “/zoom” command in any Slack channel is a huge time-saver for us. We can almost instantaneously set up a meeting room for everyone in the channel and fire up a think tank or jam session. If you already have Zoom and Slack and want them to play nicely, here’s a quick tutorial on how to set up the integration.
If your team doesn’t have computers with webcams or microphones and is trying to work remotely for the first time ever then…welp…it might be time to level up your hardware.
- Chat or meet over the internet with internal people = Slack.
- Chat or meet with a group or anyone outside of your organization = Zoom.
I’m a little biased when it comes to HubSpot because we have been an agency partner and reseller since 2013. ProFromGo even recently achieved Platinum Partner Status. But, I really believe in it because we use it and it just friggin’ works.
In terms of tools for remote working, HubSpot is the be-all end-all. This perfect blend of CRM/CMS to help your sales and marketing teams row in the same direction. It allows you to organize your opportunities, segment your lists, and market/sell/service your customers more efficiently and effectively. There are various levels where basically the more customers and users you have, the higher the price. But I’ll put it to you this way. If you have a combined few thousand prospects, subscribers and/or customers, and at least 2 or 3 sales/marketing folks, you’ll definitely see a return on your investment with HubSpot.
Seriously, you’ll wonder how your business ever survived without it. After you get it all set up and start diving into the training academy and start taking advantage of its stellar customer support, you’ll see how much of a game-changer HubSpot really is.
Plainly put, for small businesses who need to sell to survive, and are looking for more accountability and organization while communicating to a growing audience (while staying tailored to each person’s unique drivers and interests, after all it is a marketing automation tool at its core) you really can’t do any better than HubSpot.
If you plan on doing a lot of sales, marketing, or “knowledge work” type projects during this whole social distancing thing, Teamwork will help you organize projects, tasks, track time, and communicate more effectively at the project or task level. ProFromGo bounced around between numerous project management (PM) softwares before finding Teamwork a few years ago. We’ve found it to be the perfect combination of easy-to-use/intuitive, affordable, and customizable.
Organize and pay business bills and expenses online. Bill.com lets you set up an approval queue and scan bills right into the system from anywhere. Other users can then review and/or approve. Grant access to your bookkeeper/accountant to reconcile and map expenses as needed.
Dialpad is a virtual phone system. You can assign company phone numbers to every employee or team member who then simply installs the Dialpad app on their smartphone. Once it’s all set up, you can place and receive calls or text messages right from within that app. Key execs or stakeholders can get reports on how much time various team members spend on the phone with their Dialpad line(s) weekly. It is unfortunate when a team member departs but comes in handy when you can assign their old phone number to a successor without having to worry much if they went off to a competitor.
This one is a little bigger lift to get set up for a company. If you are interested let me know and I know a guy (not me, seriously). ProFromGo used to resell G Suite directly, but now have a wonderful consultant we work with now who can help companies get set up or migrate over to it quickly.
G Suite lets organizations use Google’s email, calendar and file storage (Google Drive) with their own company’s domain. A similar alternative is Office 365. We prefer G Suite, but Office 365 or G Suite are both better than those cheap/free webmail subscriptions, or worse—using an archaic on-premise server that requires IT staff to be physically present when things need troubleshooting.
Seriously, for companies still using on-premise Exchange servers, how is that working out for you right now?
Go Forth with the Right Tools for Remote Working and Contact ProFromGo When You’re Ready to Make the Leap to HubSpot
We’ll leave some of these tools for remote working setups to you or your team, but if you’re thinking it’s a good time to get on HubSpot, we’re here to help. The ProFromGo team might be remote right now, but we haven’t skipped a beat. Can you say the same for your business? Contact us to start righting the ship.
Let’s change the way we eat. Let’s change the way we live. Let’s change the way we treat each other.
Time to start makin’ changes.
Did you catch the Tupac reference? 😛