COVID-19 has turned the business world upside down. It has created a new normal for our working lives, and social distancing means remote work is a huge part of that new normal. Even though it comes with a lot of benefits for both workers and employers, it also brings new challenges. Luckily, technology can help us overcome them.
A global lockdown has placed billions of people across the world in quarantine. Whole industries have been brought to their knees. Businesses have had to tighten their belts whilst trying to maintain some sort of normality for their employees, looking for a difficult balance between supporting their employees and supporting themselves.
“Maintaining normality isn’t easy when nothing normal is happening.”
Working from home seems like a brilliant idea until you’re forced to do it. A survey conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting found that by as early as the start of April, out of the 1,001 people who were asked, 45% conceded that they felt burnt out from increased workloads, the juggling of their personal and professional lives, and a lack of communication from their employers.
Sales teams need to work harder than ever to close deals and keep the ball rolling. With the challenge of a generation to overcome, how they utilize simple technology could be the difference between life and death for their business. We’ve put together six tools to help them adapt, stay on track, and keep the tills ringing.
1. A Powerful CRM System
It goes without saying that your customers’ ability to buy has definitely been affected by the crisis. It’s more important than ever that your sales team keep on top of their pipelines, pushing through as many deals as they can, and keeping the accounts ticking over. For a sales team working from home, a powerful CRM is not a desire; it is a necessity.
Our Choice: NetHunt CRM
Having a full sales team working remotely poses problems for communication, especially when they are all working with the same customers. NetHunt CRM offers a full customer context, meaning essential information such as communication history, important events, and written notes are readily available. A user is never left guessing; no action in the sales process is missed or taken twice.
“NetHunt CRM was built inside Gmail. It places a fully-featured CRM inside your existing inbox .”
NetHunt also helps bring sales and marketing teams closer together, by automating email marketing campaigns, tracking clicks, follow-throughs, and producing reports of bulk email campaigns. LinkedIn integration allows users to find and add new prospects to their contacts at the click of a button. Management can also use NetHunt to track the progress of deals and produce reports regarding pipeline health.
- Contact Management
- Deal Management
- Opportunities Management
- Multi-Pipeline Support
- Meeting Note-Taking
- Custom Form Fields
- Custom Filter Options
- Custom Folders
Productivity and Automation
- Email Logging Automation
- Email Tracking
- Email Link Tracking
- Follow-Up Automation
14-day free trial. Starting at $24 per user, per month thereafter.
2. A Comprehensive Project Management Tool
Successful remote work requires a certain level of trust between employers and employees. Employers need to know that employees aren’t sitting around in their underwear watching television all day; employees need to have a steady list of tasks to be kept busy with. Working-from-home offices need a tool to visualize all the tasks that have both been completed and need completing.
Our Choice: Trello
Trello is exactly that tool. It allows teams to create shared ‘boards’ with different ‘cards’. Each card is a task that needs to be completed, and different users can be assigned to the cards that they are responsible for. When a user has finished their task, they can mark it as complete and move it along the funnel until it is ready.
“how do you know they are working?”
Trello helps to visualize and reach collective goals. It makes it easy for teams to collaborate, communicate, organize, and stay on track whilst working at home. As well as remote work, Trello can be an irreplaceable productivity tool for when office-life resumes. Its simplicity and intuitive design mean it can be integrated with any team’s processes.
- Free or zero pricing for the basic service.
- Quick overview on front and back of cards.
- Easy organization with tags, labels, and categories.
- Drag and drop functionality.
- In-line editing.
- Real-time sync.
- Checklists, with a progress meter.
- Easy uploading of files and attachments.
3. A Slick Communication Tool
Isolation can be a lonely place. Colleagues need to stay in touch, not only for work purposes but for their sanity. Employers need to stimulate social interaction between their teams and make sure everyone is connected and helping each other through a difficult time, both professionally and personally. Regular and effective communication is paramount to a team’s success.
Technology means we can do most things virtually. Events like e-wine tasting or virtual pub-quizzing are a great way to maintain togetherness when the team isn’t together.
Our Choice: Slack
Slack is the communication tool to keep your colleagues in touch. It has a private chat feature for colleagues to speak one-to-one and a channel feature for dedicated team discussions. For your virtual events, there is a group video call option with an option to screen share. If you don’t fancy looking at anyone, there is also an audio-only call option.
“Good communication is Like A bridge .”
If a dedicated video platform is more your bag, amongst other programs, Slack integrates with Zoom, where you can change your background to hide the fact that you’re sat in bed.
- Conversation channels
- Private groups
- Message history
- File sharing
- File browsing
- Voice/video calls
- Progress archive
Starting at $6.67 per user, per month.
4. A Totally Zen Meditation App
Meditation has been proven to focus one’s attention in just about every way imaginable. When we’re working from home, it can be difficult to separate our working lives and our personal lives. All our anxieties get mixed into one giant blob at the bottom of our stomachs, and it can be difficult to destress after a long working day.
If you’ve never meditated before, now is your chance to start. Take 10 minutes out of your day to separate all your thoughts and get back to work with renewed vigor and focus.
Our Choice: Headspace
If you are new to meditation, Headspace is the perfect starting point. It offers guided meditation sessions to restore calm and order inside your mind. A narrator (with a very, very nice voice) explains how your mind behaves during meditation and explains how we can apply new, zen-inducing techniques to our day to day lives.
- Free introductory 10-day program with reminders
- Sophisticated, user-friendly interface with customizable content
- Engaging animations to explain concepts
- Sessions can be downloaded and experienced offline
- Practical, modern and secular approach to mindfulness
- Family and child friendly – “Headspace for Kids” content
Free with a limited amount of meditations.
5. A Hearty File Storage Space
The Cloud is more important than ever as the world goes remotely. Home-workers must upload, access, and edit documents in real-time, as well as to comment on colleagues’ work and act on those comments. It’s safe to say that without the Cloud, the stress that businesses feel during this crisis would be even more unbearable.
Our Choice: Google Drive
This one was easy. Google Drive stores all your work was done within Google Apps, including Docs, Slides, and Sheets. You can keep everything in Google’s Cloud, select who has access to it, and decide what they can do with that access.
“Thank heavens for the Cloud”
Drive’s unique features include letting you email extremely large files up to 10GB, a library of individual templates to create whatever you want, and an offline mode that lets users create and edit documents when they haven’t got a connection.
Free up to 15GB.
6. A Platform For Smooth Grooves
If you’re anything like me, music can help get the fingers typing and the creative juices flowing. It doesn’t matter if you’re an industrial techno-head or more of a silky jazz-jiver, music helps us find rhythm and inspiration when we need it the most. Sharing good music can be one of the best gifts you can give to somebody, and collaborative playlists are a great way to keep the team’s spirits up.
Our Choice: Great DJ
Regardless of whether you use Apple Music, Spotify, or any other platform; Great DJ is a fantastic online tool that lets users create and save playlists before sharing them with friends and colleagues. Teams can use this tool to add and queue their favorite music, share music tastes and differences, and have something to talk about that’s not work.
Music is a powerful tool for bringing anybody together.
If you feel isolated in self-isolation, know that you’re not the only one. If you feel more unproductive than ever since you’re sitting at home all the time, understand that everybody else does too. I miss my team, and I bet you do too.
Technology helps bring us together. Tools such as Trello, Slack, Google Drive, and NetHunt help us collaborate on projects and maintain communication. Headspace helps us destress, one breath at a time, and we can motivate ourselves and our team with music shared through the Great DJ.
It’s not the same, but this is the new normal… for now. Just keep on keeping on, and stick together even though we’re apart.