What’s in your company’s software suite?

The tools you use play a big role in your success. The right software can help you communicate better internally, improve customer experience, increase employee satisfaction, raise sales, and grow the business.

Yet when the time comes to upgrade your company’s software suite, it’s hard to know where to start. It doesn’t help that the market is flooded with countless options. So how do you upgrade with confidence?

Creating a custom software suite

In the world of effective communication, one size rarely fits all. You don’t talk to your grandmother, your best friend, and the grocery store clerk in the exact same way.

Why should effective business communication be any different?

Your software suite needs to meet your team’s unique needs, complement your communication style, and help you streamline your processes. Let’s take a look at the different types of software you can add to your suite.

1. Use video conferencing to run better meetings

Video conferencing lets you quickly get together with team members. All you need is a good wifi connection, robust video conferencing software and a laptop. Unlike email and phone calls, video has many of the positives of in-person meetings– like seeing (and interpreting) body language.

Teams can also use video conferencing to give project presentations and share project updates. Plus, most modern video conferencing software lets you record meetings. These recordings can be saved in your archives and used as a learning tool or shared with team members who couldn’t make it.

If you haven’t set up video conferencing software and aren’t sure where to start, we can help. We work with some of the top brands in the field and can help you find the perfect solution for your needs.

2. Add a robust project management tool to stay on the same page

Project management software like Wrike, Asana, or Basecamp, does wonders for communication by keeping everyone on the same page.

You can find everything you need to complete a project successfully, and reach out to all the people you’ll need to work with, from one centralized interface. This makes projects run smoother and decreases stress levels all around.

Upgrade to a tool that’s easy to use, supports different kinds of files, and has chat or commenting features so you can keep project-related conversations all in the same place.

3. Use a dedicated internal communication tool

You can talk to your team in so many different ways: social media, email, text, Whatsapp, Telegram, phone. The list gets even longer when you add all the tools most businesses use internally into the mix.

Yet the average employee spends 28% of their work week stuck in their inbox answering emails. For the average 8 hour workday, that’s over 2 hours a day. Unless a role specifically requires this much email work, that’s time that can be better spent elsewhere.

Instant communication tools like Slack or Intercom can help your team stay out of the inbox. Because who hasn’t logged in to look for a project-relevant email only to get sucked in by something urgent looking?

Plus unlike email, Instant communication tools keep all your team conversations out of email and into one central location. You can split up into different channels and your messages are searchable by all members of the channel. Adding one of these into your mix will make talking to each other much easier.

4. Add a shared Learning Management System (LMS)

Your team spend 19% of their time looking for and gathering information. Yet because a lot of this research never makes it into the final project, no one else gets to benefit from it.

Adding a shared space where information can get stored, searched through, and used by everyone– like an internal Google– helps your business make the most of that research time.

It takes the common practice most of us use– of saving articles, data points and interesting ideas for later using a tool like Evernote– and turns it into something collaborative that can benefit the whole group.

5. Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

Customer Relationship Management software is a gift to anyone in sales, marketing, customer support, or account management. You can use a tool like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Zoho CRM to organize all your lead and customer information and track it in one central place.

So every time one of your team members pulls up a customer file, they get instant access to all the notes, support tickets, and info about that person. It helps you communicate better with your customers which in turn increases retention rates. At the same time, it makes it easier for team members to share relevant information with each other which increases team cohesion.

6. Add cloud-based file sharing software

Communication is not just about talking. Being able to find what you need, when you need it, is an important part of effective business communication.

A service like Google Drive, DropBox or your personal favorite makes sharing files incredibly easy. This can keep projects progressing smoothly and it ensures that everyone has instant access to the latest version of what they need.

7. Use collaboration software

The best type of collaboration software for your business will depend on your industry, company size and departments. Regardless of what type of work you do, the right collaboration software can make your team stronger. It makes it easy to work on projects together and leave comments and suggestions in real time.

Designers may use a tool like Invision, developers something like GitHub, while marketers may use the Google Suite. If you are not sure where to start, ask your teams. A lot of the everyday software we use comes packed with powerful collaboration features.

A software suite your team loves

Don’t upgrade your company’s software suite in a vacuum. Speak to your team about the tools they use and the limitations these tools have. Then ask them about the kinds of features that will make their jobs easier.

Effective software does more than just its job. Its secret power is its ability to get users to fall in love with it. So whatever tools you add, make sure they are ones your team will use.