Collaboration is the single most important ingredient to a successful project.
“97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.” -Mckinsey & Co.
Collaboration 101: What is Collaboration?
Collaboration is when a group works together to accomplish a common goal. According to Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Teams that collaborate well are usually happier and more successful.
Why is Collaboration More Important in a Remote Workforce?
62% of employed Americans currently say they are working from home during the pandemic, as found by a recent Gallup’s research. The temptation to watch TV, do laundry, or ponder upon pre-pandemic days is at an all-time high. Creating opportunities for employees to collaborate remotely will build morale, motivate your staff, and keep people happily accountable.
A Stanford study showed that just the invitation to work with others could fuel motivation. Subjects who were given cues that they would be collaborating with others:
- Expressed more interest in and joy of the task
- Required less self-discipline to stay on task
- Became more engaged in and worked better on the task
- Worked longer on challenging tasks
Collaboration benefits are important to understand, especially now that people are isolated and forced to work remotely.
When working remotely, people are eager for human interaction—loneliness is also at an all-time high. Collaborating accords purpose and acknowledgment from the team to each participant. When you know someone is reviewing your work and it’s not getting lost in the cloud, there’s a sense of fulfillment. This feeling is the same reason people re-read emails they just sent “as the other person”: the sender imagines what the receiver is thinking to reward themselves for good work. It’s a hilarious and ridiculous practice, but very real.
What Makes Good Collaboration?
If you look at nature, you can see remarkable examples of collaboration. Ants, bees, wolves, lions, and other community-based animals collaborate extremely well. Ants are an amazing example of a well-built team. When rain floods a fire ant colony, the ants jump into action. Worker ants grab the Queen and larva and form a ball. Soldiers lock legs around the ball of workers and form a floating raft. They will float on water until they find dry land. Then a scout would leave the raft of floating colleagues to find a home. Once it finds a home, it communicates where the location is using pheromones. Then life begins again in the new colony.
Three Things that are Essential to Collaboration
In the scenario above, three things are essential to successful collaboration. The ant’s incentive to collaborate was to survive. Each ant knows their function, and they’re excellent at communicating. These three things help launch campaigns on time, complete marketing and sales projects, appointments to schedule, and close deals. Let’s look at each in more detail:
- Incentives: This study found that the lack of incentives and rewards is the most common barrier to effective collaboration. People get excited to collaborate on projects but still need to be acknowledged and rewarded for getting the job done. Reward these incentives after hitting shared goals. The more the team’s goals and incentives are aligned, the easier it will be to collaborate.
- Own a function: Once the team has an incentive, ensuring everyone has a clear understanding of their function and role on the team and project is key. This helps manage expectations, ensures people don’t step on each other’s toes, and reinforces working together. Each function or role should be symbiotically dependent on the other team members.
- Communication: Clear communication is essential to good collaboration. Ants and other animals communicate with pheromones. While we have pheromones, humans can’t use them to help launch a marketing campaign or close a sales deal. However, doing things like having a clear agenda for meetings, taking notes, following up with summaries, and building out a strong process are a few ways to communicate clearly and ensure a successful collaboration.
At JumpCrew, these three things have helped improve the collaboration between our sales and marketing teams. Both teams work to target the right audience, create the right ads, and convert them into sales. One of our core focuses is a low Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), and collaboration is the only way to get there.
These three things serve as a core foundation for your teams. The next thing you will need is the right tools. The tools below are all built for collaboration.
Top Five Collaboration Tools for Remote Work
The right tools are essential for remote collaboration. Below are a set of collaborative tools that can help you do everything from the start and finish a project to run your entire business.
- PandaDoc has dramatically increased our contract close rates. The software is great for collaborating on contracts and getting customers to sign.
- Monday.com is one of the best collaboration tools out there. You can use it to track projects, run an entire business, track leads, automate workflows, and more. JumpCrew is an outsourced sales and marketing company we use the software both internally and externally.
- Slack is great for overall project communication, from sending messages to sharing files. The Slack software is also conducive to any culture as the features are all customizable.
- Google Suite has a reliable set of collaboration tools. Google sheets, slides, and hangouts are all amazing. They’re all free.
- Circl.es – is an amazing video-based remote communication software. Its system is built to enable peer to peer forum based learning and development. Their tools are amazing at fostering community and combating loneliness and isolation in this new remote working environment.
Pro tip: Your cell phone is one of the best collaboration tools. Sometimes it’s best to call your co-worker instead of Slacking, emailing, or texting. Going old school prevents miscommunication.
Shared tools ensure that everyone is on the same page. In the weekly marketing and sales alignment meetings at JumpCrew, our best conversations stem from data. Software like SEMrush, Ahrefs, SparkToro, and Leadfeeder provide insights that warrant collaboration.
Here are some other amazing collaboration tools, specifically for sales teams.
Ongoing Team Building
Collaboration is like a muscle. You have to use it to ensure that the teams continue to work well together. Team building games are fun and should be used to improve communication, comradery, and collaboration. Games can be played when there are no pressing projects or timelines to hit. It’s a great happy hour activity. We even threw a virtual talent show; it was an event for the books.
Bottom line: orchestrating collaboration keeps employees interested, engaged, and happy.