No marketer is an island. Having a great team of people on your side is one of the most important things you can do to set your business up for marketing success, but to maximize your team’s efficiency, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page.
This is especially significant because today’s marketing teams have to juggle many moving parts. Keeping track of multiple campaigns, projects, and individual workloads can be daunting, especially if you work across several products or teams. How do you ensure your marketing team stays on top of everything and that nothing falls through the cracks?
Enter collaboration tools: the marketer’s best friend. The right collaboration tools can help you streamline your workflow, simplify communication, and manage deadlines, all while increasing transparency and accountability.
With that in mind, we’ve identified the six tools every marketing team should have in their arsenal to empower seamless, harmonious collaboration.
What makes a team collaboration tool great?
Yes, every marketing team is different. A set of team collaboration tools perfect for one team won’t be the best choice for another. However, when you invest the time into finding, adding, and implementing a collaboration tool, there are certain things to look for to ensure you’ll get a good return on your investment. Here are four signs that a tool is a winner.
Specializes in maximizing team efficiency
Your collaboration toolbox's most important job is to increase your team’s efficiency. Look for tools that make processes more seamless, tasks easier, and projects progress faster.
A big factor in selecting new marketing collaboration tools is the integrations they offer. Do the ones you’re looking at “talk” to the ones you’re already using? If not, that’s a red flag that adding it won’t do much to streamline your current process.
When researching tools, find out early in the process whether they integrate with your current tools. If they don’t, you probably want to keep looking.
Keeps internal teams organized
Say goodbye to paper calendars and post-it note reminders!
It’s easy to get mired down in dozens of tasks, lose track of the main priorities, and feel like you’re working hard but accomplishing nothing. It's disorganization in a nutshell.
A big productivity suck, not being organized can cause big issues to marketing teams. It can result in missing milestones and deadlines, forgetting meetings, and even losing clients.
All the online collaboration tools your team uses should provide ample organizational functionality. There should be ways for on-site, hybrid, and remote teams to message and collaborate — in real-time and synchronously. The app must have a visual element to let users easily see their schedules, tasks, and timelines. In addition, every tool needs to be intuitive and simple to promote user adoption.
Helps streamline workflows and processes
Think of your marketing projects as highways. Does the app you’re considering adding to your framework make the roads less curvy, with fewer hills and stop lights?
There’s no use in adding tools that don’t improve your team’s workflow. Make sure your tools cut out steps, add ways to automate repetitive tasks and store information in a way that users find convenient.
Saves team members time by automating recurring tasks
Team members can lose time when they get bogged down with small recurring tasks. An extra click here and 10 seconds to find something there may seem innocuous, but that time adds up. Users can waste an hour or more of their workday on tedious, repetitive tasks.
It’s smart to add task management to the list of features you expect from your tool suite. There should be easy ways of automating these tasks to save the user time and keep your team agile and productive.
Now that you have a solid understanding of what a good collaboration tool should do, let's look at six types and how you can implement them within your team.
1. Project management
A great project management tool is the bread and butter of an efficient, effective marketing team. An adaptable, easily adoptable project management tool will see you through everything from content creation to product launches to event planning and will make sure that every team member is updated every step of the way.
Using a project management tool helps you keep your most important milestones front and center. This ensures that everything you do contributes to your ultimate objectives, while enabling you to chart — and measure — everything you need to accomplish to reach those goals.
Marketing teams have diverse needs, so instead of turning to multiple tools for campaign management or event planning, look for a PM tool that’s flexible enough to do everything you need in one platform.
Powerful project management tools to consider
We’ve shortlisted our three favorite project management tools based on ease of use, ability to keep users organized, and features that mitigate time waste.
This powerful app checks off lots of helpful features for users and managers. From seeing everything in your department visually to tracking time and identifying obstacles early, Teamwork provides a smooth process for your marketing project management duties. Plus, it’s easy to use with very little ramp-up time.
Learn more about Teamwork: Book a demo today.
Kanban boards let you visualize project tasks and see progress
Both day-to-day and long-range resource management features to avoid bottlenecks
Time-tracking feature provides a way to see what the team is spending their time on to help manage workflow and budgets
Portfolio project management tool offers a panoramic view of all projects
Calendar view could be improved
Some reports of occasional lag
From the time a project is just an idea until it’s a finished deliverable out the door, Asana facilitates every facet of the process for marketing teams. Its many features make this tool a great choice for managing small and large aspects of a project.
A single location for all information — no more clicking around in spreadsheets and email to find important information
Measures team member workload across projects, helping to use resources more productively
Shared calendar ensures everyone is on the same page and accountable
Build Gantt charts with visual timelines for easier planning
No time-tracking feature
Number of features can make Asana seem overwhelming, especially to new tool users
Slack is a top-rated app that has a broad appeal to marketing teams. Tons of features give project managers multiple ways to stay on track and keep projects flowing productively. With an enormous list of integrations, Slack can easily be your go-to foundational project management software that makes your team successful.
Offers desktop and smart device functionality
Provides document collaboration and file sharing with its integrations with documents apps like OneDrive and Dropbox
Keeps direct messages, group chat, and team collaboration transparent and organized in channels
Easy project check-ins to gauge progress and identify/correct holdups
Notifications can be distracting and annoying
Updates can get hard to follow when nested in threads
2. Instant messaging tools
Email is important for relaying sensitive, formal, or lengthy information, but it’s less useful for the "small" stuff, like getting prompt answers to simple questions that can easily get overlooked in a crowded inbox.
However, when you’re working on a project, the small stuff quickly becomes the big stuff. Having immediate, open lines of communication between your team means that everyone has quick access to the people with the answers they need.
Instead of cumbersome email threads and endless Reply-Alls, make the switch to an instant messaging platform. You can create different groups to keep the relevant people for each project up to date. You can also use it to facilitate real-time communication between your in-office staff, remote employees, and any agencies or freelancers — no matter where (or when), they’re working. If you go this route, be sure to follow instant messaging best practices.
You can also reduce noise: Instead of everyone needing to respond to an email, most apps allow you to quickly use a reaction to acknowledge receipt of a message, or quickly express your agreement.
For extra efficiency, look for an IM platform that integrates with your project management software. This way, you can add tasks and keep track of to-dos directly from your chat app and ensure that nothing gets lost along the way.
Less formal than an email and less time-consuming than a phone call or Skype session, IM allows your marketing team to be more economical with their words and their time without sacrificing their quality of communication.
Great instant messaging tools
Sometimes messages can wait until the recipient has a break in their schedules to read and respond. Asynchronous communication tools are perfect for this scenario. But certain issues, ideas, or changes may require fast answers. These instant messaging tools are perfect for creating a responsive communication network when your team needs to kick into overdrive.
If your team needs an easy way to encourage real-time collaboration and stay on top of projects while including remote team members, Teamwork Chat is the tool for you.
“Jump to last message” feature lets you quickly pick up without losing your place
Star your favorite channels for speedy access
Integrations allow you to turn decisions and plans into tasks
Searchable chat history
Lets you share previous conversations via direct links
Notifications can be buggy
Pricing can be cost-prohibitive for large teams
We mentioned this tool above regarding its project management prowess, but it also offers instant messaging magic, too!
Customizable channels; can be related to a specific team or project
Notifications make sure nobody ever misses an update
Tag features to direct participants to important threads/information
Robust collaboration features on the mobile app
Conversations can veer into tangents easily
Slack moves quickly, and it can be difficult for bigger teams to keep up
Looking for a one-stop-shop collaboration platform? Microsoft Teams delivers. With easy-to-use features that allow you to message, chat, video conference, build and share files, and more, Teams is one of the best online collaboration tools for your business.
Generous cloud storage
Single location for all Microsoft Office tools (Powerpoint, Word, Excel, OneDrive, and more)
Powerful, user-friendly software
Wiki document library users can share
File storage system is confusing
Time-consuming to change permissions
3. Video conferencing and screen sharing tools
For those moments when you need something more instant than instant messaging, there’s video calling. Whether you're brainstorming during a team meeting with remote workers or liaising with freelancers, video communication software brings you as close as possible to being in the same room. With 75% of remote workers reporting that they can be just as (or more) productive remotely as they are in the office, it’s not hard to see how video conferencing tools can give your teams an advantage!
There are some conversations that it’s better to have face-to-face, but if that’s not an option, face-to-screen is a solid runner-up. Giving feedback, whether positive or constructive, is often better done over a video call than via instant message or email. This is particularly true if you need to have a difficult conversation, as text can be more easily misconstrued than an in-person conversation.
As well as adding a personal touch, you can also use video to share your screen or leave video messages if your schedules (or time zones) aren’t syncing up. This is super useful when you need to give quick updates on what you’re working on, more productively troubleshoot a problem, or just want to save time by quickly saying what you would otherwise have to slowly type.
It also helps during cross-team collaboration meetings. It’s important for your team to feel like they’re more than just words on a screen. Being a face on a screen might feel like a small upgrade, but it makes a big difference.
Video conferencing tools to consider
Finding a video conferencing platform that exceeds your team’s needs and expectations is essential for creating strong collaboration, especially between remote teammates. Fuzzy video and audio that cracks in and out will be more frustrating than productive. Our three video picks are high-quality heroes, allowing superior functionality and helpful (and fun!) bells and whistles.
It experienced success before 2020, but this video app exploded in popularity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Available for both iOS and Android, this easy-to-learn platform offers plenty of strong audiovisual offerings and customizable features. It's no surprise that Zoom calls quickly became almost as commonplace as emails in the workplace.
Crisp video and clear audio
Plays well with others; offers tons of integration with the most widely used apps and connects to the most popular calendars
Provides a free plan (if you keep the meeting under 40 minutes)
Video can be unstable if the user has a weak internet connection
Mobile app needs improvement
Skype is another name you probably recognize as an online meeting favorite. This Microsoft product helps connect millions of users for conversations, brainstorming, collaboration, problem resolution, and more.
Allows users to instant message, chat, and video for free, no matter where they are in the world
Compatible with Office 365
Screen and file sharing helps collaboration efforts progress in real-time
Video chat recording feature
Can have garbled audio, especially if there’s lots of background noise
Costs money to conference with people outside the Skype platform
Fans of Google Workspace (formerly called G Suite) and Gmail may decide using Hangouts is the best choice for their video chat and conferencing needs.
Lets users enter chat rooms where they can message, share files, and provide quick updates
Powerful security protocols keep your company’s data safe
Easy-to-use screen sharing
Doesn’t support whiteboards during meetings
Large file size limitations
4. Design prototyping tools
To paraphrase the artist William Morris: “Have nothing in your marketing collateral that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Good design is intrinsic to a great product — not only because it creates a more enjoyable user experience but because it can make you stand out in an oversaturated marketplace.
Whether you have in-house designers or you’re working with an agency, the design process is complex, usually requiring lots of back and forth with multiple stakeholders to get it right. Using a design prototyping tool allows you to share and discuss prototypes before they become final products. This way you can guide development, get feedback as you progress, and make sure your designs are picture-perfect.
Effective design prototyping tools
Using collaboration software — or adapting to any change, really — will most likely get some blowback from team members who might be stuck in their ways. Choosing a design prototype tool that serves your team most effectively means finding one with a sleek design that’s easy to use but still gets the job done. Here are three that we think fit the bill.
Keep your teams aligned and working cohesively with InVision. Design user interfaces to create robust mobile applications. Users can collaborate on designs, upload wireframes, and gather valuable data to make decisions with this collaboration tool.
Many typographical choices you can use to guide the user’s experience
Scrollable artboards with pinning elements
Rapidly connect and animate interactive elements, bringing your screens to life
Inspect mode has limited functionality
Noway to create custom links for sharing with clients
This app offers quick designing and prototyping without knowing how to code. Its healthy collaboration features ensure the designers and marketers are on the same page with their vision and progress.
Creates advanced animations
Powerful SEO capabilities
Easy to use and customize CMS
Needs more templates
Advanced features can be confusing to a beginner
An alluring array of features and benefits await you with this full-throttle prototyping collaboration tool. Design a website or app, elevate your brand, and add a gamification element to any of them with Adobe XD.
Access to user flows, interactions, and motions without knowing how to code
Creates interactive carousels to scroll important information on your website
Lets users edit with teammates in real time
Shareable links for easy design feedback
No way to simultaneously update multiple flows
Needs more integrations
5. Collaborative document editing tools
Sometimes, having your team be on the same page means having your team literally be on the same page. Using a collaborative, cloud-based editing tool means that, no matter where in the world you are, you can write, edit, proofread, comment, and ask for suggestions.
The relevance of tools like this for content creation is a no-brainer, especially when you’re collaborating with freelancers, agencies, or proofreaders. However, they’re also useful for behind-the-scenes things like outlining (and agreeing on) your digital marketing strategy, launching plans, and creating SOPs.
The ability to tag someone in a comment allows you to ask the right people for feedback or approval quickly, and you can chart a document’s history to see where and why changes were made.
Effective document editing tools
These are our picks for your company’s document editing collaboration needs. Whether a small business or large corporation, these tools will ease the burden of sharing and editing documents so that none of your team members ever yell, “Where are my edits?!” again.
Create and collaborate on documents within a single workspace. This way, everyone works on the same version and stays on the same page — literally.
Lets users transform documents with interactive widgets
Organizes files via the app’s categories, tags, and filtering functionalities
Email and in-app notifications
Lets users incorporate videos, images, and charts with text
Tables feature can be challenging to use
No history of completed tasks to refer back to
Create, edit, and share documents directly from your browser whenever you need to. With Google's simple design, easy setup, and impressive features, you and your team can stay on top of projects, collaborate asynchronously or in real-time, and stay aligned from beginning to end.
Users can access files from desktops, laptops, and smart devices
Stores a revision history to track who made changes (and when)
Gives users access to a wide choice of templates
Tables don’t always copy and paste well
This visually pleasing app packs a big punch for any team’s document editing efforts. Its many bells and whistles keep even large teams organized and focused on the same goals.
Individual workspaces that users can invite stakeholders to join
Lets users build internal and external wikis of information to share with other collaborators
Tracks engagement across shared content
Limited font styles
Document creation could be more user-friendly
6. Customer service tools
Managing your correspondence with clients can be tricky, particularly when you have multiple people working with them across different stages of a project. Replies can get lost between personal inboxes, and you don’t want to spam clients if your colleague has already responded to a request. However, you also definitely don’t want emails to go unanswered.
Using customer service software, such as a help desk tool, can help you to streamline your client communications by serving as a central hub for all correspondences. Email threads are all located in one place, so your entire client history can be kept together. This way, anyone who needs to can jump in or out and see where things stand with a client.
For marketing teams, in particular, having one central communication platform also allows you to make sure your messaging is always on brand — you can even create canned responses to ensure consistency.
Look for a tool that enables you to leave internal notes on a thread. “Reminder: This client loves orcas, so include orca references where possible.” (And yes, it can be as random as that — or moreso. Have at it!). Include any supplemental information that might be useful behind the scenes so that you have everything you need for successful client communication in one place.
Tools to help you deliver world-class customer service
Exemplary client service and support are some of the most important facets of business, no matter your industry. Plenty of software claims to make serving clients easier and more seamless. But our three picks below deliver everything they promise.
Easily manage your customers’ issues and questions through a ticket system with this software. With all correspondence living in a single location, your team can maximize their individual productivity while decreasing the chances of anything falling through the cracks.
Automates repetitive work to save time (that can be spent addressing client needs)
Prioritizes and monitors client requests from a central inbox
Stores every customer interaction in a single location
Full visibility fosters accountability
Doesn’t have an automatic after-hours feature
Time tracking could use improvement
Avoid making your clients feel like a number. This software connects all communication from every digital avenue, so your team can provide a well-rounded customer service experience with contextual elements.
Automation features to improve response times
Easy-to-implement chat widget
Improves team member workflows
Reporting feature needs greater automation options
Navigating between screens can be slow
Their approach is simple: Taking care of a customer’s needs gives you a chance to shine and build loyalty. Centralized communication channels across social media, SMS, email, and chat, giving the customer service agent a full picture of the customer. The result? A faster, more personalized experience.
Integrates with Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce
Full-view customer activity list makes addressing questions and issues more personalized
Lets users automate common requests to hasten response time and save customer support team time
Some shortcuts can be confusing
Testing rule logic needs streamlining
Streamline efficiency by downloading Teamwork today
With today’s workplace, teams may be spread all over the state, country, or globe. By providing usable, valuable ways to grease the wheels of collaboration, you can encourage teammate input at every step. Doing this ensures everyone is on the same page, with the same information, working toward the same goal.
Does your team need a collaboration tool they can use in real time or asynchronously to check in, share, and stay updated? Teamwork gives you what you need to automate repetitive processes, keep everyone focused, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Sign up today and see the difference it makes in your team’s efficiency.