At the end of 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that the average number of apps used in companies was 129. That number has been on the rise in the past two years. Companies small and large rely on applications to support their businesses at exponential rates. Across industries, applications allow businesses to streamline sales, organize documents, and enhance communication. Now that so many companies are refining their transition to remote workspaces, applications hold an even greater significance. We want to share our personal favorites and provide insight as to how these apps support our remote workflow.
You have probably heard of CRMs or Customer Relationship Management. CRMs are great for any business, not just those transitioning to remote work. The main function of a CRM is to organize and streamline engagement with current and potential clients.
When we wanted to adopt a CRM, we researched far and wide for the one that best fit our needs and we landed on HubSpot. The real question is what doesn’t HubSpot do? We use this application for creating forms, responding to team emails and chatbots, tracking deals in the sales cycle, organizing contacts, and so much more. A CRM like HubSpot helps our remote team stay aligned and streamline marketing efforts. There are so many CRMs out there so be sure to research which one best fits your team’s needs (overwhelmed with the research process? We can help)
Ever feel like your team’s files are disappearing? Has it ever taken you an hour to find that one PowerPoint? Disorganized servers and workspaces are the worst. Instead of sending files back and forth or digging in your email for an asset, use a file sharing application. Having your team’s documents, files, and assets available in one place makes it easier for everyone to share and locate these items. So much time saved!
An application like Dropbox is perfect for our remote team to save and send files, especially those large design documents. With Dropbox, we can share with other teams and have multiple people contribute to the same folder. There’s nothing like feeling organized!
An obvious essential to any remote team is a communication platform. Gone are the days of sending emails back and forth, trying to keep up with lengthy chains of information. Remote teams need something easy, fast, and organized, separate from the functions of email altogether.
Slack is a great option whether you are passing along an important document or a funny GIF. Create threads and channels to keep conversations organized by topic, easily connect with teams at another company for a project, or message a team member directly. One of the best parts of Slack is that it integrates with so many other tools. My team and I get notifications for when a Zoom meeting has started, upcoming calendar events, new emails from the team email account, and updates from HubSpot. A messaging platform like Slack not only allows us to connect with each other immediately, but it keeps us up to date in all areas of work.
Everyone likes the feeling of checking something off of a to-do list. It’s science. Not only do task management apps give you that dopamine release, but they also allow you to stay organized and motivated. With a task management app like Asana, I love opening my computer in the morning and knowing exactly what I have to work on that day in order to reach my long term goals.
An app like Asana is also collaborative. I can assign tasks to team members within a project and vice versa. I can ask questions about a certain task and check it off when it’s done. Asana allows me to view my upcoming tasks in a list or in a calendar view, perfect for visualizing goals both ways.
Contracts, quotes, invoices, bills. Your team needs a platform to house and send these important documents. With a document automation app, you can easily custom-build a proposal, make revisions, and have your client sign and pay. With PandaDoc, you can see viewed and completed documents directly in the dashboard. PandaDoc keeps items safe and has the capability to be signed and paid directly in the application. Invite team members or do it yourself – this app is perfect for digital agreements and negotiations.
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay and is essential to any brand or business. Those who work with social media know it is so much more than posting a picture on Instagram every now and then. We create calendars, strategize themes, craft captions, analyze engagement, and so much more. This is a lot to keep track of. Assistance and automation helps immensely with social media and allows you to better analyze your social success.
The biggest time saver in a social media management tool like Hootsuite is the ability to schedule posts across different channels. Rather than spending so much time in individual social accounts, I can schedule them weeks in advance as soon as they are approved. Hootsuite also shows certain analytics that you cannot see in Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. These analytics offer further insight into how my social media presence is doing and how I can grow it further.
While I normally learn towards the Adobe apps for everyday, run-of-the-mill designing, I recently tried out Figma. Immediately, I loved it. Not only does it make wireframe building easy and organized but there is also something fun about it. This online program is specifically designed for web designing so web dimensions, buttons, and pages are already built out for you. After you are done designing, you can easily share your wireframes with a team member or client. Shared parties can leave comments directly on the wireframes, which is perfect for remote work. I’m still new to this particular application, but it’s definitely worth a special mention. Check it out if you do any type of web design or prototyping.
Especially when working from home, an app flow can save time, energy, and hassle. With my team’s current applications, I feel organized, goal-oriented, and more connected. To further refine your team’s app flow, make sure they are integrated with each other. I recommend using Zapier to create triggers and actions between your applications. All in all, business applications can be a great investment, especially when you’ve picked the right ones.
What applications are you currently loving? Share your favorites in the comments below!