Turning Communication into Collaboration

Make a top 10 list of smart business practices and collaboration will probably be on it. And usually it happens pretty naturally – over the course of our day, we connect with coworkers, clients and partners and create something together that’s better than what we had before.

So it’s natural to assume that with the rise of mobile apps and a workforce that’s gone mobile and global in general, collaboration has boomed these last few years. We have so many opportune touchpoints, right? We interact constantly not only with our internal colleagues but with customers and other stakeholders. We’re always communicating over email, social, sharing thoughts, feedback and ideas that should – theoretically – help us work together.

Unfortunately it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Sometimes there’s so much information flowing back and forth that some of it gets lost in the constant hum of activity. But mostly it’s difficult to step back and take a strategic look at how we turn this information into enhanced productivity. We have plenty of records, data and files somewhere in our lives, but they’re not always embedded into our daily workflows.

I’m guessing this has happened to you. Talking to a coworker about a project, you have a eureka moment – only to spend the next hour frantically searching for the files and facts you were just referencing. Maybe they’re on your home laptop. Oops, no, they’re in another email account. Wait, no, they’re on a project management system you’ve forgotten your password to. So now you need to contact another coworker who has access to those files. Unfortunately it turns out he can only find incomplete versions – and now it’s a day later.

It’s so frustrating when this happens, because the sheer number of tools we use should put the right data at our fingertips. And yet it doesn’t. Too many silos and disconnected systems lead to delays and confusion instead of the lightning-fast collaboration we want.

One solution, of course is Salesforce Community Cloud – emphasis on community. Users can share ideas, files, launch conversations and collaborate easily and efficiently across the organization. Haven’t tried it yet? You should. You’ll get more of what you need out of Salesforce and boost your productivity.

That kind of advantage isn’t a nice-to-have, by the way — it’s a must-have. Business moves fast. Spend hours looking for information and you’re behind the curve. A competitor that’s already figured this stuff out has now pulled ahead of you and will probably cross the finish line first.

But when you’re positioned to turn discussions into action right on the spot, you’re right next to them and positioned to win. You solve more problems, eliminate delays and achieve bigger things. Once cycle one of your project is completed, you also get feedback in real time, empowering you to modify your efforts for better performance. Suddenly your profit and productivity have gone through the roof.

A Better Buying Experience

So far we’ve only talked about the internal perspective. But – as I hope you’ve guessed by now – this kind of immediate collaboration improves the buyer’s journey as well. Imagine a world where customer feedback doesn’t stay in the service department, or languish in a report, but instead goes to the product team on the spot. That in turns prompts immediate steps toward improvement. The customer’s voice is recognized and the company is stronger for it.

Here’s what all this boils down to. Today’s teams are adopting plenty of tools aimed at helping them communicate more efficiently and that’s a laudable goal – but the tools stop being helpful when they make it harder to collaborate. The next time you’ve looking over your tools, think about why you want to connect customers, employees and others. Is it simply for the sake of communication? What’s the objective of this enhanced communication – and does that objective align with your business goals?

Say no to isolated communication, and instead look for solutions that partner communication with real connection. Your employees will find themselves resolving challenges faster, building valuable relationships and expanding their networks. Best of all, they’ll come together to achieve bigger results than ever before.