How Kamozy reduces email but increases collaboration.
There are two fundamental problems with email: the noise of email and finding relevant content in your email. Email is both a revolutionary communication platform and a black hole of knowledge combined into one. Everyone has an email and it is integrated into device that fits into their pockets, meaning it is the best way to push, request, and receive information.
So what is the solution? There are the hundreds upon hundreds of tools for replacing email, but how many “email killers” are used by everyone from co-workers to potential clients to your mother? Slack is now being billed as the next “email killer”, but as the platform grows there has been backlash from users and claims it may not be helping productivity. Although Slack and other instant communication systems have helped organize communications, the noise is still there in a new form. Recently a CFO of a local prominent startup told me Slack was great, but only if you were paying attention to it all day. It was hard to catch up on what was going on if you were not constantly reading it. It is helpful, but it is not solving the problem of knowledge loss in email, merely making it easier and more acceptable to spend more time looking for that knowledge.
Once again we are back to where we arrived. The noise of communication and retrieving relevant knowledge in old communications. Here’s what we have discovered about using email as part of an effective collaboration system:
Identify your Subject Matter Experts and empower them
The push and pull of information is a delicate ecosystem. Too much push and it becomes noisy, but too much pull and it is inefficient. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) come in many roles and personalities in an organization. Barb, a Product Marketing Manager, who is putting together messaging and materials for sales teams is a SME for his/her product. Meg from IT, who maintains your software product, is a SME for how that product works. Bob in sales, who has been with the company for 10 years and has innumerable closed sales, is a SME for Sales Best Practices. Do not let this knowledge escape when Bob takes a job elsewhere or Barb retires. Give them somewhere to answer questions, post documents, and push information to the team while retaining it for your company. This organically reduces email because people will know where to go to get information instead of emailing for it. It gives content creators a home for their content instead of file shares and email.
Use email as a notification method, but not the primary content creation and retention method
Email is still the most effective way to deliver a message to a group of people. The problem comes when it is the only way you are storing the message. When you receive a notification of content, that content should still be stored somewhere tailored for collaborating (comments, favorites, etc) and retrieval (via searching and browsing). This allows for information to be consumed when it is necessary. For some this is immediately, for others this is when they have time, and for most it is when they need it.
Use less email, but make it more meaningful to those it is sent to
Nothing is worse than getting an email sent to 20 people and thinking, “why did I receive this?” Distribution lists and CC’ing to tons of people is not helpful to anyone (and runs the risk of the dreaded “reply all” debacle). If you are requesting information, have a way to find out who has the information you are requesting and a way to target them. If you are sharing information you have, ensure that information lives somewhere that is easily accessible and use email notify your audience it is there.
Capture replies and conversations from email
One-way notifications do nothing but create noise. Make it easy to collaborate by capturing responses and attachments with a simple email reply. Although a little contradictory to this entire post, it’s important to remember that email is still integrated everywhere and people can respond from nearly any device in any location. It is too cumbersome for people to click a link, find an input box, type a response, hit submit, and wait for the tool to save it. Just have them hit reply, type response, and send. It is a workflow people are used to and adopt easily.
Stop emails before they are sent
Is there a single tool to retrieve company information? A huge problem for many organizations is you cannot just Google for what you need. There could be 10 different content tools to look in, plus a file share. With today’s technology a full text search engine that also looks inside of documents is a must have for any company. A central hub of knowledge where a quick search can easily retrieve what you are looking for is the most essential tool any organization can have. If it is easier and more efficient for people just open up an email and ask 25 people for something, they will do it. Have a solution for finding company knowledge.
Although the business world is not ready to eliminate email, it is in desperate need to reduce email. The tools, culture, and best practices for being more efficient when it comes to cross team collaboration are ready to help you, but it needs to be embraced, taught, and implemented at an organizational level. Do not settle for business as usual and proactively change how you do business now.
Kamozy is a knowledge management based sales enablement tool designed to increase productivity from sales and marketing teams by helping them effectively and quickly fill in the gaps left by emails, CRMs, and other productivity tools. See how Kamozy can reduce on-boarding time and reduce the amount of time your sales force spends looking for the information they need to close more sales.