Why Collaboration Solutions Don’t Live Up to Its Name — and What You Should Use Instead

In the first article of this series, we discussed how you can differentiate your firm to win business in the pre-sales process. In the second article, we looked at some ways you can exceed expectations in the post-sales process.

We left off by mentioning that up until recently, technology really couldn’t power the kinds of collaboration we’re talking about. Sure, an online conference lets you hear the voice of a brilliant consultant who happens to work on another continent. And sure, sharing your screen enables everyone on the call to see your PowerPoint presentation.

But today’s so-called collaboration solutions fall short of the mark in several key ways. And it’s time for a change.

Is Your Collaboration Solution Letting You Down?

Does today’s technology increase collaboration, client satisfaction, and agility? To some degree, yes. But most technology is really just designed to keep people informed.

  • Email keeps people “in the loop”—sometimes to an annoying degree. We’ve all had the experience of sitting down on a Monday morning and spending 20 minutes skimming and deleting emails that don’t really pertain to us. Not only is this activity a waste of time, but it wears down our morale.Oh, but it gets worse. In spite of the fact that so many people now tune out email due to the sheer bombardment they regularly experience, many project teams continue to use email as their de facto filing system. Need the latest draft of a presentation? Email the project manager and request it—then save it in an email folder for when you need it. This inefficient method of version control creates extra work and confusion for everyone.
  • File-sharing services such as Box and Dropbox are much better than email for storing project files because, well, that’s what they’re designed for. But storing documents on one of these sites can feel a bit like storing boxes in your garage. You may have put labels on the sides of the boxes, but you’ll probably still have to open several boxes before you find exactly the kitchen tool or photo album you’re looking for. Because filenames tend to be short and cryptic, there’s very little context around any of the files.
  • Online conferencing services such as Skype and Webex let your entire project team dial in to one number and hear each other’s voices across the miles. You can also share your screen so that everyone can see the document you’re discussing. But these handy services don’t offer much in the way of collaboration tools. As with email and file-sharing, you’re mostly just keeping people informed.

Don’t Just Inform. Engage.

Let’s be clear: your project team and your clients do need to stay informed throughout every stage of an engagement. But if you settle for informing people, you’ll miss out on a chance to engage them. And when you engage people, you’ll bring out their most brilliant ideas and input.

The best way to engage all your project stakeholders is to implement visual collaboration software. This new technology enables you to:

  • Collaborate with prospects from day one—increasing your chances of closing a deal.
  • Execute projects efficiently and at a high level of quality—increasing your chances of retaining new clients.
  • Establish a truly collaborative environment for you and your clients at all stages of the client lifecycle.

We’d love to tell you more about visual collaboration software. Get the full story in our new eBook, How to Attract Clients, Boost Revenues, and Win the Day for Your Consulting Firm.

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