Content Marketing Manager
It’s crazy to think that pre-pandemic, only 6% of employees worked from home (NCCI 2021). Now, 97.4% of employees want to work remotely forever (well, at least part of the time), found Buffer.
While this idea of an entirely remote workforce is relatively new, remote companies like Zapier, Buffer, Automattic, Groove and GitLab existed before the pandemic. But these companies built their entire model and culture around the remote lifestyle versus trying to squeeze the remote lifestyle into an existing culture, a much more challenging feat.
And leading an all-remote workforce entails more than simply duplicating the in-office process at home. Instead, it requires reinventing how your company operates as a whole—an entire culture and workflow shift that demands a fresh perspective and new technology to do it right.
We shared some must-have tools for remote work already, but now we’re considering leaders who are ready to move beyond the basics to help your remote team truly thrive.
Using Copper and our integration partners, you can easily create pathways to help drive productivity and collaboration in a remote or hybrid environment.
Automate processes to boost remote productivity
Though some leaders are still doubtful, remote employees tend to be more productive than in-office employees—but remote work requires a greater volume of applications and software. By eliminating some of those extra tabs and processes via automation, though, you'll free up a lot of your staff’s time automatically.
Here are some of our favorite tools for automation.
Zapier: Zapier is your one-stop shop for automation and integration. It integrates with over 3,000 apps and allows you to automate without coding. You can connect almost any application with Copper using Zapier.
Let’s say you want to get a Slack notification every time a new lead is created in Copper, or you want to create a new lead every time someone fills out a form on your website. Zapier can make it happen.
Outfunnel: Outfunnel powers our email sequence feature, allowing you to send automated email sequences and one-off emails to contacts in Copper. Plus, all the engagement metrics (clicks, unsubscribes, etc.) are recorded automatically in Copper—eliminating manual entry.
Outfunnel not only helps automate tasks to free up your team's time, but it also helps tie marketing initiatives to revenue. It's a great way to track the effectiveness of a marketing campaign and bring your marketing team into the fold. When your marketing team and sales team can co-exist and see how both teams benefit the bottom line, it can help add some harmony to the two departments. Who doesn’t want that?
PersistIQ: PersistIQ is an email automation platform that allows you to send personalized emails seamlessly.
Vogsy: Vogsy is a professional services automation platform that helps break down silos between your sales department and product management teams by automating quote-to-cash.
When used in tandem with Copper, Vogsy is a terrific tool to provide revenue insight and close communication gaps in your remote team. (Bonus points: like Copper, Vogsy was designed to seamlessly sync with the Google interface, so it's an easy software to add on, even if your teams are suffering software overload.)
Aiding in collaboration
Collaborating remains one of the most challenging hurdles to jump when navigating a remote team. The various responsibilities, time zones, preferred working hours and more can create scheduling nightmares. Companies like Dropbox are solving this by requiring their employees to spend some scheduled hours collaborating with their teammates and offering flexibility for the remaining hours.
Here's what Dropbox leaders said about the decision, “We’re setting core collaboration hours with overlap between time zones and encouraging employees to design their own schedules beyond that. As our workforce grows more distributed, this will help balance collaboration with needs for individual focus. We want to prioritize impact and results instead of hours worked.”
Zapier also recognizes the importance of giving remote employees freedom to set boundaries and develop their own processes: “Remote teams should be empowered to set their own communication processes and need to be given the tools to allow them to do so, or allowed flexibility in choosing their own tools. Remote offices should give employees a way to communicate their current availability, and in return remote workers need to set boundaries and enforce them,” Erin Mullen, Zapier Technical Project Manager, recommends.
Aside from setting remote work boundaries and overlapping working hours, there are several tools you can use to help streamline collaboration.
Google Workspace: Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is a productivity suite that combines all of Google's collaboration tools into one seamless interface.
There are several ways to use Google Workspace to enhance collaboration. For instance, your team can video conference, share calendars, work synchronously inside docs and sheets, chat in real-time, store documents, create shared folders and more.
And as the only CRM created specifically for Google Workspace, Copper works intuitively inside Gmail to make collaborating and building customer relationships a streamlined process.
Dropbox: Cloud storage platform Dropbox is a centralized place for your distributed team to store and share files securely.
DocuSign: DocuSign allows you to create, send and sign electronic contracts and agreements, eliminating the need for physical contracts for good. Copper’s native integration brings the e-signature process into your CRM.
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Team communication to combat loneliness
Communication is critical to keeping your business running, but it’s also essential for keeping your employees happy and connected. So it’s important to put tools and strategies in place to facilitate communication.
Zapier encourages spontaneous conversations between their team members: “We still try to make serendipitous, face-to-face interaction happen on a routine basis. We use a Slack app called Donut, which pairs everyone who signs up with a random coworker and helps schedule a video call. There are no rules to these conversations—people talk about where they live, their hobbies, or (if they want) work. These interactions don’t replace the serendipity of an office, but they can go a long way.” Copper uses Donut also, helping employees get to know other people they may not have otherwise crossed paths with.
Here are some other tools to help increase communication in your remote team.
LinkedIn, powered by Surfe (ex-Leadjet): When in-person networking events were paused, LinkedIn became the only place to network. Now, even as events and conferences are back up and running, LinkedIn still has an important role in business growth and prospecting.
For remote teams, LinkedIn could be the primary place to interact with potential prospects. Which means you want prospecting on LinkedIn to be simple. That’s why we have a LinkedIn integration powered by Surfe, which allows you to automate the addition of LinkedIn connections to Copper. You can also automatically sync messages to your contact data, eliminating the manual hassle of LinkedIn prospecting.
Slack: Slack is a messaging system that allows your entire team to chat and send files in real time. For many remote teams, it has become the primary place to work and communicate.
But if you’re working exclusively in Slack, it can be easy to miss important updates from your CRM. With our Slack integration, you can get updates on your opportunities and leads in Copper sent directly to your Slack channel. (Tip: Be sure to check out Slack’s add-on apps for even more ways to enhance communication.)
RingCentral: RingCentral is a cloud-based phone, video and message solution for businesses. It’s essentially a business phone and text service for your company. Your team can use VOIP phones or download the RingCentral app to get access to a business communication suite and phone number without any additional equipment. Sync RingCentral with your CRM to help track calls with key contacts.
Aircall: Aircall is a cloud-based call center software. Along with all the necessary tools to provide a customer-centric call center, Aircall has a host of collaboration features perfect for the remote team, including the ability to quickly share contacts and warm transfer.
Still more tools to enhance the remote work experience
There are still other hills that remote teams need to climb aside from communication, collaboration and work-life balance. Here are a few more tools to help with everything in between.
Sherlock: Sherlock is a product engagement scoring tool that helps SaaS businesses track and measure success. By tracking your product engagement metrics and activation rate inside your CRM, you can easily adopt the product-led growth model and achieve long-lasting growth.
Identifying your key accounts and understanding why they’re great can be difficult in a remote environment. When you can’t see your customers or talk to your team, locating these key metrics can be challenging. We acquired Sherlock so you could get the metrics you needed to be successful—even in a remote environment.
Mailchimp: Mailchimp is an email marketing platform for small businesses. It helps you manage your audience, send newsletters, create trigger sequences and more. As we’ve talked about before, cold emails are dead, especially in our remote and digital world—but warm emails are hotter than ever for nurturing important business relationships.
MailChimp’s host of personalization features allow you to personalize and track your email marketing campaigns and make your emails a little warmer.
QuickBooks: Quickbooks is an accounting suite that allows you to do everything from sending invoices, to managing payroll, to submitting taxes and more. Thanks to its comprehensive host of solutions, it’s one of the most popular bookkeeping software solutions for small-to-medium businesses.
QuickBooks can be especially helpful for navigating the complexities of payroll with a distributed team. Each state has different tax rules, and international employees come with their own challenges, so navigating payroll and taxes in a remote environment can be a real challenge. Quickbooks has guided tutorials, experts on staff and tons of other tools to help your accountants navigate these changes. And it even integrates with CRMs like Copper.
Zendesk: Zendesk is a customer service help desk software product that offers tools like ticket support and chat. It’s a fantastic solution to make sure your customers are getting great one-on-one care—even if it is virtual. Easily attach support tickets to records in your CRM with Copper’s native Zendesk integration.
Square: Square is most notably a POS software product. But, many people don't know that it’s also an online payment portal and invoicing platform, which means you can easily take online payments from your website and create and send invoices virtually.
If you were already using Square in your store prior to going virtual, then it makes sense to use it as your virtual payment portal, too.
Xero: Xero is an online cloud-based accounting software product that you can access from wherever you are. It’s a non-fussy accounting option made for small businesses that you can access via smartphone or home computer.
Stay focused on your people, and everything else will fall into place.
The recurring theme we’re hearing from everyone who’s running a successful remote team is: focus on your people.
If you put your team’s well-being ahead of everything else, you’ll inevitably choose the tools and processes your company needs to thrive in a remote or hybrid environment. Emphasize culture and inclusivity, and be patient with yourself and your team because it’s a learning process that will take a bit of time to get right.
Here at Copper, we’re serious about helping you keep your relationships with your customers and team healthy—whether they’re in-person or remote, or a mix of both. Thanks to our lengthy list of integrations, we can help you streamline and simplify your remote work so you can focus on your people.