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We Were Made For This – May 14th - Eletype

We Were Made For This – May 14th

By May 19, 2020 July 14th, 2020 No Comments

We Were Made For This – May 14th

Thank you to Brooke Beach, CEO of Marketwake, for joining us this week to talk about their transition to remote working and the best practices that are making them even more productive during this new normal. We also share some tips and tricks so your team can be more efficient and effective in Slack.

Click the image below to watch the full webinar ?

The transition, the culture, the tools and the bright side of remote working.

And tune in next week when we are joined by Adam Roe, Managing Partner at FortyFour.

Register Now


Michael: This webinar is inspired by a quote that came from the CEO of Slack. The quote went like this, he said, ‘No one is going to panic their way to success. There’s a feeling inside of the company that we were made for this.’ I think that’s inspirational. I think I shared that sentiment. Brooke I think you shared that sentiment as well. Again, thanks for joining us today. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Brooke: It’s going to be a blast. I’m ready. I’m just excited to talk to someone right now.

Michael: I really enjoyed the conversations we had a week ago when we were kind of prepping for this. I loved it at that time. We were doing a few webinars here at Eletype, just around getting the most out of Slack in general. We talked about things like how to implement Slack properly. How to configure your notifications to keep noise levels down. We talked about Slack apps and building Slack workflows, and we had an entire webinar on the administration and security side of Slack. That’s something that we’ve worked kind of closely with Marketwake on. I know you guys found it pretty helpful and that got us thinking, should we be talking more about how people are managing through this pandemic and how we’re working on things through this new normal.

So we had a great conversation last week with Ryan Johnson, who is the VP of Product Management at CallRail. We really enjoyed that. This is the second one in our series. Again tune in next week as well. We’re going to have a 3rd and a 4th series on this with Adam Rowe next week. He’s the Managing Partner at FortyFour, another digital marketing agency here in Atlanta. He’s going to share some stories about how their team has managed everything through this pandemic. But to kick us off today, Brooke, tell us a little bit about Marketwake.

Brooke: Yeah. Marketwake is a digital marketing agency really focused on strategy. Everyone asks, okay, what are your sweet spots? We’re focused on PPC, SEO content and design. We’ve got some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. We come in to work with a company, figure out what are the business goals? I think one of the problems that a lot of…I mean I’ve worked with a lot of agencies I was client side for a long time. One of the things that I saw over and over again as I was working with different agencies was just they’re either extremely creative and they don’t really care about the numbers and the reporting, or they were so analytical that we couldn’t get them to go outside the box and to think bigger. So we’d really try to marry creative and analytical sides. Everything that we do comes back to the numbers. We sit down with the business owners, figure out what are their business goals, and then how do we use marketing channels to help go reach those?

Michael: That’s one of the reasons why we enjoy working with you guys. We definitely are of a similar mind when it comes to how we should be approaching marketing and digital marketing in particular. Tell us about Marketwake before the pandemic. What were you guys like? What was the office like.

Brooke: Seems like ages ago, pre pandemic. We’re very close and I think, you know, from a structure standpoint, we don’t require people to be in the office. Mondays and Wednesdays we really want people to be there, but we’re just a very, very close team. We like each other, which is good for the most part. So we’re just always hanging out and talking and collaborating and working. We’re always hopping into a conference room and hanging out with each other. So when this hit, while we were equipped to work remote, because we’re all used to that periodically, it was a huge shift to do it continuously with no break. That involved some tweaking, and learning, and discovery of how does everyone work because some people work a whole lot better solo. We learned that and we’ll talk about it later, but we’ll incorporate some of that into going forward post pandemic. But other people, you know, it was a big adjustment to figure out how do we get that connection back? I think that until you do this for a few weeks, your assumption going into it is like, we’re not going to be able to collaborate as effectively or efficiently. Thankfully I’m surprised that we were.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s similar to a lot of technology companies, everybody had the option of remote working. So it was, you know, remote working as an option, remote working as a benefit when you needed it because our jobs allow for it. One of the things that I’ve talked to a lot of folks about over the last few weeks now as we’ve been going through this is just how fortunate we are to be able to be in careers and positions where remote working is possible. We’ve always thought of it as an option. It was there because you had a family, it was there because you had a bad commute, it was there because you had to get things done around the house. But that shift or that transition to a remote working as the day to day, remote working as the new normal, as opposed to being an option I know it caught us off guard. Tell us a little bit about your transition and how you managed the communication to your team? Kind of what worked, what didn’t, maybe what would you do differently in the future?

Brooke: So the funny thing is kind of at the beginning, I’ll own up to it. At the beginning of when everything hit, I thought it was ridiculous that people were closing. Cause I was watching people who had to stay at home. Right. But then they were going to coffee shops and restaurants cause they didn’t want to have to work from home. So I was like, this is absurd. Why would we literally close down to just force you guys out into the world to be going to places that you shouldn’t be going to? So I held on longer than most. Yeah, for the most part I figured all right, well, people are going from their house to work, back to their house. We can keep it open a little bit longer. And then finally made the call, I think it was a little alongside about everyone when the stay at home order happened early April, end of March.

And then it was…and I learned a lesson because I was kind of on the adamant side of like, guys, we don’t have to close down. It’s going to be fine. Kind of blindly optimistic that I didn’t put in place a ton of protocols of okay, when we do shut down, here’s what we’re going to need to do. So that was a huge learning lesson for me to say, all right, well when things like this happen we need to immediately act on it, it doesn’t mean necessarily close and go to the extreme, but I should’ve had a plan. So a lot of this and, you know, the nice thing is no one had a playbook for a pandemic like this. There was nothing that you could pull out of your back pocket and say, all right, here’s step one, two, three, four. We were all kind of figuring that out as we went.

But we did have to move really quickly. I mean, I did not sleep for the first, probably two to three weeks of this. The other aspect that was hard, people were coming to us, we’re marketing, right? So we’re the ones who are putting all of their social media posts out there. Typically sending the emails, writing the content, figuring out the strategy. Well, some of that content that we had written ahead of time seemed either with having nothing to do with this could have come across as either opportunistic or just flat or insensitive to what we were doing. So not only are we having to figure out for our own team, how are we going to work through this? But then for the teams of all of the other clients that we have. I mean, I was getting calls at 10 o’clock some nights saying, Hey, we need a new marketing strategy. Can you have it on my desk by 8:00 AM the next morning? We don’t have a pandemic strategy right now. I will do whatever it takes to get you there, but I won’t have it tomorrow morning. It’s five hours away.

So yeah, it was a lot of trial and error but we figured it out. I will give credit to my team. You know, I think that when you have a strong culture, when things like this it isn’t such a huge blow. People know that this is an extremely important piece of their life and our life as a business to get through. So they rose to the occasion and did what it took to figure out a new normal, a new process.

Michael: Yeah. Who would have had a playbook. I mean, when they talk on the news about, hey, there was a playbook for this, they usually talk about it in a healthcare standpoint, you know, there’s going to be a pandemic. I mean, somebody has written the playbook for this and we should follow that. But from a business standpoint, there’s no playbook. Whether it’s from, you know, how do you manage your business? Certainly how do the schools operate? And I know when you do make that call just like you I mean we thought it’d be very, very temporary. Like we left everything in the office and I was like, we’ll be back in a week or so, it’ll be fine. Here we are two months later doing this. So it’s just, of course, no one could have had a possible playbook for this.

One of the things I think that gets a little overlooked when it comes to how do we manage remote working? I mean, we focus on kind of the tools the technology. We’re obviously a big proponent of Slack and how we’re using different tools to stay in contact, but from a business leader standpoint, as a CEO, how are you managing culture in a way in which is changed because of the pandemic, because of remote working?

Brooke: Yeah, it has changed. I mentioned before our culture is really strong. We did a few things at the beginning. When we first realized that this was not going to be a week or two, it definitely was that hit. Then in our team, they’re pretty intuitive. So all of a sudden our clients are saying, hey, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to pay you. Can we defer payment for a couple months. It’s serious and so everyone realized, hey, this is a big deal. What I didn’t want is people to be freaking out, we’re afraid because like your opening quote, panic doesn’t help at all. So we took some pretty big effort at the very beginning to actually make sure that the team felt good, secure, encouraged to the best of our ability. We can’t promise the future, but while you’re here, I want to make sure that you guys know that we’re doing whatever it takes to keep you guys as long as absolutely possible and to still deliver the best quality for our clients.

So we did some fun things to make us feel connected. We actually City Winery had sent out a note, they’re a local restaurant here by Ponce City Market, if you’re familiar with the Atlanta area. They sent a note out and said, guys, we have to close down, were broken hearted about it, but you can still support us and our team if you buy some wines. Absolutely, we’re helping our local businesses. So we bought bottles of wine for every single employee. Then my executive assistant, who’s amazing, went with gloves and masks and dropped it off at every single person’s door. And we kind of had like that virtual happy hour which was a fun surprise. We didn’t tell them that we were doing that.

Then our meetings shifted. It used to be, we prided ourselves in efficiency. We still do, but we’re very efficient. We don’t need meetings for the sake of meetings. We laugh and cut up a lot, but we get down to it to give people back their time. One of the shifts that I realized is that, especially we’ve got a lot of people who live alone, having that time in the beginning of meetings to just be and exist with someone became extremely and still is very important. That was something that we had to shift the length of our meetings. Like we actually extended some of our meeting time just to give people the ability to talk, be like, how are you doing? How was your weekend? Tell me something funny from your house. Like just what are you doing? And that bonded us in a way that has been really, really, really important. I think if we had not given ourselves that space we would have been a little bit more on edge.

Michael: Yeah. Isn’t that weird? It’s so counterintuitive that the fact that now that we’re remote working and that we’re separated, I think we’re actually learning more about our fellow coworkers. You’re learning more about their personal situation. You have this weird kind of portal into their house when you’re doing like a video conference. People are in home mode and transitioning between kind of home and work mode a lot differently than they would, obviously if you were coming into the office. I mean, even if you have a casual office, I mean, I know you guys have a casual office, we have a pretty laid back office, but when you’re going to work, you’re still going to work. You know, you’re in work mode, but here, I mean, now you’re, you’re kind of transitioning in and out and I think it has this weird counterintuitive way of getting people more comfortable with each other, learning more about how everybody’s doing.

And certainly, you know, I’m married with kids so I see it from my perspective, you know, how are we managing kids at home? How are we managing the day to day? What are we going to do about summer camps? But then we have some guys in the team like you were saying, I mean, they’re single and they can’t go out and they’re not going out on the weekends. They’re not going out on a date. You know, that those type of problems that they’re dealing with are real. I have no way to relate to that other than learning about it now through this kind of dialogue that we’re having, because we’re remote working. It’s just very odd, but it’s also very refreshing.

Brooke: It is. Giving people the space to truly be themselves there is a level like what you’re saying, a vulnerability that I think if you don’t respect and honor that it could cause damage like some people, yes, you’re right. We’re having a glimpse into your home. So being respectful of the fact that like, I am having a much more personal view of you right now than the person you present to yourself at work and how do we be curious and excited and get to know each other in that way is super important. I’ve seen it done poorly.

Michael: No doubt. It just changed kind of how you approach culture, you know, how do you manage this lack of communication. Yet, sometimes having more intimate communication because you are kind of front and center with people more, you’re invading their home space a little bit more than you might have. One of the things I think that we’ve noticed too, is that, you know, there is a bright side to some of this stuff. From your perspective what are some things that maybe you didn’t expect that despite the fact that we’re going through a pandemic that, you know, maybe it’s not all bad? Are there any benefits that you’re getting out of this?

Brooke: Oh my gosh, so many. We’re more productive which is fascinating. So talking about our culture, I’ve mentioned a few times like, oh, we like each other, we come in, we just, we had always preached row, which is kinda like that results only work environment. You hear it, it’s pretty buzzy in startup culture. And always said, hey guys, you think you’re out what time of day works best for you. But just by default of the way business works, we didn’t want to be that nine to five. We kind of became that nine to five. Not because that was a rule or a guideline set, but just that’s when our clients are around. That just seems to be the most normal working hours. We just fell into that routine.

Through this, what we’ve found though, really fascinating, we call them power hours where people figure out what time of day they’re the most productive. We’ve got a group of people who have said before, but you know, we’d never really sell it. No, I’m a night owl. I really need to work at night. Then all of a sudden with this, they’re staying up. They might take a break during the middle of the day, a little siesta. Then they’ll work from eight o’clock at night to midnight or nine o’clock to one and pump out more work than I could have ever dreamed to get done. I am the exact opposite. When five, six hits my brain is mush, I have nothing else to offer, but I’m also waking up at five to six. Now, I feel like I have a full day before a lot of people are getting into work.

So letting people have that ability to actually be more flexible. I was trying to figure out like, why were we not able to do that before? And I do think it is because when you are in the office, as much as we try to fight it, you don’t have to keep your butt in the seat the entire day. Like you don’t have these set office hours. You don’t have to look productive if you don’t have something to do. It’s just default. It’s like autopilot and everyone just goes back to autopilot and it’s easy. You don’t have to think about it. It takes work and effort to break that pattern. So then when this happened people’s schedules are completely thrown off. If they had kids, they’re trying to do schooling during the day so the only time they could give was at night or they just realized, hey, this is my opportunity. I’m more effective at night. I’m going to get to do it because I don’t have to be in the office.

Our productivity level, I mean has absolutely skyrocketed. We use Slack all the time. We’ve really opened up Slack for now. We have different channels for every single one of our different clients. We’re constantly communicating on that. Then just the ability for people to figure out when they work the best has been really nice. Now I’m trying to figure out more proactively, I wasn’t proactive at the front end of this and trying to be more proactive on the back end of this. How do we keep that going? How do we not fall back into autopilot when they do start opening up to say, we’re all going to be super excited to be together again and back in the office, how do we still facilitate a culture that says, not everyone works best in this custom timeframe. You need to go figure that out and you have the ability and you are not going to be looked down on.

Michael: I remember when we talked a few weeks ago, that was like the biggest takeaway, the biggest kind of captain obvious moment for me, where it was like, yeah, you know, some people work better at different times. It seems so obvious in hindsight. We probably all intuitively kind of knew that, but we didn’t have a structure that accommodated it. When you do find employees that can work better, you know, from eight o’clock till midnight let them.

And then I’m the same way as you, I’m much more productive in the morning with a pot of coffee, getting up at 5:00 AM and banging stuff out in the morning. That’s great. Some people don’t work that way. Some people hate it when I’m emailing them at, you know, five or six in the morning. I don’t really expect a reply, but that’s when I’m working. That’s when I’m productive. I guess that’s a great kind of like the next question is, you know, do we transition back and like, how do you guys think you do transition back in the long-term? Even if there’s no health reason for us to be remote working, you know, does any of this carry over, you know, what do you think changes when we do try to transition back or does it not?

Brooke: This is such a fascinating topic. I was actually talking to another entrepreneur, and everyone’s kind of talking about the same thing of costs also. Is it, we just realized that we can work really well remote. Does it make sense to have a big lease? Can we continue working on remote? Is that cost savings? And really where I’m landing right now and obviously this is a work in progress as it is for I’m sure a lot of people. Starbucks, when they first started, they realized that they were not going to win by just selling coffee, because plenty of people out there were selling coffee. They really wanted to create that third space. One of the things that I’ve seen across the board that people miss is actually having a space outside of their home. So when they come home, their home feels like their home, but they also have another place where they can go to feel safe. That isn’t a restaurant, that isn’t, you know, somewhere where they’re having, they want a place where they can work and feel safe to do so with people that they like. What does that look like?

The office has always been a structured location, right? It is where you come in, you sit down and you do your work. You may have an hour at lunch, you finish your work for the day, and then you leave. What does it look like then to transition your office into that third space where Starbucks did that was for consumers, but how does it look like for business owners to make that concept where it is just kind of always open you, don’t close it down at 6:30. It’s there for anyone at any time of day in order for them to do the work that they need and feel like they have that space that they can use outside of their home. Which makes it feel way more fluid than the original structure of this is the time of day you come in and as this is the time you leave.

So we’re trying to figure out what does that look like from a security perspective of actually having that open and are issues there, or can this actually be somewhere where people can come in and choose? Is there a morning shift of people, and then is there a night shift and does that open the door for more clients? Cause I will say one of the issues that we’ve had is time zone. How do we, if we’re all closing doors at 5:36, then our West coast clients, and we do have West coast clients. They’re not getting our best. They’re having to wake up really early in order to have our calls, they’re on our time, or I’m saying, hey, can you guys stay late, but also come in early. So stay late for the West coast, but you also have to come in early because you have other clients.

So do we actually figure out a way to structure without having to open another office, which is costly. Of being able to recruit here and say, hey, when do you guys work the best? When do you want to work? Are there groups of people who are actually probably more suited for a West coast client, in which case we can go market to those and bring more in when we really haven’t been marketing them before and knowing what our limits are.

So yeah, it’s, it’s really fascinating. I think that this concept of…the other thing that I’ll say there is, it’s a pet peeve of mine, work life balance, of like give to one…Everyone has an opinion on it. I do like the concept of work-life integration that work is just a part of your life. It is really hard though, when I understand where balance comes in, that concept of balance comes in. When you have a set period of time during the day where you have to be working, it doesn’t feel as integrated. It feels blocky, it feels compartmentalized. So if it truly is work-life and integration, then it means we have to have the ability to be fluid throughout the day. It sounds great in practice, but then the practicality comes in and you’re like, well, how do you track those hours? And are you sure that people are doing their work? We don’t have a culture we’re micromanaging. The work shows in how much we produce and what we’re able to get done and those results that we have. So it might be a little bit easier for us than some other types of businesses. But I think it’s a really interesting conversation to have of how is this pandemic going to impact the way that we view, see, and live through work.

Michael: Yeah, obviously it’s timely to have the conversation. It’s unfortunate that we can have it because of what’s going on. It would have been great if there was a reason to have this conversation about how do we manage work life balance versus a work life integration. I totally agree. I think balance is kind of what you do to make sure that you’re not getting burned out on work, but integration is what we’re doing now to figure out when is the right time. It’s a balance of, do I need to be in the office or don’t I? Do I have to communicate with other colleagues? And then what’s my personal situation. You know, do I have kids at home? Do I have a West coast client or an East coast client that I have to manage? All of those things change how you choose to do your work life integration.

And I think what we’re seeing through all of this is everybody’s able to have an open conversation about what the best way to do their own personal integration is going to be. And companies and business leaders are kind of forced to have that conversation now. Whereas previously you might have dealt with this. I know I’ve dealt with it in the past too, where you had one-offs, you had a single employee who wanted to talk about a work life balance or integration or remote working around their personal situation. That always felt like a one-off, you know, it felt like was it a special benefit for an employee? If you made it for that employee, did you have to allow it for everybody?

These are types of conversations that went back and forth through corporations over the last kind of 5 to 10 years. It was handled almost as like a nuisance. It was you know, how do we manage this? You know, somebody wants this, do we have to offer it to everybody? Now I think we’re able to have it in a way where we’re going, no, this just might be better for everybody. We have to have the conversation. Also since we’ve had to go through it, you know, we experimented with it. It wasn’t like what’s going to happen if we do this, it was what happened when we did this. What happened was, you know, what, productivity didn’t go down too much. Maybe we can save money on rent. People aren’t spending hours a day in the car, which is the bane of my existence because I drive quite a bit in Atlanta and I’m loving it. I mean, from a productivity standpoint, I can get just as much work done, but not being committed to work because I’m not in a car for that much period of time.

So there’s all these extra kind of benefits that we’re getting out of it because we were forced to go through this experiment. I think we’re all looking back on it now and saying, how much of this do we really change if we can go back and there’s going to be a hard conversation to figure out, do we transition back a 100% or do we keep some of this?

Brooke: Yeah, absolutely. The funny thing is for the most…especially people who are in software agencies, I’m hearing a lot of this has been kind of…it’s awful, but from a work standpoint, it’s been kind of nice to actually be forced into experimenting with things that we always said that we would.

Michael: Yeah. Like the way you said it is exactly how I would say, it’s like, this is awful, but, it’s not so bad. I have a brother that’s in New York city, so he’s going through it a lot more differently than we are here in Atlanta. I think just the nature of our jobs, I always try to chalk…always try to remember and be conscious of the fact that we’re very fortunate to be in technology jobs where we can accommodate this. We’re also very fortunate to be in a city like Atlanta that hasn’t been hit as hard as some places in the country. It also happens to be springtime here. It’s been quite nice here in Atlanta. The folks up in New York or some other parts of the country, my parents live in New York as well. They had snow two days ago. And you know, so it’s not so bad, but I do like it, you know, it is important to be conscious of how fortunate we are, but at the end of the day, it hasn’t been that bad because I do think we’re getting productivity out of it.

Now the overall economic conditions could obviously be better, but I think that’s out of our control, you know, as far as what we can do. It’s just a conversation that everybody’s having and I love to hear everybody’s perspective about how they’re approaching it and kind of what you guys are bringing to the table and how you’re managing it’s just refreshing to hear that because I think everybody’s not sure exactly what the right thing is. I think everybody’s kind of going through this together here. From a tool standpoint, you mentioned Slack, is there anything else that you guys are using that you’ve found has helped now that you remote that maybe the rest of the audience would benefit from learning?

Brooke: We’re pretty, we’re pretty focused on Slack and Zoom. Then we use a tool called Teamwork. I don’t know if people are familiar with Teamwork but it is an internal project management tool. Essentially in project management…probably isolates it and puts it in too small of a bucket, but it has been phenomenal. It allows you to create big if you’re familiar with Scrum. It allows you to create those epic stories per client, per project, for whatever it is. You can divide it by teams and then helps you to input those tasks, assign them to people, review them added your notes, complete them, and then see how it rolls up into a larger picture. That’s actually been unbelievably helpful. We’ve got a really good UI. From a productivity perspective, we were getting lost where, you know, you, before you could walk over to someone and just say, hey, what’s the status of this. You really can’t do that anymore.

While we are increasing our use of Slack, it does mean that there is some noise. So that’s one of the things that we’re cognizant of, of like we have exponentially…I forgot to pull the numbers right before. Last week when I looked, I think that we were up in our messages by like 30% than we had been before which is substantial. That means that things are getting buried a whole lot faster than they used to get buried. So we have to figure out what other ways to really organize the work. Teamwork has been that functionality for us to do that. So every single task has a history, it has a log and then you can see how it fits into the whole because that’s the other thing is we want to work as efficiently as possible because we’re fighting. Any other agency, knows if you are doing the best that you can to keep your clients in business and not lose those clients because agencies typically are one of the first things to get cut, right? When you’re looking at, do I furlough my employees or do I cut a third party, cut the third party between now I’m having to look at what do I do with my employees?

So we are working day and night to make sure that they’re growing their business. So keeping that organized is super vital to what we’re doing here. Then also it helps put it in the perspective of the why. Why are you doing this task? If it doesn’t fall into one of these large strategic buckets, then where does it fit and why are we doing it? It also really helps people take a second look into, is this a blog for the sake of a blog? Is it really gonna move the needle or are we actually doing something that has meaningful impact?

Then other tools that we’ve integrated we use a lot of Salesforce now. It’s actually, this time has allowed us to get way more organized because we had to. I had to devote…So all of that time that you mentioned in the car, I kind of took that time in the morning and the night to figure out how do we better organize our processes and systems for the first couple of weeks. So really cleaning up our Salesforce. It is exponentially light years better than it was before going into this. I promise you, I would have slipped it under the rug for another year or two, if we hadn’t had to. That’s the other thing I will say from a collaboration and communication tools perspective, it really forces you to figure out what is and is not efficient, and where do you need some in house cleanup? So we’ve worked a lot to do some of those in house cleanups in order for us to work more efficiently, but Slack is a lifesaver. God bless them.

Michael: Well, you mentioned one good thing there that came up on the last webinar as well about, you know, how do you reach out to people on Slack, where normally in the office, if you want to go talk to somebody, if you want to check in, you know, if they’re not busy, because you can see them and you can say, hey, can I bug you real quick, I have a question? But when you’re in Slack or you’re kind of behind that remote working barrier, you don’t know what people are doing. So it’s kind of like, hey, is it okay for me to bug you right now? And if I do bug you, what’s the appropriate amount of time that I’m supposed to expect a response back. Again, going back to playbooks. Like there’s not really a playbook for that and everybody’s going like, what’s the protocol? Like, are you supposed to reply to me or not? But I have no idea what you’re doing. Is there anything particular with Slack that you guys maybe learned that was like something that’s helped out a lot that maybe the rest of the audience would love to know?

Brooke: You guys! Eletype is unbelievably helpful. I don’t know if you expected that, but really, seriously, it has been phenomenal to actually have those popups because the exact same thing. Like when we don’t have the ability to go and ask someone, how are ads doing? Or are one of our ad managers is literally buried now because we do have way more meetings with our clients than we used to. We used to keep it on that weekly call kind of schedule. Well now they want touches with us a lot more frequently, which means we have to be ready every single day to understand like what’s happening and what are they going to ask. So having those alerts pop up and being able to change the way that it functions or what types of information we want to see, what types of information we don’t see. Having that control has been really helpful.

Michael: I didn’t even pay you to say that.

Brooke: I know, just the honest, yeah I know seriously. If you don’t have it, you should because it is a lifesaver.

Michael: I appreciate that.

Brooke: Honestly, and authentically, I don’t know if we would have known it as much than if we hadn’t gone through this. So I’m really glad for things like that. We use another group called Sonar who does kind of similar things for our Salesforce instance and those tools to automate that. So you’re not looking at it 24/7 and to be able to have control over it is super helpful. Other tips clean up your channels. As soon as we started going through the plethora of channels that we had, oh my gosh, things got so much more clear and easy and that it took us probably 10, 15 minutes to do honestly. To say, hey, is this client still active? Why did we create this? This was for an event that we had a year ago. Why is it still up? Then, you know, things get noisy when, you know, in Slack, when you have the channel line and it’s white, if someone left a message, well, when you have it from a year ago, they all are. You never know which one you’re supposed to be looking at. So we went through, we archived probably, I think it ended up being like 40 channels or something like that, 40 and asked people to leave those channels if they didn’t need to be a part of it again. Wow, that was small, but huge.

Michael: Yeah. We talked about that on one of the earlier webinars that we did. We’ll send a link out to that webinar, to everybody that attended this one for just some tips on how to clean up channels. That’s just the nature of what’s happened with how Slack has been implemented. What’s unique about Slack is that it grows through an organization very organically and by organically, I mean, one person’s using it and then a team’s using it and then the other team uses it. Before you know it, now everybody’s on it. What happened with the pandemic was everybody got on it very, very quickly, but it wasn’t a top down approach.

You know, most enterprise software, somebody comes to a decision to purchase a piece of software and it’s going to be implemented and it’s pushed down. Everybody gets that, and usually there’s some type of a policy, and there’s somebody who knows how to be the administrator. But Slack gets implemented kind of organically. It comes in and before you know it you have 40 Slack channels because no one said what’s the right time to make a Slack channel. You’re getting a million notifications because no one told you how to configure your notifications properly. You’re going, I didn’t know who the admin was. I didn’t know how to add a new user and you’re using it just for like a small piece of Slack that you’re using for communication.

You know, when we talk about why did Slack become a mission critical platform right now, it obviously happened very fast. This transition to remote work happened literally overnight. It happened overnight for us, for you guys, for most folks. What we’ve realized is that it can be truly game changing when it’s implemented properly. And we obviously are a Slack first type company. So we know how to implement it properly, but we often see when we can talk to clients and customers that it’s frequently under utilized. There’s a lot of great rich features inside of Slack that people aren’t using. It can really help the organization improve if you can kind of learn about it. And Slack, frankly, you know, we’re big Slack proponent, but they don’t always do the best job of showing you where those things are.

So we wanted to close the webinar today by talking real quickly about underutilized features that are in Slack, that I hope everybody can get more out of their Slack implementation, especially during this time. So their teams can be more efficient.

Getting the Most Out Of Slack

Want to learn how to get the most out of Slack?

April 2nd – How to Implement Slack (click here for recording)

April 9th – Managing Notifications  (click here for recording)

April 16th – Slack Apps and Slash Commands (click here for recording)

April 23rd – Administration and Security (click here for recording)

Click here for more information


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Michael Sengbusch

Michael Sengbusch

CEO of Eletype - Entrepreneur, Founder, Engineer