Teaching The Old Dog of Email Some Very Cool New Tricks

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Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Pat Sullivan – Enjoy!

Teaching The Old Dog of Email Some Very Cool New Tricks
photo credit: Micky.! via photopin cc

We live in email. It’s why I call it “the killer app.” Over 900 billion business people around the world spend a HUGE chunk of every day in email. Which would be fine except for the fact that email hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years. The Rip Van Winkle of technology, email appears to have been sleeping while everything else around it moved on. Our phones are smarter, our TVs bigger and flatter and our cars are far more fuel-efficient (and that’s if they’re even running on fuel at all). Laptops, notebooks, WiFi–it appears that nearly EVERYTHING has gotten better over the past two decades, while email has remained virtually unchanged.

So you might be surprised to find that my answer to the question, “What’s wrong with email?” is, well, “Nothing.”

You see, the problem isn’t email, the problem is all the things we’re trying to make email do things it isn’t good at. We’re either using a plethora of other applications to try to make up for the deficiencies of email, or we’re trying to force our email to do things it was never designed for: team collaboration, task management, and file-sharing. It’s like using a hammer to carve a turkey. Good tool. Wrong job.

Think about it, how many times have you marked an email “unread” just so you’d remember to do something about it? And how often does an attempt at one-to-many communication turn into what I call “Reply-All Hell”? The fact is, the average worker spends up to 60 percent of every workday in email, searching for information or collaborating with co-workers. And 60 percent of our time in email is spent with co-workers. For more on the staggering cost of business email, go here.

Email Less. Collaborate More.

Now, all of our time spent in email obviously isn’t wasted, but a lot of it is. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute says there’s “an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.” The same report examines how much time we spend in emails and concludes that more than half of the “potential value lies in improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What we need is email that is built for the way we work today, and when it comes to how we work today, collaboration is the key. Think about it, what if you could shift just 10 or 15 percent of the time (and money) spent in email, to collaborating with co-workers, customers and vendors on the things that move your business forward?

Rather than being bogged down in an endless inbox and “reply-all hell,” what if we could spend more time in collaborative workspaces where we can have real-time, ongoing conversations with co-workers, customers and vendors. What if you could reduce your inbox by 60 percent, eliminate almost all internal email correspondence and completely eliminated reply-all responses? What if you could open your email every day and see only what you need to, when we need to, and have meaningful conversations with whom you need to?

A Platform For Success

If collaborative email is the goal, the key to success lies in creating, as Robert Abbott wrote in The Big Email Opportunity, “a more automated, integrated and streamlined platform.” That’s because the answer to the challenges posed by traditional email will neither be found by trying to use spit, duct tape or glue to make current email platforms do what they were never built for. Nor will you find it by diving into a seemingly endless sea of single-point solutions. Rather, the success of email designed for how we work today, depends on the adoption of a new paradigm that brings all the social and collaborative tools together in a single faster, more efficient and more effective email platform.

Like I said, traditional email is fine for one-to-one communication, and for letting my mother send her grandchildren the latest pictures of her cats, but if we’re going to continue living in our email–and we are–let’s make it someplace we actually want to live.

Pat SullivanPat Sullivan, Co-Founder and CEO, Contatta – Heralded as one of the “80 Most Influential People in Sales and Marketing History”, among Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Jack Welch and Bill Gates by Sales and Marketing Management, Pat Sullivan was also twice named Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for both ACT! and SalesLogix.  Before he was the Godfather of CRM, Pat Sullivan was a salesman. That may explain why after he became Co-Founder and CEO of ACT!, over 6 million salespeople paid for it out of their own pockets.  Following ACT!’s purchase by Symantec, he founded SalesLogix in 1995 and led its revenue growth to $108 million, successful IPO and repurchase of ACT!.  Pat has served as a board member for multiple tech companies, and is currently working on revolutionizing the way business makes contact with the launch of Contatta.



Collaboration, Pat Sullivan, Stuff That Works

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