Marketing Automation Software Features You Need in 2020

As a manager or agency owner, you’re juggling so many priorities and assignments at once that you can’t keep them all straight. You have that lunch meeting with a client today; or  is it tomorrow? The creative team is hammering out a new infographic. Have they finished it yet? And your PR team is busy reaching out to influencers to try to get the on board with the new campaign. Has anyone committed or even responded?  Are your monthly deliverables moving along, or are you behind on some campaigns?

There are so many details to track, so many tasks to assign and so many pieces everywhere. You really just want to head to the nearest Mexican restaurant and grab a margarita. Or two.

You’ve been telling your team for months that the agency was going to make changes to all the workflow processes. The only change you made, though, was to remind everyone to add more sticky note reminders to their computer screen.

It’s time to move into a new decade, taking advantage of new technologies and new ways of doing things.

The Virtual Shout Out

The Virtual Shout Out

When you need to talk to a team member privately, what do you do? Head to their cubicle or office? Fire off an email?

If the conversation is related to a work task or project assignment, you need a system that lets you talk to team members on a page related to their task. Enter…the virtual @ or shoutout.  The days of scrolling endless slack comments to look for the proverbial needle in a haystack need to end. You need to use software that allows you to talk about a project or task where the action is, not in a separate software altogether.   

This feature is an easy way to nudge someone about a due date, clarify something from the client or just brainstorm. And guess what? The software notifies them that you sent the message! They can’t ignore you. Well…they can, but YOU can see that they received and read the mention.

A business person checks off an assignment list

The Task Assignment List

Tom didn’t know the client needed the press release for approval? Really? This is his story and he’s sticking to it.

Missed due dates make the company look bad, and your team could lose that account.  Most importantly – it’s not necessary. With proper workflow automation, where you can forecast what milestones you need to hit, by when, to complete a project on time, you never need to be late on a project again.  

Make sure everyone knows and understands all their assignments for the week or the entire month. When you assign tasks via automation software, the assignments then appear on a team member’s dashboard in the form of a to-do list.

Tom will now know that press release has to be sent to the editor or the client for approval by a specific time in order to stay within the projects deadline! And you’ll know that he knows!

Virtual Paperclips

Virtual Paperclips

The latest communications project for your big client includes a press release announcing a new product, an infographic detailing all the cool features, a video for the web site and social media posts to build excitement.

All those pieces of paper—the infographic and press release drafts, the video script and a social media calendar—are sitting on your desk clipped together so you can reference them as needed. Other team members have the same glut of paperwork.

Stop killing trees; offices fly through more than 12 trillion sheets of paper each year on all our tasks! Keeping all those files together is so much easier when you can neatly—and virtually—attach or clip them to a project page. Give the PR team copies of the social media calendar or infographic as a reference for the press release, but don’t print it all out. Drop it on their press release project as an attached file.

Not only do associations keep everything in one place, but they also let team members bounce between screens to look at supporting documents. Plus, you won’t have to worry that someone’s going to spill their coffee on a freshly printed infographic mock-up!

Easier Payments & Billing

If your company uses freelancers for specific projects, you know that not all your freelancers will invoice for their work the same day each month (unless, of course, you have a policy about payment dates). But how do they submit invoices?

How many times have invoices gotten lost in the shuffle of all the other emails? Freelancers like to be paid on time, and hopefully, you’re on the ball with those payments. But if invoices stress you out, and you absolutely dread going through all the separate emails, then make it easier for them…and YOU.

Software should make invoicing simple. Set a final phase for all project tasks that relates to invoicing or billing. Your freelancers will get a reminder to invoice for the project, and these invoices will collect into one big invoice for the week or month.

When freelancers are ready to invoice, all the tasks that are completed can be included in the total amount. You’ll get a notice that you need to pay the invoice, and you can opt to pay via online payment (like PayPal, which is one of the most popular platforms for freelancer payments) or just cut a check. Easy!

Most importantly, it’s important to keep track of all of the costs associated with a project.  Whether it’s time spent by a salaried employee, an expense from work done by a freelancer, or software used to complete a project – it should all be included into the project or campaign.  Knowing the total cost of a project is important to make sure you’re staying within you budget and maintaining your financial goals.

Edit and Move On

Blog articles and ebooks for clients can be a big part of their communications campaign, and the writing process can be involved…and time-consuming. Some writers nail it the first time, others need to do multiple rewrites.

The editing process likely falls on managers, and emailing articles back and forth is frustrating.   You need to keep saving drafts every time a change is made or the document is updated. Then you need to send it back to the writer for another round of edits on their end.

Stop emailing those documents! Keep all the words in one place! Marketing project management software should let you create a Google document associated with the task (press release, blog article, ebook, etc.). Once your writer has finished the draft, a reminder is sent to you to review. You can track changes via Google Docs or even ask questions to your writer within the document.

And stop worrying about resaving everything. Google saves it automatically. So edit it, send it back and get the content completed quicker and more efficiently.  The tasking happens within the software, so Google documents can track the document itself, while the actual project management happens within the software.

When you’ve finished downing that second margarita, take a breath and then decide today that you will reorganize your agency’s workflow. Your sanity and the efficiency of your team depend on it! There are so many cool features offered by marketing automation software like Gryffin, and these changes can transform your internal communications processes for the better. Try Gryffin today for free and see if it works for you!