Online Deep Collaborative Tools & Processes

How can a B2B company distinguish itself from competitors? One of the best ways to stand out is through engagement—especially because, according to consumer research, most businesses miss the mark with customer engagement. For example, while businesses commonly use presentations to communicate with consumers, a survey from Presentation Panda found that almost 80% of people agree that “most presentations are boring.” To make matters worse, a study by Poll Everywhere revealed that on average, most people tune out of work-related presentations within ten minutes.

Clearly, the current communication tactics aren’t working for businesses. So, what needs to change?

The missing ingredient can be summed up in two words: deep collaboration.

Presenting to clients should be an interactive, dynamic process—not a one-sided speech. When a customer feels “talked at” during a presentation, it’s easy for them to feel disconnected. And if you can’t get clients to invest their attention, you likely won’t get them to invest their money. True client engagement is not a monologue, but a dialogue: an equal exchange of ideas between consumer and business. But creating dialogue starts with having the right tools to communicate, and truthfully, traditional slide-style presentations can only go so far—no matter how good the slides are.

This is where visual collaboration software comes in. Through collaborative technologies, businesses can shape unique customer experiences every time they present. Businesses that implement collaboration tools and methods in their customer strategies create better presentations and can more easily engage with a variety of communication styles. But with that comes yet another distinction: the difference between “collaboration” and “deep collaboration.” What exactly is deep collaboration, and what makes it so much better than typical collaboration?

That’s exactly what we aim to cover in this article. In the world of business, the best communicators stand apart from the competition—and they do it using deep collaborative tools and processes. Learn about collaboration tools for business, and how platforms like Alleo empower deeper collaboration with customers.

What Are the Features of Collaboration Tools?

Collaboration tools are exactly what their name suggests: tools businesses use to collaborate with their clients (and occasionally, with internal teams). Such tools are already ubiquitous in the workplace, and focus on a variety of capabilities. Generally, a collaboration tool provides one of the following functions:

  • Communication | Video, audio, or text-based sharing of ideas
  • Creation | Developing, editing, and reviewing content in a shared space
  • Coordination | Assigning tasks, tracking progress, and other project management needs

For B2B, collaboration tools create more meaningful engagement with customers. The collaborative process is interactive, personalized, and designed to get clients excited about a business’s brand. As we discussed previously, a good approach to consumer engagement should be an exchange of ideas, and that’s exactly what collaboration is about.

Unfortunately, because many collaboration tools focus on only one of the three key functions above, businesses typically have to piecemeal multiple types of collaboration tools together. While this method can technically work, it’s not without its problems; a lack of integration usually leads to a disjointed, inefficient experience for customers, with lots of switching between platforms and improvised solutions that don’t quite work.

What can businesses do to improve their collaboration process? It starts with finding a tool that supports “deep collaboration:” the idea of bringing every tool needed to collaborate into one central visual space. Deep collaboration tools let businesses communicate, create, and coordinate with their clients all in the same space. They can also integrate with other collaborative tools, meaning that organizations can continue to use what they know, but with a more fluid process.

While our focus in this article is on the B2B business-to-client relationship, it’s worth noting that deep collaboration tools are useful for internal operations as well. We’ve highlighted just a couple of examples below.

How Do Online Collaborative Tools Help in Project Management?

Project management is a tricky balancing act on its own, but it gets even more challenging when multiple platforms, software applications, and storage spaces are involved. The more tools that a project entails, the more complex project management becomes. 

Deep collaboration tools like Alleo streamline the project management process. In addition to its own features, Alleo integrates with many of the common tools used in project management. Google Drive, Asana, and even Zoom are compatible with Alleo, meaning that project managers can track project progress, store files, and even meet with their teams all in the same software.

How Can Collaborative Technology Be Helpful When Working in a Group?

Group work doesn’t have to be a logistical challenge, but it often requires finding ways to collaborate virtually. While tools like Miro exist for whiteboards and Zoom for communication, it’s relatively awkward to use these tools in unison. And as we’ve said, the more tools that are needed, the more cumbersome collaboration gets.

With a collaborative workspace like Alleo, teams can host a meeting where all their content is available on the same visual canvas. Brainstorming, innovating, and dialoguing become a synchronous process, uninterrupted by the need to switch screens or software applications. And because Alleo’s software is accessible from a variety of devices, teammates can join sessions from virtually anywhere there’s an internet connection.

What Tools Can Be Used for Online Collaboration?

The best tools for online collaboration prioritize two things: connectivity and productivity. These are the two core concepts of deep collaboration, which replace the rote, lecture-style presentations of old with engagement, interactivity, and personalization. Time to throw away that ELMO projector!

Many tools out there support one aspect of deep collaboration but cannot serve as a full solution for it on their own. For example, a software may have video and audio capabilities, but not serve as a platform for ideation; conversely, many whiteboard platforms will not have audio or video capabilities. While each of these tools is useful on its own, they are usually pieces to a larger puzzle.

Solutions like Alleo combine every piece of that puzzle in one place. Alleo makes possible the leap from “collaboration” to “deep collaboration,” by bringing together people, content, and tools in a presentation space. This approach creates an environment of equitable engagement, meaning that no matter where attendees are or who is presenting, everyone has an active role in shaping the experience.

The capabilities of Alleo are too many to list in this article, but we believe there are four vital qualities that Alleo embodies—qualities that deep collaboration tools should all prioritize.

What Are the 4 Essential Features of an Online Collaborative Tool?

As a business, if you want to create a successful collaborative environment, the tools you use should have the following four traits:

#1: Accessibility

Above all, you and your customer need to be able to use the platform on any device, at any time—not just computers, but even mobile devices like tablets and phones. But making your collaboration process more accessible is not just about literal access to the platform; it’s also about equitable engagement. People who are attending virtually should have the same level of connection to the platform as those in person, and that’s exactly what a deep collaboration solution provides. Tools like Alleo—those that prioritize deep collaboration—create an environment where everyone is working in sync and on equal terms, no matter where attendees are or what devices they’re using to attend.

#2: Engagement

When you present to a client, they shouldn’t just be there to sit and listen to you; they should feel empowered to contribute. Whether it’s through a whiteboard, attendee surveys, or even the ability to submit questions, more ways to engage means more ways to connect with your audience. Platforms like Alleo have all the functions you need to make this possible, including video conferencing, interactive presentation slides, and a myriad of surveying tools to keep people engaged. Anyone who is in the workspace can drag and drop content, add new content, or participate in a number of ways.

#3: Simplification

Utility is important for any tool, but so is usability—especially for online collaboration. After all, a solution that is highly functional but difficult to use is not much different from lacking a solution entirely. Alleo prioritizes making our platform’s front end as user-friendly as possible with a no-code workflow. Every button does what it says it does, and every feature is laid out in the simplest way possible. Our user interface, combined with the ability to integrate with common tools like Zoom or Miro, means that Alleo’s learning curve is much easier—for both businesses and their clients. (It’s also much easier to share that funny cat video you found before the meeting.)

#4: Customization

A business’s brand identity is an important piece of their customer-facing strategy. But usually, virtual collaboration tools don’t provide a way to personalize the workspace. Enter Alleo: a platform that empowers not only deep collaboration, but true personalization. Users can customize their workspace look, layout, and organization to make it their own, free of Alleo branding. No matter what the presentation is or who the audience is, organizations can create a unique template that suits the setting.

Benefits of Online Collaboration

Virtual collaboration tools give businesses a lot of advantages, particularly deep collaboration solutions like Alleo. Some of the benefits include the ability to…

  • Create space for innovation, ideation, and genuine conversations with clients.
  • Develop solutions, receive feedback, and maintain relationships with the same tools.
  • Dialogue with various communication styles and personality types (e.g., introverts & extroverts).
  • More easily engage with virtual clients, making them feel equally part of the conversation.
  • Replace one-sided, boring presentations with dynamic, mutually beneficial dialogues.

Using online collaboration tools grants businesses a higher level of flexibility, responsiveness, and personalization to their customers. And in today’s B2B market, it’s vital to adapt not only to market trends but also to changing customer needs. As B2B offerings become more specialized and competition gets fiercer, communication will become as important as the products businesses offer, possibly more so. The companies that succeed will not necessarily have the best products or marketing, but they will have the best ways to keep their customers’ engagement. This is particularly true now that virtual workplaces, hybrid environments, and digital commerce are commonplace following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navigating the Shift To Virtual Collaboration

It’s all but impossible to discuss the value of online collaborative tools without referencing the pandemic and its effect on how businesses operate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half of the workforce was virtual in the latter half of 2020. But even after people returned to working in the office, remote work continued to be a mainstay of the professional world; the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found the full-time virtual workforce more than doubled in 2021, and over a third of companies incorporated remote work into their operations. This change made virtual collaboration tools an essential part of any functioning business.

So to summarize, what does an increasingly virtual work environment have to do with B2B customer engagement? Truthfully, the answer is “everything:” online collaboration has never been more important, and businesses that want to succeed will prioritize their virtual collaboration space. More remote workers means that oftentimes, your clients will not be able to make in-person meetings—and they may not even want to. Lastly, whether they’re virtual or in-person, B2B clients today expect more responsiveness, efficient tools, and understanding of their needs. And with the proper tools, hitting those marks becomes much easier.

Which Is the Best Collaboration Tool? Find Out #WithAlleo

At Alleo, we believe that the tools businesses use should drive ideas to outcomes. Our software solution does just that, with an interface that is easy to use and a platform that integrates with your current digital toolbox. Have meetings, collaborate, dialogue, and learn from each other all in the same space.

If you’d like to learn more about deep collaboration software and why solutions like Alleo drive B2B success, take a look at our writeups on deep collaboration and collaborative equity. You can also reach out for a demo and see the power of true deep collaboration firsthand!


Picture of Darrin Brooks

Darrin Brooks

Sr. Director of Partnerships at Alleo

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