Every business owner wants their employees to work hard, stay productive, and hold themselves accountable for their most important tasks and projects. Your employees claim to be busy, of course, but there’s a chance they’re talking up their efforts to keep pace with their peers or because they don’t want a small workload to serve as an indication that they’re disposable. Or maybe they really are busy, staying active during all working hours, but they’re spending so much time lost in pointless email threads that they aren’t returning much value to your organization.
Fortunately, one class of tools can help you take more control over how your employees work—and garner more insights into their productivity: email monitoring tools and software.
Why Use Email Monitoring Tools and Software?
There are lots of project management and employee monitoring software tools that can help you get a picture of your team’s productivity, but monitoring and analyzing employee emails can be particularly advantageous in today’s email-heavy communication era. Email monitoring tools and software may be especially helpful for several reasons:
- Direct insight. Paying attention to email activity can help you analyze the direct results of your employees’ work—at least for some roles. For example, if your sales team depends on email to find new leads and close sales, you could measure things like how long their threads with new contacts last, how often they follow up on promising leads, and what their final close ratios are. Here, email is a direct gateway to results, and analyzing it can help you better understand your team and your success rates.
- Communicative efficiency. Of course, email is also the most popular form of communication for modern professionals, so you can use it as a gauge of how effectively your employees are communicating with clients and with each other. For example, are your employees following basic rules of email etiquette? Do they get their point across quickly, and in a way that others seem to immediately understand? Or are they frequently starting long email threads and sending irrelevant messages to people?
- Workload evaluation. Email is “baked in” to most modern roles and responsibilities. It’s used to assign work, give status updates, notify others of problem points, and so on. It can therefore be used as a high-level way to analyze workload; a worker sending 700 emails every week is likely dealing with more tasks and more headaches than a worker sending 400 emails, all other things being equal.
- Team interactions. You can also get a big-picture view of how your team tends to interact with each other. Does one person seem to be doing the majority of the message sending? Does everyone go crazy with emails on Monday, but peter out by Friday? Do your employees seem to collaborate well with each other over email, or are there communicative hiccups that serve as a barrier to that team productivity?
- Email volume. One final consideration: the sheer number of emails sent per day. The average employee receives something like 121 emails every day, which means if there’s even a small problem in their email habits, it could quickly compound to become very time-consuming. For example, if a productivity problem costs them, on average, just 30 seconds per email, by the end of the day, they’ll be wasting an entire hour of the workday.
Because there are so many angles at which to view and consider email, there are many styles of email monitoring tools and software to choose from. For example, you could go with an all-around tool that helps you analyze email habits and behaviors, a productivity-based tool that helps employees identify and master their productivity habits, or an email tool designed specifically to help salespeople improve their success rate.
I’ve gone ahead and compiled a few examples from each category, all of which may be useful in helping you improve your team’s productivity and accountability through email.
Email Monitoring Tools and Software for All-Around Tracking
These tools function high-level, allowing you to track email habits and both uncover and address problematic areas of work:
Our own tool, EmailAnalytics is one of the most comprehensive tools on this list. EmailAnalytics integrates with Gmail and G Suite to help you monitor all your employees’ email accounts (as well as yours), and provides you with interactive data visuals and regular reports so you can dig into the metrics and see where the problems lie. Among other metrics, you’ll be able to track how many emails your employees are sending and receiving, their top senders and recipients, their busiest days of the week and times of day, and the average duration of their email threads. With it, your communication hiccups and productivity pain points will stick out like sore thumbs.
If you’re one of the millions of organizations relying on Outlook, you might consider using Microsoft’s MyAnalytics tool. MyAnalytics connects with your Outlook account and other Microsoft Office apps to give you a detailed report about how you’re working. For example, you’ll learn how much time you’re spending on email, how much time you spend in meetings, and how much time you’re actually devoting to heads-down, focused work.
Yesware could easily belong in the “sales” category, especially since it bills itself as “Email for Salespeople,” but more than just salespeople could make good use of this tool. With it, you can analyze your sent emails in terms of volume, open rates, reply rates, click-through rates (CTRs), and pageviews. It also comes with several other nifty features to assist in the sales process, like email automation and integration with SalesForce.
Email Monitoring Tools and Software for Measuring Productivity and Efficiency
The following tools may not provide you with the all-encompassing statistics that the email monitoring tools in the preceding section did, but they will allow you to monitor your email activity in one form or another. The common thread in this group is a focus on productivity and efficiency, so you and your employees can learn more about your habits and improve them over time:
Boomerang for Gmail comes with a number of features, many of which can help you identify your areas of weakness and improve upon them, and many of which can make your life easier. For example, with Boomerang, you can get automatic notifications when one of your outgoing emails doesn’t get a response, and you can schedule emails to send later. You can also pause your inbox for a designated period of time, so you aren’t interrupted from your important work with a bombardment of email notifications.
While tools like EmailAnalytics are focused on big-picture statistics, Mailstrom exists to help employees figure out what their inbox looks like right now—and then clean it up. After integrating with your email account, Mailstrom will help you analyze your inbox, recommending emails it thinks aren’t valuable to be deleted. You can then filter messages by factors like subject, sender, time, and size to clear out the emails that are only getting in your way, and not adding any real value to your job.
How many lists are you currently subscribed to? What about your employees? On one hand, email newsletters can keep you in the know in your industry, or with regard to respected thought leaders and organizations. On the other, they take up a lot of time and inbox space. Unroll.me will help you identify and evaluate the lists where you’re currently subscribed, and allow you to unsubscribe from them, right then and there.
SaneBox is a tool designed to help your employees make sense of their own inbox. Driven by artificial intelligence (AI), SaneBox automatically sorts some of your emails, sending the unnecessary or cluttering items to a separate folder so they no longer interfere with your daily operations. It’s a simple and efficient way to get a high-level perspective on just how many emails you get that don’t serve a real purpose.
Sortd is another tool meant to organize your email account, and it works specifically with Gmail. It transforms your employees’ email accounts into a series of lists, which they can then navigate and organize with simple, intuitive drag-and-drop methods. You can also use it to track outgoing emails, and organize your messages into task lists and action items.
9. Find Big Mail.
Large attachments can get in the way of your email productivity, since they take up a lot of space but often don’t serve a purpose once you’ve seen or used the attachment. Find Big Mail can help you track down and separate out the biggest emails in your inbox, so you can clear them out and stay under Gmail’s upper storage limit.
ActiveInbox is another email monitoring and organization tool for Gmail that focuses on converting your inbox into a giant, organized task list. It will help you keep track of how many emails you have to take action on, whether your emails are getting replies, and help you set up automatic reminders so you can stay on top of your follow-ups. It’s the perfect way to gauge, through email, whether you’re staying on track.
Dittach is more focused on storage management than some of the other tools on this list, but it’s still useful for monitoring how your employees are using email. With it, you can analyze how much storage space your employees are using and which emails are taking up the most space.
12. Just Not Sorry.
Just Not Sorry is a Chrome plugin that lets you monitor your email in a different way. Rather than tracking how many emails you send or to whom you’re sending them, Just Not Sorry will monitor how you’re writing emails. It proactively scans and identifies instances of “weak” language, such as phrases like “I’m sorry,” “I think,” or “I’m not an expert, but…” It may not revolutionize your business, but it will help your employees be more concise, more accurate, and more assertive in their messages, which in turn can improve both productivity and morale.
Email Monitoring Tools and Software for Sales
There’s definitely some overlap from the previous group here, since many sales-related tools will help you be more productive and many productivity-related tools will help you earn more sales. However, the following email monitoring tools and software are primarily targeted toward salespeople, and are best used to achieve more sales:
Gmelius attempts to make Gmail function like a project management app and a CRM at the same time. With it, your salespeople can turn their incoming emails into tasks, or automate how they reach out to new prospects. It also allows users to take quick notes for context—like keeping track of where you are in the sales process.
Streak is another potential CRM for Gmail. With it, you’ll be able to track outgoing emails (which is perfect for salespeople), split threads into different sections when they become too overwhelming, create and use email templates, and keep an eye on how your sales pipeline develops. If most of your sales happen (or start) over email, it’s a perfect tool to keep an eye on that process.
15. Batch Reply.
Batch Reply is a simple plugin that offers one key feature: the ability to reply to multiple emails and threads at once. This is highly useful for responding to a common customer complaint, or a question that’s being asked by many of your team members simultaneously.
16. Hubspot Sales.
Hubspot Sales provides a number of email monitoring features, including tracking when your leads and prospects open your emails, logging your interactions, and analyzing all your activities to determine your productivity and success rate. You can also automate your initial email outreach, and rely on custom email templates to save time when following the sales process with new leads.
You may also consider Digify, which allows you to track documents and files as they get sent and shared over email. With it, you’ll be able to tell when and where your PDF attachments were opened, and how long the recipients spent reading them. You can also track whether those documents were forwarded and/or re-shared, and if necessary, revoke access.
Mailtrack integrates with Gmail to help you monitor when your emails are opened. When enabled, your outgoing emails will be marked with a green checkmark when they’ve been officially sent, and another green checkmark when they’ve been opened by your recipient. This is useful for both internal and external emails, since you’ll know when to follow up with your recipients.
19. LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator (which used to be called Rapportive) is designed to help salespeople monitor their efforts. With it, you can target new prospects, learn more about them, and keep track of how you’re exchanging emails with them. It also integrates with your CRM, so you can automatically update new information on your leads.
20. Checker Plus.
Checker Plus serves a specific niche; it helps you organize your inboxes if you have multiple email accounts and keep an eye on how you’re utilizing both of them. It’s not universally applicable, since your sales team may only be using one account each, but it’s pretty useful wherever it applies.
Finally, there’s Discoverly, a Chrome extension that helps you “discover” more details on the contacts you’re emailing. With an email address, you can quickly find information on where they work, alternate contact information, and more, thanks to information found on the web and on social media.
Email is inextricably linked to your employees’ productivity, so the more you learn about their email habits through the use of email monitoring tools and software like the ones above, the more you’ll be able to boost productivity.
If you’re just getting started, it can be overwhelming—there are many tools to choose from, and many possible statistics to measure. That’s why we try to make things easy with our tool, EmailAnalytics. It integrates with your Gmail or G Suite account with a single click, provides you with intuitive data visuals so you can quickly get a sense for how your habits impact your work, and covers a wide range of data points so you don’t get pigeonholed into a single niche. Be sure to check out our list of favorite email tracking apps if you want more ideas!
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