Summertime is here once again and like you, we’re all in the mood for pool dips, ice cream, and barbeques. But as the saying goes, “the show must go on,” which means taking care of work responsibilities.
Sales is a highly competitive space. Professionals in the field have reputations as road warriors, who log many hours each month traveling to meet with prospects in hopes of securing their business. These face-to-face meetings are uniquely valuable, since they help create close connections that go beyond what’s possible with a call, email, or text.
At the same time, they can eat into sales teams’ schedules and become major cost centers for the organization, too. A Pace Productivity survey found that travel accounted for 6.6 hours per week, or more than 13 percent of the typical sales professional’s time. Plus, travel—along with various administrative tasks—was found to take up too much time compared to an ideal working arrangement.
The effects of costly, overloaded travel schedules are significant. According to Bain & Co., account managers only spend one-third of their time meeting with customers, and 40 percent of that is actually dedicated to lower-priority accounts. Something is getting lost in the nonstop race to quarter’s end, with many minutes wasted on the road or in unproductive meetings.
Unified collaboration tools: A better way to make your minutes matter
Since engaging qualified leads regularly requires multiple touches—between seven and 13, according to the Data & Marketing Association—the process should be streamlined and economical. Enter unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platforms.
UCC solutions like Cisco Webex allow your teams to hold productive conversations, no matter where they are. They’re real, viable alternatives to the traditional road tripping grind, and they empower sales professionals in many ways, including:
1. More high-quality interactions, less travel
In sales, the main purpose of traveling is to meet leads in person. Such meetups are still frequently necessary, but they’re not the only ways to have high-quality interactions anymore, thanks to crystal-clear video conferencing services.
Webex Meetings allows you to meet your customers wherever they are with just a click or tap, or have them call you at their convenience. HD video quality with intuitive screen layouts ensures you can measure reactions in real time, while keeping the meeting as focused as possible. Overall, there’s much more freedom to nurture sales relationships from the office or while on the go, without having to make a separate visit.
2. Meetings that leave an impression
In a Wainhouse Research survey of 4,700 users of video conferencing services, the top four cited benefits were increased productivity (94 percent of respondents), better discussions (88 percent), faster decision-making (87 percent), and reduced travel (also 87 percent). Connecting with prospects over video isn’t just a way to take fewer flights or road trips—it’s often the best option for extracting value from a conversation.
A unified collaboration suite delivers engaging, hassle-free virtual meetings that can also be enhanced with chat and screen sharing. As a result, presentations and product demos are informative and easy to follow. That leads to sales cycles that close as quickly as possible and don’t break the budget with lots of follow-up travel and attempts at engagement.
3. A truly collaborative sales process
Sealing a sales deal is rarely the work of just one person. Entire teams help lay the groundwork by reaching out to the potential customer and providing assurances. With a unified collaboration solution, you can bring everyone together for a coordinated approach to every prospect.
Webex Teams makes it simple to invite the sales team to a shared workspace. A dedicated space can even be set up as a hub for communications with customers, from which you can share files with them and review previous conversations so nothing gets overlooked. It’s easier than ever to provide updates on deals and connect leads with experts on your side.
4. An integrated sales collaboration experience
Sales is a multichannel process, requiring a wide array of tools beyond UCC. Team members will routinely need to hop on calls, update documents, and track individual contacts in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
Being committed to your collaboration success means knocking down barriers to connecting. Cisco Webex supports many integrations with essential sales apps. For example, you can integrate Webex with Salesforce to easily connect with your team using secure messaging, file sharing, and video calling.
Empower your sales teams to improve lead conversion rates and optimize customer retention rates with the best unified collaboration experience available. Take Webex for a test run in your sales environment. Start your Webex free trial.
Next time you go to a coffee shop, take a moment to notice all the remote workers hunkered down at the tables, laptop to laptop. It’s a common sight all across America now. In fact, the number of people telecommuting in the US has gone up 115% in the last 10 years.1 How did we get here?
In the past, there was a common misconception that if organizations allowed teleworking, team members wouldn’t collaborate well because they weren’t gathered together in the same room. And all business leaders know that collaboration is essential to productivity, growth, and innovation.Read More
Selecting collaboration software for your organization can feel overwhelming, with a bunch of spec sheets to pore over and budgetary constraints to keep in mind throughout the process. When picking between these options, the best route is usually to evaluate each one holistically.
Why the holistic approach is the best way to buy collaboration software
That means looking beyond how the solutions compare on functionality alone. You’ll also want to scrutinize these five characteristics:
- Usability: Is there a steep learning curve? How easy will it be for team members to buy into a completely new collaboration suite?
- Pricing: Is a free trial available? Will I be billed annually or monthly? How flexible are the plans?
- Ecosystem: Can the platform in question be paired with the tools you already rely on, or will you have to craft complicated new workflows?
- Security: How is data encryption implemented? What access controls are available to administrators to manage access to meetings?
- Hosting: Are they situated on-premises or in the cloud? What support services and quality assurance measures can customers expect from the provider?
In a memorable scene from Silicon Valley, two characters try communicating through a futuristic video conferencing platform that displays one of them as a hologram. Initially confused by the technology, the other character asks, “Am I hologram to you too?” This prompts a brief silence before the first character replies “No, of course not.”
It was a good question, though. Exactly what any given person will see and hear during a video call depends on multiple factors, including:
– The strength of the current internet connection.
– The UI and UX of the application in question.
– Whether that app is being accessed from a mobile device or desktop.
For example, due to differing conditions, a stream that looks crystal-clear to one person might seem choppy to another. To ensure the best possible experience with video conferencing platforms, decision-makers should ask a few key questions when evaluating potential solutions:
Cloud messaging has become the bread and butter of small business productivity. In late 2016, BI Intelligence estimated that total monthly active users of the four most popular mobile messaging platforms had surpassed that of the top four social networks in 2014 and widened the gap through 2016. While these services were originally designed with consumers in mind, their use in the workplace is widespread:
– A 2017 survey of U.S. workers by 451 Research revealed that 73% of respondents used SMS and/or third-party messaging platforms for business purposes.
– For comparison, only 66% relied on email and 58% on voice calls. No other workflow surpassed 50% of surveyed responses.
– 62% reported their firms had not updated their security policies despite the growing use of messaging. Only 9% said unapproved apps were forbidden.
Congrats! Whether you’re a future employee preparing to interview with your dream company or an employer who may have found the perfect candidate for a position, you’ve taken a step forward in the interview process. And quite possibly, one toward your next videoconference interview.
In the race to secure top-talent – and the quest to land the ideal gig, regardless of location – videoconferencing has emerged as a connective bridge. Ideal, a company of specialists using artificial intelligence for task automation, found that about 63 percent of organizations use video interviews during their recruitment process. And with two-way video interviews saving as much as 67 percent on necessary travel costs when compared to more conventional recruitment techniques, it’s no wonder videoconferencing’s popularity has grown.
Videoconferencing has transformed the interview process for both candidates and employers. Whichever side of the camera you’re on, use these tips to take interview convos from “hello” to “hired.”
It’s common to group teleconferencing and video conferencing solutions together, or even to treat the two as interchangeable. While today’s organizations regularly use them for similar purposes (e.g., scaling to multiple remote and branch offices, and reaching teams regardless of individual locations), these solutions are not identical.
Teleconferencing is the more general term. It can encompass almost any meeting in which the participants are not all in the same physical room, although it often denotes a voice-only call. In contrast, video conferencing is more specific, typically referring to converged platforms such as Cisco Webex Meetings, which contain features supporting unlimited voice and video meetings.
To better separate the two, let’s look at the distinctive advantages and disadvantages of each one:
Silos restrict the free flow of information across an organization and reduce collaboration between its teams. The effects speak for themselves: A 2017 eConsultancy survey of marketers found 40 percent of respondents thought each department in their respective agencies had its own agenda, compared to only 29 percent who reported following collaborative processes. Almost one-third (30 percent) also said they designed and measured customer experience on a channel-by-channel basis, a direct result of siloed workflows that lead to time-consuming and duplicative work.
Granted, bringing everyone together, regardless of role or location, was long challenging due to the technical limitations and usability issues of collaboration tools. Not anymore. With Cisco Webex Meetings for video conferencing and messaging, it’s never been easier to start a meeting anytime, anywhere.
The logic of breaking down workplace silos
Even a seemingly efficient silo can hurt an organization because of how it isolates decision-making processes and places particular pressure on remote and mobile teams, which may feel cut off from everyone else. Company communication, responsiveness to change and general capacity to finish projects on time and under budget are all reduced when silos dominate. Entire movements, such as DevOps in software development, have arisen to eliminate these silos – and for good reason.Read More
In 2015, a WIRED contributor made the bold case that the most secure consumer device was an Apple iPod Touch. He highlighted its combination of a highly vetted software ecosystem and a lack of cellular network connectivity, but made a lot of caveats along the way. For starters, it needed to be physically secured, kept up to date, and used in tandem only with encrypted communication apps.
While the author’s overall recommendation to keep using an iPod is impractical for many professionals, the argument’s basic points about encryption are worth noting:
Data encryption technology is essential for shielding sensitive interactions from unwanted surveillance and interception.
At the same time, it must be combined with acceptable security practices, such as proper handling of keys, scalable update or patch management, and access controls.
For years, solutions to unite teams and simplify collaboration were defined by brands throwing the proverbial technology kitchen sink at their employees. From there, it was up to these teams to stumble and fumble their way to make these various tools work in whatever ways made sense for their job, setting up a perfect storm of incompatible connections, IT woes and communication delays. And while this may have been ok to “get by,” something better for a new world of work – one that calls for more nimble responses from dispersed teams that want to connect and interact in real time – was needed.
Thankfully, that something better has arrived.
Can we all agree that one of the best benefits of working remotely is skipping the morning traffic jam, powering up your laptop, and jumping on a Webex from the comfort of your own home? And for businesses, the perks of collaboration technology are clear – including increased productivity for global teams. As we continue to re-think how remote teams are shaping the future of work, one other benefit that can’t be ignored is the positive impact remote workers have on the environment.
Whether you dread them or delight in them, meetings are a part of everyday work life. And while unproductive ones can be seen, at the least, as an annoyance, the cost of meetings like this can be astronomical; as in costing companies more than $37 billion annually.
Technology can be the great differentiator between dynamic and mutually rewarding meeting experiences and unfruitful gatherings where ideas become stuck and conversation stalls. Do you know what tech your meetings are missing that could be slowing down progress? Take a look below and see how WebEx tools can help fill in missing meeting pieces.
The “Gather ‘Round the Conference Call” Meeting
Meeting attendees hunkered around a conference speakerphone, jockeying for space and hoping their input is heard.
WebEx conferencing that fosters face-to-face connections with remote team members, which in turn, promotes better idea sharing.
An interactive meeting where everyone is seen, feels engaged and has a voice.
The “Can Everyone See This?” Meeting
A meeting attendee, only partially facing their audience, sketching out a potentially ground-breaking idea, as others struggle to see it.
Interactive WebEx “white boarding” that allows teams to share and collaborate in real-time with key visuals.
An engaging visual representation of possibilities, plans and progress discussed during the meeting.
The “We’re Sorry – Your Password is Incorrect.” Meeting
The irritation of remembering (and entering) complicated passwords when trying to join a video meeting or conference call.
The ease and simplicity of connecting to a meeting with the touch of a button.
Remote team members who can join the discussion quickly, no matter where they are, on the device of their choice.
What technology is missing from your meetings that would empower your teams to achieve more? Have a more detailed look – and explore other WebEx tools that lay the foundation for easier and more reliable meetings – with a free WebEx trial.
May 04, 2018 — Webex Team