Video streaming is an especially demanding—and popular—application. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, video accounted for 73 percent of all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic in 2016 and could climb to 82 percent by 2021. This expanding footprint for video also coincides with the rapid growth of mobile data consumption, spearheaded by video-enabled apps like YouTube as well as the growing ranks of business conferencing solutions.
Still, the highly performance-sensitive nature of video means that even as it becomes a more common fixture of team communications, its quality can never be taken for granted. Ensuring a crisp, lifelike experience for everyone who streams a webinar or participates in a web conference requires threading a few technical needles first:
- For starters, the underlying network infrastructure must be scalable and secure, to handle rising demand and shield against many potential threats.
- Next, solutions such as software-defined wide area networks (aka SD-WANs) may be necessary to avoid the performance hiccups that trickle down to teams as grainy video and glitchy audio.
- Finally, the video conferencing service itself must offer an intuitive cross-platform experience, one that’s as optimized for the telecommuter on his smartphone as it is for the in-office executive on her PC or Mac.
Let’s explore the third one in more depth. As workforces become more mobile and distributed, a video conferencing platform can be a uniquely powerful way to bring them together, to make them feel as if they are in the same shared space despite being potentially thousands of miles apart. Usability is particularly important in capitalizing on video’s potential here.Read More
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
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
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.
Google “work playlist” and you’re rewarded with more than 161 million results. That’s a lot of searches for the perfect workday soundtrack. Though famously touted for its assumed capabilities to “soothe the savage beast,” searches like this show that many people are looking for that perfect play list to be more productive during the workday.
Streaming music service Spotify reported that 61 percent of people who working in offices listen to music while they are working. Whether you need an upbeat rhythm to plow through a slew of emails or a more laid-back track to think through a client strategy, tuning in to the right music mix can do more than help the workday go by faster. Listening to music as part of a workday is shown to not only boost productivity, but also make listeners happier.
Consider the following when making decisions between Beyoncé, Beck, Bach, or Bruno Mars:
- After reaching out to more than 1,000 small- and medium-business owners, Music Works found that 77 percent of them said music increases staff morale.
- Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic said it only takes a scant 15 minutes to half-hour of listening to music to regain concentration.
- The Journal of Music Therapy reported that listening to your favorite music calms you and lowers perception of tension.
What songs are on your playlist get you prepped for the workday? From the Beastie Boys to Van Halen, my “Collab and Roll” Spotify playlist is just the right mix for me to get pumped for my next WebEx meeting or collaboration session. Now – we want to hear from you. Tweet us and share your favorite work playlist instrumentals and songs with the WebEx community, using #MyWebExMusicMix.
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.
If my alma mater Villanova is a testament to anything, it is my love of college basketball. So naturally, when March rolls around, I’m completely psyched to be in front of the TV watching elite teams – and a few Cinderella contenders – battle it out on the court. However, as much as I love on-court action, if I’m not careful with my time, something I like to call “meeting madness” can take hold.
Thankfully, I’m pretty savvy at using WebEx tools to coordinate priorities so I can still cheer on my team and accomplish my work goals. Here are a few WebEx playbook strategies you can use as a guide to do the same.
First Quarter – Put Together a Team
Whether you’re in pursuit of an on-court victory or a business win, the right team mix makes all of the difference.
When colleges scout new players, they visit a vast amount of schools to discover talent that aligns with their team’s needs. When the time comes to recruit new talent for your work team, use WebEx’s videoconferencing tools to connect with remote work candidates around the world with an abundance of diverse backgrounds that enrich your team. All without the hassles of travel.
Second Quarter – Have a Game Plan
In basketball, you don’t make it to the championship without a game plan. And for a successful meeting to happen, everyone must be able to share in the game plan for whatever wins you’re after.
WebEx’s screen sharing provides everyone on your team an opportunity to share resources and keep up with what’s going on, all in real-time. Which is especially important if any parts of your game plan changes and there’s no time to chase down files, for example. The white-boarding feature is also definitely handy for sketching out big plays or ideas as well.
Third Quarter – Gain Speed and Agility
When projects are on strict deadlines or when team members are working outside of the office, WebEx provides the competitive and flexible work options.
If you need to hit the ground running with a brainstorm or when need to bring everyone together for a must-attend meeting, the WebEx WebApp instantly allows access to a video conference via web browser no matter where you are, giving your team some maneuverability to aim for success before that final business buzzer hits.
Fourth Quarter – Workin’ the Court
Now that you know a bit more about the mobile meeting tools available to you, it’s up to you and your team to execute and get in the game and strategically use them to foster growth and engagement for your business.
So how do you use technology to balance out work obligations and your personal time? Share what works for you, with the hashtag #DefeatMeetingMadness.
This post was contributed by Patty Medberry, Senior Manager, Collaboration Solutions Marketing at Cisco Systems
International Women’s Day (IWD) is nothing short of a global movement. As a woman working in technology, I’m proud to work for a company that values the contributions, perspectives and leadership capabilities that women bring to our industry and one that listens to and understands the importance of diverse voices.
From music players and computers to televisions and data storage, technology trends are constantly evolving. And since this also includes the technology we use to collaborate, this means meetings have evolved as well.
From the traditional “gather round the conference room table” events from the 1960s to the collaborative work spaces of today, join us for a fun “wow, remember when?” trip down business memory lane as we look back at the way we use to meet and the new tech-driven ways we collaborate today.
Check out the infographic below, then get started with better collaboration for free.
May 04, 2018 — Webex Team