Ten Top Reasons Why an Organization Should Be Using Conferencing Services
A look at some of the often overlooked benefits of conferencing services to different levels of an organization.
1. It completely eliminates geographic disparity
This can apply to anybody doing business anywhere. You can instantly meet with people in your organization, partners, clients, or prospective customers. With products like Reservationless 800 Conferencing, you can e-mail, text or IM a number and access code from your Blackberry or other PDA and participants can join instantly. The proximity to a geographically separated client base becomes instantaneous.
2. It improves productivity in research and development
This applies to persons heading R&D in IT, biotech, physical science, product development, marketing, or any other area. The widespread introduction of conferencing and collaboration tools over the past few years has helped organizations better improve research and development among team members. For instance, web conferencing software has allowed company employees in separate locations to collaborate on projects in real-time, greatly boosting operational efficiency. Countless organizations have benefited from this technology and seen time-to-market improve, resulting in competitive advantages not enjoyed before, reduced R&D costs, and quicker ROI.
3. It improves investor relations
This applies to any and all CFO’s and CIO’s. All public companies are scrutinized in their quarterly conference call and earnings report. When the call does not go seamlessly, it makes a negative impression on the operational aptitude of the company giving the presentation. Investors think, “What type of company has an error-prone conference call?”
The unfortunate reality is that some companies do botch the investor call, whether having not enough seats/bridges open or a complete lack of moderation/order. Often, they utilize products not geared for such large audiences and/or products that don’t support the unique needs of such an important call. The top conferencing providers have solutions geared toward investor and enterprise-level calls, and a wide variety of solutions exist to accommodate such needs and eliminate highly-visible public disasters.
4. It boosts sales
This applies to any sales VP’s, Regional Directors, or Area Managers. Any company with multiple offices needs to have management tools in place to meet with the branch subordinates on a regular basis. As a former sales manager, I learned the mantra “inspect what you expect” very early in my career. Having regularly scheduled calls with subordinates will help prepare the organization better and teach a culture of being prepared and organized. It will also keep senior management informed on the sales activities as they are happening, instead of hearing about things in retrospect. This allows the senior sales executive the chance to act on accounts before they are possibly lost, like stepping in and offering better pricing, terms, or service level guarantees. The best organization leaders I have ever worked for personally made it a point to keep in regular contact with the field sales organization, and it showed in the results.
5. It improves corporate communication
This applies and directly affects everybody in an organization. Have you ever worked in an organization where you felt like the corporate office was a world away? Perhaps you do now, as I did at one time. The biggest difference between companies that grow successfully and those that do not is not being like-minded in goals and spirit across the organization. The most successful companies (like Google) convey a sense of togetherness and corporate culture that is inspired from a set of values, such as “thought leadership”, “customer-centric”, “caring”, etc….. The organizations that keep their main cultural values at the forefront do so by regularly communicating with their remote and regional offices. Audio conferencing and web conferencing are two of the simple ways to accomplish this high priority.
6. It speeds training and education
This applies to any C-Level who has a training requirement in their company. Organizations spend a lot of money getting new employees trained on company and industry information, internal procedures policies and methodologies. Many industries, such as education, legal, real estate, technology, manufacturing, and accounting, have initiatives that require constant training in order to maintain current standards in the respective industry. Audio and web conferencing are the dominant training tools to accomplish any organization’s e-learning initiative. Companies that utilize this technology save thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, in hard-dollars savings from travel, accommodations, meals and gratuities, and air-fare. The often-overlooked aspect of savings in using conferencing products for e-learning is that it is a definite boost in productivity. Instead of losing several hours (at best) with flight time, your employee is able to return to work instantly.
The company that utilizes these communications tools effectively trains their workforce more efficiently, save money, and boost productivity at the same time.
7. It improves your internal marketing initiative
This applies to Chief Marketing Officers and VP’s of Sales. Companies that can roll out new products in unison to a geographically disparate workforce have a greater chance of success. The ability to introduce new offerings in a clear, concise manner and in a positive fashion can boost sales’ attitudes about the new product or direction. In addition, the marketing message is the most important differentiator in our highly competitive society. The roll-out is the marketing organization’s best time to convey those vitally important differentiators to the internal sales team as most buyers want to know “what is in it for me”. Differentiators bridge that gap to the prospect and help the sales team close deals.
8. It improves the external marketing initiative
This applies to the direct and indirect field sales force and client retention specialists/account managers. Similar to the internal benefits listed above, the same benefits apply to external customers. When you roll out new products or services, it is easier to demonstrate it in a clear and concise manner. Audio and web conferencing solutions let a sales force introduce new offerings easily without geographic limitation. Retention and service personnel within a company can use the same conferencing and collaboration tools to introduce new products, conduct account reviews, and keep connected with vital decision-makers in an organization. Since sales is all about relationships, keeping those relationships active is vital to protect your customer base and maintaining contact with the most important positions is the key.
And for companies relying on an indirect channel, frequent communication is of paramount importance when driving productivity. Effective presentation done in an entertaining way is the best method to get your channel partners pushing your product and not your competitors.
9. It offers mobile proximity
This applies to anybody with a PDA or cell phone. While it is true that cell phones often can cause a lot of static when they participate in audio conferences, sometimes the urgency of the call overtakes the immediate need for everything to be 100%. Most conferencing providers today offer mobile solutions that allow web features to be accessed from PDA’s, so that you don’t miss any aspect of the call that is taking place at that moment.
10. It will save your company money, boost productivity and is good for the environment
This benefits everybody. Whether you measure by hard dollar savings in travel, meals, accommodations, entertainment, or soft dollar savings in areas like boosted productivity, increased sales, and better messaging, your organization will save money.
Further, it will help to lessen the carbon footprint that is of such great concern these days. Instead of consuming more fuel, conferencing adopters are making a socially-responsible decision that lessens the impact on the environment.
Less travel = less fuel = better for the environment.
So with these 10 reasons, you may be able to see other applications for a conferencing solution and how it could positively impact your organization.
About the Author:
Eric Blaier is the founder of Integrated Business Services, Inc, an Atlanta-based telecommunications consulting firm. He has worked in IT sales and sales management for over 17 years and has worked for companies such as Allnet Communications, Allegiance Telecom and AT&T. His client roster includes numerous Fortune 500 clients in the healthcare, finance, technology, consumer goods, and consumer services sectors.
He can be reached at www.integratedbusinessservices.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper provides an in-depth overview of the Applied Information Economics (AIE) framework.
Posted on 09/25/2009 by