In Sales? Use Web Meetings to Earn More
July 29, 2011 @ 12:29 PM | By Sara Steele

Those in sales know it sometimes takes a while to close a deal. But you can shorten the sales cycle with web meetings.

In today's world of shrinking margins, enhanced productivity and emphasis on ROI, the three-martini lunch has gone the way of Friendster as a networking tool. Internet conferencing solutions help you qualify leads faster and get to “yes” from the comfort of your desk.

Web Meetings with Prospects
InterCall offers a number of audio, video and web conferencing tools to shorten the sales cycles. You can qualify prospects with sales demos and free webinars. Follow-up surveys let you determine which leads are worth a follow-up.

Different (Key)Strokes for Different Folks
As you build relationships, use powerful web conferencing software to share important news, advancements and product features in an interactive, visual environment. Offer a personalized demo, show testimonials or answer questions in a way that holds the attention of your prospect.

Some people simply respond better to pictures while others prefer words. Once you understand whether your prospect is an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner, you can tailor your meeting to match his style.

  • Give kinesthetic learners control of your company web site or a product manual to learn on their own.
  • Show visual learners a product demo on video.
  • Tell auditory learners about your product features, supporting your words with PowerPoint slides that highlight key points.

When it comes time to close the deal, you may want to take a trip to meet your prospect—or maybe not. Everything you can do in person you can do through web meetings—except take in the sights of an exciting locale. Unless your client lives in Oahu, Hawaii, you might as well use web conferencing to close the sale as well.

Sara SteeleSara Steele is an associate marketing manager at InterCall responsible for various corporate communication initiatives; including social media and channel marketing efforts. Sara began working with InterCall after graduating from the University of Colorado in 2006. In her free time, she enjoys running, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

Technology Timeline: From Doom to Dial-up to Tivo
July 27, 2011 @ 08:42 AM | By Ashley Davies

The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.The Internet? Bah!, Newsweek, February 27, 1995.

Thinking back to when I was in my youth, I was still surrounded by technology (it helped that my dad worked in the tech sector), and over the course of 10 years, the development of technology never ceased to amaze me.

PRODPIC-661

I remember in 1992, while my dad was at a conference in LA, my mum received a call on his cell phone, which he’d let her look after. She was so embarrassed to be seen with this technology that she dashed into one of the (then prevalent) phone boxes to take the call.

Jump forward to 1993, to the release of my all-time favourite childhood game, Doom, with its ‘pioneering 3D graphics’. Not only was I able to play this on the Compaq laptop we had (running Windows 3.1 for workgroups), but we were able to hook this up to our PC, sporting an impressive 424 MB hard drive and I could play against my brother. Doom-boxart

I remember my dad trying to explain that one day we’d be able to do this from other rooms in the house, once we got the cables hooked up... Who would have imagined we’d be playing each other from separate cities on the Xbox 360 10 years later!!

In 1997, my dad showed me the Internet and I became a sucker for the chat room. This was the first time I’d been able to talk to people all over the world, without racking up an insane telephone bill; however, I still remember my mum getting annoyed that I was ‘on the phone’ all the time as the Internet was still running through the only telephone line in the house.

Next came the social Internet, really going mainstream in 1999. We’d installed a second phone line into the house to keep up with the amount of surfing my sister and I were doing. This year marked the launch of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger (as part of a strategy to take market share away from AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) which was dominating the U.S. markets). I remember my sister calling up her friend to see if she could come chat on MSN and I wondered why she wouldn’t just do this on the phone?! Little did I know what was coming two years later.

Daystrom

Napster. This software developed in a teen’s dorm room had taken the virtual world by storm. For the first time, you had the sensation of walking into the world’s largest music store. All I needed was an Internet connection that was capable of downloading songs at a reasonable speed (about 20 minutes for a three minute track) and a hard drive that could store my growing catalogue (10 GB!). When Napster closed its virtual doors, the news spread like wildfire through email and IM, and everyone was frantically downloading music before it was wiped off the service. My sister was in a panic to download as much Red Hot Chilli Peppers as possible, but by the end of the evening, the catalogue had disappeared.

By now, however, it was too late to stop the digital revolution. Kazaa had already been created as one of the pioneers of the peer-to-peer networks (whereby content is stored on local computers, instead of one main server, making it almost impossible to shutdown) and teenagers everywhere continued downloading catalogues of music.

So, by 2004, there was the launch of YouTube, the service which catapulted video streaming into the spotlight and gave us access to a whole wealth of new music videos and video blogs. Alongside this was the launch of Pandora (a legal source of streaming music with sponsored advertising) and soon would come the launch of Last.fm and Spotify. (Spotify recently finished a funding round of $100M, giving rise to a $1B market value.)

Tivo

As bandwidth expands into households, streaming technology has been making waves in cyberspace. People who used to rely on the television for the latest shows are now able to stream TV on-demand from the likes of Tivo and tvcatchup.com.

We’ve seen business versions of Facebook and Twitter pop up (Salesforce.com’s Chatter and Yammer), and the same thing is happening with streaming in the workplace. In the next 24 months I expect to see a huge boom in the number of corporations utilizing streaming technology to interact with their ever-diverse workforce to get their message across. Not only does it allow dispersed works to access information, but it can happen live or on-demand, just like your favourite TV shows.

What part of your technology timeline stands out the most? Any predictions for what we’ll see next?

Ashley DaviesAshley Davies is the small and medium sized business (SMB) manager in InterCall’s UK and European (EMEA) division and is responsible for managing the suite of services InterCall offers that are specifically designed for SMB customers. Before joining InterCall, Ashley worked as the sales manager for a free publication and studied for a degree in entrepreneurship and small business. In his spare time, Ashley likes to surf and work on his house.

We Can Thank Star Trek for This
July 21, 2011 @ 03:15 PM | By Sarah Murphy

BB_SarahBlogMany of us across the country are slowly melting in the extreme heat.  One way to beat the heat is to escape for a couple of hours at the movies.  We recently saw the last Harry Potter movie which got me thinking about the “technology” those kids have at their disposal.  They live in a world of wands, owls, apparition and disapparition.  No smartphones or computers are found at Hogwarts.  Such a contrast to the gadgets Star Trek introduced us to years ago –many have become a reality including the “Communicator”.

Every time Captain Kirk talked into his communicator, the person he wanted to talk with immediately responded.  Well we aren’t quite there yet. We still have to initiate a call by dialing and waiting for either a live voice or voicemail answer.  No guarantee that the one we are trying to contact will immediately respond.   However, with IM integration to your BlackBerry you can know in an instant who’s available to meet.

Cisco Connect IM for BlackBerry now delivers instant messaging (IM) and presence to your BlackBerry.  With this free app download you can:

  • Access your desktop IM contact list and take action with features such as click to IM, click to call, click to email, and click to text
  • Join an instant WebEx meeting from an IM conversation
  • Maintain security using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and by connecting your BlackBerry directly to the Cisco IM infrastructure.

Now for us muggles, magic wands aren’t an option, but what other conferencing gadgets would you like to have to make instant collaboration even easier?

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

No, No, I Wasn’t Talking to You
July 20, 2011 @ 08:38 AM | By Jill Huselton

As social creatures, we all like to talk and share things. It is tough, though, when you’re working to get something done, but instead you have to deal with a constant barrage of people coming into your office wanting something or needing an answer to a question. In the age of instant communication and immediate gratification, people don’t even wait for the “Come in” call when an office door is shut, if they even bother to knock at all.

Working from home, my only interruption is my puppy wanting to play, but I still deal with the remote ‘knockers’: the ones who send an email and two seconds later follow up with an IM telling me to check the email they just sent. Talk about not having any patience.

There’s nothing worse when you are trying to talk on an audio conference call and you’ve got someone at your door asking a question—splitting your attention means something gets missed and it is usually what someone says on the phone.

Check out this video to see if it looks familiar. Then take a quick survey and tell us about your meeting interruptions. Ever had a meeting go like this one?

 

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

Anyone can build a company web site, but not all web sites are put together effectively and to their highest potential. The best web sites act as virtual sales representatives and attract visitors, grow database lists, make sales and communicate with clients and prospects. Most importantly, they grab the right prospects' attention and convince them to take action.

But, you can't just release any web site and expect it to immediately start growing your business. You have to understand how people navigate and use the web while applying a touch of sales and marketing psychology.

Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do once you know the basics. In this fun, totally non-technical session, Stacy Karacostas explains what you—the entrepreneur—need to know in order to turn your web site into a money-making machine.

Join us for a free webinar on July 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM Eastern and you’ll discover:

  • Simple secrets most web designers never tell you
  • What customers truly want to know about you, your business, and your products
  • Key things your site needs to ensure prospects buy from you
  • How to fix the problems that scare customers away from your site

Register now>>

About Our Speaker
A practical marketing expert, award-winning entrepreneur and author of “The Small Business Website Bible,” Stacy Karacostas specializes in helping entrepreneurs discover how to replicate, automate and delegate to take more sales and marketing off their plates.

She’s particularly passionate about helping small business owners avoid becoming another web site horror story. Instead,she shows them exactly what their web site really needs to do, be and say in order for it to grow their businesses on autopilot.

Stacy’s clients regularly see up to a 300% increase in their own web site sales and conversions by following her advice. She’s the author of hundreds of articles on sales, marketing and web sites published in more than five countries and two languages. In January 2011, she was listed as one of three small business marketing consultants you should listen to on StartUpNation.com.

Tonya Hottmann imageTonya Hottmann is the director of marketing at InterCall, responsible for direct response marketing programs. Before joining InterCall, Tonya ran a boutique marketing consulting firm for 10 years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, exercising and spending summer days at the beach.

Remote Meetings in a Bizarro World
July 7, 2011 @ 08:36 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

I dread every Tuesday at 11:00.

At InterCall, we try to practice what we preach and use either InterCall Unified Meeting or another web conferencing tool that we resell in order to have better meetings.

Last week, though, I participated in a meeting that did not use web conferencing, and I was reminded again that not everyone takes advantage of online meetings as automatically as I do. What I experienced was probably what a lot of people go through, and they don’t realize there is an easier way to have more productive meetings.

Here’s the painful way the meetings go:

  • I open up my meeting invitation that contains only audio conference dial-in information. I pick up the phone to dial the number, then enter the passcode. Usually I don’t enter it right, so I either have to enter it again or just hang up and start over.
  • I search my inbox for the email I received that contains an attachment and instructions to have the document open for our meeting.
  • Every time the call starts, we spend at least five minutes with the host asking, “Who just joined?” after every beep she hears. Once the flurry of beeps subsides, the host asks us to recap who is on the call. This usually begins with silence because no one knows who is going to go first, then at least three people all try to speak at the same time. I usually wait until it seems like everyone must have had a turn; sometimes I’m fast enough and can announce my name, but more often than not, I miss my chance. Only later, when the host says, “I guess Cambria couldn’t make it” do I get in my “No, Cambria’s here.”
  • Next we’re instructed to refer to the attachment in the email. This also takes some time because people can’t find the email and need to ask who sent it and when or they realize they’ve deleted it and ask for it to be resent. Once everyone has opened the document to review, we spent more time talking about what page we are on or which chart is being referenced.

Sound familiar?

In a bizarro world (ever seen ‘The Bizarro Jerry’ episode on Seinfeld?), here’s the way this meeting would run with web conferencing:

  • I open up my meeting invitation that contains a link for the web conferencing and audio meeting combined. I click the link to open the online meeting tool, confirm the phone number where I should be dialed and pick up the phone when it begins to ring.
  • As I enter the web meeting, the document we need to review is already open on the host’s desktop for all participants to see.
  • As participants join, the host can see their name and know who’s on and who’s missing.
  • Once we’re ready to begin, the host walks everyone through the document—that we all see at the same time—and directs our attention to certain sections and charts.

Sound better? Even writing this second scenario is easier.

If you’re over wasting time with the “Who’s on the call?” and “Where are you in the document?” questions, you should give web conferencing a try. Your bizarro world might not make your topics more enjoyable, but most likely you'll want to make web conferencing—and easier meetings—part of your reality.

Use Event Management Software to Plan Any Size Event Conference Call
July 6, 2011 @ 01:45 PM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Many InterCall customers think of an online event as a webinar or large-scale event conference call. But companies large and small can use our event management software, backed by our professional event services staff to produce any type of event of any size.

What are some instances companies choose to rely on experts to help with their event planning? Some examples include:

  • Interactive employee, partner or customer training
  • Corporate communications, within or outside your company
  • Quarterly investor relations meetings or important announcements
  • Marketing, including lead generation seminars
  • Press conferences for new product launches and more

InterCall's event management software makes it easy to plan conference calls and online meetings, but some events demand a bit more—expert event planners to assist you every step of the way. Before your event conference call or webinar, InterCall's experts can:

  • Help you review your objectives for the meeting, making sure you have all the services you need for a seamless presentation.
  • Assist with rehearsals to make sure everyone knows their role on the day of the big event conference call.
  • Execute checklist reviews to ensure everything happens on time and in the right order.

During the event, expert operators offer you the highest level of customer service as they:

  • Monitor the meeting
  • Greet participants
  • Introduce presenters
  • Manage the question and answer session

After the event, InterCall's event planners assist with archiving, transcription and managing follow-ups.

Have you ever “gone it alone” when planning a meeting, corporate announcement or investor relations event conference call? How did it work out? Would it have been easier to enlist the help of professional event planners to make sure your important event went smoothly?

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

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