Can Online Meetings Really Help You To Close The Deal? Part 1

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

26 November, 2014

Virtual handshakeNowadays there is more pressure than ever before to meet or speak with as many prospects as you can and to optimize your time more effectively. 

I recently met with Mark Jones – Head of Learning & Development at MeetingZone Ltd, who specialise in unified communications, web conferencing, webinars and conference calls.

I met with Mark to discuss how the above methods not only save the average sales person time, but also help them to close more sales in the process.

Sean: What tools and technologies are available for the modern day sales person to help them “do more” with “less”?

Mark: Currently the Unified Communications (UC) market is worth several billion a year globally and there are many UC collaboration tools on the market.  On occasion at MeetingZone we see new vendors pop up here and there.

That said, the main market leading solution is still Cisco WebEx with a little over 51%  of the global market but other solutions include Fuze, Microsoft Lync, Goto Meeting and Google Hangout to name but a few.

What’s great about these solutions is that owing to the inter-connectivity that each of us has globally.  Very few people on the planet are now unreachable.  We have wireless devices such as the Tablets (iPad and Surface), Smart Phones (iPhones, HTC, Samsung), faster, smaller and lighter weight Laptops.  There may even be a few PDAs kicking around too.  However, each of these devices merely offers the sales person with the tools to connect with a number of people simultaneously, and each is capable of running many of the above collaboration solutions whilst on the move thanks to dedicated internet connections like 3 & 4G.

The challenge comes in knowing what to say in order to engage your audience using these technologies and how one can leverage social media effectively, in order to get their message out there to boost attendance and credibility to said event.

Having the right solution and technology is one thing, but knowing how to use it correctly to engage a prospect … now that’s something else.

Having decided on the right solution, the next challenge a sales professional will face is knowing how to go about conveying a compelling message that grabs the prospects attention and or can help the sales professional potentially close the deal, and that comes down to the solution that you are using, its features and functions.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as just launching an event via your iPad or Laptop and inviting a few prospects.  It requires a great deal of consideration, thought, planning and a shed load of marketing.

You have to know how and in what way that message will take shape and what tools and features will I need to use, to convey that message effectively.

Do I want my audience to interact with me? If so how? How can I provoke the right emotion in the prospect to make them buy? How can I trigger pain? How can I solve their problem and communicate it effectively using this technology? Thus, tilting the prospect towards buying.  How do I get them to hang on to my every word?

Webinars are seen as being the new marketing, by many.  If done correctly, the results can be incredibly affective especially if the way in which the webinar is positioned is compelling and touches on the nerves of your prospects and gives the prospect a good reason to attend.

All of the technologies mentioned above are capable of delivering what I speak of.  Prospects can join a meeting from anywhere, and all they need is device with a dedicated internet connection and a reason to join your compelling event.

However, the above technologies don’t have to be used to deliver meetings and webinars, I speak with clients almost daily on how they can do more with less and regularly I offer tips and advice on using WebEx Enterprise Edition; for example, to deal with day to day business activities such as:

  • Meetings
  • Recruitment
  • Remote Team Management
  • Sales Team Management
  • Training
  • CO2 & Organisation Carbon Reduction
  • Webinars and Product Launches

Sean: Is there any research to suggest the time savings or effectiveness of the methods that you have just covered?

Mark: All of the above technologies offer organisations a huge opportunity to enhance and make radical changes in day to day productivity.  Most of the above solutions, for example, will run from the web, an iPhone, an Android device or a tablet.

Meetings can be accessed whilst on the move.

You can use these technologies to reduce the carbon footprint in your organisation significantly which is ideal for a company with a green agenda that wishes to enhance its brand.

That said there are additional cost savings in the form of reducing out-of-pocket costs for communications services such as telecom and cellular bills and hosted audio and video conferencing, and for related expenses such as travel and office facilities.

Potential annual savings range from £1.6M to over £4.9 million per 1000 employees.

Consolidating communications infrastructure to lower operating costs by replacing multiple diverse and dispersed legacy products with the integrated functions of the new UC solutions means there is a potential annual savings are in the range of £300,000 per 1000 employees.

Leveraging human capital by supporting individual productivity; workgroups and collaboration and managing unforeseen risks with enterprise governance and secure communications means there is a potential annual savings combined range upwards from £1.2 million per 1000 employees.

The fact that we are so interconnected with each other and through the development of presence capability, we are now better positioned to conduct meetings online, as well as online sales training, with voice, video and file sharing; which negates the need for travel and thus gives us the ability to respond to situations using this technology in the blink of an eye.

However, we must tread carefully.  With all of this technology, nowadays, it is very easy to feel that there isn’t much of a need to travel beyond the realms of our homes and/or offices in order to meet clients, unless it absolutely necessary.

Whilst this may be the truth for many employees and organisations alike, we must never lose sight of the fact that face to face customer interaction on all levels; in person or remote, is always going to be an essential part of the sales process.

Ultimately this technology enables us to make the best use of our time and our prospect / clients time, we are still productive, effective, save time and save money. So using these solutions more is a win win for all involved.

Next time Mark will be discussing how you can increase audience engagement through virtual meetings and presentations, so stay tuned to the MTD Sales Blog for Part Two later this week

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

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