Several months ago, one of our engineers had the great idea of starting a technology book club within the engineering team. We put some effort into getting this off the ground and it has since morphed into what is fondly know as the "Nerd Book Club." We meet on a weekly basis and participation from week-to-week varies from 5 to 15 or so. The most recent book, The Myths of Innovation, has intrigued the CEO enough to come and join our conversations, which has been really awesome.
So, how did this little club of ours come to be? Well, we were challenged (or rather, we challenged ourselves) to come up with a way of bringing engineers together from the different SCRUM teams within engineering that don't normally have a chance to converse about various experiences and ideas. If you read the definition of 'discussion', two words stand out; argument and debate. These two words tend to have negative connotations, so what we foster in the book club is 'dialog,' where we view it as a chance to share ideas and learn from one another.
So far, the club has read Beautiful Architecture as well as a series of blog posts on the topic of Agile development practices. As I mentioned earlier, we are now reading The Myths of Innovation, by Scott Berkun and it is generating a lot of great conversation. Innovation is a big topic within ReadyTalk, but that is a blog post for another time.
How are you or your company helping to facilitate the sharing of ideas with the goal to learn? We'd love to hear about things you've tried, and whether you've met with success or failure in your endeavors.
Jason Collins (aka JC) is the VP of Engineering at ReadyTalk and the self-appointed Chief Happiness Officer. He's been either writing code or managing engineers for nearly 15 years and has a passion for technology and agile development practices. The happiness of the engineering team is his top priority and he can usually be found wearing a ReadyTalk cape and the infamous "idea helmet" around the office to help keep people entertained. When he's not hanging out with his work family, he's at home with his wife and four boys doing all sorts of geeky things, like playing video games and watching campy Sci-Fi and Action flicks.
We talk a lot about the importance of customer service here at ReadyTalk. Today's post is part of a series highlighting members of the customer care team and giving you a chance to get to know them better.
Title: Customer Care Representative
Favorite sports team: CU Buffs!
Hobbies: Skiing, running, hiking, anything outside!
Pets:: Two great dogs – Paco, a lab mix, and Wiley, a golden retriever
Interesting fact about Julie: She's currently training to run her first marathon.
Favorite customer request: Julie once had a customer ask her to send them a pizza from their favorite pizza place.
One ReadyTalk tip to share with customers: For important webinars, do a dry run ahead of time and feel free to ask questions and get some advice! The Customer Care team at ReadyTalk is a great resource not only for technical assistance during your webinar, but also as a shoulder to lean on for questions or concerns you may have about your upcoming meeting.
Favorite thing about working at ReadyTalk: The people!
Wondering what the customer wanted on their pizza? Think you can stump Julie with a technical question? Give it a try in the comments section.
This post is the second in a three part series on Creating a Service Level Agreement between Marketing and Sales.
In the last post, I talked about needing to determine the criteria for a marketing qualified lead, or MQL. Once it is defined, the next step is to map out the follow up process or Level of Effort (LOE). The LOE makes sure that there is consistent follow-up across the sales team for each MQL that is handed over.
Before our LOE was defined, I noticed that follow-up was different across the board for each member of the sales team. Some AEs emailed and never called, some called but never left voice mail and others called and sent emails. If marketing is going to be nurturing leads on behalf of sales team and using resources to accomplish this task, it is reasonable to expect the sales team to follow-up on those leads in a consistent manner. This will allow marketing to see which leads are valid through the prism of consistent follow-up.
To define our Level of Effort, I used the same group AEs that I used for the MQL discussion and we mapped out first, second and third touches. Below is a diagram of our LOE.
We defined a three-touch follow up that involves email and voice mail. Each touch builds upon the other touch with consistent messaging. The final touch is decided by company size. Larger companies (>100 employees) will have a fourth follow-up.
It is important to have a mechanism for returning the lead to the marketing funnel after the follow-up has completed. This will eliminate “lead leakage,” where leads get taken out of the funnel, are never closed but are never re-engaged. Many sales people balked at this idea of handing a lead back to marketing to be further nurtured. Look at it this way: If a lead who you think meets MQL criteria will not engage with a salesperson after three touches over the course of two weeks, it is most likely that they have been misplaced in the marketing funnel and are not ready to engage sales. It is better to get them back in the funnel and re-engage them on their own terms than to have a sales person sit on the indefinitely.
I would love to hear how you mapped out your level of effort for your sales team. How many touches do you use? What are those touches?
Earlier this quarter, ReadyTalk co-sponsored a breakfast event along with NewsGator, Accordant and Ceavco. The overlying theme of the presentation was how collaborative technology is effecting business strategy. As our industry continues to advance with innovative uses for current products and programs, the directors, CEOs, project managers and team members are realizing the value and necessity of technology that enables real-time collaboration and problem solving no matter where their office or colleagues are located.
Today’s workforce has evolved and the people who are capitalizing on innovative collaborative tools are realizing significant gains in productivity. They are also reshaping how daily tasks are performed. Efficiency is of utmost importance, not only because of the fast-paced nature of business, but because an optimized budget makes for additional funds that can be utilized to advance a business’s goals, projects and revenue.
Accordant put their collaborative platform to work and captured the live event. You can access the recording HERE. Below are a few of the key highlights mentioned by the amazing panel of industry leaders (Brian Kellner , VP of Products – NewsGator, Ron Wolfe, Regional Sales Director – Accordant, and Dan Cunningham, CTO – ReadyTalk).
Technology is vast and continues to expand. It ought to be a resource that improves the quality and output of an organization’s employees, not a blocker that adds frustration. Simplicity and functionality are important aspects to consider when exploring new tools.
Internal and external uses exist for collaborative technology. The uses and the deployment of the product will differ based on the issues being addressed. Explore how these tools work best for your company on both sides of the table.
Enterprise vs. Consumer – collaboration tools now supply an efficient and effective means of merging the two groups.
Content creation and publishing have become easier and faster due to emerging collaboration platforms.
All three of these companies have recognized what’s working for their organizations and have identified and deveeloped collaborative tools for others. In simple terms: productivity affects the bottom line; working cohesively and in-sync impacts productivity; and real-time collaboration is good business strategy.
Below is an introductory post from the ReadyTalk Events team. Look for future posts from this team.
You may have talked to some of us from time-to-time or even wondered, “Who is on the Events team?” Well, here we are – along with a bit about each of us!
Steve Wolfe, Events Team Manager
Time with ReadyTalk – 1 year, 8 months
Best part of working here – Our focus on customer service, ReadyTalk’s cutting-edge technology, and our company values
What you like to do outside of work – Enjoy time with family and friends, coach my daughter’s 8th grade basketball team, backpack and climb mountains, exercise, watch college football, and root for the Rockies!
Lori Howard- McCool, Event Manager
Time with ReadyTalk – 3.5 years
Best part of working here – lots of “bests”…the culture, the people, great product…what’s not to love?
What you like to do outside of work – play with my kids, sleep, lots of hobbies I haven’t taken up…yet!
Crystal Ziadeh, Event Coordinator
Time with ReadyTalk – 2.5 years
Best part of working here – The customer and co-worker relationships
What you like to do outside of work – Spending time with my family and friends and my furry, four-legged kids. Also, anything outdoor- or mall-related is good too
Briana Patterson, Event Manager
Time with ReadyTalk – 1.5 years
Best part of working here – It’s hard to choose a ‘best part’ because there are a lot of things I love about working here. I like that everyone treats each other with respect, and that they all give their 100% at everything they do. I love that we can bring our dogs to work, and I love how athletic and health conscious the company is.
What you like to do outside of work – I like reading, running, Zumba, playing with my pups, hanging out with friends/family, going to the movies and hiking. I also really enjoy working with a youth group of teenagers ages 12-18.
Anthony Salas, Event Manager
Time with ReadyTalk – 9 months (the newbie!)
Best part of working here – This is a laid-back but hard-working group of people, great support and having dogs in the office from time-to-time makes any day a little better!
What you like to do outside of work – Spend time with family, friends and my two dogs, try new Denver restaurants, movies and taking in the beautiful mountain surroundings!
As the Events Team, our goal is simple – to be consultative partners for our customers by advising, assisting and supporting the execution of engaging webinars and online events that deliver high ROI.
In the future, we will share best practices related to web and audio web events and webinars and keep you updated on the latest and greatest tools available to you within your ReadyTalk Conference Center.
Check back often for events-related blog updates, and feel free to contact us at 877-214-8194 or at email@example.com.
We are here for you!