Inside Edition with Alex Abbott – Quality Engineer

 

This week’s Inside Edition with ReadyTalk Engineering highlights a day in the life of Alex Abbott, a Quality Engineer on our Core team. Alex has been with ReadyTalk for almost 3 years now. Not only has he been a great addition to our Engineering team but he has also spent numerous hours giving back to our community. Alex coordinated a partnership with Skyline Park and has been in charge of organizing volunteers at ReadyTalk to help keep the park clean and looking beautiful. In addition to his work there, he is a big advocate for the Open World Learning Program http://www.openworldlearning.org/, where he works with underprivileged kids on computer programming, confidence building and time management. In between his time hacking code and giving back to the community, you will find Alex skydiving wherever he can.

  1. Describe a typical day for you at ReadyTalk
    A typical day at ReadyTalk, starts with a meeting with my team where we figure out what tasks are the highest priority for the day. Sometimes, if we are lucky, somebody sings a show tune (that is the punishment for not updating all of your tasks before the meeting). Then I retreat to my desk to get started, but not before grabbing some delicious shame or fame pastry. When I start on the tasks for the day, I get lost in the sea of technology that we live in here. Sometimes I am compiling in Xcode on a Mac and testing our iPad client. Maybe using one of my windows VM or taking advantage of some powerful Linux servers to run simulations. I guess there are few days that I would call typical, but they are always interesting and I am never short an opportunity to learn something new. Any day might include a book club, a volunteering event, a creative thinking exercise or maybe a beer at the end of the day (that coconut stout might just be my favorite beer of all time).
  2. Why do you think ReadyTalk is the #1 company to work for in Colorado?
    There are several things that make ReadyTalk awesome. One of the most important is the trust. It is the mutual respect that comes from a trusting environment that turns your peers into your friends.
  3. Tell us about your favorite day at work…
    Some of my favorite days at work were leading up to one of our largest software releases in the company's history. It was the largest concerted software effort of which I have been a part and seeing everyone pulling everything together and overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges was truly an amazing experience.
  4. If someone were interested in working on your team at ReadyTalk what advice would you have for them?
    Bring your A-Game and get ready for the best job of your life!


Catherine Harrison is part of the ReadyTalk Recruiting Team. (AKA the Beaphins) She has been seeking out the top talent in the industry for 5 years now. Finding the geekiest engineers in the industry to join the ReadyTalk team is her top priority. When she is not on the prowl for Geeks you can find her hiking, rafting, snowboarding, and camping…anything outside!

 

 

The Stall Out: Is your webinar series stuck in neutral?

Webinars are hip, right? Everyone is doing them now. The ROI of webinar is often better than other marketing activities—less costly than a tradeshow, prospects self-select based on the topic, valuable opportunities to capture prospect information. Although maybe still considered a new(er) tactic, the strategy behind a webinar program is constantly evolving. If the plan is stagnant, you’ll never produce better results. If you are still approaching your events the same way you did even just a few years back, you could be missing out some of your most promising opportunities.

This week, I had the chance to chat with our upcoming Webinar Series speaker, Wayne Turmal, CEO of GreatWebMeetings.com to discuss how changes in the webinar arena could be, and are, affecting the way many marketers approach their event strategy:

  1. What do you think will be the most challenging change for most people that are running these types of marketing programs or series of webinars?
    The biggest challenge with webinars is understanding that they don’t magically happen. Most of my clients don’t understand that these need to be treated like any other marketing project. To be successful they need to be carefully planned executed.
  2. Do these changes require a big shift in budget?
    Well, webinars are incredibly cost-effective but they aren’t free. It’s not so much the money for the webinar platform, but there is a lot of time and work involved to market, plan, design and pull off a quality webinar. They require human resources as much as anything else. The problem for most companies is that nobody “owns” them, whoever is in charge is doing the webinar in addition to everything else they do. That’s why our coaching system is 6 Weeks – long enough to get a little done each day, time to practice and perfect the webcast, and not distract from the hundred other things people are doing each day.
  3. In the description of the webinar, you mention tools to think about – can you give us a high level view of what you’re going to touch on?
    There is the presentation platform (tools like Ready Talk) of course, but even with that, most people use the bare minimum of features so they often lack interactivity. I hope to demonstrate some of the features. You can also use outside registration services like Constant Contact or EventBrite to handle your registration and some will even handle the payments if you offer for-pay webinars. It’s a very different world than it was just 24 months ago. My big focus is not so much technology as how companies are using webinars for lead generation of course, but also channel education, brand enhancement and even low-cost, high-value website content. That’s what’s really exciting. I hope people will really take the time to examine their webinar strategy when we’re done.
  4. Can you suggest any books or other resources to supplement effective webinar skills & presentations?
    Well, the two I’ve written, 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar (which is also available on Kindle) and 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations would be a good start. Webinars with Wow Factor is also pretty good.


If you’re interested in learning more on how webinars have changed in the last three years – what’s working and what’s not – be sure to sign up for the webinar on Tuesday, February 28 at 2:00EST/11:00PT. You may be challenged to do a system check and grease your gears. Jump start your strategy and start moving forward again!

 

Simone has been involved with both the sales and marketing teams at ReadyTalk and is currently the role Marketing Demand Manager and manages the monthly ReadyTalk Webinar Series, which is a free forum for professionals to interact with their peers and other experts on topics ranging from sales and marketing to nonprofits and funding to leadership and professional development. Simone is an outdoor enthusiast – skiing, climbing, triathlons, and trail runs with her dog, Bucket, are just a few of the things she enjoys outside of the office.

 

Keeping Partners Engaged with Retention and Loyalty Programs

In a blog post last August, I introduced tips on recruiting channel partners . A large part of recruitment is the ability to ‘walk the walk’ with your resellers. Offering marketing programs that reward retention and loyalty goes a long way toward recruiting, building partnerships and growing the indirect side of your business.

Channel programs fall into three strategic buckets: recruitment, retention and loyalty. Partners that are highly engaged use as many resources from their vendors as possible. So it’s important to create programs that are useful to the reseller, complement their existing marketing strategies and support your channel goals.

So let’s go over retention and loyalty programs. For purposes of this post, I’m going to use the terms reseller and partner interchangeably.

RETENTION PROGRAMS

Retention programs by design are meant to keep the partner engaged in selling your products and services. Some retention programs should be strategic; long lived, it drives sales over a long period of time. Other retention programs are short-lived and are designed to bump sales quickly.

An example of a strategic retention program is a sliding margin scale designed to pay higher margins to larger volume resellers. Once the reseller reaches a certain revenue goal, the margin increases. Be sure to put parameters around this program to keep the volume sales top of mind.

A model for this might look like:

$0.00 – $5,000 monthly sales = 28%

$5,0001 – $9,999 monthly sales = 29%

$10,000 – $14,999 monthly sales = 30%

$15,000 monthly sales = 32%

A short term retention program is simpler and is typically intended for reseller sales and sales management teams. Set goals for tactical programs that address your needs and that will be a good incentive for your reseller to want to participate.

So as an example, as a channel rep for a wireless company, I would offer sales reps in major retailers $10 per phone activated with my company during a specified month. Sales management got $500 if there were 100 or more activations in the month. This model kept me and my company top of mind with both the sales rep and the sales management. The ‘spiff’ for the sales rep has an easy entry point – they did their job and earned more money. The sales management team is incented with a cash reward to grow the monthly sales.

Use short term programs as needed, to move excessive inventory, or to promote a new or seasonal product.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Loyalty programs reward a partner over the long term for selling and supporting the products you offer. In many industries, loyalty programs offer awards and gifts to upper management at your top resellers. As an example, I worked in the professional photography industry for years and the major manufacturers offered their top resellers an all expense paid trip to Las Vegas for the annual PMA conference. While there, they also attended the company dealer meeting and dinner. Top partners were offered marketing support to assist them in spending co-op marketing funds.

A loyalty program offers you the chance to highlight your top business partners with awards and recognition. Both go a long way in maintaining a positive, mutually beneficial relationship.

Be prepared to run models on margins and costs to determine if a program makes sense for your business. There are endless ways to build retention and loyalty programs but look at them over the long haul – can you sustain the program and will it meet the goals you have set? Also be prepared to measure and  tweak programs as needed.

 

Tracy focuses on channel and partner marketing at ReadyTalk, building out marketing programs to recruit partners and reinforce engagement with them. When she’s not coming up with marketing plans she likes to compete in canine freestyle Frisbee and ride her Ninja motorcycle.

Introducing the New ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook 2007 and 2010

 

ReadyTalk is happy to announce the availability of the ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook 2010 . Customers using the existing Outlook Scheduler (for 2007) will also be able to upgrade to take advantage of new features and functionality. The ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook gives you the flexibility to quickly and easily schedule and start an On-Demand meeting, webinar, demo or training session directly from Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010.

ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook plug-in using Outlook 2010


With the ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook 2007 and 2010 you can:

 

  • Meet now: Instantly start a ReadyTalk on-demand web conference from the Microsoft Outlook toolbar using the Meet Now button.
  • Schedule on-demand meetings: Schedule a one-time or recurring on-demand web and/or audio conference using the Microsoft Outlook calendar. The meeting request includes all of the information your participants need to join your conference.
  • Audio Quick Start for participants: ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook provides participants the added convenience of having your next online meeting call them. Participants simply click the Participant Dial-Me link included in your meeting invite and ReadyTalk calls them, letting your sales demo start on time, every time.
  • Easy access to Dial-In numbers: Customize the list of ReadyTalk dial-in numbers to include in your Microsoft Outlook meeting request.
  • Quick audio and web conference defaults: Turn web and audio conference details on or off in your calendar invitation with the click of a button.
  • Manage multiple access codes: Set up multiple ReadyTalk subscriptions to allow scheduling for separate access codes, add multiple dial-in numbers and adjust your default meeting type preference directly from the ReadyTalk Scheduler.


To download and install the ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook 2007 and 2010, visit: http://www.readytalk.com/support-training/downloads

 

 

As always, if you have a question or support issue, please call ReadyTalk Customer Care at 800.843.9166.

 

Brandon Hess works at ReadyTalk as a Product Marketing Manager.  Starting his initial career as a web designer, Brandon eventually decided that the web could design itself just fine and that his true interest was in marketing. Following his passion through the agency, startup and newspaper industries, he eventually found his way home inside the wonderful walls of ReadyTalk.  In his free time, he enjoys debating why Lord of the Rings is superior to Harry Potter, collecting all things Batman and answering questions about his height (6'8" by the way).

Inside Edition with Mark Godwin, software developer

This week’s Inside Edition with ReadyTalk Engineering highlights a day in the life of Mark Godwin, a Software Developer on the Conference Center team.  Mark graduated with a B.S. Computer Science from Colorado School of Mines and has been with ReadyTalk just under a year.

 

Describe a typical day for you at ReadyTalk

 

 

Arrive in the morning and get some coffee.  Pound out some code for a few hours while collaborating with my team through a campfire chat room.  When I run into a problem, I can ask my co-workers, whom are some of the most talented developers I know.  When lunch rolls around, I head out the door to a variety of neighboring restaurants on16th St.Mall.  Head back in and grab a snack or two from the break room.  Spend the rest of the day working with others on the team trying to solve the challenge that is presented to me for the day.  Occasionally, a nerf gun war will break out in the afternoon.  Pack up and catch the bus home-watching a movie on the bus while everyone else sits in traffic.

 

 

 Why do you think ReadyTalk is the #1 company to work for in Colorado?

 

 

ReadyTalk is the number one place to work  in Colorado because of the culture and people.  The people you're surrounded by are some of the best developers – and also nicest – in Colorado and they push you to solve problems the 'right' way.  The culture encourages openness and innovation.  Everyone is aware of the latest tech trends and no one seems out of touch with what the company is doing.  Plus the location is just really cool!

 

 

Tell us about your favorite day at work….

 

 

We spend a lot of days as developers sitting in front of a computer, so I think one of my favorite days was when the company bought all of the engineering dept nerf guns as a holiday present.  The entire engineering department spent the following hour in a floor-wide nerf gun battle – which resulted in the floor being completely engulfed in little orange darts!  I'm not sure other companies could pull off something like that, or would want to, but it was a great way to have fun and meet a lot of people I hadn't really gotten the chance to see much in the engineering department.

 

 

If someone were interested in working on your team at ReadyTalk what advice would you have for them?

 

 

Be curious, and have a passion to make a good product.

 

 

Katie Green is part of the ReadTalk Recruiting Team (AKA the Beaphins)  She has been in the recruiting industry for 10 years and has developed a strong interest in technology and technical recruitment. When she isn’t searching for technical talent for ReadyTalk you might find her at the tennis court, playing volleyball or learning a new song on guitar!