Feature Friday: Call Continuation

Visit the ReadyTalk blog every Friday to learn more about a ReadyTalk feature.  

Why use this feature?

We live in a busy world.  

Sometimes you may have to hop off a call before it has ended.  But what if you are the organizer of the call? And it’s on your access code? Does that mean that collaboration has to stop?

Don't panic! The answer thankfully is no.

In those situations, ReadyTalk’s call continuation feature keeps the call going, even if you can’t be there.  This ensures nothing gets interrupted and collaboration can continue as long as needed.

This is also incredibly useful for VoIP calls. Since VoIP is dependent on the connection, we recommend chairpersons to turn on call continuation at the beginning of the call. That way, if the chairperson’s connection drops, the meeting can keep going.  

How to use this feature:

The audio control section of the interface.

In the meeting interface:

  • Start a meeting
  • Start your audio conference
  •  In the audio controls section select the box that says Continuation
  •  You will hear an audio prompt that will tell you want to do if you choose to end the call 
  • At that point, you can disconnect from the call and your participants will still be there

When the green light is on, call continuation is enabled.

If using audio only:

  • When on an audio call, as the chairperson, dial *8. This will trigger the same action and enable your call to continue.

                     

Important note: Make sure to instruct your participants to hang up after they are finished with the call. Sounds simple, but sometimes calls keep going causing your audio minutes to quickly be gobbled up.

Tell us…In what instances has call continuation come in handy?  Leave a comment below.

 

Mutually Beneficial Partnerships, Part 3: How to Launch & Nurture a Successful Partnership

In the first two posts in this series, I shared my thoughts on identifying opportunities for partnership  and pinpointing the right partner.  Now, let’s talk about how to bring that new partnership to life! 

Mutually Beneficial Partnerships

What Does Success Look Like?

Unless you simply have a lot of time on your hands or are looking for a random hobby to complement basket weaving and underwater geocaching, there’s a business reason you created this partnership. Remember the high-level goals you established back in part 1 ? Revisit the “why” (e.g. new business acquisition, customer retention) and consider the key metric(s) that will help you gauge the health of the partnership.

Here are just a few examples of what we consider at ReadyTalk:

  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) sourced by partner programs
  • # of installs of a partner integration
  • Value of ‘Closed Won’ opportunities tied to a partner
  • Trailing 12-month revenue (TTM) from integrated customers

Like any goal, make it specific and ensure you have mechanisms in place to measure it. Don’t go overboard by trying to track everything; save your sanity by focusing on 1-3 key metrics. Get buy-in from your partner: remember, this is about a relationship that drives value for both parties. Finally, be transparent: put your goals in writing and share progress updates frequently to keep them top of mind.

3, 2, 1 … Launch (and Beyond)

So, now that you know where you’re headed, how are you going to get there? Work with your new partner to identify the right mix of assets and activities to get the partnership off the ground. Then, pull together a detailed plan that covers specific items for the first 3 months (including who is responsible for what) and manage to it. 

Here is a brief laundry list of things to think about:

  • Sales enablement (e.g. training, cheat sheet)
  • Lead hand-off plan (e.g. referral process, landing page)
  • Joint marketing programs (e.g. webinars, events)
  • Co-branded content (e.g. data sheets, web content)
  • Announcements (e.g. social, PR, customer emails)

Schedule a weekly check-in call in the period leading up to launch and continue to touch base regularly during the honeymoon period of your relationship to tie up loose ends and keep tabs on initial progress. Be honest with each other about what seems to be working (and what isn’t) and don’t be afraid to adjust and refine your plan. 

In the long-term, work with your partner to continue to plan, execute, assess, and adapt on a regular basis. Keep the momentum going with a steady drumbeat of programs and content throughout the year. 

Avoid Being Barney!

Mutually beneficial partnerships take ongoing investment and energy! Don’t expect to send out a press release, check it off the list, and move on to the next shiny object.  “I love you. You love me” (the infamous “Barney partnership,” or – as I like to call it – the “check-in-the-box partnership”) doesn’t really do anything for anybody, so why waste your time?

Here are a few candid tips on how to be a good partner:

  • Don’t phone it in: Show up! Go to events. Visit in person. Be human, be engaged, be genuine and be willing to put in the work to truly make your new partnership mutually beneficial.
  • Don’t be single-threaded: Respect your primary contact and go through all the right channels, but don’t let your broader partnership hinge on a single individual. Get to know others in your partner’s organization. Network and ask for introductions to expand your reach.
  • Deliver on your promises: If you commit to a deadline, meet it.  If you say you are going to do something, do it. Keep your word and be someone your partner knows they can count on.
  • Show your appreciation: A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Take the time to send a piece of swag or catch up over a cocktail (or a cup of coffee). These things can help develop and nurture a long and fruitful relationship.

Hopefully, the tips I have shared in this series will help you find ways that partnerships can make a difference in your business. Good luck!

Just starting a partner program? What other questions do you have? Already running a successful program? I’d love to hear your own tips.

Time (and budget) is of the Essence: Proactive Webinar Planning + Toolkit

Here’s the scene:  You’re the marketing manager responsible for your company’s lead generation webinars. You’re using these webinars as a means of generating qualified leads to pass along to your sales team, but webinars are only a portion of your duties.  Other demand generation activities fall on your plate as well – list procurement, content syndication, field events, content creation, social media and the list goes on. This may be your story, and if it’s not, you probably know someone else on the marketing team who fits the bill.

Marketers often forced to be reactive just as much as proactive.  There is always an impending deadline. This post provides some tools that might make a marketer's job a little easier (and reduce the amount of recurring nightmares that we’ve missed something). Marketers putting out fires

Since this post is written by a marketing manager that oversees lead gen webinars (yep, that’s me), I know the value of having extra time. I also know the panic that sets in when organization falls short. So, ReadyTalk worked with Demand Metric to create the Tactical Toolkit for Webinars to help you effectively and efficiently set up your webinar program. The bundle includes the 11 templates to help eliminate the “scatterbrain” effect. Here are a few examples of what to you'll find in the toolkit:

Webinar Checklist – Do you like checklists? Silly question – all marketers like checklists. Here is one from start to finish for your next event including who is responsible for what items, when they’re due and if it’s completed, at risk, on hold or overdue. A great way to keep track of what you’ve delegated to which teammate (and who to hunt down when you’re missing a deliverable).

Webinar Budget Template – It’s just better when you know the spend of your marketing programs. Period. Rather than having your boss ask you about the cost per lead of a webinar prospect and replying with a blank stare, now you can show him or her from the get-go where each cost was incurred and stay within your allotted budget. 

Webinar Risk Assessment – What better way to avoid a crisis than not allowing it to occur. Obviously we know that planning is key, but by outlining potential webinar risks, their impact and probability of happening you can begin to curb those instances.  And because sometimes ____ happens, being proactive and determining how to mitigate issues in a timely manner is a must.

Webinar Project Management – Multiple webinars per month is not uncommon for many marketing teams. So who’s keeping track of deadlines, where resources are lacking, if budget is creeping too high, and next steps? Drop down lists help identify the project status based on the resources, budget, value and potential risk. The template will automatically calculate the "Overall Project Status."

Webinar Promotions Calendar – Both sales and marketing should share visibility into upcoming events to drive prospecting. That’s where a promotions calendar comes into play. Plan and monitor your promotional activities by channel (email, landing pages, PR, social media, etc). One calendar, less questions. Less questions equals more time.

Webinar ROI Calculator – Time is money. Webinars cost money, but they can also get you a far more qualified lead than a list or piece of syndicated content. So make the case for your webinar program with an ROI calculator. Weight your costs and benefits (both qualitative and quantitative) and prove the value of webinars as a worthy marketing investment.

Webinar Speaker Database – Maybe you’re on the hook to provide speakers for a partner webinar. Or you’ve got a great topic but you can’t remember ‘what’s-his-name’ that did such an awesome job the last time he spoke on your series. Sometimes your Outlook foldering system just isn’t going to cut it. Compile speaker contact info, subject matter expertise, cost, past events and more into your own mini-database.

Webinar Presenter Evaluation – You used your database to find a speaker and completed the webinar. How did he/she do? Is it worth your time to bring them back again? Avoid the run around and separate the wheat from the chafe for your event. This tool includes over 25 different requirements to compare potential speakers.

Webinar Evaluation Template – Webinar is complete – was it a success or a flop? Either way you’ve got to know how to building on strengths or learning from mistakes. There’s a template for that.  The goal is to develop a disciplined process for evaluating webinar success and then create standard, formalized, Best Practices that can be applied to future events. Talk about time savings!

Which of these templates do you think you’ll find most valuable? Are there others that you think would be beneficial to your webinar planning process?

 

 

Feature Friday: Desktop Sharing

Visit the ReadyTalk blog every Friday to learn more about a ReadyTalk feature.  

Why use this feature?

Collaborate with ease with desktop share!

Just like in last week’s post, you can easily enhance your collaboration experience through application sharing. But this time, when using multiple applications, it’s easier to simply share your desktop.  That way, all applications are visible and you can freely switch back and forth as needed.

How to use this feature:

 

  • Start a meeting
  • Hit the Share button in the top toolbar
  • Select the radio button that says “Share Desktop”.

 

The interface will change and you will see a control bar at the top of your computer.

  • Remember: When in desktop share mode, everything is visible to your audience.  Therefore, make sure to close anything that contains anything unrelated to your meeting including email, spreadsheets, etc.
  • To stop sharing, simply hit the green arrow in the top toolbar. It will default to this original screen. 

We’d love to hear from you…How has desktop share been useful to you?  Leave a comment below.

The Agile Marketer

agile marketing at ReadyTalkRecently, I was interviewed by Scott Brinker at Chiefmartec.com about how marketers can bring the Agile methodology into their organization. You can read the full article at Chiefmartec.com. Rather than quote the article (which I encourage you to just read in its entirety), I wanted to call out the biggest benefits we have seen at ReadyTalk after adopting an agile methodology.

Resource allocation: With greater visibility into each other's projects, we are now better able to prioritze our workloads against our marketing objectives. Often before, an individual was making the decision on which tasks to prioritize above others, now this is a team decision and allow everyone to see the impact of priority shifts.

Silos begone!: Unless you were working on a shared project, team members often had little insight into what the other members were doing. With daily scrums and a kanban board, we are all able to see when and if we are impacted by a team member's work. This has reduced surprise work.

Build Teamwork: Now we are able to see how each member of the team's work is helping us achieve our marketing objectives.

On Oct 23rd I am talking at Eloqua Experience in San Francisco about how marketing departments can adopt the agile methodology. If you are going to EE'13, check out my session where I will show how we actually built out our scrum process and the iterations we went through with our kanbon board. 

If your marketing department is using Agile methodology, tell me about below!