Tag Archives: sales

CloudTalk: Partnerships NOT Vendorships

Sean Flynn’s autumn beard is growing as fast as his wife’s disdain for it. He’s jumped on the Movember men’s health initiative and, frankly, doesn’t give a whisker. The three-year-long ReadyTalker begins and ends each day with a focus on customer connections — before, during, and after every sale. As an Account Director, Sean loves to give his clients the tools they need to succeed on every call and presentation.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Making a customer laugh on the other end of the line. Seriously, it’s about establishing trust and a relationship with prospects and long-timers. Beyond just getting them to buy ReadyTalk — I like being one of the company faces that represents who we are. It’s rewarding when our customers have the feeling that they can call me for anything and never hesitating. I would way rather build partnerships than vendorships. There’s so much more to it than the sale.   

Q: Do you get to work with any local Colorado companies?

Yes! That’s one of the cool parts about having a recognizable brand in the Denver community. Over the years we’ve put a lot of effort into public outreach and volunteering. That has definitely given us a strong footprint in Colorado. That said, as an account director I get to meet face to face with some of our local customers to talk webinars and web conferencing. This is especially helpful when we’re onboarding new customers. Sometimes I’ll meet up for drinks with the companies we work with just to get a pulse on their level of understanding. It’s always great to find out the creative ways that people are using our products and how we might be able to improve their results.  

Q: Can you think of a time you ‘saved the day’ for a customer?

Once in awhile we’ll have to arrange a fast turnaround on a high stakes event. I consider 24 hours to be fairly quick. A few weeks ago I had a call with a customer that needed an operator-assisted, all-hands webinar for their entire company. This call came in at 3:00 p.m., and the event had to take place at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. They basically said, “we need x, y, and z tomorrow, can you make this happen?” Well, (haha) I don’t think we had another choice. That afternoon I worked directly with our customer care and events department to get the ball rolling quickly — sent out invitations, coordinated the event moderation, and built all registration pages. In spite of the tight deadline, the webinar went off flawlessly. Like I said, we didn’t really have any other choice but to deliver on their request. However, it was so gratifying getting their praise and thanks after the fact — they realized we moved a mountain in a pretty short amount of time. That was a great day at work. HUGE kudos to customer care on their efforts. Teamwork is everything.

Q: When you’re not at work, what’s your jam?

Spend a lot of time with my wife and kids. We go camping as a family. I bike a lot. Love to go skiing in the winter.

CloudTalk: SaaS Sales in the Value Rep Business

Patrick Wiley has made his rounds at ReadyTalk for nearly a decade. Starting with the company as an account executive, he’s worked every stage of the buying cycle and continues building partnerships across the U.S. Now Director of Carrier Sales and Business Development, Patrick refers to himself as a “humble expert” in the SaaS and Unified Communications marketplace. Between training for ultramarathons and Ironman races, he loves improving his industry knowledge and building value in the ReadyTalk brand every day in order to win.

Q: Would you say there’s a high degree of problem solving with your job?

A: We work in an incredibly competitive business landscape and every situation is different. Saying that, I must keep my knowledge sharpened to provide the best solutions for our customers and partners. That means that I need to know about other companies’ products and services and figure out the best ways to position our solutions. I’m constantly researching and asking questions. Having a consultative sales approach not only provides a deeper level of trust, but also concludes with the customer buying the right solution to fit their company’s needs.

Q: Who are your primary business partners?

A: I work with over 40 account directors and account managers at the enterprise level. They’re responsible for selling our suite of solutions including a multitude of our competitors’ products. But that’s the great part about my job — I have to know when our product(s) are going to be the best fit for their needs. That’s when it’s very important for me to know every granular detail about our functionality and our competitors. We have four major lines of business, each with their own set of base features. But with every one of our products, there are unlimited combinations of à la carte options suited for each individual buyer. That’s the beauty of our products, they can accommodate so many different users and situations.

Q: Why do you refer to yourself as a “humble expert?”  

A: First off it means I am self aware enough that I don’t know everything. But, I am smart enough to tap into the many incredibly intelligent forward-thinking people I’m surrounded by at ReadyTalk. When I’m brought into a sales discussion I’m there representing more than one company. I speak for the carrier and the representative first, however I do my best to deliver the message with the ReadyTalk ethos which is the “wow” factor. That creates an interesting dynamic because I need to be thoughtful about what all parties can deliver, and even what they can’t. I’m the voice for the carrier team, so giving a measured account of our services is critical to everyone involved. The good news there — ReadyTalk has ALWAYS been customer centric. We tend to act this way naturally.

Marketo Summit Learnings: The Engagement Economy

The ReadyTalk team has returned from the 2017 Marketo Summit – we’re thankful for the wealth of knowledge we gained at different sessions, the friendly faces of customers and other visitors who stopped by our booth and the ever-popular sounds of Train to wrap up a great week.

The primary theme that rose to the top after our four days at the Marketo Summit is engagement. Marketo posits the idea of the Engagement Economy. The Engagement Economy is the convergence of sales and marketing, buyers and sellers, management, partners, prospects, and all other stakeholders in the business world. In order to succeed, companies need to create a more personalized and more meaningful experience for their buyers than ever before. In this new world, there are three cardinal rules: listen, learn and inspire.

Rule #1: Listen

This oft-forgotten behavior is vital in the Engagement Economy. It’s more than reading suggestion box submissions, escalating customer complaints and checking out your latest NPS score. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of how customers interact with our brand or company virtually and indirectly. During a panel discussion, Penny Wilson, CMO at Hootsuite, put it best when she said, “Now it’s time to empower your whole organization. You need to give your whole organization the tools, training, and content to engage with your customers. You can have them really work in social harmony with your customers.” Here at ReadyTalk, we are active listeners. We empower our client-facing teams to be active on social media and use it to consume and share relevant content, keep a pulse on what is important to potential buyers and stay in the know on the latest buzz. This turns social media like LinkedIn and Twitter into forums they can use to strike up meaningful conversations. Everyone is a brand ambassador and everyone plays a role.

Rule #2: Learn

It’s been said that we should never stop learning. From where we sit, this means continuously learning what “value” means to our customers and creating it. In today’s technology-driven world, there is a plethora of data we can use to make meaning and seek understanding. In addition to what we learn through listening, data allows us to learn about our customers and prospects in ways we couldn’t before. The need for greater understanding is leading to new concepts like account-based marketing, and new tools to support these concepts, like Marketo ABM, which was announced at the Summit. We have learned that, like most things in life, marketing is not “one size fits all.” We keep learning at ReadyTalk by working in cross-functional teams, which allow us to collaborate, share experiences, align our goals and keep progressing as a business. It’s a great feeling to sit in a room with an account executive, a marketing manager, a product manager and an engineer and work together to solve complex problems that are easily broken down into digestible parts with our varied talents and perspectives, resulting in a deeper understanding for us and better experiences for our customers because we’re delivering what matters to them.

Rule #3: Inspire – You inspire through engagement. Despite the importance of data and the rise of technology, nothing replaces personal human interactions, as we learned from Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal. While his business is centered around live events, and ours around web events, we here at ReadyTalk certainly share his view on the importance of 1 on 1 interaction to help engage customers and prospects. These interactions add up to relationships and relationships create value. This is engrained in our company’s culture and it is the primary way we engage with our customers. Our Customer Care and Event Services team (and all of us here, for that matter) truly care about creating memorable experiences and forming meaningful relationships with our customers. Simply put, our customers’ success is ours as well. I could tell countless stories of ReadyTalk Event Managers providing a little extra support and guidance for a first-time webinar organizer or cracking a joke during pre-conference to calm their nerves, or a Customer Care team member providing expert advice during a critical moment and going the extra mile to ensure a worry-free meeting. We want to be more than just your webinar provider; we want to inspire you to do your best work by taking the potential stress of technology off your plate and making it as easy. We will gladly step in as a technical trainer, trusted advisor, or a sounding board for your ideas as you plan your perfect webinar program.

The bottom line? The days of traditional sales tactics and marketing plans are over and it is changing the way all of us do business. The engagement economy requires increased attention to what really matters, heightened focus on data and broader and deeper relationships across all stakeholders. This results in better outcomes for businesses and buyers alike – we might even call it harmony.

Choose a Webinar Product

You’re investigating a new webinar product or switching from an old one due to issues. You already know webinars are incredibly beneficial for any company making product, business or general announcement to a wide audience.

webinarWhile you may know how much you need a webinar service at your organization, how do you select the right provider to partner with? Here are four ideas to get you started in the right direction:

1. Is easy to use

No matter what, you want to choose a provider that offers webinar services that are easy for you and your participants to use. Nothing will lower your webinar attendance rate faster than if the audience has to jump through several technical hoops to even view your presentation.

2. Is reliable and robust

While you might only plan to use a basic webinar tool, you also might consider choosing a provider that offers additional robust features. After all, interactive options such as polls can make even the most standard webinar much more interesting for your audience. Engagement is one of the key reasons why so many marketing departments use webinars.

Customization, add-on features and more can be considered under robust. Are these things important to you? If so, make sure you note that. It’ll help you pick the right tool.

3. Enables integrations

Do you need it to integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software? How about marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua and HubSpot? Integration extends your existing software and makes your webinar more valuable. It can also reduce errors and double work. For example, you may want to send out recorded webinars to your clients. Without this option, it will be far more difficult to make this happen.

4. Has great customer service

Did you know some companies charge for even the most basic customer service, like answering the phone when you need help? It’s true. Of course some companies embed great customer service into the overall price, like ReadyTalk. Depending on how comfortable your workforce feels with your webinar platform and what’s important to your business, you may need better customer service.

Speaking of customer service, we even send out proactive tips and provide additional concierge services (for a fee). Additional concierge services can be anything from helping with everything to ensure your webinar is flawless to handling the basics of the meeting, like the greeting.

5. Meets your SMART goals and budget

The price varies greatly among products. As above, consider everything in the package. For example, some companies charge for customer service … but it’s not listed on their base price. Webinars can cost anywhere from $10 a month to more than $1,0000.

But more important, is whether the webinar meets the reason you’re buying one. Are you getting the leads and revenue you need? Will you get the attendance you need? Will you be able to train people? Conduct demos? This is critical. SMART means specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. Ensuring your webinar platform’s success means taking the time to go over why you need one in the first place … and to get specific.

6. Has good reviews

Analysts research software all the time and provide reviews on that software like Aragon Research. Websites also have a number of reviews available, indicating what they like — and don’t like — about products. Don’t just trust testimonials on the company’s website. And if you need to, ask if you can get a reference. Most good companies will provide names to help you select the right software for your needs.

7. Enables you to try or demo

These days if you can’t try or demo a product, it’s probably not worth buying. Many companies, like ReadyTalk, provide free trials. You can decide whether it meets your needs or not. Of course, many companies have a limit to the free trial. And those same companies may extend the free trial if you ask them to.

And while we’re on free trial ….

 

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Selling a Solution With the Right Technology

Would you rather buy a product from a salesperson who cold-calls you or after watching an engaging webinar on your own time? Most modern consumers would choose the latter, as it allows them to retain their independence in the buying process. Instead of giving control to a persuasive salesperson, they can actively participate in an interactive webinar where they are not only gaining valuable insight, but are also surrounded by other interested consumers.

Sell with the right technologyIf you are looking to integrate webinars into your selling strategy, but aren’t sure where to begin, here are three helpful tips:

1. Be different, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel

If you’re trying too hard to be different, your viewers will notice and lose interest. Some of the best viral marketing and sales videos aren’t reinventing the selling process – they are simply being unique in their approach. To make your webinar stand out, don’t be afraid to be bold, but don’t feel the need to start from scratch.

2. Use engaging titles and descriptors to draw a crowd

Let’s face it: American culture is obsessed with clickbait articles and videos. People are instantly drawn in or pushed away from information based on how people present it. If you want to draw a crowd, create fun, clever or shocking titles and descriptions.

3. End with a clear call-to-action (CTA)

You want your audience to do something at the end of the webinar, right? Whether that is buying your product or downloading a white paper to learn more about your services, you will need to create a clear call to action for your participants. Otherwise, your webinar won’t help you accomplish what you set out to do.

Speaking of webinars ….

Join ReadyTalk in hearing some tips about webinars as well as understanding more about the power of pre-recording your webinar. We call it Coffee Talk because it’s just coffee and webinars. You know, no big whoop.

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