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Are you losing money by not closing more sales faster?
“We had our best sales month ever, and we attribute a lot of it to telepresence," says Pat Scheckel, vice president of business development at a growing software company.
Sell Different: Telepresence Technology
Telepresence is videoconferencing. But it’s quite a change from video chat or a video conference based webcams.
One differentiator of telepresence is technical: full-motion frame rates and high-definition (HD) images. But what excites its users most is the qualitative difference--the feeling of being there, in person.The sharp and fluid images--often life-size--make participants who are far away appear to be together in the same room. The advantage of telepresence is the immersive experience.
Seizing the Hosted Advantage
Until now, large enterprises have been the primary users of telepresence technology, due to the systems’ operational complexity and large capital expense, typically six figures. The systems were also proprietary, limited to participants who used special video software. But that has changed.
“Now it’s for companies like us," says Jerry Steinhauer, CTO at 43-employee Singlewire Software.The cloud service used by Singlewire, the Cisco TelePresence® Callway® solution, is hosted by Cisco and works with a variety of Cisco TelePresence endpoints. Monthly subscription plans start at $99; all plans include unlimited video calling and data sharing. To join a video conference, participants simply dial in, similar to making a phone call.
Subscribers can attend a meeting from a range of endpoints. Most businesses want a meeting-room endpoint. For personal use, endpoints include desktop units and an IP video phone, as well as client software for computers (Windows and Macintosh, including laptops).
The service is also interoperable, helping ensure that your business can conference with people who may not yet have a Cisco® Callway subscription. Any Callway subscriber can connect to any industry-standard (SIP or H.323) video user over the Internet.
Using the service to meet often with customers and prospects, especially those in larger companies, has transformed sales at Singlewire Software. “As a smaller firm, we’re always trying to look bigger than we are; we call it our ‘puffer fish’ strategy," says Scheckel. “Telepresence helps us do that."
The Sales Effect: Five Tips
Singlewire Software has more than 3500 customers in 45 countries and conducts about 20 Cisco TelePresence sessions weekly. Its advice on using telepresence to close sales includes:
- Show ’em: seeing is believing. Live product demonstrations are much more compelling than verbal descriptions, "death by PowerPoint," or online videos. Customers’ buy rate is over 50 percent when Singlewire gives them a good demonstration, says Scheckel--and with telepresence, “we’re able to do that much more frequently."
- Respond to visual cues. “The great thing about telepresence is that you’re able to read the person’s body language and see their reaction," says Scheckel. “You can adjust the way you’re presenting to them on the fly and be more effective."
- Make meeting easy for the prospect. “The Cisco TelePresence Callway service makes it very simple to get somebody up and running on a conference," says Scheckel. “All we do is send them an email, and they’re good to go. It really couldn’t be easier."
- Make meetings efficient for your business. Telepresence gives Singlewire the ability to be in the room with the customer, without having to travel. “It’s really freed up my time to do more strategic things," Scheckel says.
- Be nimble. Telepresence is fast. “If a customer has an important deal, we can be there--today," says Scheckel. The technology itself is flexible too, says Steinhauer. ‘"We can easily expand our Cisco Callway service--it's simple to provision and to add endpoints. That’s important, because it allows us to change our salesforce, to move people around the country."
You can rely on the expertise of a Cisco Certified Partner to help you get started with telepresence.
The Cisco Client Services Group also offers new Callway customers free training on how to make the best use of the technology.