One-stop Meetings

By Heather Baldwin

Online meetings have been a boon to countless sales organizations. Suddenly, reps no longer have to get on a plane or in their cars every time they want to meet with a client. They’re saving money, saving time, boosting sales and reducing stress. Still, Web-conferencing technology is not perfect and one of the frustrations salespeople have expressed is the need to coordinate audio services separate from Web-conferencing services. PlaceWare is addressing the concern right now.

“Before, you had to coordinate your Web conference through PlaceWare, then enter the 800-number you wanted people to call,” says Dustin Grosse, vice president of marketing and strategy for PlaceWare. “It let you pick the service provider you wanted, but people now want fewer steps.”

In response, PlaceWare in early November launched a product that gives users fixed coordinates for both phone and Web services. “Instead of needing URLs and passwords, you’ll have a personalized card with an 800-number assigned to you and a PIN for Web conferencing,” says Grosse. “You can keep going back to the same library of content and pull out whatever you want for your discussion. Just tell the prospect the 800-number to call, give him or her the URL and you’re there.” PlaceWare is working with WorldCom and Premiere Conferencing to provide the audio portion of this one-stop service, which it calls PlaceWare Conference Center with integrated audio.

Users of Web-conferencing services want more simplified meeting set-up not only because they’re holding more online meetings these days, but because they are increasingly choosing to meet on a spur-of-the-moment, ad hoc basis rather than through pre-scheduled events. Interestingly, PlaceWare, which has always been known for large-scale events, says 80% of its meetings now consist of fewer than five people – up from about 10% in the past – while 30% to 40% of all sales-oriented meetings are launched on an ad hoc basis. At the same time, large-scale events consisting of more than 50 people have plummeted to 5% of PlaceWare’s meetings, down from 65% in the past. Regardless of whether you’re meeting with two or 200, however, PlaceWare says its new integrated audio service will make it much simpler to get your meeting up and running.