When you’re working at a start-up company you’re used to wearing many hats and adopting new responsibilities on the fly. So anything that allows you to do your job more quickly and effectively is a cause for celebration. It’s no wonder, then, that Dana De Nault, business development manager for Westbridge Technology, is a big fan of Web conferencing.
Web conferencing is a way to share applications, presentations and even your computer desktop to a geographically disparate group. In real time and in a secure online environment you can host meetings, offer broadcasts, conduct training, perform customer service and support functions and even facilitate online chats between presenters and participants. Typically, participants – from 2 individuals to 2,000 or more – are logged onto a Website and linked via phone line for the audio portion of the meeting, says Carolyn Campbell, director of marketing for ConferenceCall.com, a Web conferencing company. Pricing can be by the minute or by subscription.
Westbridge, a start-up supplier of secure service-oriented architectures, was stretching its dozen sales and business development reps to the max with traditional sales calls. When Web conferencing offered a way to qualify customers without having to hop on a plane, De Nault was all ears. “Jumping on airplanes and pursuing initial meetings is a costly way of doing business,” De Nault says. The company now uses Web conferencing to run interactive meetings between sales staff and engineers and prospects, demonstrating Westbridge’s technology. “It’s a fairly instrumental tool in how we determine what opportunities exist out there for us,” says De Nault, who estimates that Westbridge has cut its sales costs by at least 20% since the inception of Web conferencing 2 years ago.
Eloqua, a provider of marketing and sales automation solutions, uses Web conferencing to increase sales by offering personal demos to its Website visitors. Eloqua’s sales team uses Eloqua’s Conversion Suite solution to monitor Website traffic and automatically notify the appropriate salesperson. The salesperson then engages visitors in a chat session and invites them to view a brief product demonstration via Web conference. “We try to convert every email into a Website visit, every visit into a chat session and every chat session into a demo via Web conferencing,” said Mark Organ, CEO of Eloqua.