The internet is providing new ways to expand your business. I recently asked noted author and authority on virtual communications, Wayne Turmel, to provide several examples of companies that have turned virtual communication tools like audio and video web conferencing and online meeting collaboration into new revenue streams.
How can virtual communications be used to turn a hidden capability into a new revenue stream?
Using virtual communication as a revenue generator is still relatively new but almost anyone can start to dip their toe in the water with very little up front investment. Not to get all science fiction on you, virtual communication has the ability to cross space (multiple locations anywhere in the world) and time (it can often be recorded and archived for later use). This means that any time you have information of value or expertise that needs to be tapped, it can be done using technology in ways it’s never been done before. People are just starting to figure this out. Some companies, for example, use webinars both as lead generation (usually free) and as revenue generating (selling subscriptions to learning events and training). Most of the revenue generation at this point is live, leader led training or other expertise like coaching and mentoring.
Can you cite an example?
There are plenty of examples in use every day. In training, for example, it’s now possible to do training follow up that would be too time or cost-prohibitive in the past. Coaching and mentoring can be done very effectively using virtual tools, whether it’s a basic tool like Skype or something more robust like a WebEx. YellowPages UK uses webmeetings to walk people through their webpage construction in real time, making changes as the client sits there and can approve it immediately. This increases the customer satisfaction and reduces the time it takes to make changes and get approvals.
One of my favorite examples is a birdseed company that uses webinars to offer training and support to their distributors. Now, you can’t demo birdseed on the web like you can software, but their customers are pet stores that don’t offer much product training to employees. By offering free training on a variety of topics relevant to bird care, the stores are eager to take advantage, the learners become better informed and sales of that company’s product in stores that have taken advantage of the free webinars have jumped as much as 100% or more.
What company functions could benefit from better use of virtual communications?
If you think about web conferencing and virtual communication, there are several areas that make sense. Marketing can use them for webinars and customer/channel education and support. Training is an obvious use for these tools. Sales people should be looking at reducing travel costs by using web meetings to qualify leads before putting people on airplanes. Any part of the company that uses Project Management (particularly IT and HR) should be using these tools. Of course most people just get handed the software and some online tutorials and are told to make it work, so investing in training and a proper roll-out up front will make a lot of difference in whether it seems worth the cost or not.
Can you cite an example?
Project meetings, where getting people together quickly is more important than meeting face to face is an obvious one. Tools like WebEx, or Gotomeeting are a richer, more useful experience (when used correctly, but most people receive no real training or help to do that—another story alas) than a simple conference call because it adds the visual as well as the vocal component. Project teams can use them on a regular basis, with the added advantage of being able to record them for posterity, accountability and reference if someone can’t make the meeting. Think about the hassle of scheduling meetings, never mind the travel costs and lost productivity. If even a quarter of those meetings were done virtually, the ROI would be pretty immediate.
Virtual communications can be an effective, low cost method to educate sales people, as well as current and prospective customers. Educating prospects and customers can lead to the sales of products and services. Using virtual communications to educate remote employees is a cost effective way to increase product knowledge. It can also be used by remote project teams to reduce project costs and speed up project completions.
Can you identify where virtual communications can help your business? We do. We can help identify where these tools can generate revenue for your business and then train your staff to use it effectively. To learn more contact Wayne or myself.
GreatWebMeetings.com is the world leader in developing the skills to sell, present, train or lead your people using today’s web-conferencing and online communication tools.
Wayne Turmel is the president of GreatWebMeetings.com. He’s the author of several books, including 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar and 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations. He’s also the author of the www.theconnectedmanager.com blog. Marshall Goldsmith has called him one of the most important and unique voices on the topic of communicating in today’s workplace.
Berger Business Advisors is a business development consulting firm helping growing technology and professional service firms turn hidden capabilities into revenue.
Allan Berger is the principal of the Berger Business Advisors, LLC. He has more than 30 years of experience as an award winning business development consultant and advisor. He is responsible for a multitude of successful projects involving leadership and employee development, project management consulting, and information technology solutions. Allan has worked with clients in the financial services, health care, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, professional services, retail, and utility industries.