Is Email Dead? Increase Lead Conversion Rates with Social Media


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Todd McCormick is VP of SMB Sales at PGi. You can find an original version of this post and more posts by PGi video meetings experts over on the PGi Blog.

Does your sales strategy include social media? Include the right tools and strategies to communicate more effectively and personally with your potential customers --and close deals faster.

With email open rates in fast decline (down to 17% on average in 2010), it’s time to get creative and incorporate other social platforms into your communication with customers. LinkedIn InMails, for instance, boast a 30% open rates. (Source: MarketingProfsLinkedIn Sales Ops manager)

Not convinced? Here’s how one of my reps closed a deal in less than a day using only social media.

My team uses TweetDeck to keep an eye on Twitter conversations about web and video conferencing. Recently, one rep saw a company express its frustrations with their current web conferencing solution. He reached out via Twitter, and was on the phone with the company’s CEO within minutes.

Within the day, the rep had a signed contract in hand. That seemingly random Twitter conversation led to a current customer.

The Continuing Shift in Business Communication

Social media channels are opening up new ways for business users to research and communicate. For instance, consumers currently read blogs and use social media three times more than they do email. Additionally, 93% of B2B marketers are using social media to get their messages out.

One staggering example is Atos. With their employees receiving 200 emails a day, (only 10% useful and 18% spam), they adopted a zero-email policy for all company communications. All 74,000 employees will use instant messaging and social media to escape the email avalanche instead. (Source: WSJ)

Put Your Social Intelligence to Work—Here’s How

Everyone knows that social media communication has been on the rise for years. It’s those who can implement a plan to make the most of their gathered social intelligence who will truly benefit:

  1. Define your social media strategy. Get your sales and marketing teams aligned with a comprehensive strategy for social communication. Get together and schedule regular meetings, create a system for monitoring social media and brainstorm new ideas for reaching potential customers. Ask questions like Who are our target customers? What’s the most effective channel for reaching them? 
  2. Identify the tools you need to be successful. Tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite make social media monitoring both easy and virtually free. Once you establish a relationship, there are a ton of ways to get together from traditional sales calls to face-to-face video meetings.
  3. Measure, evaluate and redefine. Give your strategy a chance to breathe, but don’t necessarily cling to your original ideas if they’re not working. Evaluate and change your plan of attack on the fly and don’t be afraid to try new strategies.

How will your team use social media to close business?

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Read this article: Is Email Dead? Increase Lead Conversion Rates with Social Media

7 Habits for Highly Effective Webinars


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This week’s guest post comes to us from Blakely Thomas-Aguilar, Content Strategist at PGi. The original text of this post can be found here, courtesy of the PGi Blog.

It’s just about impossible to stand out these days. In our globalized market with messages streaming in from all over the world, how do you grab the attention of prospects and customers without breaking the bank? 

Webinars are one of the most popular ways to get your message out to target audiences without travel costs, scheduling conflicts and the time drain — making it an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to expand their reach even with limited budgets and dispersed audiences.

Here are seven sure-fire tips for getting more out of your next webinar—more exposure, more leads, more engagement.

1. Research the best date and time. Depending on your audience, their internet usage times will vary. How do you figure out the best time to host your session? Start out with a survey of your user group asking when they are most likely to attend a webinar. Take to Twitter, Facebook and your social channels and ask around. Then do some testing. Try different times, figure out which time is most effective and run with that one.

2. Email invites are great, but... Why not try promoting it socially as well? With social media, your message can be posted, tweeted, liked and shared by your employees and target audience — reaching prospects you never thought to target. And don’t forget to encourage your own employees to maximize the message, especially if they have established trust with your target attendees. Create incentives that encourage your employees to pick up the phone and lock-in prospects the old-school way.

3. Choose your speakers wisely. Your target presenter may have all the credibility, knowledge and clout in world, but if they lack stage presence or personality, your audience will quickly and unceremoniously check out. Choose a speaker who can hold the room and help them write a gripping script with information from your company’s subject matter experts.

4. Keep the front door unlocked. That is, make it easy for people to register and attend the event. Keep the registration fields to a minimum— name, email and company — using a one-click “submit” button. For the actual webinar itself, choose a web conferencing tool doesn’t require guests to download software or dial-in with complicated numbers and long passcodes. The less barriers to entry, the more guests you’ll have.

5.  30 minutes or less. A simple 30-minutes-or-less rule will keep your audience engaged, and will up the chances they return for a future webinar. And if you’ve recorded your webinar, your guests will be more likely to share it. There’s a reason most TED talks last less than 20 minutes—and those folks are some of the most dynamic speakers in the world.

6. Multimedia not optional. This may seem pretty elementary, but the more senses you can engage during a webinar, the better. You can make your webinar up to six times more effective with audio and visual elements. Speakers should turn on their webcam to capture your guests’ attention and include multimedia elements in their presentations, such as polling, videos and chat.

7. Follow-up with the replay. With recording functionality built into many web meeting tools, you can maximize a single webinar over and over. When you follow-up with your attendees, send them the link to the replay file so they can share the information with their colleagues. Keep an easily accessible online library of past webinars for your prospects to view at any time. And with the power of social media, you can expand the impact of your webinar even more by socializing the replay to drive visibility — and hopefully more sales.

Read this article: 7 Habits for Highly Effective Webinars

Get To "Yes" Faster with Video Meetings


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Todd McCormick, VP of SMB Sales at PGi, brings us our guest post for the week. You can find more posts by Todd over at the PGi Blog.

As marketers, we love options. We love to be able to choose the best, most affordable solution. And the Internet puts so many of those options right in front of us, right now. This sheer volume of options and the fact that so much information is available without actually talking to someone has put the traditional sales pitch in jeopardy.

The conundrum, however, is that face-to-face meetings are almost always more effective, but can be expensive and time consuming. So how do you get your foot in the door? Online meetings are often a simple, cost-effective way to get face-to-face with prospects.

Here’s how to make the most of your opportunities using video, by overcoming objections and getting prospects to say “yes” more quickly and conclusively.

Common Sales Objections During Meetings

Typically, “No’s” are a result one of three common objections:

  1. You don’t understand your client’s needs
  2. Your sales pitch was weak or off the mark
  3. Customer’s lack of understanding about the value proposition

So, first keep these objections in mind by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and tailor your pitch to avoid them.

Before Your Meeting

Set the stage for your virtual sales meeting by paying attention to the details:

  • Look the part. Jump into your meeting before it begins, turn on your video feed and make sure your hair looks good, you don’t have anything in your teeth (seriously!). Your head will be likely be front and center, so take a second to make sure it’s in order. Test your video to make sure it is feeding properly.
  • Clean up your office. Remove distractions and clutter from your background. If you have anything that will take the focus off of your pitch, remove it. If your office is in a high traffic area, you might consider moving to a conference room or another office for during the video conference.
  • Research your client. Figure out who they are personally and what their company is doing. Jump on Twitter to see what you can glean about their interests and personality. You can also spend a few moments prior to the meeting learning more about the client. Read about the initiatives their company is focusing on by checking out press releases, the company Facebook or Twitter page and website. Communicate this knowledge to them, but take some time to them questions to make sure you completely understand their role and what they do.

During the Meeting

  • Read visual and verbal cues. Video makes this possible. When you’re presenting, focus more on your customer than trying to sell yourself. Read their facial expressions, their tone of voice. Whether consciously or not, they’ll notice that you’re taking an interest in them and not just trying to push a sale.
  • Make it personal. Begin with a question about their family or their interests outside of work. This will bring the conversation to a human level. Some video meeting services allow you to see customers’ social media profiles. Read what they are saying on Facebook or Twitter and ask them about it. Be human.
  • Know when it’s a No—for now. Sometimes getting to yes means getting through a couple of no’s first. So whether it’s a customer’s temporary budgetary limitations or another objection, don’t be afraid to pick back up later with your pitch. They’ll appreciate your patience.
  • Ask great questions. Uncover the real opportunity with good, informed questions. Ask what your client’s reservations are, what is holding them back, and answer those reservations with facts and how you have helped other decision makers get to yes in the past.

With all of these tools, you can get to yes faster in your next video sales call. By getting your customers face-to-face and having an engaging discussion, you can overcome common objections and get to ‘Yes’ faster.


Read this article: Get To "Yes" Faster with Video Meetings

5 Features You Need in Your Webinar & Conferencing Platforms

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iMeet's Steve Miller presents his bi-weekly installment on the Volacci blog.

Shopping around for a webinar and web conferencing service that fits your company’s needs can be a chore. With dozens of products all claiming to be the best, it can be tough to differentiate the good from the wannabes. Plus, who wants to test 50 different online meeting services?

To help you sift through the clutter, we’ve identified the five needs of every webinar and online meeting, and the web conferencing feature that meets the need.

Read this article: 5 Features You Need in Your Webinar & Conferencing Platforms

5 Digital Home Office Tools for the Remote Worker

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iMeet's Steve Miller presents his installment on the Volacci blog. iMeet is your own personal meeting room online. It’s a wide-open space, where you can get together to talk, meet in video, share documents and socially connect with people.

Whether you’re one of the privileged ones who gets to work outside of the office daily or your company is just starting to warm up to the work-from-home revolution, you’ll need some digital home office tools to ensure maximum productivity. Here are the five essential mobile working tools you’ll need to set off on your own into the great digital beyond.

Read this article: 5 Digital Home Office Tools for the Remote Worker

To Meet or Not to Meet? Answer these questions


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We've teamed up with our friends and meetings experts (web conferencing, video, social, you name it) at Austin-based iMeet to provide a series of guest posts about, well, you guessed it: meetings! Not in the traditional sense of the word, but in the iMeet sense of the word. We look forward to posting progressive, innovative content written by these kind folks. Oh, and we'll be posting Internet marketing and SEO goodness on their blog, so take a gander when you have a chance.

Read this article: To Meet or Not to Meet? Answer these questions

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