Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Videoconferencing Enables Sales For Global Consulting Firm


The business case made the argument for Kline & Company, a management consulting and research firm about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, to investigate hosted videoconferencing. A global company, it handles approximately 40 projects at any given time. Three to six people collaborate on each project, which last three months on average. About three-quarters of its projects are global.

To collaborate and share knowledge, team members confer approximately 20 times over the duration of a project. That's thousands of in-person meetings over the course of a year, between colleagues and clients who are unlikely to be in the same location. The cost -- both financially and in terms of time -- was becoming prohibitive.

Serving Client Needs
Companies benefit from management consulting firms' insight because of their aggregated experience. But that insight needs to be shared because not every consultant can join every engagement. That's why John Hadley, Kline’s director of IT, is so bullish on WebEx's hosted videoconferencing service.

He investigated other services before settling on WebEx, impressed by its platform independence; other solutions required software to be installed on their (and clients') computers, which can be problematic in these security-conscious days.

WebEx Meeting Center, launched from a Kline-branded portal and integrated with Microsoft Outlook, provided a fully integrated Web collaboration solution that offered easy set-up of meetings and a virtual meeting experience, "as if we were all sitting in one room," Hadley says.

The improvement WebEx brought to collaboration on client engagements was so clear that Kline began deploying it elsewhere within the company. Its market research group began using it for pre- and post-sales activities, hosting 30-minute WebEx seminars for each study it produces. This lets the company reach up to 50 prospects at a time and help generate sales leads for its consulting group.

Improving Sales and Collaboration
Kline also started using WebEx internally for communication. It's used for quarterly staff meetings and sales meetings, among others.

Because of its global reach, the company also uses WebEx for sales presentations. This helps when clients are geographically dispersed as well, because the team can make presentations to up to 12 people at the same time.

When the research team launched a new database capability, using WebEx for demos helped reduce the sales cycle: the company converted 100% of its prospects to sales within 30 days.

With all companies running leaner these days, it's impossible for key personnel to cover the ground they did in the past. Think about how videoconferencing can speed up not only collaboration and information sharing in your company, but also help reduce your sales cycle.

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