most-web-conferencing-question

How Easy Is Your Web Conferencing Platform to Connect To?

April Whitzman
May 17, 2016

Whether it’s connecting virtually with clients, customers or colleagues, finding the right web conferencing or virtual collaboration tool is vital for your business.

The question is, how easy is it to connect to?

It’s something companies ask all the time.

And while web conferencing tools can be used for a variety of industries — predominantly heath care, education, information technology, and government — there’s been a major shift in the need for such a tool across all sales departments.

Peter Bean, Pragmatic’s vice president of innovation, is one of the most successful salesmen in our company’s history and used web conferencing platforms for the majority of his sales calls.

Peter used to only have a 60 percent meeting success rate. As in he was only able to hold 60 percent of the web-based meetings that he booked.

Why?

You don't want to do this to your web conference attendees, do you?

You don’t want to do this to your web conference attendees, do you?

Because folks had a tough time connecting to the meetings. Plugins, security issues – when it came time to join meetings, they’d have to jump through hoops just to get in.

It can be tough enough to book a sales call, and no one’s going to work hard just to have you sell to them.  If you create a roadblock right off the bat, then any potential deal is as good as gone.

Let’s take a look at some of the roadblocks that were killing Peter’s meetings.

The Trouble With Plugins

When it came time for everyone to join Peter’s online meeting, people realized that they:

  • Had to download a plugin which they didn’t have the admin rights to authorize on their work computer
  • Didn’t have the right computer or program for the plugin to work
  • Needed to update to the latest in a never-ending string of program updates before they could get in

These aren’t uncommon issues in the world of web conferencing:

 

Imagine you get someone on a call who’s ready to do a demo right at that moment.

You just can’t afford to lose out on that opportunity because of an issue with plugins.

Security Alert

Then there are the folks that are mistrustful of downloading anything for fear of getting a virus or malware. They’re not going to risk their computer’s health (or company’s system) for a sales call.

No sir.

Scan the comments, reviews and troubleshooting boards of some of the big web conferencing programs.

Here are some of the things you’ll see:

“…I’m paranoid that they will grab all my details as the extension ask for all data on all websites!”

“Security nightmare. ‘Needs access to all websites I view’?!?”

“The extension detects that I’m using Chrome and FORCES me to use this and get permissions.  My Mac crashed after I added it, and I resent having to add more overheard to Chrome just to join a meeting.”

In a recent poll by PGI, 40 percent of respondents cited downloading plugins as the thing that frustrates them most about web conferencing.

Not surprising!

Peter’s Web Conferencing Solution

It got so bad that Peter’s Band-Aid solution was to take two hours at the end of his work week to email next week’s meeting attendees to get them (or convince them) to download and install the necessary plugins in advance of connecting.

And even so, his connection success rate didn’t even improve much.

So what’s to be done?

The key, he found out (and now advocates for), is a web conferencing service that operates on a universal platform. A platform that uses common elements across all the machines that meeting attendees might use to access your chat.

With these programs, it’s simply a matter of visiting a site via a link that the meeting organizer has sent you. Once on the site, enter your info and you’re in.

There’s no need to involve your IT department, no need to download a plugin, and you don’t get caught with update after update once you have it.

Peter got himself hooked up with one such program, and now experiences maybe one meeting hiccup a quarter, he says.

And that ain’t due to the web conferencing program.

Extrapolate!

This universal accessibility is a philosophy that you can and should extend across web AND video conferencing. Thanks to the cloud, correctly-configured SaaS sites online can now act as the bridge to connect various conferencing endpoints.

You should never have to worry about incompatibility.

Complicated programs are lazy, and using them to meet with people suggests a lack of care for them and their time. Technology in  the workplace is now less about what we can do with it, and more about how easy it is to do things that were once complicated.

Beyond the Connection

Once the above potential issue is rendered moot, there are a few more things to consider.

I won’t provide an exhaustive list here, but here are some questions to ask when looking for web conferencing software:

  • Is the program simple to sign into when you have the conference room link? Like, can they sign in through their social media account, for instance?
  • Is there a meeting admin dashboard through which you can set up attendee permissions and similar?
  • Is there a chat/Q&A feature when hosting webinars?
  • Is it simple to upload presentations to share with meeting attendees?
  • Does the software record meetings? Are they easy to access?
  • Can it be used for live meetings or on-demand recordings?

Again — this stuff is of secondary importance when it comes to shopping around.

First things first, though: make sure that everyone can connect to your meeting right away.

No plugins, no updates — make it easy!

About the Author

With a personal social network of over 25,000 contacts, including 17,000 followers just on Twitter, April’s likeable personality shines across all platforms. Her social media savvy led her to working with Major League Baseball in New York City’s Fan Cave, where, as the first and only Canadian, she connected with millions of baseball fans. At Pragmatic, April leads the marketing team in the management of social media, content, web development, and much more.

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