Driving Digital Transformation at Your Enterprise with Video

We live in a time where innovation and change happen at warp speed. No matter how far we come, there always seem to be new technological advances right around the corner. This is why it’s so paramount that business leaders stay agile and look for processes that can be improved with a little bit of digital transformation.

If you’ve heard that phrase before and are a bit confused by it, you’re not alone. Digital transformation has been a buzz word touted by some of the biggest companies in the world over the last few years. In fact, studies have revealed that 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. And while the oft-talked about part of digital transformation is the reimagination of the employee and customer experience, it’s what happens behind the scenes to enable virtual worker collaboration and knowledge sharing that really helps businesses run more efficiently and effectively.

The Main Areas of Digital Transformation

Leading digital change requires managers to have a distinct vision of how to transform their organization for our fast-moving world. If you’re trying to break digital transformation down into silos, you’ll find that it’s easier said than done and experts vary greatly in their assessment of how many areas there are in a model–the number has ranged from three to nine. So where should you begin looking and what activities are the best opportunities for your business? 

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “CEOs should focus on these areas in digital transformation:

  • Empowering employees. As change managers know, employee motivation and skills are critical for organizational transformations – including digital transformations – to succeed. 
  • Engaging customers. Customer engagement matters just as much as employee engagement, which means businesses must meet the evolving expectations of today’s customers. 
  • Optimize operations. Infrastructure modernization is one of the best ways that digital transformation can help improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Services and products. Innovation is one of the best ways to fuel success in the modern age, helping organizations improve their market position, capture more revenue, and stay relevant.”

With the right strategy, approach, and execution, an organization can change the way it operates and delivers value to customers and stakeholders.

Why Companies Struggle With Digital Transformation

It’s a well-documented fact that companies can find themselves behind digitally and suffer from strategic decisions they made 20 years ago. In fact, 73 percent of enterprises failed to provide any business value from their transformation efforts. That’s a pretty dismal figure and while stagnation can happen for many reasons, they usually fall into three main areas:  

Your company lacks organizational commitment

Whether you’re trying to implement a broader cultural change at your company or attempting to introduce new technology into your stack, it’s important that everyone is on the same page about the concept and vision needed to transform. 

We all know that getting everyone on board with a  new initiative can be like herding cats on a good day and It can be even more difficult if your organization is dealing with extra stressors, such as a global pandemic. There are two ways to bridge this adoption gap:

  1. Spell out the need for the change you are proposing: This might mean building a hypothetical use case that illustrates how transforming will improve your company’s position in the market, how it changes the customer experience, or how it will help people save time and boost efficiency–even if specifics aren’t known up front.

  2. Encourage ownership: The benefits of employee engagement are well documented and one of the most important tools to build this is involvement. According to Gallup, “When people are part of the solution and know they are a valuable part of the work and decisions being made, that is to say, when they have a sense of ownership — and if they know what excellence and success look like — they are that much closer to being engaged.”

    Look critically at all the steps you need to talk in order for your transformation to be successful and divvy some of that work out to your team members. Not only will they feel like they are a critical component to the company’s success, but they will be more likely to encourage other members of the organization to adopt as well.

The biggest thing to remember is that all changes take time so there’s no shame in taking it slow. If you try to begin the digital transformation process without having a clear roadmap that helps others understand why you are doing this in the first place, you risk alienating the people involved and at worst, find yourself dealing with a lot of frustration and passive-aggressive behavior. 

Failure to pivot

When planning your digital transformation, it can be tempting to build a detailed 18-month or even two-year plan that outlines how you would implement it but this approach is incredibly flawed because it doesn’t give you room to iterate. 

I always say that strategy should almost never be set in stone and there should always be room to account for variables. Since change happens at the drop of a hat these days, you want to be as nimble as possible and break your plan down into shorter projects that can be measured for impact as you go along. This will also help your company pivot easier when new technologies or events disrupt your industry while ensuring you’re able to keep your plan strategically aligned with the original intent. If you build on your learnings with every sprint, you’ll get more value in the long run. 

Taking a “tech first” approach without considering the rest of the picture

When it comes to transformation, so many people get bogged down by the technological aspects that they often forget all about approaching it mindfully, which can be a recipe for disaster. A study by MIT found that “the strength of digital technologies…doesn’t lie in the technologies individually. Instead, it stems from how companies integrate them to transform their businesses and how they work.” 

The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech wizard to drive change at your company, you just need to have an understanding of the role it plays in the ever-changing business landscape. When building your digital transformation strategy, these are some key areas to consider:

  1. Define the business objectives

    Did you know 78 percent of companies fail to meet their business transformation objectives? Often, it’s because the organization has no focus. Instead of thinking about programs and solutions in a silo, consider them from the perspective of how each will help you achieve specific business objectives. Make a list of what your company hopes to achieve and select solutions that will help you meet those specific goals.

  2. Involve stakeholders to understand what works

    As much as we’d all love to be experts in every area that drives our organization, it’s more realistic (and less cumbersome on your time) to pull in stakeholders from key areas to guide your efforts. They will have in-depth knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t), help you gain insight into workflow processes, and determine where new tech may be most effective.
     
  3. Gain Insights into the Customer Experience

    If your ultimate goal is to improve the customer experience, it is essential that your strategy is focused on external goals rather than internal company objectives. Gather customer feedback and use it to inform your approach. It’s also a good idea to reach out to any personnel in the company who regularly have contact with clients and customers to get a better idea of common pain points.

Where Does Video Fit In?

If you’re an enterprise leader working through the first steps of a digital transformation, from assessing the current landscape to defining the vision and building the roadmap, you might be surprised to find that video is actually the perfect medium for transforming collaborative and operational processes for your workforce. 

With more workers being driven online and business increasingly being conducted in a remote environment, it should come as no surprise that the use of video tools like Zoom and Google Meet are having a moment

But the effective use of video goes beyond virtual conferencing and leaders are putting this medium to work in a number of different ways. If you’re looking for ways to transform your company’s operational and collaborative processes, these are a few key areas where you may be able to benefit:

Onboarding 

The importance of a well-executed onboarding process cannot be overstated–a study by Glassdoor revealed “organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%”. But retention rate isn’t the only metric affected by effective onboarding procedures: you also see impacts on job satisfaction, performance, and the company’s bottom line. 

By using video for your on boarding procedures, you not only keep the information and process consistent, but are able to save yourself time on a process that’s typically repeatable. 

Partner and Customer Training

When it comes to scaling your business, customer and partner training should be at the forefront of your mind. Your company can have the greatest product or service around but it won’t matter if the learning curve is so steep that adoption is difficult which is why video is also a great vehicle for saving time and streamlining your partner and customer training processes. 

Once upon a time, writing an absurdly large manual, coupled with a week-long, on-site seminar was the way customer and partner training was conducted. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to easily understand why this method is ineffective, difficult to scale and prohibitively expensive.

Not only is video more engaging for the end user, it will also help increase information retention levels and reduce customer churn. In fact, a research report found people are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles.

Internal Communications

When communicating crucial information and company announcements, it can be tempting to just send an email or post something on your company intranet, but enterprise video gives senior leaders more control over messaging and It’s an easy way to tell a story in a more personalized way that is engaging for everyone at your organization. When you use video to communicate key information at your company, you not only humanize the message, but you’re able to capture the information for posterity and enable all company personnel to access the communication at a time that’s convenient for them, regardless of geographical location or time zone. This also makes video a great vehicle for capturing all-hands or department meetings.

Share Knowledge Across Your Organization

Companies tend to struggle with effective knowledge sharing across the organization, and it’s not atypical for critical information to exist in silos or with one person. 

Picture this: you have someone at your company who is incredibly skilled on a particular software you use or a process used internally. But one day, that person leaves the company and that information is lost. If it was captured on video, the process of passing that knowledge on to someone else at the company would be much easier. There’s also the added benefit of time management at play here, since video content takes less time to produce than written documentation. 

Encourage Continuous Learning

What if you could implement a solution that would increase employee productivity by 200%? It might sound like a laborious, complicated endeavor, but it’s actually as simple as providing your workforce with training and development. 

According to a study by Capgemini Consulting, “only one in ten adults in the U.S. feel that they have sufficient computer and Internet skills to use the digital tools they’re responsible for in their daily work.”

Employers need to go beyond initial on-the-job training and nurture development with continuous learning in order to keep pace with the rate of technological change. Enabling video allows you to create tracks to support ongoing coaching efforts. The best part is that these on-demand training modules empower employees to learn on-the-go and on their own time. 

Build an inclusive culture when all employees contribute

Building a company culture that gets your workers excited should already be top of mind for any organization but the hurdles can seem insurmountable when your team is distributed. How do you encourage engagement when physical presence isn’t possible? After all, video conferencing and chatting to each other can only get you so far.

A Gallup survey revealed that only 30 percent of full-time employees in the United States feel engaged at work. Those who are emotionally disconnected from their companies may end up working against their employers’ interests: they are less productive, more likely to steal, can negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.

Video is still one of the most effective tools your company can use to call employees to action. In fact, employees are often a company’s most under-utlized storytellers and champions. Consider building a video library where all your team members can upload and contribute their own content. Not only does this help build connection at your organization, it can help transform company culture and boost morale.

Other Use Cases for Video

When it comes to using video in your transformation efforts, only your imagination is the limit, but some other ways you might include it include:

  • Troubleshooting videos for common customer problems and pain points
  • In-depth product demos your sales team can use
  • Sales presentations

Implementing a Video Solution at Your Company

Identifying areas for transformation and aligning internal teams is only half the battle. For video to become a natural part of your business transformation plan, you should employ the use of a platform that can seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack.

Some features you should look for in a hub include:

  • Enterprise-grade security: You’ll likely be sharing sensitive information, so your platform needs to incorporate the latest security protocols to keep communication from getting leaked. 
  • Access controls: The capability to restrict viewing to specific groups, teams, and individuals should be available. 
  • Mobile-friendly: Information should be readily available, allowing your employees to access the most up-to-date information at any time, from anywhere, regardless of if they have wifi access or not.
  • Analytics: Communication managers should have access to an extensive analytics suite that gives them insight into who is watching content, what they are watching and when. Utilizing these data points can also let you know how engaged people are with the video content you’re producing and give an overall impression of what impact your digital transformation efforts are having.

Of course, there’s still this prevailing idea that creating video content is difficult or requires costly investment. With all the advances in technology, that adage is no longer true. Today’s enterprise video platforms are both easy to use and integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructure–whether your company has a dedicated media room, or you’re just using the built-in audio/video features on your computer. 

That in mind, it’s incredibly easy to get started incorporating this medium into your company’s digital transformation strategy and it can have a huge impact when used properly. When a company takes a tool like video and goes beyond the base features, they’re likely to see a positive impact on employee performance, operations and overall engagement—things many organizations strive to achieve in the first place.

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If you’d like to learn more about how you can incorporate video into your enterprise’s transformation efforts, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us today


Why Video Should Be a Part of Your Business Continuity Plan

Video should be an integral part of any effective enterprise communications strategy, but the business implications of COVID-19 are making it apparent just how important it is. This situation has illustrated the fact that even the biggest companies in the world can suddenly find themselves in the midst of a crisis

Viral pandemic isn’t the only sticky situation that can derail your company. You should also be aware of other issues such as natural disasters, data breaches, social media gaffes, and PR meltdowns, among other things. This is why it’s so crucial to have an effective business continuity plan. By planning ahead, your organization is able to respond calmly and effectively to any scenario, while keeping up morale in the company and boosting confidence amongst customers and partners. 

But sometimes, it isn’t enough to have a continuity plan written down on paper. The advent of video provides a unique opportunity for enterprises who want to breathe life into communications and confront the issues head-on with a human face. Here are some reasons you should integrate video into your corporate crisis communications strategy. 

It’s Important to Visually Reach Employees During a Disaster


Decades of research have shown that visual content can be processed more effectively by the brain. In fact, one researcher found that watching a one minute video is the equivalent to hearing 1.8 million words. This makes video an exponentially more effective medium for critical information, allowing the messaging to have a higher level impact, understanding, and retention. 

Disruptive events can create a host of issues for company leaders. Everything from lost productivity to employee assistance must be coordinated. It’s crucial that employees feel supported and hearing directly from the leadership team can help your teams regain a sense of normalcy in an uncertain situation. 

While it may be tempting to just send an email or post something on your company intranet, enterprise video gives senior leaders more control over messaging. It’s an easy way to tell a story in a more personalized way that is engaging for everyone at your organization. Executive leaders should always convey a tone that emphasizes security and confidence. Be sure to position yourself as the voice of reason and stability during this crucial time, don’t make false promises, and provide a message that is hopeful, rather than despondent. 

While these are external-facing communications, they are great examples of how your leadership team can use video for effective internal messaging during a crisis:

  • Back in 2013, President Obama had a lot riding on the launch of the Affordable Healthcare Act website. When things didn’t go as planned, people started to lose faith in the government’s competency to roll-out such an ambitious initiative. In a great PR move, Obama attacked the issue head-on by appearing on Zach Galifinakis’ show, “Between Two Ferns”. The video went viral, reached new demographics, and helped mitigate the mess with humor.

  • In the age of the cell phone, catching corporate blunders on video has become more ubiquitous. That’s exactly what happened to Starbucks in 2018 when two black men were kicked out of Starbucks, despite having done nothing wrong. The video spread like wildfire over social media, raising questions about racial bias in the company. 

To combat the backlash, Starbucks President and CEO, Kevin Johnson, wasted no time taking responsibility for the incident and even went as far as posting a video apology on the company’s website. Video allowed him to respond quickly with messaging that was clear, direct, and reassuring. He also appeared on several occasions, taking full ownership of the situation at every turn. 


  • Whole Foods co-CEOs, Walter Robb and John Mackey, stepped up to the plate when customers discovered they were being overcharged due to improperly weighted fruits and vegetables. Both appeared on video, owned up to the blunder, making clear it was never their intention to rip off shoppers and outlined the steps they were taking to fix the issue.

Align Business Objectives


For most organizations, distributing effective company-wide communication is difficult on the best of days. But in times of crisis, lack of information can fuel rumors and misinformation which can quickly take the place of facts. Video gives leaders the ability to quickly produce content that succinctly explains the details surrounding a crisis, what actions staff should take, and the company’s strategy for reducing impact on business. 

Once the initial shock of the crisis has passed, everyone’s attention will turn toward restoration efforts. As these endeavors get underway, it’s especially important to keep your workforce informed about next steps. Examples of things you may want to outline include, but are not limited to:

  • Updated office hours for the days/weeks ahead
  • Updated remote work policies
  • How to log time off work due to disaster
  • Child care policies
  • Which parts of a building may be unsafe
  • Road conditions
  • Dress codes
  • How to provide updates to your supervisor

Of course, next steps aren’t the only thing you should be providing clarity on. During a crisis, there’s a high probability that your employees will be distracted and off their game. They might be worried about the security of their jobs, their family, and feel isolated or disconnected if there have been work from home orders issued, as has been the case with the coronavirus pandemic. If your employees have been put into a position where business activities have been disrupted, video can help provide a quick directive for what to work on, and the expectations around timelines and deliverables. 

Create a “Single Source of Truth”


Not only does providing clear, concise executive and team lead video communication get everyone on the same page, storing that information in a central location should also be part of your crisis strategy. By providing employees with a central repository for updates, key information is accessible to everyone at any time, regardless of location or time zone. This is easily accomplished with a portal like CircleHD, where assets are created, stored, organized and easily captured for posterity. 

Encourage Employee Collaboration


Even when you’re not dealing with a crisis, video is still one of the most effective tools your company can use to call employees to action. A Gallup survey revealed that only 30 percent of full-time employees in the United States feel engaged at work. There is no doubt that this number gets amplified during times of unrest at work. This is why looking for alternative avenues of collaboration are so important and why video can support in a big way. 

Encourage your workforce to create content like: 

  • Tips the department can use
  • A problem they are working on and how they solved it
  • Fun content that shows their office or workspace if telecommuting
  • How they are spending their day

Employees are often a company’s most effective storytellers and an under-utilized content resource. Not only can you build team connections through effective video exercises, but it can also become good material for your marketing department to use externally.

Implementation and Best Practices


For video to become a natural part of your business continuity plan, you should employ the use of an enterprise video platform that can seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack (we’re biased, but CircleHD is a great choice). These features are particularly important:

  • Enterprise-grade security: You’ll likely be sharing sensitive information, so your platform needs to incorporate the latest security protocols to keep communication from getting leaked. 
  • Access controls: The capability to restrict viewing to specific groups, teams, and individuals should be available. 
  • Mobile-friendly: Information should be readily available, allowing your employees to access the most up-to-date information at any time, from anywhere, regardless of if they have wifi access or not.
  • Analytics: Communication managers should have access to an extensive analytics suite that gives them insight into who is watching content, what they are watching and when. Utilizing these data points can also let you know who has seen your videos and who still needs to be informed. 

Of course, there’s still this prevailing idea that creating video content is difficult or requires costly investment. With all the advances in technology, that adage is no longer true. Today’s enterprise video platforms are both easy to use and integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructure–whether your company has a dedicated media room, or you’re just using the built-in audio/video features on your computer. 

More than any other type of corporate communication, your crisis messaging requires a high level of credibility and engagement that can only be produced by video content. People are 20 times more likely to retain information in the form of a story and video engages in a way that is not possible with text or still images, allowing you to convey the right message, to the right persons, at the right time. 


How to Engage Your Employees and Salesforce During a Pandemic

There’s no doubt that the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned the world upside down. From quarantined cities to a run on basic hygiene items, school closures, and beyond, it seems there isn’t one person who hasn’t been touched by the outbreak in some way. 

Global tech giants like Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have advised their employees to work remotely, a tactic that’s being replicated by companies large and small across the globe. And while telecommuting has steadily been on the rise for the last few years, the pandemic may serve as a trigger for the greatest remote-working experiment ever conducted. 

For some workers, telecommuting can be a logistical nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be. By having the proper tech infrastructure in place, working from home can benefit both employees and employers. 

Setting Up a Tech Infrastructure That Works


The best time to set up a contingency plan is before you need it. Of course, now that the pandemic has drastically escalated over the last week, that time has passed and businesses need to act now. 

The first step to setting up any successful remote collaboration is to ensure your tech stack is up to snuff. You’ll need to figure out which everyday processes can be digitally replicated using the proper tools. For example, Zoom and WebEx, who have made their platform free during this time, are great ways to facilitate face-to-face interactions and meetings without having to be in the same room as your team. Some other programs you may want to consider for use at your company include:

  • Google Docs + Google Drive, which offers real-time collaboration, doc sharing, and storage
  • Slack is a great productivity app that is for just more than chatting. Not only does it cut down on emails, but its endless array of integrations (including with CircleHD) will help your employees keep up with projects and feedback from anywhere. Hot tip: As a distributed team ourselves, we’re also big fans of the Giphy integration, which helps the team express humor and emotions. 
  • Github is the ultimate tool for developers to host their code online. Even if you’re not a developer, it’s a great choice for a company wiki. 
  • Project management apps like Asana and Basecamp work well for remote teams because of all the options available to manage projects and track tasks

Secure Your Communications


Even if you’re using some of the above programs to fuel your organization’s productivity, you’ll also want to make sure you have a central, secure portal where sensitive information can be hosted away from prying eyes and malicious actors. Companies often try to achieve this through a corporate VPN (virtual private network), but they can be notoriously difficult to set up and can add a lot of stress on your team’s network connections. While VPN technology has come a long way, administering various network privileges is a cumbersome chore at best and will likely not provide you with nearly enough protection in the rapidly-changing cyber threat landscape.

Access permissions for content can create additional security concerns for enterprises. After all, you want to be sure that sensitive information isn’t leaked and is only being shared with your intended recipients. You should always train employees on how to detect and handle phishing attacks and confirm any information being stored or shared is encrypted in transit and at rest. 

Since we live in a time when companies need to be extra-vigilant about mitigating cyber threats, superior security protocols are at the heart of what we’ve built at CircleHD. We host your content in the Amazon cloud, which is a SOC-1 security facility so you can rest easy knowing that content is stored responsibly and served only with whom you permit using AES 256-bit encryption.


Engage Your Workforce From Anywhere


Chances are if your team is suddenly distributed, you’re looking for ways to continue to propel employee engagement and foster connections.  Here are a few ways you can use a portal like CircleHD for internal use at your organization:

Provide a central repository for company communications, announcements, and onboarding modules

Whether you make telecommuting a cornerstone of your organization’s work policy, or you’re responding to the coronavirus pandemic by incorporating it for the moment, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and that there is a “single source of truth” for all company information. This can be easily accomplished with a portal where company assets are created, stored, and organized so teams can access them on demand. 

You might be thinking that many organizations have a company intranet that usually serves this purpose, and you’d be correct. However, these legacy systems are increasingly becoming outdated due to irrelevant and outdated content, poor organization, ineffective search capabilities, complicated UX, and a lack of native video support and mission-critical mobile optimizations. So it’s easy to see why an intranet may not be the best business communication tool.

Not only is CircleHD easy to use on desktop, but it’s also incredibly mobile-friendly, with native apps you can share with your team that allows them to access company content from anywhere at any time, even if there’s no wifi connection.

Record, store and share department and all-hands meetings

When teams work remotely, it’s imperative that they communicate more. Whether you’re utilizing on-demand messaging programs like Slack, a web conferencing tool like Zoom, or a platform that allows you to natively record video, adding all of this content into a central location can make it easy to access and refer to at a later date. It also is a great way to give everyone in your organization to attend the meetings at a time that is convenient for them, regardless of timezone or locale. 

Amplify executive to employee communications

In a time of crisis, it’s important that information flow from the top to the workforce as smoothly as possible. Obviously, this can be accomplished through an email or a message that is stored in your hub but seeing a member of the exec team on video can be incredibly powerful. Not only does it lend a human face to the crisis, but it also helps build employee trust and the credibility of the organization. 

The numbers don’t lie: According to a recent study, 76 percent of companies who used video found improved communications among remote employees, while 58 percent of companies found “increased alignment with company and organizational goals.”

Of course, this method is still incredibly effective when you’re not dealing with a pandemic. Video is one of the most effective tools for leaders. The best executive videos aren’t just a way to share what’s going on in the company, they’re a way to call people to action. 

Build an inclusive culture when all employees contribute

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 30 percent of full-time employees in the United States feel engaged or inspired at work. The study continues, “These employees are emotionally disconnected from their companies and may actually be working against their employers’ interests; they are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.”

Building a company culture that gets your workers excited should already be top of mind for any organization but the hurdles can seem insurmountable when your team is distributed. How do you encourage engagement when physical presence isn’t possible? After all, video conferencing and chatting to each other can only get you so far.

One solution is to build a video library where all your team members can upload and contribute their own content, such as:

  • Tips the department can use
  • A use case they are working on and how they solved the problem
  • Fun content that shows their office or workspace
  • How they are spending their day

Employees are often a company’s most effective storytellers and an under-utilized content resource. Not only can you build team connections through effective video exercises, but it can also become good fodder for your marketing department to use externally.

Encourage on-the-job training and continuous learning

Coronavirus has upended day-to-day operations for many companies. Even if your team is telecommuting, it’s likely not everything is going to be “business as usual”. For example, if your team relies heavily on calling potential customers, you’re not going to get as much traction if everyone in your target market is also out of the office and not answering their regular phone calls. 

That doesn’t mean all productivity needs to go out the window. Times like this are a great opportunity to reskill your workforce or offer additional learning opportunities. CircleHD helps you quickly put together a complete training module with your existing media.

Don’t have as much information as you’d like and need more content? Our platform has native video and podcast recording capabilities which can help you greatly reduce the time it would take to create courses using a traditional learning management system (LMS).

You can also assess how well knowledge is being retained and understood by creating quizzes and certifications for your workforce. 

Hot tip: Not all training needs to have extreme detail or be comprehensive. Nor is the human brain wired to pay attention for hours on end. Consider creating some bite-sized, or “micro-learning”, content that learners can take at their own pace. 

How to Engage Your Salesforce During a Pandemic


People are currently adapting and taking extra precautions to keep COVID-19 at bay. So too should your reps be flexible and agile at this time. There are several strategies you can employ to cope with the business impact of COVID-19 and keep the sales team functioning properly.

Bring marketing and sales together for better collaboration

If the virus has left you with a little bit of extra time on your hands, it’s a great time to take a step back and think about how your team is collaborating with marketing, and vice versa. Oftentimes, the two teams work in silos which can have some pretty awful effects on your bottom line. Case in point: Hubspot found when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36 percent higher customer retention and 38 percent higher sales win rates.

Sounds pretty great, right?  But how can you put that into something that is actionable? We recommend using CircleHD to create a central portal for sales and marketing to share things like:

  • Product demo videos
  • Content that can be shared with clients and prospects
  • Product sheets and updates
  • Notes from prospect and client conversations that can help marketing tailor their messaging in a way that helps sales win more business

    Look for new ways to engage your reps


    While many reps are used to telecommuting in some fashion, you want to make sure you’re taking every step necessary to keep them motivated during this quarantine period. Some content you should consider for your team might include:
  • Share winning stories: It’s not enough to know why a customer’s business was won, it’s also important to discuss how
  • Motivational talks: We’ve heard about leaders in the CircleHD community who do a quick pep-talk every morning to get their team excited about selling and, maybe we’re biased, but we think it’s a brilliant idea
  • Quote of the day: Similar to motivational talks, you can make a short video discussing why this thought is important and how it should inspire your salesforce to do great things
  • Recognition videos to call out reps who are crushing it
  • News and trends happening in your industry that may affect the way sales reps approach certain customers or products
  • A team podcast that reps can access from anywhere 

The good news is that quarantines don’t last forever and these motivational pieces can be used long after the chaos has passed.

Encourage the development of skills and tactics

There’s never been a better time to brush up on your sales skills than now. After all, what may have been effective yesterday doesn’t always work today. And since sales is moving faster than ever before, it’s more important than ever your team keeps their techniques fresh. 

By using a secure training system like CircleHD you can:

  • Put together modules and tracks that can support ongoing sales coaching and onboarding efforts 
  • Create on-demand training employees can browse and access, just like Netflix
  • Enable learning on-the-go (or, in the case of coronavirus, while doing other things around the house)
  • Set up role-playing scenarios that help your reps hone their negotiation skills
  • Create quizzes to facilitate knowledge retention
  • Play into your reps natural competitive instincts and set up a team leaderboard to encourage engagement

    Provide resources for virtual client meetings


    If there was ever a time to get creative with your sales prospecting and presentations, now is it. Coronavirus is forcing lots of businesses to cut down on travel and in-person meetings, which means web presentations and digital assets are more important than ever. This may require you to change the way your sales process works. There are many ways you can supplement an in-person meeting if your potential new client is working from home, including:
  • Giving them a virtual tour over FaceTime or a web conferencing application
  • Creating a pitch video you can share with prospects and leads
  • Putting together a video of your product or solution so your prospect can see it in action
  • Share some supplemental material the marketing department has put together to make a business case for your product and company knowledge

Just because you’re not able to meet in person, doesn’t mean you have to stop doing business. Deals may get stalled in your pipeline so it’s up to you to keep them warm. Keep checking on your leads and continue to offer them things of value. They may not be willing to make an investment until the storm passes but recognize that this is temporary. 

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No matter where your teams are working from, it’s crucial that leaders don’t succumb to the panic.  Remain calm, be intentional about communications, put the proper tools and processes in place, and you’ll create a winning engagement strategy that survives long after this pandemic has passed. 


Crafting a Business Crisis Plan for COVID-19 and Beyond

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an unprecedented impact on global communities and businesses. From the cancellation of major events like SXSW, E3, and Collision Conference, to disrupted supply chains, not a corner of the world has been untouched by the mysterious disease. So it’s no surprise that organizations are working to create contingency plans in the event a serious disruption to their operations takes place.

The best time to prepare a business crisis plan is before you need it. Even when there isn’t a virus spreading, other emergencies may necessitate the need for your employees to change the way they work. If your organization is one of the 51% that don’t have procedures in place, there are steps you can take to keep your business activities as uninterrupted as possible. 

Come Together


When putting together any crisis plan, it’s important to form a task force to determine everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Depending on your business, it may include representatives from key areas like human resources, communications, sales, supply chain, health, safety, operations, and legal. Decide which person on your team is the ultimate decision-making authority and who is responsible for communicating pertinent information about the company’s situation with employees and external audiences like media and customers. 

Assess Your Risk


The first component of any effective business crisis plan is risk assessment, which identifies potential hazards that could disrupt your business functions and processes. While pandemic is certainly top-of-mind right now, other vulnerabilities may include public relations blunders, social media missteps, cyberattacks, data breaches, natural disasters, or product recalls.

Determine the Impact on Your Business


Newton’s third law of physics states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”, which is something all companies should keep in mind when developing a business crisis plan. In order to think clearly and make timely, well-informed decisions during the chaos, you should pre-emptively perform a business impact analysis (BIA). This will help your team consider every angle of a threat, revealing a litany of potential effects, such as:

  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Lost or delayed sales
  • Increased expenses
  • Reputation damage
  • Regulatory fines
  • Legal ramifications

Put Contingencies In Place


Once you’ve identified the risks that could impact your business, it’s time to put actions in place that will help your company respond effectively to each scenario. Think about what steps and safeguards should be in place to resolve each crisis, what resources would be required, and how your team can help. 

For example, a social media misfire might result in your digital team issuing a statement across your online channels while customer teams are briefed on any official statements to relay. On the flip side, a product recall would require coordination across IT, customer service, sales, and public relations to minimize any impact on the company’s reputation. 

Create a Communications Plan


During times of crisis, it’s essential that critical information is communicated quickly and consistently across your various audiences. Your task force will need to agree on what information should be available publicly and what should be kept internal. We recommend putting messaging protocols in place ahead of time in order to expedite the approval of any company statements and prevent everyone from getting suffocated by endless editing. Be sure to consider if legal input will be needed. 

Review the audiences you will need to reach out to and assess what kind of communication they will need, as well as how you will deliver it. Will you send an email or a text? Do some audiences respond better to certain forms of communication over another? No matter which methods you use, it’s important to test your systems and tools ahead of time and make certain the tone in your messaging comes across as calm, collected and reasoned.

You’ll also want to think about how any relevant correspondence will be distributed and how workers can get the most timely information possible. Some businesses will utilize email or a company intranet, but a platform like CircleHD is especially helpful in this instance because it securely delivers information only to the people or teams you grant access to, cutting down on the chance that sensitive information could be leaked. CircleHD can also act as a central “hub” that gives your workforce access to the most up-to-date information available, at any time, even if there’s no internet connection available. 

Put Together an HR Plan


Perhaps one of the most striking effects of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the restriction on travel and working. Telecommuting (aka “remote work”), or the practice of working outside of the formal office, has been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years, buoyed by a host of digital productivity and collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack

According to FlexJobs, “Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population.” 

Despite the transformative possibilities of remote work, many companies have yet to put any formal procedures in place. The recent wave of coronavirus-related shutdowns should remind organizations why it’s imperative to implement and/or review their telecommuting policies. 

Equally as important, made prominent by the United States’ recently announced travel suspensions, your business crisis plan should include guidance about what happens in the event employees are prevented from leaving or returning home. 

Effective Communication is Key


In times of crisis, the way you communicate with your workforce and customers can make or break your reputation. It’s important to be direct, to the point, and as transparent as possible. Whether the incident is minor or, as in the case of COVID-19, a source of ongoing concern, providing frequent updates and outlining what precautions you are taking will reassure everyone involved. 

Make Your Plan Future-Proof


There’s a good chance that activating your crisis management plan won’t just be a “one and done” situation so it’s vital the plan remains updated and frequently updated to reflect the incorporation of new technologies, personnel turnover, and other variable changes. 



Recommendations for an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan


With a seemingly endless stream of coronavirus developments unfolding hour to hour, it’s imperative that businesses have their infectious disease outbreak plan ready to go at any time. According to the CDC, employers should:

  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.

  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.

  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

What You Should Include in a Coronavirus Response Plan:


  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees

  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws

  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees 

  • For employees who are able to work remotely, managers should encourage employees to do so until symptoms are completely resolved. 

  • Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.

  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. 

  • Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.

  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.

  • Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.

  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.

  • In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.

  • Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.

  • If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
  • Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.

  • Consider canceling large work-related meetings or events.

At the end of the day, any business crisis is a test of resilience, agility and cross-departmental communication. By having an adequate business crisis plan in place, your organization will be better prepared to face the unexpected and recover more quickly. 


If you’d like to learn more about business crisis plans and how CircleHD can enhance your plan of action, please reach out.


How to Get More from Your Customer and Partner Training

When it comes to scaling your business, customer and partner training should be at the forefront of your mind. Your company can have the greatest product or service around but it won’t matter if the learning curve is so steep that adoption is difficult.

Once upon a time, writing an absurdly large manual, coupled with a week-long, on-site seminar was the way customer and partner training was conducted. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to easily understand why this method is ineffective, difficult to scale and prohibitively expensive. 

Providing adequate training for your partners and customers is the first line of defense against lost business and it has been shown time and time again to reduce churn. Today’s next-gen enterprises are taking new approaches to increase knowledge retention and cut down on the time it takes for customers and partners to become familiar with their product. Webinars, consulting sessions, and seminars are all popular choices but more and more companies are turning to Learning Management Systems (LMS). 

At first glance, these platforms may seem to have all the bells and whistles your organization needs but, in truth, an LMS may not always be the best fit for information that needs to be shared with an external audience. 

A Bit About Learning Management Systems (LMS)


LMS have a long history of being used for higher education and was built with students in mind, rather than customers. Most systems are designed to be used internally to deliver training modules to the users and while they do provide tracking and quizzing capabilities, it can make things for your customers difficult for a number of reasons. 

Your Customers Are Not Your Students

LMS was instrumental in bringing the offline college experience online and allowed instructors to digitize courses, course catalogs, and other instructor-led materials. But “time is money” and with ever-shortening attention spans, businesses no longer have the wherewithal to handle long, complicated training sessions before the product becomes useful to them. 

In an increasingly online world, people have turned to platforms like YouTube when they need to learn a new skill or want help with a certain product feature. Instead of wasting time to search for the appropriate training module, people can simply search for what they need, click to watch the content, and get on with their day. 

Long Implementation Times

Implementing an LMS at your organization comes with a significant investment in cost, time and potential disruption to your organization. Assuming you already have the resources available, an LMS can take 6-12 months to implement. You’ll have to account for:

  • Planning 
  • Project management
  • Configuration
  • Reporting
  • Systems integration

If you don’t already have content, curriculum structures, evaluations, assessments, and competencies available, you’ll need to spend extra time putting all that information together. Designing a course alone can take up to six weeks or longer, adding additional stress and down-time in your organization. 

Not only will you need to assign specific team members to take on extra work, but those people may end up wearing many different hats, which can lead to burnout and wear down engagement. It’s very likely that you may need to hire additional help, adding extra cost to the tab. 

Poor User Experience

Even if you do get through the implementation process with your LMS, there’s a high probability that your hurdles won’t end there. According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, only 33% of LMS users say they’re satisfied with their current system, and “poor user experience” is cited as the biggest reason why.

The problem is so widespread, it’s been estimated by Capterra that “as many as 80% of LMS implementations fail because leadership doesn’t make UX their top priority when evaluating systems.”

A few ways LMS usually comes up short in the user-experience area include:

  • Nightmare navigation
  • Lack of personalization
  • Inaccurate labeling and tagging
  • Annoying pop-ups
  • 15+ clicks before you can start learning
  • Video not supported natively
  • Complicated SCORM training requires multiple toolchains

Of all these UX issues, there is one, in particular, that should be singled out if you’re considering LMS for partner and customer training; There have been many reports of these platforms being difficult to update with new content, which means you’d be training customers and partners on outdated features and information. Ouch!

Subpar Mobile Experience

There’s no doubt that mobile devices touch every single part of our daily life. The average person spends 2 hours and 51 minutes per day on their mobile device. Since mobile has surpassed desktop as the primary way to access the internet and 89% of that time is spent on apps, it’s critical that your content be optimized for smartphones. If it’s not, your end-user experience will suffer and create additional barriers to adoption. 

Not only do many LMS lack dedicated mobile apps and browser compatibility, but there are plenty of vendors still using fixed and fluid mobile layouts instead of responsive ones which allow information to be wrapped and scaled based on a user’s screen size (Hot tip: if you’re reading this on your mobile device, you’re seeing an example of a responsive layout). 
What customers and partners need in an on-the-go, globally-connected world is the ability to access knowledge from their phone at a time that’s convenient for them. Mobile-optimized training allows content to be reached quickly and increases overall user satisfaction. 

Security Issues

Many traditional LMS systems require users to access training from a computer in the company’s office, and only on the company’s local network making this solution a logistical nightmare for anyone outside of your organization. Some content is exclusive to your partners, some is for the public. As such, it’s important that you can send information to certain individuals or groups using an access control feature–one many LMS don’t have.

Even if these systems allowed you to share information with your partners and customers, the chances that the information would be properly secured is pretty low.  High-profile data breaches and confidentiality leaks have become the new norm and many LMS lack even the most basic of security protocols. 

An example of this can be seen in the rise of videos in training: Many LMS vendors have antiquated support and are still using programs like Flash Player, which has major security flaws and can leave sensitive information more exposed to would-be attackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities. Definitely something you don’t want to risk at your organization.

Weak Analytics

In order to understand the impact your customer and partner training is having, robust analytics and reporting are essential. Most LMS are extremely limited in their ability to provide the insights leaders need: these systems might provide stats on quiz scores and number of users who completed a module, they don’t give you data that would help you understand:

  • What content is being accessed
  • When content is being accessed 
  • How often the content is accessed
  • Who is viewing it and for how long
  • Where additional training may be needed

Best Practices for Successful Partner and Customer Training


When you offer your partners and customers education, you’re empowering them to get the most out of your product. At the end of the day, Learning Management Systems are not designed for this use. You will be much happier if you find a solution that is focused on securely delivering training to external populations. 

When considering a customer and training program, there are a few steps and best practices you should follow:

Consider Your Strategy

Think clearly about the goals of your training program and who it’s meant to serve. You’ll want to begin by collecting information from different departments: Tap into your sales, marketing and customer service teams, as they’ll likely have some intel on common customer pain points and topics they’re interested in.

Establish KPIs

It’s all well and good to have a strategy for your training program, but you’ll also need to have a clear picture of what success looks like from an analytical perspective. Measurable goals will help you accurately evaluate your training program and keep the team on track.

Create Easily Consumed Content

Like many other functions in the business enterprise (we’re looking at you, marketing), content is king. But it’s not enough to just build the content, it also needs to be compelling and engaging. Be sure to:

  • Keep It Short: From course length to sentence structures, keep as much as you can brief and concise. 30 minutes should be the maximum amount of time it takes to get through a training section. If you’re able to, 3-5 minute “micro-learning” modules can be a great knowledge builder for customers who are constantly on-the-go or who are strapped for time. If you have a more complex topic to cover, consider breaking it down over several sessions.
     
  • Add a Human Element: Whether they’re accessing training from behind a computer or via their mobile device, your customers are still human. Write content like you would express it in a formal classroom session. Keep your sessions engaging by saying no to buzzwords and telling relevant stories or anecdotes.

  • Embrace Non-Traditional Content Types: According to Forrester Research, people are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. And no wonder since the human brain processes video 60,000 times faster than it does text. Not only is this format more engaging for the end user, but retention levels rise to an impressive 65%.

“Non-traditional content” doesn’t need to stop at video, though. Many companies are also successfully using podcasts to engage their workforce, customers and partners. And since listening is more of a passive action than watching a video or reading, it’s much easier to do while multitasking or on-the-go

Choose Your Solution

The solution you choose can make or break the success of your customer and partner training. As mentioned, LMS isn’t a great solution for an external-facing program so you should look for something that allows you to:

  • Store content on an intuitive, interactive platform, rather than folder-based file storage
  • Decide whether content should be shared with one person or multiple people and set appropriate access controls
  • Share content securely, even if it’s outside of your organization
  • Support multiple types of text, video, slide, and podcasting modules in one place
  • Integrate the system seamlessly with your existing tech stack
  • Take advantage of robust security features like SSO and encryption in transit/at rest
  • Use advanced search capabilities
  • Access an extensive analytics suite 

CircleHD provides an all-in-one secure system that can centralize your internal resources, external customer training, and gated partner content on a singular platform. Not only does CircleHD grant you complete control over every piece of your training program, it also integrates with systems your company is likely already using such as Hubspot, Marketo, Google Analytics, and Salesforce. 

Help Everyone Get With the Program

Putting together an effective customer training program is easier when you get support from other parts of your organization. You’ve already brought other teams on board to provide intel in step one, so be sure to tap into those resources for further information.

Be sure to link your training to customers and partners when they are onboarding and add links in any and success emails. Your sales and support teams can also help you identify any problem areas, which you can use to develop new content. 

Measure Success

As with any organizational initiative, strategy should never be static. You should always be evolving to meet the needs of your audience and adjust your program to provide more value. A robust analytics suite will give you insight into what modules are most popular, what users may be struggling with and what features you may want to develop more content around. 

Using a strategic approach to training can keep your partners and customers on the same page and driving results is simple. By shrugging off LMS you open your enterprise up to creating a modern customer and partner enablement program that will help you improve your product, increase satisfaction, and grow your bottom line. 

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Do you want to learn how CircleHD can power up your enterprise with more effective partner and customer training? We’d love to hear from you


Hack Your Way to Better Sales Enablement with Podcasting

If you regularly listen to podcasts–you’re not alone. In the US alone, 62 million people report consuming podcast content every single week. The statistics surrounding podcasting’s meteoric rise are pretty astounding: listeners are downloading upwards of 1 billion episodes of content every month and in 2017, podcasting surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn in popularity–and companies are taking notice. 

In a time where workers are demanding more accessible leadership and transparent communication, employers are leveraging company podcasts to effectively reach their internal and remote workforce. It’s not just SMB’s getting in on the action, either: Major players like Trader Joe’s, GE, American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, and even Walmart, have already implemented podcasting into their integrated communications plan. 

But this medium isn’t just effective for your internal comms, podcasting for sales enablement can also have a powerful effect on your team’s productivity and bottom line. 

Why Podcasting?

Between articles, videos, social media feeds, and endless blog posts, it’s pretty clear we’re living in a time of information overload. And that’s just in one’s personal life. Your team also likely has to contend with online chatter from email, office messengers like Slack, and other tools unique to your organization. Podcasting for sales is the perfect way to cut through some of that noise since listening is a passive action and requires less attention than reading or watching multimedia files. A recent survey showed that, of current podcast listeners, 64% listened in the car, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. 

It’s pretty much a given that sales reps are strapped for time and are more remote than regular desk employees. This often means missing out on key meetings and information that would help them do their job more effectively. After all, the most successful sales teams are:

  • Aligned
  • Consistent
  • Informed and prepared about the competition
  • Up-to-date on the company’s most current products and services
  • Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry news and trends

Regardless of if your sales team is already checking those boxes, there is always room for improvement and growth. 

Ways to Use Podcasting for Sales Teams


Train and onboard new reps more effectively

The average sales rep turnover rate currently clocks in at 34% (yikes). Even more staggering: research suggests 1 in 10 companies experience rates exceeding 55% with an average “ramp up” time of 5.3 months until new reps are ready to strike out on their own. With all those people constantly coming and going, you (or someone on your team) is spending an inordinate amount of time training and onboarding, which not only takes a toll on productivity but also your bottom line.

62% of companies consider themselves ineffective at onboarding new sales hires. Why do companies struggle so much with onboarding? It’s usually a combination of the following: 

  • The existing onboarding process is slow and cumbersome
  • Training is done “on the fly” without much structure
  • There are no benchmarks in place to assess the readiness of a rep to “leave the nest”
  • There’s no formal measurement of onboarding efforts or results from those efforts
  • Companies set unrealistic hiring or quota expectations

There are tons of benefits to pre-recording training and onboarding materials and companies that use technology for sales training and onboarding are, on average, 57% more effective.

  • It’s an easy way to cut down on time spent repeating the same sessions Information
  • Training modules are easy to go back to for a knowledge refresh 
  • Modules are able to be accessed 24/7, on-the-go, from anywhere

Share winning stories

Sales reps are usually busy pursuing their own leads and managing their own opportunities. When someone on the sales team closes a deal, we may hear about the customer’s name, and the size of the sale, but we don’t learn the most important thing: how did we win this customer’s business? 

A podcast is an easy way to share a success story.  You don’t have to write a long email or be a good writer.  You just need to be able to speak which, consequently, salespeople are typically pretty good at.

Even a short, three-minute chat detailing how a particular opportunity was won can be massively helpful to the team. They’ll likely want to know:

  • How did the sale begin?
  • What were the customer’s key needs?
  • What features were most important to them?
  • Were they considering competitors? If so, which ones.
  • How was the pricing discussion handled? (I.e.– were discounts required, etc)

Making this kind of podcast is as easy as clicking the Record button in your podcasting platform and talking into your computer.  When you’ve finished recording, you can share the podcast as a link by email.  

Unsurprisingly, 64% of podcast listeners tune in while driving, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. Whether commuting by train, plane, or car to appointments a podcast platform that offers a mobile app will allow everyone to listen whenever they want through their mobile phones.

Motivational talks

Leaders have long used pep talks to inspire teams.  One of the most famous motivational speeches came from Knute Rockne, the football coach at Notre Dame in the 1920s.

At halftime during a 1928 game against Army, with the score tied, Coach Rockne gave an emotional, heartfelt talk about a former Notre Dame player, George Gipp, who died in 1920 at just 25 years of age. Rockne implored the team to “win just one for the Gipper.”  The team responded with two touchdowns in the second half and won the game 12-6.

Of course, you don’t have to be the football coach of an NCAA Division I school to give a great pep talk.  Sales managers can draw on their own stories of challenges and successes to give their teams a boost or they can upload to a podcast platform any number of motivational talks that are publicly available.

Here are a few we like to get your podcast library started:

Of course, leadership is responsible for team morale and being an inspiration to your sales team is fundamental to boosting productivity. If you want to create your own quick, easy motivational content, try uploading these types of “snackable” content pieces to your podcast platform:

  • Daily intentions 
  • Virtual high-fives to team members performing especially well or who closed a particular deal 
  • Quote of the day and what it means to you 
  • A brief overview of industry trends or news pieces affecting the day and how your team can use them to their advantage

Elevate recognition strategies

Recognition is an integral part of most sales programs. In fact, researchers have found that public displays of appreciation can often be more motivating than salary. After all, you want to ensure your best salespeople are being acknowledged for their contributions and successes. Podcasting can be a wonderful tool for giving kudos to your best performers and encouraging them to share what tactics worked best to close the deal. 

Gamification has also been a hugely successful tactic commonly used to boost reps motivation, which ends up have some pretty great benefits for your bottom line. It’s a great way to tap into the competitive spirit of your reps and encourage them to play-to-win. Try following up podcast content with some quizzes for knowledge retention and incentivize listening with prizes for the best scores (Hot tip: CircleHD’s podcasting solution has a leaderboard you can make public, which can show which team members are coming out on top). 

Get everyone on the same page

Did you know?: A recent study of 1,100 employees found that remote employees often feel shunned and left out. Since sales reps are often in the field, meeting with clients and prospects to build relationships, they may miss out on the day-to-day meetings and interactions taking place at your company. Podcasts can build a bridge and make them feel like a more integral part of the team. By allowing your field reps to access content at a time that is convenient for them, you create a feeling of inclusion at the company, allowing them to refer to key information even if they’re not in the office. 

Build stronger executive-employee relations

We live in a time where employees expect more from their leaders. Podcasting provides a unique opportunity for companies to address one of the biggest challenges in the workplace: employee engagement. For C-suite executives, managers and HR leaders who are often viewed as uncaring, podcasting provides an opportunity to humanize the communication pipeline. This can lead to better company culture and workplace relationships and provide an easy way to deliver company news.

Research shows organizations with a thriving workplace culture tend to grow significantly faster than peers and there are many content ideas your leaders can activate to create an engaging listening experience for the audience:

  • Q&A Sessions 
  • Interviews with key stakeholders 
  • Fireside chats between leaders and team members 
  • Sharing company news and successes 
  • Spotlights on specific products or offerings 
  • Episodes about industry trends or with other industry leaders 
  • “Making the company” talks about the origins of the company


Key Things to Consider 

It’s clear that podcasting isn’t going away anytime soon—so it’s time for companies to explore this as a new way to scale overall business growth. As with any new enterprise solution, leaders should consider a few things when it comes time to implement a podcast for your sales team:

Security

It’s likely sensitive information and trade secrets will be mentioned in podcasts. You’ll want to make sure whatever platform you use has enterprise-level encryption and security protocols so nothing gets leaked.

Ease of Use

Getting started with podcasting doesn’t have to require sophisticated setups, complicated equipment, or a sharp learning curve. Platforms like CircleHD allow teams to record natively from their desktop or mobile, so you can spend more time focusing elsewhere.

How You Will Measure Success

As with any other communication initiative, you’ll want a concrete way to measure success. This checklist will give you some insights into what metrics should be a priority when determining the success of your podcasting efforts.

Putting together an internal podcast for your sales team that is engaging and boosts productivity is easier than it sounds and has a multitude of benefits. CircleHD provides a feature-rich podcasting platform, ready for next-generation enterprises that need mobility and security for employee engagement and learning. No matter how you rate your team’s communication, there’s always room for improvement. Internal podcasting can help organizations with initiatives like company messaging, culture building, learning and development, training, onboarding, and more. Since listening is more of a passive action, it can be less of a burden for your workforce than reading or watching videos. Not sure where to begin? Download our checklist.


7 Tips for Starting a Successful Corporate Podcast

As online chatter becomes louder due to technological advancements, it’s becoming more difficult to engage with your employees. If you’re looking for an innovative way to cut through the noise, you may want to consider implementing a corporate podcast as your organization. This medium is great for showcasing company news and culture, which humanizes corporate communications, making team interactions more engaging and friendly. Since listening is more of a passive action, it can be less of a burden for your workforce than reading or watching videos.

The stats are in: 70% of Americans are already aware of what podcasts are. It doesn’t mean they are all listening, rather, they’re aware of the medium. What’s more interesting is that 39% of small and medium-sized business owners are podcast listeners, with 72% reporting that their employees also listen to podcasts. 

If your company is thinking about implementing a corporate podcast, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to get everyone on board. In order to build a successful podcast that gains a community of supporters at your enterprise, follow these steps:

Plan 

The old adage is true: “The more you prepare, the less you bleed in battle.” Click To Tweet

When it comes to implementing anything at your organization, the strategy is key. This is the most important step when it comes to launching any corporate podcast. Start by getting your team together to define a purpose, an audience, and a goal. Then revise it at least three times to make sure you get buy-in from all members involved in the process. Don’t be discouraged if there are a lot of ideas that come out. A shortlist should be sufficient to help you narrow the focus of your content.

The next step in the planning process will be the find a podcast hosting service. A simple Google search can help you find some options, but it’s important to choose one that caters to enterprise users. Since you’ll likely need security for your internal communications, you may need to evaluate several to meet your budget and needs. 

During the evaluation process, you should ask yourself:

  • How many podcasts and episodes you plan to have 
  • When you plan to launch
  • Where employees will be listening: Are they all in your HQ or will they be listening on mobile devices in various locales, i.e. airplanes, on the road, etc.? 
  • How secure your content needs to be: Most enterprises have security needs and compliance requirements to protect the privacy of sensitive information
  • Who the podcast will need to be accessible to. Some may be targeted to a specific department audience while others might be suitable for everyone

Prepare Your Content

It takes time to create good content so when you go live, we recommend having at least five episodes in your backlog. 

Stuck on topics? Your internal staff can be a great source of inspiration. Start at the top and reach out to your CEO or department heads to find out if there is anything they’d like to communicate or if there are any industry trends they think teams should be aware of. Podcasting humanizes the leadership team and is a great way to bridge the communication gap between management and employees. 

Another great source to tap for content is your company’s all-hands meetings. You may have a distributed team, remote workers, and even sales teams out in the field. This can make it tricky for everyone to dial into calls due to other priorities or conflicting time zones. By recording the information and uploading it to your company podcast, workers are able to access the information at any time, from anywhere. 

Here are a few other content ideas to get you started (Hot tip: make something exclusive to each episode in order to keep people tuning in):

  • Training videos with good-quality audio
  • Corporate webinars
  • Brown bags
  • Team demos
  • Weekly department calls
  • Product launches
  • Announcements

Be sure to also consider internal and external resources for your podcast. There may be some thought leaders and subject-matter experts who’d be willing to be featured. Bonus if some of these guests come from within your own organization.

How long should an episode be?

It depends on your situation. Keeping episodes under 30 minutes is a good idea when starting out. Always leave room for improvement and experimentation, since strategy should never be set in stone. As the community shows more interest, you can use analytics to determine if your audience prefers longer or shorter run times. Content may also dictate how long an installment might be. 

Announce

It’s essential in this process to let employees know about your podcast and where to find it. Be clear about whether they will have to subscribe to an RSS feed or download an app that lets them listen to content on-the-go. If your company has an internal forum like Slack or Microsoft Teams, this is a great place to post about new and upcoming content. 

Give It Some Time

The success of a podcast is dependent on many factors, time being the most crucial one. Most enterprises will not have a shortage of topics and listeners, but you’ll need time and patience for adoption to happen. The key is to keep the content consistent and fresh.

Fuel the Engagement With Rewards

Regardless of the podcasting efforts, rewarding engaged team members is always a good idea. Your employees may already be experiencing “tools overload”, so tuning in to another platform may feel overwhelming for them. Encourage listening and engagement by using follow up quizzes for knowledge retention and incentivize listening with prizes for the best scores. Remember, rewards are not a substitute for quality content, but can assist in getting your company on board. 

Measuring Success

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. You should have a system in place to monitor how your employees are engaging with corporate podcast content. Ensure they’re able to access it in a user-friendly manner, regardless of where they are. They should also have a channel to voice feedback or suggestions.

When it comes to determining what success for your podcast looks like, download count isn’t the only metric to judge by. Here are a few other KPI’s to consider: Click To Tweet
  • Number of episodes listened per week
  • Number of episodes listened per employee
  • Top episodes for a given timeframe
  • The average percent of engagement per episode rolled up by a given timeframe

Make It a Team Effort

Rome wasn’t built in a day and, likewise, it’s very difficult to run a podcast by yourself. Your team will be the first evangelizers of your corporate podcast content and your greatest influencers when it comes to company-wide adoption. Don’t hesitate to collaborate and seek out ideas from them. Anyone in the company should want to be a part of it and leadership should encourage participation.

Bonus: Don’t Forget About Accessibility

When it comes to great content, you want to be sure it’s accessible to as many people in your organization as possible, that includes those with disabilities. Be sure your recordings are broadcast safe so the peak signal levels don’t exceed the nominal level by more than +10 dB. 

Additionally, while the audio is a great medium, it’s not always able to be heard by everyone. So it’s important to have an option that doesn’t solely rely on hearing. Consider transcribing the talks into text or making a video with closed captioning. An enterprise podcast hosting service like CircleHD allows you to host both video and podcast content and can automatically transcribe spoken words into text with closed captioning. This allows you to spend more time creating great content while the platform takes care of the rest.

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Want to learn more about podcasting? We’d love to hear from you and tell you more about how CircleHD can assist with implementing your own corporate podcasting strategy. Contact us today. 


Sales Enablement Tools Can Help You Train Your Team Faster

Sales enablement solutions are changing the sales operation landscape. Legacy, old-school learning systems are not user-friendly, and consumer-grade solutions don’t offer important security and access controls needed by enterprises. To create and maintain a well-trained sales team, companies need to explore ways to improve their onboarding, training, and information-sharing capabilities.

Today, a best-practice sales enablement platform should provide you with the ability to upload and intelligently organize video content, and to record training videos in a few clicks.

An enablement solution should make it easy for all team members to share content with each other, and with external partners. By design, these tools should be open, collaborative, and secure.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the implementation of technology to make the onboarding and training of sales teams more efficient and productive. Using a modern platform will allow sales teams to sell with far more skill, and maintains all relevant sales collateral in an organized, shareable portal.

Discover the Benefits of Sales Enablement

From small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, sales enablement solutions help streamline the on-boarding process and speed up new-hire training. These solutions empower companies to communicate their processes and procedures and share company updates faster.

1. 24/7 Training Availability

Because sales professionals are in constant motion, it can be difficult to get the entire team together for training, updates, and reporting. By contrast, creating videos and uploading them to a central location allows team members to view training content when they can give the material their full attention.

2. Faster, Higher Quality Onboarding Of New Hires

A sales enablement platform gives you the most effective solution for efficient, high-quality training. Training new team members, one at a time, in an ad hoc manner is not efficient. Asking salespeople to read one-dimensional training documents is a low-quality learning experience when compared with videos and slide presentations that combine graphics with audio explanations.

3. Keep Company Information Current

Whether there’s a change in business operations, changes to CRM software, product updates, and pricing changes, employees should be given an overview and some training.

The most efficient way to communicate these changes is to create instructional videos that can be uploaded and shared with the entire team; that remains available 24/7, and that can be accessed through any device.

Sales Enablement Manager

The Sales Enablement Manager plays a critical role by providing dedicated support to the team’s success. This person typically has prior experience with highly-technical and complex sales in the enterprise space. They optimize the sales process, create amazing sales playbooks, manage certifications, and drive revenue campaigns. This person should be adept at working with prospects as they are with working with customers.

WHAT’S THE Difference between A Sales Enablement Manager and Sales Ops Manager?

At smaller organizations, these roles may be interchangeable. But when a company is in “growth mode”, the Sales Ops Manager carries out many of the administrative and operational tasks required to run a sales organization. By contrast, a Sales Enablement Manager may be focused on accelerating the sales team’s productivity and efficiency, implementing processes and guidelines for aligned teams.

How Can Enablement Affect Your Business?

Sales enablement is the easiest way to train your sales team and keep them up to date. Creating videos for your team to watch and reference again as needed will provide them with the best opportunity to succeed in their roles. 

Learn more about video enablement and how adding it to your sales enablement playbook will significantly improve sales team efficiency.


How Can Managers Increase Employee Retention?

When it comes to employee retention, nothing is more important than a good manager. In fact, it’s often noted that workers don’t change companies, they change managers. This trend is applicable across almost all industries, too.

Take, for example, Google, which is already a pretty unconventional company. But it seems that was intentional, as founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin laid out in their founder’s letter.

Truly world changes come from visionary leaders like Larry and Sergey.

Managers reflect your company’s culture and are often the first line of defense when it comes to determining a team’s success. That’s why it’s so imperative that you focus on developing the leadership skills of your managerial team.

So what skills make a manager effective? At Google, it seems they tend to focus on the “3 C’s”:

Coaching

This one was obvious. Managers who can coach produce the most effective and successful teams.

Communication

Whether verbal or non-verbal modes, this skill is key to ensure teams are aligned and able to move forward.

Collaboration

There’s been much ado about collaboration over the last few years: and it’s no wonder. When managers bring teams and workers together, they are able to increase output and problem-solving while also increasing employee happiness. That means your best team performers will stick around longer, boosting your employee retention rates. Read more about measuring business impact due to employee collaboration.

Read more at Inc.com


Common Enterprise Video Learning and Adoption Myths

It’s no secret that many people turn to video learning when trying to acquire a new skill. In fact, on Youtube alone, 1 million learning-related videos are uploaded and accessed 500 million times every day.

Enterprises often explore the possibility of implementing this format for their own corporate training but persistent myths surrounding video learning make some offices apprehensive about the technology. Many of these arguments were formulated before the development of advanced equipment and the video online support that we have now. Let’s bust these one-by-one.

“Video is Too Expensive”

Back in the days when shooting a video required big, heavy, very costly equipment that only video experts know how to use, this was true. Now, there are endless options for video recording and playback options, thanks to advances in modern technology. Smartphones have become powerful enough to create edit, and broadcast high-quality video content.

“My Team Won’t Be As Engaged If We Use Video Learning”

It’s a common misconception that video learning promoted individualism over group learning, something that has been addressed by online platforms by offering video conferencing and interactive webinars. Now, learners don’t have to miss out on opportunities to learn from colleagues, while also collaborating and building social connections with each other. By platforms like CircleHD take this one step further by enabling further engagement through quizzes and other knowledge checks in video content.

“Video Won’t Allow Me to Control the Pace of Learning”

The idea that learning with videos is fast-paced may have come from the fact that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster compared to plain text. Content paired up with images is also easier to remember because information goes straight to the long-term memory. Video courses allow employees to access the content at their own time and go through lessons at their own pace. They can pause the video and even playback a section as many times as they need to fully understand the lesson.

“Video Takes Up Too Much Bandwidth”

Many enterprises are concerned whether their internal networks will be able to handle the bandwidth requirement of video courses. There are concerns about the videos causing networks to slow down and get saturated. Truth is, it will take a thousand simultaneous views to cause problems to a network segment. Uploading video content to the internet requires compression which makes it easily accessible even by the lower bit rate wireless connections.

At CircleHD, we understand how video learning can help you achieve your employee learning and development goals. We help set up your system so that video content is easily uploaded, shared and streamed by anyone within your organization. Videos are searchable and accessible even on mobile devices. Book a demo with us and we will show you how video learning can transform your employee training for good.