7 Must-Have Features Your Corporate Training System Needs

When it comes to implementing a corporate training solution at your company, the conversation will inevitably turn to features. Yet, if your company is tied into a cumbersome Learning Management System, you’ll understand why only 39% of users rank their LMS features highly. So what is everyone else looking for that these systems aren’t providing?

In order to gain a better understanding of why organizations are abandoning these legacy systems in droves, you need to get a better picture of the user experience causing the inevitable exodus. If you’re evaluating a new corporate training solution for your company, these ones are what you should be looking for. 

Ease of Use

The number one reason why companies shift from an existing LMS or content management system is because of the poor user and administrative experiences that typically accompany these platforms. 

Once upon a time, it was par for the course to spend a week in an intense onboarding session or get wrapped up in a lengthy training manual, but we can all agree that is no longer the best use of your team’s time. Choose a corporate training solution that is flexible, intuitive, and easy to learn, with a familiar interface your employees already know so the platform becomes as useful as possible, quickly. 

Content Management Tools

Whether you always have training content available, or you’re looking to fill in some gaps, it’s essential your training system also functions as an effective content management tool. 

Every day, your employees are spending more time than they should be looking for product sheets, referring back to training modules or all-hands meetings, scouring for team notes, other company assets, and more. Sadly, many organizations turn to solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other file repository to house their content. But this is a big mistake, since it not only makes finding the right documentation next to impossible, it’s time your workers are spending on tasks that don’t yield any ROI and instead cause lots of lost productivity.

But there’s a better way: look for a training solution that not only allows you to sort your content into channels and playlists, but offers the ability to tag and annotate content with contextual documentation so people know what they are looking at, what it’s used for, why it’s relevant, and what changes its undergone. 

Security

Of course, having great content management tools is only half the battle: you also need to make sure whatever system you’re using to manage it is secure. In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, it’s important to protect your most sensitive information from attacks and would-be hackers. It’s been reported that “63 percent of companies said their data was potentially compromised within the last twelve months due to hardware- or silicon-level security breach”, which underscores just how essential it is to make sure your solution can protect your most sensitive information. 

Of course, there are also other reasons you want to make sure your learning solution is up-to-date on the latest security protocols, from smaller needs like restricting certain content to particular teams or users, to employing the use of end-to-end encryption, SSO, and custom access controls to ensure information is only shared with the personnel you grant permission to.

Integration 

Flexibility is absolutely essential to whichever corporate training solution you choose. You’ll not only want the ability to custom brand your portal so it feels like a natural extension of your company, but you’ll want to make sure that your training system integrates with a wide range of best-in-class programs for a frictionless experience.

Support for Mobile Learning

To get the most mileage possible out of your corporate training content, it needs to be as easily accessed as possible. We’ve become such a mobile-first world that you’re doing your enterprise a complete disservice if you’re using a platform that doesn’t allow your employees to have the most convenient experient possible. 

Not only does mobile learning result in a 72 percent increase in engagement, but it also results in massive cost savings and higher revenue for companies that implement it. So whether your team is in the office, on the road, or working from home, they’re able to access key company news, training and announcements, at a time that is most convenient for them, from anywhere in the world, even if there’s no wifi connection. 

Testing and Assessment 

Integrating tests and quizzes into team training materials isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that’s increasingly gaining traction and it’s essential to gauge your team’s understanding of materials and concepts. 

But implementing quizzes doesn’t just help you, as a leader, evaluate understanding, it’s also a powerful motivational tool: 83% of those who receive gamified training feel motivated, while “61% of those who receive non-gamified training feel bored and unproductive” (Yikes!). 

If you’re not sold on the value of gamification, consider this: when training is engaging for the end-user, they have more of a reason to stick with it. Studies have shown that there is a huge correlation between gamification and training: when elements are added to modules, motivation climbs and boredom drops to just 10%. Those are stats you just cannot ignore.

Reporting

You can’t improve what you don’t know which is why it’s critical to look for a solution that will go beyond basic data points and give you a holistic view of things like:

  • Which training is being watched 
  • Who is watching it and; 
  • How long they engaged with the content
  • Where they might be getting stuck
  • What topics you may need to create more content around

Your corporate training tool should also give you the option to generate custom reports based on data points like channels, data range, department, users, and uploaded media.  All of these will give you a better look at the impact your program is having and what the ROI is.

In order for you to get the most mileage out of your corporate training system as possible, it’s time to get serious about the way you enterprise implements, distributes, and handles learning. By making an investment in a good system, you give your workers the tools they need to succeed while improving engagement and growing your company’s bottom line. 


Why Your Business Needs Sales Enablement

There’s no question about it: digital is the new normal and this fact is fast impacting the buying and selling process in today’s rapidly-shifting digital marketplace. Once upon a time, only the biggest, most established companies had prominent visibility, but today’s buyer has unlimited access to the latest market trends and intelligence available in the palm of their hand (literally). And with everything moving at a rapid pace, companies are more compelled than ever to improve their sales process in order to stay relevant and competitive. 

But shifting to an agile and engaged sales process isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires organizations to equip their reps with the right tools, content, and processes in order to drive success. That’s why so many companies are turning to sales enablement to increase rep knowledge, improve prospect relationships, and grow their bottom line.

According to the 2018 “Sales Enablement Report” by CSO Insights, the percentage of salespeople achieving quota improved by 10.6%, which is an improvement of 22.7%. In these extraordinary times, companies can’t afford to miss out on a strategy that yields those kinds of results. 

But the benefits of proper sales enablement go beyond just growing your revenue. It also facilitates a multitude of business benefits across your organization, like:

Keeping Your Sales Team Informed

With a constantly shifting marketplace and selling landscape, it’s vital that your reps are armed with the latest knowledge and information about your industry and the issues affecting companies in the space. A successful program empowers your team to absorb essential information and content so they are adequately prepared to deal with a prospect and offer value. Proper sales enablement allows you to ensure all reps are getting consistent messaging about your company’s products, services, messaging, and overall positioning, so they can more effectively engage prospects across multiple channels at different stages in the sales life cycle. 

Synthsizing External Teams

Thre’s no doubt that, for a sales program to be effective, there needs to be efficient cross-collaboration between sales and marketing. In fact, a survey revealed that, on average, about a third of the assets reps need to service the customer journey come from marketing. 

But the truth is, it’s very rare they are working with marketing alone–oftentimes sales is connected with teams across the entire company. That’s why it’s so critical to include “implementing a proper sales enablement portal” on your strategy’s priority list. By setting up a hub where teams across the company can store and share trusted information, you reduce the overall chaos and disorganization that can accompany a high volume of assets coming in from multiple places, ensuring that the best information consistently flows to the sales team. This allows your reps to spend less time looking for the right content, reduces redundant communication threads, and allows marketing and sales enablement to control the accuracy, quality, and consistency of the information being shared with reps.

Getting More from New Talent

No matter what area of an organization you’re in, finding, retaining, and properly onboarding new talent can be difficult. But sales teams also have to contend with a few unique roadblocks, namely:

  • It takes and average of 10 months or more for a new sales rep to be fully productive and;
  • “The average sales turnover rate is 35%, compared to an average turnover rate for all industries of 13%. In other words, sales turnover rate is nearly triple the average employee turnover rate,” according to HubSpot.

With increasing competition and control shifting to buyers, it’s more important than ever to build a sales team that is engaged and committed to representing your company and products. A proper sales enablement platform not only gives your reps the information they need to be successful but can also play a critical role in rep success from the moment you hire them. 

65% of employees believe the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement so it’s easy to understand why the most forward-thinking organizations are using sales enablement solutions to build full-scale onboarding and training programs that set new talent up for success. The most versatile and robust platforms allow you to easily establish training tracks, integrate them with tests and quizzes, and end up becoming a resource reps can easily refer back to later. 

Data-Driven Decision-Making

It’s a well-known truth: you can’t improve what you don’t measure. And while every leader will tout the advantages of enabling sales with the right tools, knowledge, and guidance, many organizations are still absent any properly-defined sales process or way to effectively measure it. 

In today’s data-driven world, it’s not enough to just have a strategy and infrastructure in place, you also need informative analytics that can empower you to make smarter decisions for your team and your business. A formal sales enablement structure should include a tool that not only tells stakeholders what is working (and what is not), helps quantify success in real dollars, and gives insight into key metrics like:

  • Who is accessing the content
  • What they are accessing
  • How long they engaged with it
  • How effective the content was 
  • If the content translated to a sale

Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective. Sadly, many platforms say they offer this type of in-depth reporting but, oftentimes, the capabilities come up short. You’ll want to find a solution that not only allows you to generate custom reports but also integrates effectively with existing programs in your tech stack like Salesforce so you get the most holistic picture of the impact your content is having as possible. 

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Would you like to learn more about how CircleHD’s sales enablement software can help your team deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time? We’d love to speak with you. Let’s talk.


How to Get the Most Out of Your Video Content Management Tool

As more and more businesses are driven online, the use of video for training, communication, enablement, and other organizational functions is growing. But even before this great remote work experiment began, enterprises were still having to contend with an often-confusing matrix of overlapping solutions to manage their internal (and sometimes external) content. 

Instead of parsing together different tools to manage a wide range of assets, companies are increasingly turning to video content management platforms to securely create, host, and share information with their employees. But these solutions are only as useful as you make them. To set your team up for success, follow these best practices. 

It’s All About the Set-Up

Whether you already have a video content management system in place or are looking to implement one, it’s always a good idea to go back to basics and get a holistic view of what assets you have. Too often, content is created and then forgotten about, which can lead to employees referring to outdated information. 

While it might seem overwhelming to clean up, it doesn’t have to be. Like anything, this process becomes much more manageable if you break it down into bite-sized pieces. Create a spreadsheet of all existing assets, noting the name of the item, what type of file it is, a short description of its use, and a link to where it’s currently being stored. This will help you assess where updates are needed, give you valuable insights into what files you may want to toss, and help you address any areas where more content may be needed. 

Categorize With Effectiveness

It’s no secret that more content brings more problems, particularly when it comes to effectively storing it. After all, your assets are only as good as how discoverable they are. Employees have reported spending 43 hours every month searching for information (that’s over 500 hours a year), which contributes to lost productivity and a suffering bottom line. 

But there’s also a silent issue that many leaders don’t talk about or address: information overload. Even when there’s not a pandemic going on, workers are often constantly barraged by an onslaught of email and Slack messages, which results in key information getting lost in a black hole. 

Couple these issues together and you have a recipe for disaster, which is why categorizing your content is arguably the most critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to ensuring the adoption of a corporate video portal across your enterprise. 

Increase to usefulness and discoverability of your content by:

  • Separating assets into channels based on goals, subject matter, or function, similar to Netflix. The best part about setting your files up this way versus a “catch-all” folder is that you’re able to quickly add a piece of content into a track with a simple click whereas it’s more difficult to add new folders to a large store of existing content while retaining their discoverability. 
  • Ensuring everything uploaded has relevant tags. Hot tip: a good way to keep tagging structures consistent is to create a document everyone on your team can refer to that outlines what type of content should be paired with certain keywords. If you’re like us and prefer things to be more uniform, putting a naming convention for all files in place can also help keep things organized. 
  • Adding contextual information. After all, information is only as good as the background you can provide on it. You wouldn’t just jump into the middle of a movie you’ve never seen without understanding the plot that led up to that point, would you? The good news is that providing this information doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds; it is easily achieved by adding a thumbnail that provides a clue as to what the file is about, or a short description to accompany the name. 
  • Annotating your assets and leaving important insights about content for others to refer back to. This could be in the form of notes about changes, new information, or when a certain tactic or skill should be used. This provides an easy way for thoughts and advice to be captured for posterity and is a great way for teams to collaborate and share what they have learned–a very useful feature for preserving training or sales intelligence. 

Secure Your Content

Having great assets and storing them effectively is a great start, but you also need to have a solid security strategy to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands (and, in turn, your company falling into a potential PR disaster). But sometimes, the reasons to secure your content aren’t always so clandestine: you may want to restrict content to certain teams or levels of seniority, for example. Whatever your use case, you should be using a platform that utilizes the latest enterprise-grade security protocols such as end-to-end encryption, SSO, and custom access controls. 

Another good best practice to follow includes critically assessing what levels and permissions you want to grant for each uploaded piece of content in order to keep your most sensitive information as secure as possible. 

Cast a Wider Net

Giving employees the ability to access content on their own terms is incredibly powerful for any enterprise. Whether your company is still working in-house, or you’re distributed, there’s still a great need to access information as conveniently as possible. This is where a dedicated mobile application is especially helpful. Even if people are working from home, they are still driving places in their car, going for a run, or doing things that don’t require them to be at a desk. In fact, 60% of employees use apps for work-related activity.

But there’s a prevailing idea that creating such a tool would require a ton of money or resources but that’s actually not the case. A video content management system like CircleHD comes with a native app that you’re able to custom brand so it becomes a natural extension of your organization. By having an iOS or Android application in place, you enable company information or training to be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world regardless of time zone or internet connectivity (and without the hurdles of trying to use a clunky VPN or a Learning Management System that isn’t optimized for mobile). 

Measure the Impact

Content is only as good as the impact it’s having and the truth is you cannot measure its usefulness or impact without proper analytics. But the truth is most systems only give you superficial insights that don’t really help you make data-driven decisions that impact ROI. 

When it comes to determining what content is working best for your teams and new hires, you’ll want to look at metrics like:

  • Who is watching videos
  • When they are watching videos
  • How long they are engaging with the content
  • Where they may have dropped off or had trouble

By understanding these data points, you can make informed decisions about what type of content to create and what may not be as helpful. 

No matter where your teams are working from, it’s important to empower them with the tools and information they need to stay in the loop and do their job effectively. By putting the proper tools and processes in place and being intentional about communications, you’ll create a winning strategy and get the most mileage possible out of your corporate video portal.


Do you want to learn more about how you can effectively implement a video content management tool at your enterprise? Let’s talk


5 Things to Look for in a Corporate Training Tool

There isn’t any area of business that hasn’t been affected or disrupted by technology–none so much as corporate training. What used to be a one-time session or seminar has completely transformed into a more customized experience as companies discard the one-size-fits-all model. No longer is training just for distributing knowledge, programs are now more all-encompassing than ever, allowing leaders to more effectively track the progress of their team members and gain insights into what information is being communicated effectively–and what is not. 

There’s no doubt that searching for a new tool to add to your organization’s technology stack can be overwhelming and with so many programs out there, it’s difficult to know which key features you should be looking for. If your enterprise is looking to change its training tool, these features are an absolute must-have in a corporate training solution. 

1. Video support

It’s a well-known fact that many corporate learning management systems and training solutions are not very friendly to multimedia files. They are usually stored in a manner that isn’t conducive to the user experience if they’re able to be stored at all. 

The fact is, people are more interested in watching video training material than reading lengthy manuals, that’s why it’s become the new standard for corporate learning. According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. More than that, it’s radically more effective when it comes to knowledge retention; the average worker will have forgotten 65% of the material they’ve covered within just 7 days of completion. After 6 months, that number jumps to 90%. 

While many people talk about the benefits a for the trainee, oftentimes, the conveniences a video training platform can offer leaders are overlooked. Some of these include:

  • Steep cost-savings: With video, you don’t need to pay for travel or incur extra expenses for personnel: you just push play. This can net some serious savings for your organization. For example, when Microsoft converted to video training from the standard classroom model, they reduced the cost from $320 per person to just $17 per person. That’s about $13.9 million per year they got back. 
  • More content in less time: If you choose a platform that has native recording tools which allow you to create content directly from your computer or mobile device, that module can be live in a matter of minutes, versus a written asset or presentation that can take weeks to produce. 
  • Consistent messaging: When it comes to conducting training sessions, there are about a million variables that will decide if your employees will all be getting the same information. Sometimes it varies by who is conducting the session, other times certain information will be covered more in-depth than other material. Either way, putting your training on a video ensures everyone is getting consistent information.

When it comes to evaluating a corporate learning solution’s multimedia capabilities, you’ll need to ask yourself:

  • Is the content able to host multiple types of files (i.e. .mov, .pdf, .avi, .mp4, and so on)?
  • Does the solution have native recording tools?
  • Are you able to create training tracks and playlists?
  • Is video content optimized for mobile devices?
  • How discoverable is content after its created?
  • How much flexibility do you have around categorizing and tagging content?
  • How much control do you retain over your content (note: this should be a very serious concern for your organization, especially if you’re considering using an external resource like YouTube or Vimeo for your content. We don’t recommend it)?


2. Mobile-friendly

Mobile has surpassed desktop as the primary way to access the internet, so it’s critical that whatever training tool you choose be optimized for smartphones. Some corporate training solutions will already have an app that you can custom brand, but many force you to access your company’s portal through a regular internet browser that is not mobile-responsive, rending the product completely useless to anyone that wants to access training on-the-go.

Whether you have just a few employees or thousands, it’s next to impossible to get everyone in the same place at the same time. That’s why mobile compatibility is key. Not only does it give your team members anther way to access information at any time (thus removing one of the peskiest barriers to adoption), but it also lets them easily refer back to the information they may have forgotten or missed. 

3. Enterprise-grade security protocols

It’s no secret that data is very vulnerable to attacks and privacy. We hear about it every day. To avoid becoming a statistic or worse, a PR disaster, your content needs to be protected by the most up-to-date security protocols available. That doesn’t just mean end-to-end encryption, either. You should confirm with your vendor that:

  • Data is stored in a SOC-1 facility
  • The platform allows you to set custom access controls for each piece of content 
  • Advanced features like IP restriction and whitelisting are enabled
  • The solution utilizes two-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO) protocols to verify user access to the training platform. 

4. Gamification abilities

In order to accurately gauge your team’s understanding of the material and concepts, there needs to be an assessment engine in the corporate training tool. Gamification isn’t a new concept but it’s one that’s increasingly being applied in training programs. 83% of those who receive gamified training feel motivated, while 61% of those who receive non-gamified training feel bored and unproductive (Yikes!).

Some ways companies use gamification include:

  • Tests and quizzes attached to relevant training modules
  • Badges 
  • Points granted
  • Virtual or physical rewards for accomplishments 
  • Leaderboards
  • Levels

In addition to these tactics, some platforms will even allow you to generate completion certificates once an employee has finished a certain module. A good use case for this might be for a particular software that’s used at the company or to show a team member has completed diversity training. 

If you’re not sold on the value of gamification, consider this: when training is engaging for the end-user, they have more of a reason to stick with it. Studies have shown that there is a huge correlation between gamification and training: when elements are added to modules, motivation climbs up to 83%, and boredom drops to just 10%. Those are stats you just cannot ignore. 

5. Robust reporting and analytics 

You can’t improve what you don’t understand and the sad reality is that many training platforms don’t give you the analytical information you need to make intelligent, data-driven decisions about how to improve your training program. That’s why it’s s critical to look for a solution that will go beyond basic data points and give you a holistic view of things like:

  • Which training is being watched
  • Who is watching it and;
  • How long they engaged with the content. 

Your corporate training tool should also give you the option to generate custom reports based on data points like channels, data range, department, users, and uploaded media.  All of these will give you a better look at the impact your program is having and what the ROI is. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay competitive in business, it’s time to get serious about the way your enterprise facilitates training by investing in a knowledge platform that works. 


If you’re looking for a corporate training tool that can help you increase knowledge retention across your organization, keep employees engaged, and increase your bottom line, we’d love to speak with you. Contact us for a free demo. 


5 Things to Look For In a Sales Enablement Solution

Once upon a time, some good conversation, a few samples, and a firm handshake was all one needed to successfully close a sales deal. But no more: Selling is more complex than ever, and often requires the help and input from multiple teams across the organization.

If you feel like closing a deal is getting more difficult, you’re not wrong: SiriusDecisions found that the length of sales cycles has grown 24% in the last two years…and even if you do manage to get people through most of the cycle, many decision-makers are still having a difficult time taking that next step. 

While these challenges are big, they are not insurmountable. In fact, next-gen enterprises have been using sales enablement solutions to solve some of these very pain points. And no wonder: a recent Forrester study revealed enterprises that implement an interactive sales enablement platform can accelerate deal closure by up to 43% and drive company growth by up to 60%. 

Benefits of a Sales Enablement Platform

The value a good sales enablement platform can provide your organization cannot be overstated. If you choose the right solution, your enterprise will see benefits like:

  • Increased sales productivity
  • Increased sales effectiveness
  • Consistent messaging, as these platforms ensure sellers aren’t using outdated templates or content, protecting the brand 
  • Greater visibility into what assets sellers are using so you know what works and what doesn’t 
  • Improved product education. After all, you can’t sell what you don’t know. Sales enablement platforms let your reps access all the information they need at any time 
  • The ability to monitor what content is being used 
  • The ability to track how engaged team members and prospects are with the content 

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business

When it comes to choosing a solution for your enterprise, there are a lot of tools on the market and it can be difficult to know where you should begin in your evaluation process. 

We won’t lie: there are plenty of sales enablement tools on the market. Some better than others. But it’s critical to note that not all of these platforms are created equal and you need to take your specific needs and use case into consideration during the evaluation process. While all have plenty of baseline functions for the casual users, there are few that really go above and beyond to improve the day-to-day lives of sellers or truly provide them with all the tools they need to be successful. 

These are the main points you should be considering when evaluating sales enablement software for your enterprise:

Content Management 

The backbone of any sales organization is content. Sure, there was a time when customers only engaged with content once they reached a certain point with the sales cycle but the most agile companies know that is no longer the case and are adapting their sales enablement strategies to compensate. 

If you’re not already incorporating content into your sales process, you’re missing out on a huge revenue opportunity. Consider these stats:

But this consideration isn’t about creating great content (we have another post that addresses this), it’s about how you can best manage it for the greatest impact and how the right creation tools can help your reps go above and beyond for their prospects. 

When considering a sales enablement portal for your organization, it should be with the understanding that this will become the central hub for all sales collateral, be it product sheets, demo videos, case studies, presentations, and so on. But more than that, when you find a portal that empowers your reps to become content creators, you enable them to customize the sales funnel like never before. 

Think about it: there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to a sale; every organization is contending with its own issues, pain points and priorities. That’s why customizing the purchase process is so powerful. In fact, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.

If your reps are sending standard, off-the-shelf information to prospects that don’t reflect the company’s particular use case or feels ingenuine, your lead will see through it right away. Not to mention, when it comes to serving the right content, time is often of the essence, with 30-50% of sales going to the vendor that’s most responsive.

By using a sales enablement solution (such as CircleHD’s), teams are able to quickly create customized video or audio content that can be shared securely in just a few minutes, much less time than it takes to have an outside team put together and design any new assets.  

Search Capabilities

It’s not enough to have great content anymore: it also needs to be easily stored and searchable. Sales reps spend close to 43 hours every month searching for information. That’s over 500 hours a year. Imagine what each member of your team could do if they got even a fraction of that time back (hint: the answer is selling more)

Suffice to say, your sales enablement portal should provide your team with strong search capabilities to reduce the amount of time they waste looking for content. And we’re not just talking about the kind that utilizes standard Google-type searches, either. With all the advances in technology, reps should be able to go beyond keywords and titles and be able to find any tidbit they need using relevant tags, additional metadata and emerging technologies like speech to text search, which is ideal for finding where words and phrases occur in spoken content like audio and video. 

Time to Value

When you’re looking to introduce a new product to your company’s tech stack, you need to consider how much time will pass before it actually becomes useful to your team. This process can be particularly painful for those implementing cumbersome Learning Management Solutions (LMS) or trying to migrate a large volume of distributed assets to one platform, as is usually the case for sales enablement solutions.

In order to provide the optimum value to your organization the sales enablement platform you should choose needs to be: 

  • Quick to implement
  • Fast to get started with
  • Easy to use in order to drive adoption. It also helps if you choose a solution that has an interface and UX similar to sites your workers have probably already used (a good example of this is CircleHD’s YouTube-like back end that shortens the learning curve for those familiar with the website) 

If you look for a platform that is intuitive and simple, you’ll start seeing ROI from your investment sooner.

Analytics

It can be a struggle to fully understand what type of content is making an impact, what you should do more of, and what is falling flat. That’s why it’s critical to go beyond traditional data points and look for a sales enablement solution that will help you correlate content to revenue.

Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective. Look for a platform that will let you capture what content was presented, who it was given to, and how long they were engaged with it. Understanding what is driving conversions helps your marketing team focus on creating assets that will be more useful to your salesforce. 

Flexibility and Security

Whichever solution you choose, it will become an integral part of your company’s technology ecosystem. This in mind, you should choose a sales enablement portal that:

  • Has a flexible and open API
  • Integrates with the other programs your organization is already using
  • Allows you to build some extra functionality if the platform doesn’t meet all your requirements as is (hint: we can build custom features for you at CircleHD)
  • Is able to be branded so the portal feels like a natural extension of your company, not an outside solution. This is particularly important for creating a consistent buyer experience. 

It should also go without saying that any sales enablement software you select needs to be secure, whether you’re sharing proprietary information or not. Anyone working in today’s digital world knows one of the greatest concerns for organizations is their sensitive information being stolen or leaked. That in mind, your vendor should employ the latest security measures and protocols so you can rest assured that your most content is safe and protected. 

With the right solution on your side, you can create a modern sales enablement program that helps your reps have a bigger impact, increase prospect satisfaction, and ultimately grow your company’s revenue. 

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If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD’s Sales Training, Coaching, and Enablement solution can help your organization propel your reps to new heights, we’d love to speak with you. Let’s talk


Microsoft Stream and Best-of-Breed Video Management Platforms

When evaluating a content management platform for your company’s onboarding, training, sales enablement, or internal communications efforts, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by options. While many seem similar on the surface, once implemented, you may find key functionalities missing or worse, encounter a difficult user experience. That’s why we’re putting together a series of blog posts to help guide you in your solution evaluation process. Today, we’ll be talking about Microsoft Stream.

At first glance, Microsoft’s Stream offering seems attractive, especially if offered at no cost as part of a bundle with Office 365 (note: it’s not actually free. Users have noted that you need to get Office 365 licensing for administrator accounts before you can manage Stream). But when looking into the ability to store, organize and share video and other dynamic content, it makes sense to take a closer look at what specific functionality is available.

Native Recording Tools and Support for External Content

Video platforms often feature a range of bells and whistles, but often core functionalities like native recording are missing. This is a problem since it forces users to either purchase another tool to complement the solution or requires someone on your team have sophisticated video production knowledge.

In the past, uploading original video content to Microsoft Stream was complicated and cumbersome at best. Today, they have fully-integrated recording tools.

Similarly, CircleHD enables users to upload any previously created media like video to the platform, but it also offers support for slides, text content, and audio files like podcasts. Since the solution has built-in audio and video recording tools, users are able to produce, upload, and share new content in a matter of minutes without the need for any extra production tools.

But unlike Microsoft Stream, CircleHD’s platform offers a wide range of support for both internal and external content. Not only does the platform support importing video directly from YouTube and 243 other sources, but it also lets you go beyond uploading so you can share media with audiences outside of your organization. That means partners, customers, and other cohorts are able to receive your content should you wish to distribute it, whether for training, sales, marketing purposes–or something else. 

Channels

We all know that it isn’t enough to just create new content, you also need an effective way to store it.

Both Microsoft Stream and CircleHD allow you to create public and private channels where your files can be hosted, but the latter is a little more flexible. While Stream has no way to disable a user’s ability to add and remove videos from company-wide channels, CircleHD encourages administrators to take ownership of the platform’s channel settings. This means you have the option to curate content yourself or, alternatively, grant permissions to department leaders so they may customize it based on the team’s needs and goals.

Playlists

While Channels are a great way to sort content, sometimes, they don’t go far enough. Most organizations need the ability to order and sequence content for optimum training purposes, not just the ability to save it in a particular bucket. That’s where playlists come in.

CircleHD allows users to sort video, slide, and podcast content into playlists, similar to YouTube–a basic function that is not available in Stream. If you’re looking for your content management platform to serve any sort of training or onboarding purpose, this feature is a must-have, as it makes creating custom courses simple and intuitive.

Quizzes, Gamification and Certification

Studies have shown that 65 percent of information is forgotten just seven days after a training session. After six months, that number jumps to 90 percent. But these stats aren’t unique to training–they also apply to all-hands meetings, department sync ups, sales seminars, and more. Incorporating video is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to encouraging knowledge retention across your organization–you should also be incorporating quizzes to fight against information loss.

Microsoft offers this capability, but not natively: you’ll need to use their Forms product in tandem. This might be a roadblock for the typical user who just wants to pair a simple test with content.

By contrast, CircleHD lets you create quizzes directly on the platform and easily integrate it with your content–whether it’s a standalone piece or part of a training track. Some other companion features include the ability to generate certificates upon the completion of a course and the option to enable a leaderboard for those teams that are particularly driven by healthy competition (we’re looking at you, sales).

It’s possible some of these functions may someday be added to the Microsoft Stream roadmap, and perhaps later released. Until then, it may make sense for your organization to go with a more comprehensive video management platform if you’re looking for these particular features.

Closed-Captioning

It’s today’s world, it’s not enough to just produce great video content, you also need to make sure it’s accessible to everyone in your organization. While both Stream and CircleHD have automatic transcription tools, CircleHD supports multiple closed-captioning for video, letting end-users upload video with captions in multiple languages. 

Access Controls

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. Both Microsoft Stream and CircleHD have admin management features for videos and channels, as well as the ability to make content private, but CircleHD allows you to restrict your content to certain groups or individuals. You can also use active directory groups and HRIS attributes, such as department and cost center names, to limit access to a specific audience.

CircleHD’s access control settings

Interestingly, in Stream, there is no feature to securely share videos and other content with third parties like partners and customers, something CircleHD is able to do without sacrificing security.

Content Discovery

Did you know sales reps spend close to 43 hours every month searching for information? That’s over 500 hours a year. Even if you’re not in sales, chances are, you spend a lot more time than you’d like looking for documents and other information. Imagine what you could get done if you got even a fraction of that time back? That’s why it’s so critical to ensure your content management platform has a user-interface that makes search quick, easy, and intuitive. CircleHD makes search easier with tags, metadata, and custom fields so you can set your own classification parameters.

A great feature both platforms have is the ability to search channels and videos using intelligent speech to text transcription capabilities. This means you are able to find where specific words and phrases occur in your content. No more wondering, “who said that?”

Reporting and Analytics

Reporting is an area where many solutions often fall short but it’s such a critical component of communications success. After all, if you don’t know how people are engaging with your content, it’s impossible to have a full understanding of how to iterate and pivot your strategy to achieve your goals.

Stream has access to likes, views, and comments data, but not much else. CircleHD has a robust analytics suite with built-in employee segmentation and KPI tools so you get key insights like who is viewing your content, when they are viewing it, for how long, and more. Their playlist analytics can also track if employees are viewing your content alongside a quiz when it’s assigned, and let you see how team members are progressing.

Since CircleHD’s reporting capabilities are so extensive and able to give administrators a detailed picture of department and employee-level engagement, enterprises are able to clearly see the ROI of video usage across the organization. 

Integration with Cloud Web Conferencing

Recording and managing online meetings and webinars is fast becoming one of the main use cases for video content. While many platforms claim they integrate with the top conferencing solutions, the way they integrate can have big impacts on usability.

Of course, Microsoft Stream supports its own proprietary webcast solutions, but it seems these days, everyone has their own preference for which platform to use. Even if you use a Microsoft product for some of your webcasts, your recorded Zoom, Slack, WebEx, and GoToMeeting sessions will not be auto-saved to your Stream repository.

By contrast, CircleHD has native integrations that support all of these platforms (as well as over 200 other integrations…but that’s for another time), which can be a life-saver when it comes to keeping all your recordings (and sanity) in one place.

Cost

You might be thinking, “All these features are great, but what’s it going to cost me?”

The good news is that CircleHD is actually one of the most competitively-priced solutions on the market today, with user seats coming in at a mere $4.99 per person plus custom pricing for larger enterprises. The standard business plan gets you a whopping TB of bandwidth per month and 4 TB’s of storage.

By contrast, Microsoft Stream can get pretty pricey. According to their website, “Microsoft Stream includes a base amount of storage. A Microsoft Stream tenant receives a fixed allocation of 500 GB of storage and an additional 0.5 GB of storage per licensed user…Additional Microsoft Stream storage is available for purchase separately.”

And the costliness of Stream has not gone unnoticed with multiple posts on their own forum commenting on it, including this one: “I was reviewing [the storage page] to explain Storage in Stream to a colleague and why some organizations disable uploads to Stream.  I was also shocked when I read that an additional 500 GB of Stream storage would cost $1200 a year.  I understand that Stream storage has much more value (searchable transcript, player, captions, etc) than a 500 GB disk drive which you can buy for between $30 – $80, but $1200 each and every year for an additional 500 GB of storage seems excessively high to me.”

With additional features, more flexibility, and higher storage limits, CircleHD is the clear winner here. 


We Can’t Breathe

We at CircleHD are shocked and saddened by the events which have taken place, not only in our community, but across the country. When one of us hurts, we all hurt and we stand in solidarity against racism and injustice wherever they are.

“We are deeply saddened by the horrific incident and death of  George Floyd,” said CircleHD, Santosh Sahoo. “Our team stands by the family of Mr. Floyd, and everyone protesting for equality and justice.”

If you’d like to donate time or resources to support our brothers and sisters, please consider the following organizations:

National

LGBTQ FundBail fund providing relief to jailed LGBTQ people in 15 states and counting.

Campaign ZeroOrganization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the U.S.

Unicorn RiotNonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.

Minnesota

George Floyd Memorial FundThe official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.

Minnesota Freedom FundCommunity-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality.

Black Visions CollectiveMinnesota-based black, trans, and queer-led organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence.

Reclaim the Block: Coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods.

California

Peoples City Council Freedom Fund: Los Angeles-based fund helping to pay for legal support, bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protesters in the city, as well as medical bills and transportation for injured protesters, supplies for field medics, and direct support to L.A.’s Black Lives Matter chapter.

Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America Bail FundThe Oakland/San Jose chapter of DSA is currently allocating donations to a temporary bail fund, as well as a COVID-19 aid fund.

Colorado

Colorado Freedom FundProviding bail relief to protesters and other individuals across the state of Colorado. CFF has also been providing protest updates on its webpage.

Georgia

Atlanta Solidarity Fund: Action Network fund set up to support the George Floyd protesters with both bail and necessary legal relief.

Illinois

Chicago Community Bond FundOrganization committed to posting bail for individuals in Cook County, Illinois, who are unable to post bail themselves.

Kentucky

Louisville Community Bail FundBail, legal, and support fund for activists in Louisville.

Maryland

Baltimore Action Legal TeamBail fund and legal relief for the city of Baltimore, with a focus on black activists.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Bail FundWorking to post bails up to $2,000 in Essex and Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts.

Michigan

Detroit Bail FundBail fund launched by a local activist to provide relief to the city’s protesters.

New York

Brooklyn Bail FundCommunity bail fund for Brooklyn’s incarcerated individuals. The nonprofit recently pivoted its focus to bail reform, but organizers have committed to helping those arrested in this week’s protests and are providing support to other bail funds across the country.

May 2020 Buffalo Bail Fund: Fundraiser set up to provide bail for those protesting in Buffalo, New York.

Ohio

Columbus Freedom FundBail fund committed to helping those arrested for protesting in Columbus.

Oregon

PDX Protest Bail FundGoFundMe established by the General Defense Committee Local 1 to bail protesters out in Portland.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Bail FundBail fund providing relief to protesters in the city of Philadelphia, with the long-term goal of bringing an end to cash bail.

Bukit Bail Fund of PittsburghOrganization founded after the preventable death of Frank “Bukit” Smart Jr., in Allegheny County Jail, working to bail out individuals currently incarcerated in ACJ.

Tennessee

Nashville Bail FundNonprofit committed to freeing low-income individuals from jail in the city of Nashville.

Texas

Restoring Justice Community Bail FundA partnership between Restoring Justice, the Bail Project and Pure Justice to provide bail relief in Houston, initially set up as a response to COVID-19.

Luke 4:18 Bail FundBail fund overseen by Faith in Texas committed to posting bail for individuals in Dallas.

400+1 Bail FundBail fund originally created to assist a black man arrested in Austin who feared he could catch COVID-19 in jail. The fund is now being directed toward protesters in the city.

Virginia

Richmond Community Bail FundCommunity group dedicated to freeing jailed individuals in Richmond who can’t make bail.

Washington

Northwest Community Bail Fund: Providing cash bail to arrested individuals in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Wisconsin

Milwaukee Freedom FundBail fund for black and brown organizers in Milwaukee. Donations are currently on pause so as to administer the funds they’ve already received, but the webpage includes a list of similar local organizations to donate to instead.

Outside the U.S.

Toronto Protestor Bail FundToronto activists are holding their own Black Lives Matter protests over the death of Regis Korchinski and have set up this bail fund for those arrested.


6 Strategies for Successful Remote Sales During a Pandemic

Once upon a time, face-to-face interactions were a requirement for sales success, but no longer. Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, an increase in virtual communications tools meant that prospecting was increasingly conducted online. Sales may be facing a different world, but it’s still easier than ever to reach customers all over the globe and increase the speed of the sales process by realizing the full potential of remote prospecting. 

In times of crisis, when the news is often full of shocking and ominous headlines, it’s important to remain calm and realize that not everything is completely out of our control. There are still many ways you can make a difference. Just like you are taking precautions in your everyday life such as frequent handwashing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, there are also strategies sales teams can use to cope with the business impact of coronavirus. 

Here are a few tactics you can use to keep your sales pipeline functioning during this uncertain time:

Stock up on Business Leads


Even though there may be a buying moratorium on companies you’re talking to, this is a great time to open the conversation and position yourself to be top-of-mind when business reopens. Devote some extra time and resources to building relationships and lead generation tools right now, even if your schedule is hectic. 

If your industry hasn’t been particularly impacted by COVID-19, you’d do well to start building relationships and have a deeper pool of prospects to work with over the long term. 

Get Timely With your Focus


There’s no doubt that most industries have been touched by coronavirus in some way and there’s a high probability that your prospects may already have significant pain points and concerns about the situation. Spend some time thinking about how you can reposition your product to alleviate those concerns. In your pitch, you should be talking about how your company can help clients adapt to this ever-changing situation and highlight key benefits that will get them through this difficult time. 

The good news is that the same selling points you’re used to using are probably still relevant, you just need to adjust the way you present them and frame the product for people’s most urgent concerns. Prospects may be dealing with pain points like:

  • Coronavirus-related disruptions to their business
  • Adjusted styles of work, such as telecommuting or disrupted hours
  • Shutdowns in their supply chain
  • How to engage their newly-remote workforce
  • How to ensure their security protocols are current and able to deal with new cyber threats that may arise

These pain points are not uncommon and you should be able to adjust your messaging to show how your product or solutions can help address them, both during this time of crisis and once life goes back to normal. 

Lead With Empathy


For those who work in sales and marketing, you can walk a fine line between being understanding of a situation and coming off like you’re taking advantage of it for monetary gain. That’s why it’s so critical to be as sensitive as possible with your messaging during this time and be sure to lead with empathy. The best part is that empathy is free and it’s the best tool you can use to guide your interactions with clients and prospects. Reach out and offer genuine help and support, show gratitude, and seek out ways you can build communities and offer your expertise to those who may be struggling. 

Get Creative with Sales Presentations 


Since many people are cutting down on work-related travel and in-person meetings, online pitches are becoming more important than ever. This may mean you need to adjust your sales process to fit this new, virtual medium.

For example, if you’re used to doing a discovery call, followed by an in-person meeting, you’ll want to make sure you are able to translate the information presented in that second meeting into a visual presentation. But a tightly-designed, well-informed, PowerPoint is just the first step. You’ll need to have a good way to deliver the information during your remote sales meeting. 

The good news is that there is a vast array of online meeting tools that are easy to use and can help you retain that all-important face-to-face interaction, even when you can’t be in the same room. Some tools you might consider include:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Webex
  • GoToMeeting
  • Facetime
  • Skype
  • Join.me

While it can be a little daunting to change the way you usually build relationships and illustrate the value of your product, all this technology has enabled us to continue to connect, even when we can’t be in the same room. However, you’ll still have to get a little innovative with the way you present information to the client. That might include:

  • Giving a virtual tour of the production floor
  • Doing an in-depth demo that brings in members of your technical team who usually aren’t involved until much later in the process
  • Sending your prospect a video of your product or solution in action so you can talk through the demo while watching the video together. 

Create Segment-Specific Videos


If you already have a good idea of specific verticals you should be targeting, now is a great time to make videos targeting those specific areas for your remote sales efforts.

Video continues to be one of the most impactful marketing tools a sales rep can have in their back pocket, yet so many don’t have much time to put them together. In fact, 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. You probably already have a lot of information on hand that would make good video content, such as:

  • Explainers
  • Presentations 
  • Video blogs 
  • Feature tutorials 
  • Webinars 
  • Customer testimonials 
  • Interviews 
  • Live streams 
  • Product videos

If you don’t already have access to this information or are a little uncomfortable with putting these types of assets together, you might want to reach out to your company’s marketing team, as they likely already have many of these resources available for you. 

Hot tip: Creating these assets is really only half of the battle: you’ll also want a place where you can store and share them securely. CircleHD offers the ability to easily create encrypted multimedia libraries with access permissions so you can rest assured that your content is protected and only being viewed by who you grant access to.

Don’t Stop Selling


Even though things can seem a little bleak, this is not the time to stop selling. Keep going, keep prospecting, and stay calm. 

Even though we may be experiencing some short-term economic pain, and life may not get back to normal right away, it’s important to continue to adapt and keep doing business. You may find that remote sales deals get a little stalled in your pipeline so make sure to keep them warm; It’s always a good idea to align with your marketing team for helpful resources you can share with prospects while keeping the conversation open. 

Even though some companies may be withholding investment until this uncertainty resolves, if you follow these tips, you’ll be on the front lines when the fog is lifted. 

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If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD’s Sales Enablement solution can help your remote prospecting efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out


CircleHD Makes Platform Free for K-12 Educators Affected By Coronavirus

Platform easily integrates with already in-use technology like Zoom for a more seamless learning experience

March 16, 2020 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – CircleHD, a Bay-area based company known for its highly-secure, learning experience platform (LXP), has just announced that it will make its solution free to any K-12 teacher or educational institution that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe.

“The spread of coronavirus has caused my son’s school to close until mid-April and they don’t have any e-learning resources available,” says CircleHD’s Chief Executive Officer, Santosh Sahoo. “We wanted to make CircleHD available to any other individuals or institutions also experiencing a shut down so they can continue doing the incredible educational work they do every single day with minimal interruption.”

CircleHD’s LXP enables users to use a combination of video, audio, and slide deck content to easily create class modules that can be accessed on desktop or mobile, 24/7, from anywhere–even where there is no wifi connection. The platform integrates with Zoom, which many educators have turned to during the outbreak, and features powerful analytics tools that track key metrics like which content is being accessed, when it’s being accessed, and overall student progress. Teachers are also able to create and assign quizzes in order to gain a better understanding of how well knowledge is being absorbed and retained. 

In addition to the aforementioned, CircleHD’s Learning Experience Platform also contains a catalog of tech-forward features that can help instructors get more from their educational content including:

  • Ability to target and restrict learning modules to specific people
  • Automatic transcription which enables content to be transcribed and close-captioned at the point of creation
  • AI-powered search to identify where specific terms and phrases occur in your content library
  • iOS and Android mobile apps allow users to access content on-demand

Sahoo finishes, “With schools from coast to coast shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we hope CircleHD will be a useful tool to mitigate downtime and help educators continue to effectively conduct classes in these uncertain times.”

The company has asked any teachers or institutions wishing to use their platform to reach out directly to sales@circlehd.com

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ABOUT CIRCLEHD

CircleHD is an Enterprise Learning Experience Platform founded by Santosh Sahoo and Vinay Ubale in Bellevue, Washington. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, CircleHD brings enterprise-grade security, privacy, and compliance to company videos, presentations, and podcasts. 


4k Video Support is Here

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding 4k video, also known as aka 2060p, ever since ultra-high-definition televisions burst onto the market. Over the years this technology has become more sophisticated with more mobile phones and tablets now offering support for 4k content than ever before.

Today, we’re excited to announce the roll-out of support for 4k video at CircleHD: Employees will now be able to natively upload crisp, clear screencasts and stream videos made with premium high-resolution cameras.

4k videos are larger, have 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 resolution, contain 8 million pixels and can be cumbersome on your resources. In fact, typical file size can range from 1Gb ~ 50Gb. That’s why we have accounted for all these variables and bumped up our single file upload limit to 10GB.

When it comes to bandwidth, we recommend at least 25Mbps. However, if your working with limited bandwidth and/or low powered GPU-like mobile devices, CircleHD will automatically transcode with a lower bit rate, creating a frictionless user experience.

We are proud to be the first enterprise video platform to allow the uploading and sharing of 4k content. How can you benefit from 4k? Here are just a few of the ways:

  • Your training videos will look visually richer
  • All-hands meetings can become more lifelike
  • Conduct screencasts without losing pixels
  • Easily read on-screen code during developer training sessions

With CircleHD, enterprised are able to mix videos, slide decks and podcast content together to create cohesive playlists used for training and knowledge sharing. With 4k, you’ll be able to deliver the best-looking content possible, every single time.

Do you want to learn more? We’d love to connect with you and show you how your organization can benefit from 4k video. Get in touch with us.