Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Find Purpose in your Sales Role

  1.       Have a good team

-     These people will be your family. You’ll depend on them in tough situations, you’ll need their advice with seemingly unsolvable problems. We all come across times where we can’t stand on our own and we need the support of others. Finding purpose in your sales role can be heavily influenced in finding community within your network. After all, the bottom line isn’t always the most rewarding factor of selling. 

2.       Be excited by new innovations

-      Keeping on top of your field is a given if you want to be successful in your role, but what drives you to pursue this knowledge gain? Is it that bottom line? The commissions? A competitive edge? Above all, passion about the products will produce the most sustainable source of motivation for keeping on top of your game. If you’re excited about what the company implements, how they implement it, or how it’s bettering the lives of the end user, you’re more inclined to be hunting down new technologies in order to better any one of those three applications. 

3.      Have fun

-       The reason to enjoy yourself has so many benefits I’d need to write a novel on it. Fun can help dissipate stress, laughter alleviates tension, joking around helps to cultivate comradery. Having fun can help you have an external reason for enjoying what it is that you do. Of course you need self-discipline and force of will to pursue the game, but you also need to let yourself enjoy the journey to that end goal. Otherwise you’ll burn yourself out. And no one, least of all you, wants that. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Salus Telehealth Merging with VideoMedicine

Image result for salus telehealth logo

The telehealth initiative is continuing to grow each and every day connecting physicians and patients around the world. As the market is getting more competitive you’ll find that there are a lot of options when it comes to your video platform and workflow. While at the recent American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Fall Forum I was able to speak with multiple vendors whom were promoting their services. One really stood out to me: Salus Telehealth.

Salus Telehealth of Waycross, GA and VideoMedicine of Chicago, IL have recently merged.
According to the MedCityNews press release, “The new Salus Telehealth brings together a traditional telehealth and remote monitoring platform from Salus and a mobile app from VideoMedicine that connects consumers to physicians, including specialists. We are ready to turn the telehealth world on its head — whether in a hospital, clinic, rural medi-van, ambulance, pharmacy chain, corporate environment or home, VideoMedicine CEO and Founder Dr. Charles Butler said in a statement. “Our new combined company will be able to provide innovative solutions to life-altering problems in a cost-effective way that would not be possible without the combination of these two companies.”

I had the pleasure of sitting down with two of the representatives at ATA to discuss the benefits of this platform/service and I was very excited to hear what they had to say. In house developers built their own video platform from the ground up and it offers a triple 256-bit encryption. All videos and photos that would be exchanged through the video conference are also encrypted keeping this service HIPAA compliant. Salus has the capability to communicate with EMRs, scheduling within those EMRs along with connecting to limitless Bluetooth peripherals which allow for a full patient/physician experience if needed.

With this new merger, I would absolutely consider Salus as a platform to keep an eye on in the future.


Communicating Better with Remote Co-Workers

These days, much attention and focus is on the remote worker- working from a home office. Forbes did a survey a few months back and you can read it here: Are Remote Workers Happier And More Productive?

 The study concluded remote workers feel more valued and are more productive. Of course there are some perks to working from home but how do you stay connected? Communication complications from having a physically separated team can often arise resulting in a frustrated team. Here are some tips:

1. Stay professional. 

If you’re meeting over video conferencing, try and dress how you would if you were meeting in person. 

2. Follow up frequently. 

Try to follow up with different managers and team members in case an email didn’t get lost in a person’s inbox. 

3. Keep everyone in the loop.

Be sure to update parties involved on conversations, notifications and tasks. 

4. Make your presence—or lack thereof—known. 

Be a good “digital office mate” and try to call your colleagues. Let everyone know in advance your availability and when you’re not reachable online. 

5. Try to meet in person.

 It’s always good to meet in person every once in a while for lunch or coffee. If you’re too far away to meet in person, try to set up frequent video chats- they make a huge difference!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Sales Primer - It's not only about Sales but Customers for Life

Sales can be a daunting prospect—there are timelines, goals, numbers, forecasts, expectations, and immense pressure to close year over year, month to month, and even day by day. However as I get more plugged into the ecosystem, there truly is no one absolute truism or a “one-size-fits-all” approach to sales. Just like personalities, there are many different styles and approaches to sales and it is so important to find techniques and strategies that are tailored and fit one’s own unique personality and to the approach you take with your customers.

For me that approach has been to do your homework/research first on a company or organization. My father has been notorious and very helpful over the years to my brothers and sister and even our friends and at times significant others in job searches, resumes, and more specifically the interview process. Indeed, we call him affectionately, “Yoda Dad.” One of his best pieces of advice is to research a company or organization heading into the interview. The same applies to sales. “Oh I see that your university has a new college of engineering, what are you doing for an eLearning strategy?” Or, “I see that your company recently acquired XYZ manufacturing what are you doing for a unified communication approach?”

The most successful thing that I have found is to be genuine, authentic and understanding. Get to know your customer from a heartfelt perspective where you truly understand how they tick, what is important to them, what makes up their organizational culture and how they fit into that structure and in a way that connects on a more (but not too) personal level. Most importantly, LISTEN! Facilitate conversation that gets them to open up about their concerns, needs, environment, applications, wants, and pain points.  You need to genuinely know and understand their organizational culture and makeup. Offer suggestions that will not only save the company money but ease your contacts’ burdens in their own job (whether it is IT, HR, Finance, Operations, etc) as well as the organization at large. I try to work every day to work on the small things so that the big things really will take care of themselves over time. Be that trusted adviser, and eventually those end of quarters/end of year pressure sales will not be so important and with time will be a thing of the past. A successful sale is only part of the goal and process. The ultimate goal of having a customer for life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Value of a VAR (Value Added Reseller) - Provided Value Beyond Order Fulfillment

Image result for pieces of a puzzle
The segment of the market for communications including Unified Communication deployments, video conferencing deployments, and audio/video integration can be a tough terrain to navigate. There are countless options including hardware (customer premised) deployments, service-based deployments, deployments in the cloud, and those that are hosted offsite in a datacenter. The brands and options with all of the features and functionality and variance in price can be a lot to absorb. To get a true understanding of the overall technology eco-system it is important to get a good grasp of the best options in terms of not only cost and performance but maybe most importantly post-implementation support and ease of use and benefit of the end user. That is where a VAR can really show their, well, value!

In the world of communications and specifically that of video conference and custom audio video integration, there are what are known as “legacy” products and industry stalwarts such as Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize and many upstart companies such as Vidyo, Zoom, and BlueJeans. The goal of a VAR should not be to push a singular product but to best identify through multiple conversations and listening to the goals of the organization and end users. A VAR is able to offer and thoroughly explain the benefits and features of all of the products and services offered and breakdown the key points of cost verse performance. 

A true VAR will be able to:
     - Understand where and what the technology background of a customer/organization is
     - What their workflow looks like on a day to day basis
     - How the introduction of new products and services and their associated applications will integrate with that workflow

The vision and technology roadmap is very important to understand. The end goal should be to have a comprehensive eco-system of applications that all tightly integrate into a workflow that streamlines organizational communications and assists in increasing productivity. A well-defined return on investment breakdown is also important.

Many companies and providers have been moving towards a more service based model for several years now. Service-based typically means that the customer or organization does not have to front the often burdensome capital expenditures for technology solutions that often can be obsolete after a few years or even months. Rather, the VAR “owns” the equipment and provides access to the customer to be able to best leverage the assets. There are many benefits to this service-based approach of this is often times the equipment is housed in an offsite datacenter and managed by the VAR. This frees up valuable IT resources for the customer as the equipment will be maintained and updated by the VAR. Another benefit is because the equipment is maintained and updated by the VAR the customer does not have to worry about hardware that quickly becomes functionality obsolete with the rapid changes in technology along with the associated maintenance costs. Finally, a service-based approach offers tax benefits to the customer as a recurring service can be classified as an “operating expense” and not a “capital equipment acquisition.”

Finally, a good VAR should have post implementation support that is top-notch. This includes having access to a customer help desk that is staffed with highly trained engineers and technicians that all well versed in the technology that is in use. This includes a help desk that is open for expanded hours and readily available and timely feedback and communication for prompt issue resolution. Further, the support staff will be able to dispatch someone onsite for issue resolution if it cannot be resolved remotely that is either built into the support contract or offered at a preferred T&M (Time and Materials) rate. System uptime is critical and the support staff directly contributes to ensuring that everything is online and operating at its optimal level.

There are many things to consider when selecting a VAR. Price, performance, and post-implementation support are a few. Solutions that tightly integrate into and expand upon a customer or organization’s existing workflow are just as if not more important. A VAR should be respectful, listen, have timely feedback and communication, and be a true subject matter expert on the technologies being offered and how the whole technology eco-system fits together. The cheapest price may indeed be the main item of consideration for many organizations, but will the functionality, ease of use, ability to integrate with other systems, and post-sale support truly result in a positive user experience and ROI?

Centralized Content Management System for the Banking World

More and more businesses are leveraging video and it’s no different in the financial services industry. Financial institutions are video enabling call centers to provide their members with a higher level of customer service. But what about streamlining processes internally? Banks and financial institutions are using content management platforms such as Kaltura within their organization for training, branch operations, marketing and knowledge sharing.

Some key benefits of utilizing a Centralized Content Management System are:

  • Reducing cost with online video training

  • Increased collaboration throughout locations

  • Improved productivity by having content readily available

  • Capturing and managing video surveillance

  • Regulated call monitoring and storage

These are just a few examples of incorporating video within your industry. For businesses with more than one locations, a single management system can help streamline your work flow.