While you're all stuck in Zoom...

June 2, 2020 Koen De Witte

Having us all work from home has come with all sorts of learnings. One is the fact that we all of a sudden seem to be constantly stuck in Zoom, Teams and even good ole Webex calls. We're much easier to reach but not necessarily easier to get a hold of for a conversation. ;-)

Part of our business here at LeadFabric is to develop and implement solution designs, fix configurations in martech business applications or just to explain how to do certain things. Explaining most of what we do is best done face to face or, as a second best, via video calls.

Over the last few years we have been learning how to use ZOOM -our video platforms since many years- in all sort of new ways. We use it to stream our yoga classes, we brainstorm using the annotation tools few people had any idea of existed and we even have been drinking gin and tonics together during our Thirsty Thursdays.

Don't worry, we do still run a business. We're actually very busy and you'll be happy to know that the majority of our calls were with clients, business partners and prospects. We also recently checked out our usage stats and as you can expect we saw a huge huge spike that started in March.

Working From Home (WFH)

During the first few weeks we all saw a lot of positive messages regarding the WFH situation, how ZOOM was our new friend and how this was actually improving communication. But slowly we started also realizing that more people in zoom meetings also means more unavailability.

So we're back to square one. Perhaps it's true, it's easier to reach one another because we were confined to our homes, but within our cozy and for some of us noisy homes, we are seeing many of us getting virtually locked up in zoom rooms. It made us rely again on asynchronous communication methods like email or slack to pass a message. Trying to explain things in a written way that would be have been much more easier to do during a quick meeting or a video call, as some of the stuff we need to explain, requires not just telling but also literally showing things.

Side note: While I admit that I see the benefits from WFH, I also would like to quickly share my concern that we are perhaps more judging the underlying fact that we have been easier to reach than the fact WFH is helping with productivity. In fact once the lockdowns stop and the WFH stays in place I'd like to revisit how we will be doing from a productivity standpoint. More email and slack messages will likely be NOT the answer.

Nothing beats the synchronous nature of a real live conversation. Back and forth, on the fly, taking each other on a certain train of thought. Elevating the conversation. When you try to do this offline, i.e asynchronously via written texts, you often miss a lot of that added value. And you are certainly losing a lot of time explaining what you could have shown in a few seconds.

As consultants we have to constantly ensure there is a knowledge transfer happening during each information exchange. For documentation the written word is perfect. For education you need more. Where we are able, we have now stopped writing emails when explaining process or showing how to do something in a software application. We turned to video. Drift Video. Why? Its ease of use!

How does Drift Video work?

Via a Chrome plug-in you select the screen (eg a marketo or Eloqua page) or asset (eg powerpoint slide, image) that you want to comment on. Rather than attaching the screenshot or asset in an email and writing a long text explaining things, we now just start talking, explaining what we see on the screen. Once done, you click on the Copy button and then you Paste it in an email. That email then gets you a thumbnail image pointing to your recording (eg a picture of your talking head or a picture of a slide with your talking head in the corner), ready to send without much other typing. Very compelling for the person you want to reach as he or she does will immediately notice your face in a bunch of text emails buried in a your preview pane.

Once the email has been opened and the viewer has clicked on the video link, a narrative follows explaining what is happening on the screen or just what the user needs to do. Meanwhile the viewer can leave comments behind via our embedded chat bot Fabio. Afterwards Fabio then redirects the chat log via an email to the sender of the video. The extra value? He or she perfectly knows if and when the video was viewed. Three major benefits

  1. Productivity. You spent minutes to create an explanation in a video that otherwise would have taken you maybe half an hour or more to write down in an email. Now you can service many more clients reducing waiting times.
  2. Reach. The email, like many other emails, might never even get opened, getting lost in the clutter of text email overload. The video with the the thumbnail, stands out and increases the change you get through.
  3. Interation. With regular email you usually never know whether the person went through the trouble reading your stuff. But not with Drift Video. Because, as soon as the recipient has viewed your message you get an alert telling you when the person watched and also how much of the video was watched. This not only helps you improve your video creation skills over time, it also tells when it is the right time to re engage. Usually and if your narrative probes for it you can motivate the viewer to engage via the chat which even gives you more insight before you call back.

Our team has been using the tool intensely. On average they have been saving HOURS per week while at the same time they've been able to make progress much quicker. Also clients benefit, they are not paying us for our book writing skills and they are getting their responses quicker. Needless to say that we use Drift Video as a back up. Plan A is to still have the conversation in a live setting.

Hours per week per consultant turns into DAYS per Month of saved time and improved customer experience. Are we saying to use Drift Video for everything? No. Of course not.

One of the things we are learning quickly is to use the right communication channel for the right task. Let me give you an example.

One measure we took early March was to write a new policy to coach our team members on what communication channel to use for what. We have learned HOW to use new communication methods but not yet WHEN to use them (and not)

Example

For me the biggest value the client gets is expressed in Time. As Drift’s goto partner for Europe we’re in daily conversation with them. Their head offices are located in Boston. We have officially 2 hours of timezone overlap. Our partner salesmanager Seamus McGrath and we, use Drift Video to keep a daily cadence. We also still use email/slack but added Drift Video when appropriate. For example: it might be we drop a quick question over email (1 minute to write) in our morning knowing I’m busy for the rest of the day.

When Seamus McGrath then starts his day he might also be too busy with appointments and as a result he can only address and respond to questions long after European business hours. Usually the questions he gets are short but the answers require work writing up. He then has two choices, try to find a slot in our agendas (we use drift meeting for that) and probably only find availability many days later, or... quickly record a video on the very same day we left him the question. We’re making quite some progress on the sales side together, landing new Drift clients very frequently across Europe. Guess which of the 2 communication methods we use :-)

I encourage you to look into this. Especially in conjunction with the Drift Chat solution this is a powerful tool that improves your internal productivity levels as well as your customer service level.

Check it out. If you're curious to see how Drift Video can be used for prospecting. Let me know. It's the primary use case and there's a lot to talk about that too.

About the Author

Koen De Witte

Koen's true passion is innovation in B2B sales & marketing. Back in 2008 he started LeadFabric, one of the very first demand marketing services firms in Europe.

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