In business, good or bad communication literally translates to dollars won or lost. And because 90% of what we say doesn’t actually come out of our mouths, nonverbal queues are a vital part of effectively communicating our thoughts, motivations, and intentions.
Companies have quickly come to realize that solutions like web conferencing are a great way to bridge the gap between internal intentions and message delivery, by appropriately conveying value through video. In fact, Frost & Sullivan report that the global web conferencing market grew by nearly 10% in 2015 to $2.41 billion and is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2020.
Web based conferencing has become so prevalent that regular conference users participate in at least one online meeting a week. Still, the adoption rate across solutions sits at 45%, likely making user experience the factor that is preventing more people from fully embracing online conferencing.
What Is Web Conferencing?
There are several potentially redundant terms frequently used in the conferencing and collaboration space. The two that are most readily used and (incorrectly) interchanged are web conferencing and video conferencing. The unique distinction between the two is that web conferencing traditionally allows a single presenter to share their presentation to several viewers, while video conferencing connects two or more presenters or speakers virtually.
With web based conferencing, participants typically interact through chat, whiteboards, and screen sharing. Although, in the case of a webinar, for example, participants may not interact or just sit in a listen-only status. In video conferencing, web cameras are used by all parties in order to see the presenter and other participants. Video conferencing uses more bandwidth than web conferencing.
Overall, both web and video conferencing have great professional advantages and are revolutionizing the way organizations do business. If you’re still unsure which conferencing solution type to adopt, consider this tip from PC Magazine: “Web conferencing offers advantages over traditional room-based video conferencing because applications such as collaborative web browsing, file transfer and application sharing are easily supported over the internet.”
What Components Make Up Today’s Web Conferencing Solutions?
Not all web conferencing solutions are created equal. There are a variety of feature sets across tools, and it’s up to the end user to determine which components are right for his or her business. When choosing a web conferencing service, it’s important to consider the following components:
- Application Type – Today, many web conferencing tools are web-based, allowing for a more seamless experience. According to Software Advice, about 39% of web conference users rely on desktop or mobile apps and 45% rely on web-based apps.
- HD Video – Ensuring the quality of web conferencing is vital factor for solutions. It’s important the tool you choose offers HD video quality so that the content transmitted isn’t compromised.
- Integrated Audio – Call-in options are an important part of web based meetings. VoIP with clear audio, whether over the computer, through a handset or conference phone are an essential part of conferencing solutions.
- Screen Sharing – The ability for viewers to share their screens is what sets good web conferencing tools apart from great ones. Interactions among participants increases with the ability to screenshare.
- Security – The primary risk of web conferencing is the possibility that the data temporarily stored on the shared web server will leak beyond the conference. Utilizing a “three-pronged” approach to security including Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, non-persistent data flow, and intrusion control, helps decrease the chances of an information leak and increases the probability of secure web conferencing.
- Analytics – Data is always a key factor for any solution. Most web conferencing programs provide at least basic reporting which can include the number of meetings had, their participants, and duration. The best web conferencing platforms incorporate engagement data to show how active or passive participants were in the conference.
- Meeting Recordings – Some solutions offer audio and video capture so you have the ability to replay meetings for best practice review, content, and sales coaching.
The most important thing to note about the components and capabilities of web conferencing tools is that today’s users are looking for a “single meeting, single license” experience, according to Frost & Sullivan. Meaning that it is moving away from a “point solution” model to a fully integrated audio, video, and web experience called online meetings.
How Does Sales Utilize Web Conferencing?
Sales professionals are constantly looking for ways to not only make their own processes easier, but to also increase the quality of the meetings they have with prospects and customers. Web conferencing programs solve both of those pain points and sales team are seeing powerful outcomes because of it.
About 66% of companies are now regularly conducting web-based conferencing with clients and prospects during the sales process, because they improve efficiency and the quality of interactions.
- Better Product Demos – After planned meetings, the top use case for conferencing software is conducting online product demonstrations, which speaks to its rate of adoption among sales professionals. According to CSO Insights, about 66% of companies are now regularly conducting web-based conferencing with clients and prospects during the sales process, because they improve efficiency and the quality of interactions.
- Ease of Use – Users cite the top benefit of using web-based over other conferencing technologies as meetings starting faster. In fact, getting started as quickly as possible is a recurring theme among users’ reasons for loving browser-based solutions. Software Advice reports that 56% of users believe that web conferencing solutions that eliminate the need to use a PIN to join make it “much easier” to conduct online meetings. Smart sales professionals are using this to their advantage to reduce frustration and remove barriers.
- Increased Client Engagement – Aberdeen cites that best-in-class sales organizations are twice as likely as under-performers (21% vs 11%) to use their web conferencing platforms to create a more engaging and compelling experience with their prospects and customers. In fact, Aragon Research reports that by 2019 40% of enterprises will leverage customizable video content as a one of the main ways to increase customer and prospect engagement.
- Optimized Onboarding and Training – According to Sirius Decisions, new sales reps only retain 7-13% of what they learn beyond 30 days unless the material is internalized and practiced. Recording capabilities of the top web conferencing tools allow sales leaders to train new hires with recordings of the most successful sales meetings.