Productivity, as I see it anyway, is the art of focusing your attention where it counts. For sales people, that means knowing which of your efforts are likely to close a deal, and which will just keep your wheels spinning. That's relatively easy to do in person, when you can read the facial expressions of your audience throughout a presentation to get instant feedback on who's listening, who's bored, and who has unspoken concerns about slide 7. A new cloud presentation and meeting tool called CrunchConnect aims to give you similar instant feedback over the Web.
Online meeting services like WebEx and GoToMeeting have made it easier than ever to get your presentation in front of more eyeballs, but they do little to help you gauge how interested your prospects actually are in what you're saying. That ambiguity can be death to a salesman.
CrunchConnect aims to alleviate ambiguity in your sales relationships by surfacing real-time information that you can actually use. It tells you who's actually watching the presentation and who's off doing something else in another Window while you're presenting. It also lets you analyze the performance of slide decks you've emailed to your contacts, so you can see who's reading them, and for how long.
Unlike most online meeting services, CrunchConnect starts giving you useful information about your contacts the moment they log in. When your guests arrive, they won't just be dropped straight into the meeting. Instead, they'll arrive in a chat-enabled waiting room, where you can meet with them and set the tone of the meeting while you wait for all of your guests to connect. While you're in there, CrunchConnect gives you some data you can use as icebreakers in the conversation, from local weather reports from your guests' regions to their latest Twitter posts. It's a good way to get the conversation flowing and make sure everyone's tuned in before you start your presentation. Once everyone has arrived, you can pull them all into the meeting room at once.
As with other Web meeting tools, CrunchConnect gives you the option of sharing a slide deck or sharing your screen, and lets you switch between the two. Throughout your presentation, you'll get realtime status updates about who's paying attention and who's not. When someone leaves the presentation to go read their email or do something else in another browser tab or another window, CrunchConnect outlines their avatar in red. You can use this information to steer the conversation in their direction and pull them back in, or you can just make a mental note that the person isn't that interested in what you're talking about. Either way, it's helpful.
Even more helpful is the analytics system built into the presentation decks tool. When you use CrunchConnect to send a slide deck to your contacts, it tracks who opens it and how long they look at each page. It also gives you their location and IP address, so you can tell if they've forwarded it on to colleagues, which is also useful to know. After all, if you're talking to a buyer in Minneapolis and you know his boss is in New York, you might surmise that he's forwarded your deck to his boss if you see that someone in New York has opened it.
Just as importantly, you can use the detailed stats on how long each person looked at each slide to spot opportunities. Are they lingering a little too long on the pricing slide? Maybe you have some issues to address there.
CrunchConnect is a freemium service, currently available on an invite-only basis. Because I'm not comfortable writing about services that my readers can't actually try for themselves, the folks at CrunchConnect have given me 500 invites to share with you all: Click here if you'd like to give CrunchConnect a try.