In today’s bustling world, companies are relying more and more on unified communications strategies that allow them the opportunity to enhance their collaboration tools, messaging capabilities, mobile interactions, and social media management across their organization. This is just as important for SMBs as it is for the larger enterprises out there, especially if they want to maintain a competitive edge.

But it’s not enough to just have a communications strategy for your organization. You need to enable comprehensive and seamless collaboration for your employees across all platforms, systems and devices, creating a Unified Communications Strategy. But many organizations, including SMBs, aren’t sure exactly how and where to get started with this.

What tools, if any, are you currently using for your unified communications strategy? If you are looking for a useful tool for your unified communications strategy, Skype for Business can not only fit in with, but also enhance it. Read along to learn how your organization can start utilizing Skype for Business to make your sales team more effective, and 7 tips to put together an effective Online Sales Presentation.

 

Unified Communications = Intelligent Communications

Simply put, Intelligent Communications allows you to do everything from the same application; hence, Intelligent Communications mean Unified Communications. With a Unified Communication Strategy in place, you can complete your day-to-day tasks more efficiently, with a minimum amount of context switching. That is to say, rather than having to switch back and forth between various apps and programs to get your day-to-day tasks completed, you can do everything from one platform (for example, Skype for Business).

 

Why SMB Sales Should Use Skype for Business as a Unified Communication Tool

Unified Communications strategy

Sales is all about communicating, so it is imperative that salespeople master the forms of communication that they use with prospects, clients and colleagues. Intelligent communication tools such as Skype for Business are important tools that salespeople can use to build their client and prospect relationships, as well as increasing their productivity. Leveraging this technology is a smart, strategic move for SMB sales. Below we discuss some of the ways that Skype for Business can help your sales team:

Speed Up the Sales Cycle

Salespeople are always looking for ways to shorten the sales cycle without sacrificing quality. Shortening the cycle leads to greater revenue predictability as there is less “up in the air” money. One of the areas that often prolongs the sales cycle is setting up meetings with your prospects and decision makers. When schedules don’t allow a timely in-person meeting, an online Skype meeting keeps the process moving while still giving you some “face-to-face” time.

Internal Communication Access

When you’re in a client meeting or on a call with them, there are times when clients have questions that you’re not able to answer immediately, whether it’s because you need to check with colleagues or do a bit of research. In the case where you need to ask a co-worker, the ability to use Instant Messaging (IM) internally can be an excellent tool. Do they have a question about invoicing? Send your billing team a quick IM to answer the question for your client in real-time. Not only does this result in better customer service and satisfaction, it prevents breaking up the process into multiple meetings.

Market your Knowledge

An excellent way to use the knowledge you have of your product or service is to host a short webinar. By doing so, you position yourself as an expert in your field while sharing pertinent knowledge with potential new prospects. Skype Broadcast can host up to 10,000 participants, and this can be an excellent way to gather new leads into your sales pipeline.

Reduce Emails and Voicemails

Many salespeople use their email like a bad instant messaging service. Instead of sending multiple short emails back and forth to find a meeting time or for quick queries, use the IM service to speed up the conversations and ensure that you’re not flooding your prospect with emails. By integrating it with your CRM, you can ensure that all these interactions are being tracked and that action items are followed up on.

 

7 Tips to Create an Effective Online Sales Presentation, Using a Unified Communications Tool

Face-to-face time is critical to building a trusting relationship with your prospects and clients. If time restrictions on the part of your prospect don’t allow you to do your sales presentation in person, don’t send it via email. Instead, use an Unified Communications tool such as Skype for Business to deliver an online sales presentation. This ensures that your deck is being presented properly, it comes across as more professional, and any additional face-to-face (or face to screen) time helps you to build up the relationship.

Learning the nuances of online communicating is essential so that you can get your message across while building value for your prospect. During presentations, whether online or not, it is easy for your prospect to zone out, so engaging and holding their attention is key. Below are 7 key takeaways for putting together a successful online sales presentation:

Tip 1: Make a Good First Impression

How you begin and end the meeting will stick with your prospect, so try to begin with a hook before you go to the agenda. In order for you to build value for them, they need to be engaged.

Tip 2: Be Visual

Take advantage of the format you are using – use pictures, videos and annotation tools to draw your prospect into the presentation and hold their attention.

Tip 3: Build Value

Don’t forget why you are there – to sell. Don’t let the format distract from your objective which is to show your unique value proposition, and how it addresses your prospect’s pain points.

Tip 4: Get Comfortable with Live Video

Ensure that you have good lighting and a professional backdrop if you’re the focus. Practice with a colleague or manager to check how the visuals will appear to your prospect.

Tip 5: Get the Sound Right

Make sure that the audio quality is excellent. How can your prospect be sold if they can’t hear you properly? Further to that, make sure that you are speaking articulately but with enthusiasm.

Tip 6: Don’t Clutter the Presentation

If you fill your slides with long paragraphs, you will lose the focus of your prospect. Instead, keep the slides simple and use the points on them to expand on that content.

Tip 7: Know Your Platform

Whether it’s Skype for Business or another software platform, you must know it well and be comfortable using it. If any issues arise during the presentation, you must be able to handle them quickly and efficiently.

 

5 Easy Steps to Set Up Skype for Business, Your Unified Communications Solution

Skype for Business is a part of your Unified Communications Strategy. If you have an Office 365 Business Premium or Business Essentials plan, it is easy to get started with Skype for Business – you won’t even need your IT department’s help! Follow these 5 steps to begin using Skype for Business today:

Step 1: Determine the Scope of your Skype for Business Plan

If you’re using Skype for Business only as a way to communicate internally, you can activate Skype for Business using the steps below. If you want to be able to communicate externally, you’ll need to upgrade your plan. ProServeIT can help with this – contact us for more details.

Step 2: Sign in to Office 365

Because Skype for Business Online is part of Office 365, you’ll need to sign in to it to set up Skype for Business. Once you’ve signed in, you can navigate to Skype for Business from the admin centre.

Related: How to Improve Collaboration with Office 365 – 3 Tips

Unified Communications strategy

Step 3: Set up your Domain and Users

You can use the Office 365 setup wizard to set up your custom domain information. It includes setting up Skype for Business Online and creating Skype for Business user IDs for your organization.

Unified Communications strategy

Step 4: Set up IM and Presence in Your Organization

IM and Presence are basic features that are included with Skype for Business. During this step, you will choose who else your Skype for Business users can communicate with, including whether or not they can Instant Message with those outside of your organization. You can also choose whether or not to automatically display a person’s online presence to everyone in the organization, or display that person’s online presence to their contacts only.

Unified Communications strategy

Step 5: Download and Install Skype for Business

If you want to use Skype for Business on your PC, Mac or mobile device, you’ll have to download it. You can do so one of three ways: either install Skype for Business, deploy the Skype for Business client in Office 365, or you can download it on Android, iOS, or Windows mobile devices through your App store.

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Maintain Your Competitive Edge with a Unified Communication Strategy & Tool

In today’s fast-paced world of Sales, SMBs need a unified communications strategy that allows them to be agile, efficient and effective. By strategically using Skype for Business as a unified communications tool, collaboration is enhanced, customer service is increased and the length of time to close a deal is condensed.

The democratization of technology has levelled the playing field in a number of areas for SMBs when compared to larger enterprises, and failure to capitalize on this will see you lose your competitive edge. Instead, ensure that your sales team has at their fingertips all the tools that they need to be successful. By using a program such as Skype for Business as part of your Unified Communications strategy, you’ll do just that.


This blog post is co-authored by ProServeIT and Change Connect. We publish a monthly blog specifically written for small businesses. Some of the topics we have discussed include security, CRM, Cloud computing, and Business Intelligence (BI). Click here to view a list of the previous co-authored blogs for SMBs.

 

About ProServeIT

ProServeIT, as a multi-award winning Microsoft Gold Partner, is your expert in Office 365 migration, including Skype for Business. We can make your move to Skype for Business seamless. To date, we’ve migrated over 200,000 users to the Cloud. Contact us today to see how easy it is for your organization to begin using Skype for Business and learn more about your Office 365 Migration options.

About Change Connect

Change Connect specializes in helping clients to work more efficiently and effectively in pursuit of their revenue goals. We offer customized solutions for small to midsized businesses with a focus on Sales Transformation, which includes implementing strategic communication plans. Whatever stage your business is at, whether you’re a start-up looking to expand or an established company looking to move from a plateau to record growth, Change Connect is your partner in transformation.  Change Connect – Making Sales Scalable.