Current Analysis Coordinates and Saves Time with Brainshark

September 21, 2011 | Peter N Jarich
Current Analysis Coordinates and Saves Time with Brainshark

Over the course of the year, my team at Current Analysis – a market intelligence and advisory firm – is called on to give custom presentations for key clients on a variety of topics.  What’s happening with a specific technology? How do the product portfolios from various vendors stack up? What are we hearing from competitors in terms of product strategy and momentum…and do these messages make sense?  Sometimes, these are one-off discussions. Often, the topics are near-universal in their interest. This is where we’ve started using Brainshark as a means of saving time and reaching more customers.

First, some background on how we might treat a presentation given to multiple clients on an individual basis in the past. 

As the team lead, I’d collect various slides from any of the analysts involved – usually around four or five people – wrapping them in introductory materials and customer-specific recommendations. Account execs would then coordinate calls with the customers and analysts to go over the presentation. Pretty straightforward, right?  It is, but it also falls short on two fronts.

-  Coordination.  Coordinating the schedules of around six people on our side and at least as many from any given customer is neither an art nor a science.  It’s just plain difficult and requires lots of compromise.  That’s okay for one customer, but repeating with multiple clients over the course of a week or two is near-impossible.

Time Invested.  Repeating the same presentation, with slight tweaks, multiple times is time consuming.  Forget about the time it takes to create the slides.  Five hour-long presentations, involving six people from my team represents an investment of 30 man-hours. Given the inevitable conference bride snafus and pre-call coordination and it’s more like 40-man hours.

Delivering the presentation as a Brainshark couldn’t eliminate these issues completely; it’s not magic.  It did, however, help immensely.  Internal coordination simply involved inviting an analyst to record the audio for their slides when they could carve out a few minutes during the day (we used a simple round-robin technique where the last person to record invited the next in-line). External coordination was simplified since customers no longer felt they needed to have everyone on the line for a call if the slides – and an explanation of the points in them – were available at any time. Calls were still necessary to go over client-specific Q&A, but these were now 30 minute exercises. 

Positioning this as a way to simply save time for my team, however, only tells part of the story.  With less time invested, resources were freed up to deliver more of these presentations, hitting more of the topics our customers care about.  Perhaps more importantly, we could now reach out to additional clients.  The marginal time invested in sending the Brainshark out to smaller customers (ones who might now warrant their own Q&A session) is zero.  The marginal value to the customer was significantly greater, helping to build our relationship with big and small customers and potentially drive new interactions or even custom projects.

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