Are You “Zoomed” Out?

David Gordon

July 14, 2020

By David Gordon

Zoom is now the generic term for webinars. The Kleenex of webinars. Teams may rival based on usage, but from a lexicon viewpoint it is now Zoom, perhaps because of the media and stock market mentions?

Whether you use Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Go-To-Meeting, Google Hangout or the umpteen more of these services, the end result is either another webinar or a meeting. Facetime and Google Duo are more “peer to peer” communication vehicles, although they can have multiple people.

Don’t get me wrong, they have been a saviour over the past 100 days and will be an essential business communication tool moving forward.

The challenge, according to some, is over-usage.

You hear of people saying, “I was on Zoom all day long” or “Another Zoom training session.”

With economies reopening and distributors back in their offices / branches and needing to be serviced by their manufacturer reps, a comment we’ve heard is, “I need to spend less time in training sessions.”

One executive shared, “My staff could be in 20-30 of these meetings a week!”

Training is great, and much of it has been needed for a long time. The challenge is much has been compressed into the past 60 days.

Product marketing/marketing departments have now had more time to develop the PowerPoint presentations to conduct 30-minute to one hour meetings and suspect (or expect) that others have the time, and interest, to learn about that product at a specific time.

Sign-ups have been good, attendance decent. But are you getting the attention?

Everyone wants video so they can “see” the participants. But how many participants are multi-tasking because “they need to get work done”?

The goal of the training is imparting product knowledge (and much of the training is very good). However, the key to training is remembrance… so that salespeople/distributors remember the product for some time in the future… when the customer has a need! Which then begs the question of how is the education being reinforced?

Further, with so much training, how is your training memorable?

We’ve seen some companies launching eLearning tools, or curricula, where they are providing rewards for attending, rewards for completing a short quiz at the completion of a session or allowing points to be accumulated for attending multiple sessions.

And others are using video “snippets” with technical staff to add depth to the training. Manufacturer reps are developing short videos to focus on specific SKUs from their suppliers — adding their personality to the video and hence branding the rep and the supplier in the market (where to buy and what to buy). More rep marketing creativity is being exhibited during COVID-19.

But with companies back at work and becoming busier, can the pace of training continue? Consider how it could be refined to integrate target account selling.

Zoom, and Teams, will become integral components for customer service as well as supply chain discussions. Regional managers will use with their reps and distributors for reviews resulting in travel cost savings manufacturers and time savings for distributors and reps. In fact, in our last COVID study, when asked about manufacturer visitation, a number of distributors prefer virtual meetings with established suppliers. Reason — more productive.

The key with these tools is that they are tools. The content, and “how” it communicated, is the key. Moving forward, manufacturers and distributors will need to develop a cadence as well as communicate the benefit of their training meetings to drive attendance.

It isn’t a case of Zooming out, it’s zooming in on the audience benefit and maximizing your ROI and giving your audience a high ROI.

The key is “is your audience zoomed in to your message?”

How many “Zoom” meetings have you had this week? How many “Zoom” training sessions have you been invited to / attended?

What is the most memorable “Zoom” training session you’ve participated in?

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry. He also authors an electrical industry blog, www.electricaltrends.com. He can be reached at 919-488-8635 or dgordon@channelmkt.com.

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