Small businesses and startups that rely on remote marketing and sales teams face a variety of obstacles compared to companies that have their sales and marketing staffers working onsite. National software provider Citrix is trying to position itself to meet this growing demand.
Remote working overall is trending upward, Forbes reported, noting that 2014 saw a 26 percent increase in open remote job postings compared to the previous year. In addition, 83 percent of hiring managers told Forbes that telecommuting will be “more prevalent in the next five years.”
Staffers working in or out of the office need not miss a beat thanks to the ever-growing benefits of technology. However, the very reliance on technology can create abrupt new problems requiring swift solutions, especially in cases involving the all-important efforts of remote marketing and sales teams, the ones dedicated to the company’s financial well being.
Personal Devices Become the Norm
Problem: More remote marketing and sales teams means a larger emphasis on personal device usage to facilitate contact with clients. Thus, there’s a potential corresponding rise in security vulnerabilities related to file-sharing, unmanaged data, accessibility and other things.
Companies faced with this problem attempted to surmount it using email as well as an FTP service to manage file-sharing between remote staffers and their various clients.
Marketing communications company AKQURACY, which decrypts consumer-behavior data to uncover trends, found email- and FTP-based solutions lacking. For example, email’s limits on the size of file attachments posed a large problem. As for FTP, the firm found the interface too difficult to use. The company sought a more streamlined approach. It finally turned to a high-grade data encryption service called ShareFile, It is offered by Citrix, a national software provider.
Solution: Citrix’s ShareFile offers small businesses the tools to securely send, share and manage files via a web-based infrastructure. The program offers secure data-sharing features coupled with data syncing across multiple devices, Small businesses can use it to enable their remote marketing and sales staff to collaborate and share files in real time with anyone based anywhere. The program also provides a paperless option designed to enhance overall productivity.
A menu of plans designed to accommodate businesses and budgets of all sizes is available starting at $16 per month.
“Work-Shifting” Becomes a Growing Trend
Problem: The growing need to accommodate remote employees and trends like “work-shifting” (the ability to shift one’s work habits geographically to achieve a better work-life balance) can impact small businesses in many ways.
Simple communications between remote marketing and sales staffers and their clients can grow into a challenge. In fact, even the most basic business processes can be impeded by sudden obstacles.
Solution: Software manufacturing company Digitech Systems uses Citrix’s GoToMeeting to address the common challenge posed by having key marketing and sales people working remotely. GoToMeeting allows participants to share computer screens and collaborate via on-screen editing. Additionally, the program allows for chatting via text messaging and/or audio communication by dialing someone from either the desktop or the telephone.
Digitech Systems turned to GoToMeeting, which enabled its employees to work from anywhere at any time. For Digitech, the result was improved overall productivity and better collaboration between dispersed team members. Lower travel-related costs were an additional benefit.
Citrix’s GoToMeeting offers a starter package designed for small businesses at a monthly price of $24 per organizer.
Mobile Teams See Lower Sales Numbers
Problem: Remote marketing and sales staffers can face a larger potential for an overall decrease in sales numbers. Specifically, they seem to have issues with post-sales retention, meaning sales following the initial sale to a client.
An email marketing service named Pinpointe On-Demand was struggling to deliver real-time customer service to improve post-sales retention, as well as generate new leads for its remote sales team. The company also faced a lack of brand awareness.
Solution: Pinpointe turned to Citrix’s GoToWebinar and was successfully able to build better relationships between staffers and their clients.
It used the platform to host educational webinars regarding best-practice methods twice a month. The audience was composed of prospective and current customers. The GoToWebinar platform allows presenters to record the webinars for later viewing. They also have the ability interact with their offsite audience via the ability to offer online Q&A’s, as well as polling. Also assisting the company was a GoToWebinar new features that enables participants to share meaningful content from the presentation.
Designed for small businesses and startups, as well as global corporations, GoToWebinar helps companies tell their story, reach their audience and build marketing strategies.
According to Citrix data, 63 percent of content marketers consider webinars to be one of their most effective tools to reach their audience.
GoToWebinar hosts 2.7 million webinars annually. According to Citrix, most companies that use it are able to generate more than 25 percent more qualified leads.
It offers three plans. For webinars including 100 or less, the price is $89 per organizer per month; for up to 500, the price is $199; and for up to 1,000, the price is $299.
Work from Home Photo via Shutterstock