In today’s economic climate companies that are looking to do more than just survive understand the impact that sales results have on their bottom line. The challenge is to increase sales while reducing the cost of each sale. Travel expenses continue to soar. As a result, companies are placing tighter restrictions on travel budgets. Organizations are operating “leaner” than ever before, and are attempting to streamline operations by keeping the sales staff in the office much more. Yet, travel is critical to close deals in today’s dynamic marketplace, and severe restrictions hinder business growth. Therefore, companies must find innovative ways to communicate and collaborate with prospects, customers, and partners.

Web conferencing is a powerful and useful technology solution that allows live meetings, such as Webinars, demonstrations, presentations, training, and brainstorming sessions to take place via the Internet. Users log in to a secure URL to view meeting materials such as slides or video, and use standard phone lines or VoIP for audio communications.

There are a number of web conferencing solutions on the market today. Here is a list of some of the top providers: iLinc (www.ilinc.com), Saba (www.saba.com), Citrix (www.citrix.com), Webex (www.webex.com ), ConferencePlus (www.conferenceplus.com ), Microsoft (www.microsoft.com ), InterCall (www.intercall.com ), IBM (www.ibm.com) Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com ), and Adobe (www.adobe.com).

Web conferencing can deliver significant benefits, including: Reduced Travel Costs. Businesses spend large portions of their travel budgets sending sales reps to visit potential clients, running marketing events, conducting executive meetings and hosting training classes. With Web conferencing, these types of sessions can be held remotely, with attendees participating from any location around the country. This allows them to communicate and collaborate as effectively as if they were all in the same room, while eliminating airfare, gas, toll, hotel, and other expenses.

These solutions have been available for some time but the cost associated with this technology has seen significant reductions in the last couple of years allowing companies of all sizes to take advantage of this technology. While the need to have face to face meetings will always exist, companies are finding that by using web conferencing they can deliver a more cost effective way to generate leads and spark an interest in their products and solutions through webinars.

Web conferencing of sales presentations is a powerful prequalification tool that allows companies to more effectively spend travel dollars only on those prospects that have been fully qualified. Web conferencing can also speed up the sales process by being able to demo multiple individuals quickly without having to wait weeks or months for a date that all individuals can meet at the corporate headquarters. Companies are also finding that because demonstrations can be done immediately, they can be more responsive to prospects needs and often eliminate potential competition from getting in on the deal.

As you can see that are a number of benefits of web conferencing besides just cost reductions. When used effectively it can be a powerful sales tool. Is your organization currently using web conferencing? If so, which one. Has delivered the cost savings that you expected? What innovative ways have you implemented web conferencing at your organizations?

Share with us your thoughts, experiences and best practices of using web conferencing to drive down the cost of sales.