The increasingly digital workplace and faster, more efficient Internet has seen the traditional training rooms and physical group collaboration models becoming less and less necessary.
Citrix recently ran a webinar (how ironic) where Bob Greenup, executive director of BNI Sydney, spoke about his company’s transformation into the business that they are today – something that he was an integral part of.
Face-to-face meetings are essentially BNI’s core product and have been very successful. For example, the BNI global business generated US$9.3 billion between the members last year, and the Sydney franchise has experienced more than 400% growth since Greenup took it over in 2009.
“The whole reason we have face-to-face meetings is essentially because our whole business model is based around ‘know, like and trust’,” Greenup says. “Developing that requires people to meet each other and actually build that relationship face-to-face. We faced a challenge, in that we had to conduct regular training events outside of our core product. These trainings ensure that profitable experiences were consistently delivered to our clients in our face-to-face meetings.”
Despite his position (or perhaps because of it), Greenup never stops investing in his professional development to ensure that he is always gaining additional skills. What he noticed is that, increasingly, he was doing his learning via webinars.
“I’m a busy person and I don’t really have the time to run around to conferences from state to state,” Greenup says. “I’m finding that a webinar-type learning experience has been invaluable over the last couple of years, as I’m able to sit at my desk and learn things that I otherwise couldn’t fit in my life. That was probably the beginning of me examining whether or not I could use this in my business.”
Greenup considered Skype, but he says it had limitations. He installed VoIP solutions, but they lacked the visual opportunity that he used to demonstrate to and train prospects. What consolidated his confidence to move forward with a webinar solution was when he worked alongside other franchise managers around the world to develop a franchise training program that was delivered via webinar with great success.
“When I made the decision to actually go ahead with this sort of platform, I figured that GoToWebinar had been around for a while, so there had to be something better out there,” Greenup says. “So I actually created a shopping list and probably went through about seven or eight different products to find the best value, the best proposition, the best technological solution to make sure I could find the right product.”
However, he found from the trials that all of the products had some sort of shortcoming.
“After my trials, I can honestly say that GoToWebinar is the best product that I’ve used both as a student and an experienced campaigner who is actually giving the webinar,” Greenup says. “From my point of view, in terms of education, training and product information, GoToWebinars has nailed it.”
It was Greenup’s past experiences with webinar platforms that had made him a bit reluctant to adopt the technology.
“Seven or eight years ago I was involved with webinars quite a bit and they were an absolute pain in the neck,” Greenup says. “You’d spend about a third of the time ironing out technical issues, waiting for people to get online or getting cut off mid-way through your spiel. I just didn’t want to be dealing with any technical issues, and fortunately GoToWebinars has a product that has effectively put those to rest.”
In terms of benefits to the business and for Greenup, he says the implementation of GoToWebinars has effectively enabled him to save a week of his time every month.
“I was doing face-to-face training sessions and it would typically take around 2 hours, plus an hour to travel there, an hour to travel back and another hour to set up the venue – which made it around a 5-6 hour event just to run a 2 hour training session,” Greenup says. “I’ve saved about five days a month that I didn’t have before. Now that I’ve got that time I’m using it on marketing, prospecting and other things that I didn’t have time to do.”
And it’s not just about the time-saving, but also the cost and convenience – it even allows Greenup to now work from home.
“It happened more than once where I was holding a training session with 5 people registered to attend, only to end up with myself being the only one at the venue – a waste of my money and my time,” Greenup says. “Our adoption of webinars now means that instead of incurring any cost or time or whatever, it doesn’t matter if people don’t show up – I just turn it off.”
Greenup has many plans to use GoToWebinar to help enable his business to keep up with its consistent growth.
“It’s been around the longest, but I still think it is the most innovative,” Greenup says. "Eight years ago GoToWebinars was a good product, and now the Internet has caught up after surging to new heights – this is only going to make the product more compelling, and essentially, a no-brainer."