Contact: Tristan Degenhardt, Switchvox product line director
Location: Huntsville, AL
Industry: Telecommunications, B2B
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 130
Digium specializes in business communications products that operate on the company's proprietary open source telephony software, a recent addition of which is the Switchvox open source IP PBX (private branch exchange) line. In addition to being offered through the company Web site and internal sales channel, Digium products are sold through a global network of partner resellers, for which the company offers comprehensive sales, marketing, and technical support.
Since acquiring Switchvox in September 2007, Digium has been building out the product suite, with the latest releases occurring in March and June of this year. It was during that timeframe that Switchvox product line director Tristan Degenhardt, often the support contact of choice for resellers and sales staff requesting in-depth customer presentations and product demonstrations, realized the need for a video sales tool that these channels could use to effectively demonstrate the products on their own.
With the help of San Diego-based Groovy Like a Movie, Degenhardt created a Web-based video that provided all the essential points of her in-person presentations, but in a format more easily accessible to all the company's sales outlets. The video has become widely used by these channels in the short time since its launch and has made the company's sales process more efficient. It has also served a broader marketing purpose and proven to be an effective press tool.
In March 2008, Digium released a new version of its Switchvox IP PBX to serve small businesses and was preparing for another new release targeting midsize businesses to launch in June.
As Digium's sales staff and its network of 360 partner resellers began promoting the new appliances and introducing the midsize version to customers before its release, it became evident that the company needed an efficient sales tool that would assist sales and resellers in effectively presenting the product and its capabilities to customers.
As it was, Switchvox product line director Tristan Degenhardt was having to take significant time away from her core responsibilities of developing and maintaining the product. Because of numerous product-demonstration requests from both Sales and resellers, Degenhardt would perform those demonstrations in-person, over the phone, or via impromptu Web seminars.
What she needed was a collateral piece that could be used by both of these channels to deliver the same breadth of information without requiring so much of her time.
Degenhardt worked with San Diego-based Groovy Like a Movie, a full-service multimedia company, to produce a video that would assist Digium's sales staff and reseller partners in introducing the product and demonstrating its functionality to potential customers.
"The goal for this piece was to have a long-lived introduction to the Switchvox product in a very general, high-level way," said Degenhardt.
Since it was to be primarily used as a Web video, Degenhardt was conscious of keeping the message concise so that she could deliver the bulk of information without losing viewer interest.
The finished product, released in the beginning of June 2008, was just short of six minutes in length and included the following:
- Background information on the company and product
- An explanation of business advantages to be gained by using the product
- A comparison of the product with other PBX systems
- Detailed descriptions and demonstrations of product features
- Available sources for additional information
It was posted on the company's Web site, partner Web sites, and YouTube; it was also made available for partners to download and distribute at will.
In the two months since its release, the video has been viewed more than 5,000 times, including over 1,000 views on YouTube, and has proven popular with both the company's sales team and its reseller network.
"Our sales team has found that the video is helping them understand a customer's needs more quickly," said Degenhardt. "It's acting as a preliminary sales pitch and introduction to the product so that customers are reaching out with more informed and specific questions. It's really helping us to qualify these leads."
Although it's still too soon to tell exactly how sales will be affected, Degenhardt expects the video to increase the company's close rate and shorten its sales cycle.
More immediately, the video has added interest and user interaction to the Switchvox product Web site and spared Degenhardt the hassle of regularly providing in-person and over-the-phone sales support, freeing her to focus on her core responsibilities of product maintenance and development. It is estimated that the video will save her somewhere in the range of 250 to 500 hours of support time this year.
The video has also turned out to be an effective press tool and was helpful in garnering trade coverage on CRN.com, VoIPPlanet.com, FireceVoIP.com, InternetNews.com, and the eWeek and Ostatic.com blogs. "It's been helpful to send to the media, to pre-brief the press, or even as a follow up to a media interview, to reiterate the messages covered," Degenhardt said.
- Innovate! The video not merely saved Degenhardt time but was also a more widely and readily accessible medium that allowed the company's sales and reseller channels to make informed presentations on demand, without relying on the availability of a single specialist.
- Make it multifunctional. Degenhardt showed that when sales collateral is executed properly it can also serve as a broader marketing tool. Her video spiced up the product Web page, allowed the company to gain exposure on YouTube, and a became a resourceful and reusable vehicle for communicating the company's message to the media.
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