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Mobilizing the Entire Team in Unison

Customer Case Study

Echo360 extends the boundaries of learning for educational institutions around the world. These institutions use the EchoSystem to record and publish class lectures, transforming each lecture into persistent knowledge. In this way the institution extends the reach of the knowledge, allowing a broader audience to benefit vs. just those who attended the session in person. They also leverage their investment in professors and guest lecturers in a much bigger way, and deliver a higher quality education to their students via reinforced learning.

Echo360 is a young company creating a new product category – a significant business challenge. They are keenly aware that the faster their entire organization ramps up the collective learning curve, the more successful they will be. And they know that the learning must come from all directions simultaneously. Learning as fast as possible from all directions, and propagating that learning as quickly as possible throughout the organization is their most fundamental challenge. For this, they turned to Socialtext.

Summary
Problem
  • Limited feedback loops for sales tools and materials
  • No leveraged way to collect meaningful, timely input from the field
  • No effective way for Field Sales to share timely information with each other
Solution
  • Socialtext collaboration platform
  • A resource hub for all sales material
  • Living, breathing product FAQs
  • Real-time feedback loops
Benefits
  • Fast, iterative learning from all directions
  • Learning propagates quickly throughout the organization
  • Greatly improved competitive intelligence, sales & marketing alignment
  • Ability to mobilize the entire team in unison

Capture and act on field insights

Echo360 field sales people are the first to see a customer's reaction to a message, a sales tool, a product feature; they are the first to hear the "FUD" of a competitor. Collecting these types of field insights as they occur, then quickly digesting and incorporating those insights into sales materials is not only good practice, but for a company like Echo360 in a new product category, is essential for success. The more intimate their understanding of the target market and target buyer, the more they can make small, real time course corrections and continue to steer towards sustained success. Yet Echo360's marketing team had no effective and leveraged way to collect meaningful, timely input from the field, and field sales had no effective and leveraged way to share timely information with each other.

Using e-mail for this resulted in clogged inboxes, with a single topic exploding into a clutter of individual messages yet did not result in persistent knowledge. Using documents on shared drives slowed down collaboration and inhibited input. Waiting for face-to-face meetings was not timely. To resolve this fundamental challenge, Echo360 turned to the Socialtext collaboration platform. Selling situations are now documented in their Socialtext workspace. Working openly in workspaces, every time someone has a new learning or insight to share or a strategic question to pose, they simply put it on a workspace page. Team members get alerted to the new content through all the social networking and alerting mechanisms that are part of the Socialtext collaboration platform.

Resource hub for sales

"Socialtext lets us drink from a steady stream of field insights about customer needs, perceptions and reactions. We now have fast, iterative learning cycles."

Mary Young
Director of Marketing

Like all good marketing teams, the marketing department at Echo360 uses their market knowledge as a backdrop as they develop tools and materials for all of sales to leverage. But without an effective feedback loop on how their sales tools and materials were working, the Echo360 marketing team was at a disadvantage.

The Socialtext collaboration platform has now solved this problem for Echo360. The marketing team uses a Socialtext workspace as a resource hub for delivery of all sales material, including case studies, customer testimonials, collateral, presentations, messaging by segment, customers by territory, product videos, recorded webinars and other sales resources. As a baseline, all sales and marketing team members are now assured that everyone is using the right version of all of this fast changing material. Moreover, team members can augment each item with links to learning material, usage suggestions, notes and other resources that ensure each sales tool is used to its maximum effectiveness.

Echo360 also posts its marketing calendar in Socialtext, giving sales visibility into the schedule for upcoming conferences and events, press releases, and new materials such as case studies. Entries are linked to the work in progress, so everyone gets early insight and stays on one page. The event entries are linked to the conference plan, so everyone has a go to place for the details they need. This eliminates the flurry of questions that typically surround the planning of a large event.

Real time feedback loops

With all customer facing material now posted in the Socialtext workspace, Echo360 has a way to collect feedback on what works and doesn't with all sales materials, and with positioning for each market segment. Everyone across sales and marketing sees and builds on everyone else's input. Marketing can now use the feedback to drive fast iterations of sales tools that map to market needs. "We get a lot better feedback, and we get it a lot faster," said Nicole Jouvelakas, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator. "Socialtext gives us a better way to refine our messaging. And it helps us make sure everyone uses the same consistent message."

Everyone stays up to date on what customers and others are saying

Everyone in marketing had their own way of trying to keep up with what was being said on blogs and social media sites like Twitter, about the company, the product and the industry. "No one had an easy way to stay in touch with what was going on, and there was a lot we were missing," said Nicole.

Echo360 set up a central page on their Socialtext workspace as the home page for everyone. Widgets and RSS feeds on this home page pull in the latest from Google, the blogosphere, Twitter and other sources to keep the entire team up to date on conversations they need to know about.

"It really helps us to see what types of conversations are taking place online," said Nicole. "Especially when they involve our customers, or competitor's customers. It is really helpful to see the kind of questions they ask, and to get a quick read on their reactions to news, announcements, analyst predictions and so forth. Socialtext lets us learn more about what's of interest to our market, and quickly see patterns."

The entire team is now better informed, and better equipped to have meaningful conversations with customers and prospects. They are able to quickly recognize patterns and trends, act on new opportunities, and respond to events that could impact their business.

Living, breathing best practices

"We knew each person had knowledge and experience that could benefit others. We just didn't have a way to get it flowing."

Mary Young
Director of Marketing

Echo360 field sales people are on the front line getting new customer questions every day, and they are on the hot seat to work up answers. The problem was, each person relied on their own network to develop answers, so there was no collective visibility into the questions being asked, and no lasting or leveraged value from the effort put into each individual phone call or e mail exchange. There was also no iterative way to test and improve the answers over time. The marketing team published an FAQ document, but since keeping the questions and answers fresh required input from so many different sources people in the field, the product group, product marketing it was impossible to keep the information timely using a document format.

The Echo360 product team put all product information online, and created a "living, breathing FAQ." Information about each new product release and announcement is now posted in Socialtext, so the team has product information that is much more current and consumable, and as a result they are more knowledgeable. In addition, everyone now has a place to discuss questions posed by customers and prospects, and to brainstorm implications and answers. Everyone pitches in their expertise, insight and feedback to develop and refine the best answers. Everyone learns from the dialog, and benefits from the fast answers.

Competitive intelligence surround sound

"The product team does a great job of keeping the information fresh. And everyone else keeps the information relevant."

Nicole Jouvelakas
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

With Socialtext in place and the entire team now actively contributing and participating, Echo360 has greatly improved their competitive intelligence. Using RSS feeds, the Echo360 staff now sees competitive announcements and the reactions to those announcements in real time, fed in from news and social media sites in the wild. Using the integrated blog capability in Socialtext, they now have a collaborative place to record what they've learned, and discuss its meaning and implications. The knowledge they build with these discussions is persistent, captured in the competitive intelligence blog, so they increase their understanding of a competitor in a lasting way. Also, with their FAQ's now living and breathing on a Socialtext workspace, they have a collaborative place to work up answers to anticipated or real customer questions that result from competitor positioning.

Everyone benefits from work in progress

"Using the Socialtext platform, we provide competitive intelligence surround sound. And we can now mobilize the entire team in unison to changes in the industry."

Mary Young
Director of Marketing

"Before Socialtext, you never knew what anyone was working on until they sent the output with a bow tied around it in e-mail," said Nicole. "Now when we interview a customer for a case study or a media opportunity, the interview is posted in Socialtext. People know what others are working on. They can jump in with ideas, and they can tap into the work in progress to do their jobs better."

For case studies underway, Echo360 also posts the contacts, next steps and other relevant information in Socialtext. "We have everything we need all in one place. This gives us a huge improvement in the speed of getting these things out," said Nicole.

Echo360 is currently preparing for their first user conference, and is using Socialtext not only to post all the information everyone needs to know, but also to brainstorm on speakers, topics and other ideas, and to gain feedback throughout the planning process.

All now working as one team

Echo360 has graphic designers that serve as a central resource for all the design needs of the organization. Before using Socialtext, no one had visibility into the work load or priorities of the graphic designers. Now, their project schedules are published in Socialtext for everyone to see. People submit new requests in Socialtext, along with all the required specs and materials, so everything is in one place.

"With Socialtext we've made the process visible and organized," said Nicole.

Fast, iterative learning cycles

Echo360 is in the business of transforming knowledge into a persistent resource for their customers, and with Socialtext, they now do the same for themselves. They capture what the organization knows collectively, make it persistent, and build it over time. With Socialtext, Echo360 has now enabled fast, iterative learning cycles to understand their target market, to test messaging, to refine sales processes, to know what works and what's needed in sales tools, and to keep their sales and marketing teams in lock step alignment. "Socialtext is a reservoir of fresh thinking everyone can tap into," said Mary. "Socialtext aligns our sales and marketing groups. We all work together as one team."