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Tech to Tweak your Corporate Culture
TechtoTweakimage
Jan 14, 2016 by Anonymous

Corporate culture helps define a business, and employee habits and attitudes are at the heart of every work environment. For businesses, new technology can be used to bring fresh mindsets into a work community—helping to keep employees engaged, energized, and effective!

Tech Initiatives to Keep your Work Community Modern and Dynamic!

According to an interview with Molly Graham at Facebook, “a new philosophy is emerging in business and today’s young workers are driving a change in corporate culture . . . challenging our thinking about company codes of conduct and business philosophy.”(1)

A company may need to adopt new techniques in order to stay current and relevant, and although technology may bring a learning curve for business teams, it’s important to incorporate the technology that helps your brand connect with your team members.

Using Data to Keep your Business Culture Active and Relevant

While there’s a lot of focus now on Big Data and its insights about customers and markets, gathering information internally can help to:

  • Streamline operations
  • Increase productivity
  • Expedite supply-lines
  • Improve employee morale
  • Increase employee retention

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the digital age, it’s that there’s simply no excuse for being out of touch.

“When employees are provided with ways to make suggestions that could improve the productivity or the general working environment of the company, it can be said that the environment is inclusive, as it allows for free communication between everyone employed by the business.”(2)

Businesses should offer frequent (perhaps even continual) opportunities for feedback—both anonymous and in forums. In meetings, training sessions, and presentations, audience response systems are an excellent way to gauge the feelings, opinions, and wishes of your team—helping managers and administrators make decisions that reflect the overall attitudes of employees and improve the corporate culture.

According to the SmartMeetings article (3), “Generation Tech: Leverage leading-edge technology to engage millennials,” written by SmartSource Rentals Vice President of Sales, Jeffrey Byrne:

Audience response systems give millennials another way to share their voices in real time. They’re perfect for audience polling about the event, exhibits attendees are enjoying, the winner of a prize drawing at a sponsor’s booth, reactions to speakers and more. They promote a highly interactive event while helping planners stay abreast of attendees’ opinions regarding various aspects of it. Exhibitors can use audience response systems to gain better insight into how their display, sales presentations and promotions are being received—valuable on-the-spot information to have if they want to make any adjustments.

Real-Time, Streaming, and Fresh Communication Techniques

Is your team using Slack? Millions of users are claiming that the instant messaging service has cleared out their inboxes and made team communication lightning-fast. Real-time streaming video services are also becoming more and more popular. According to Wired.com, we’re “approaching the point where people get annoyed if certain things aren’t streamed.”(4)

Communication (both within an organization and in a business’s external contacts as well) will become increasingly dependent upon newer, faster, real-time options for written and visual interaction. These applications and services make work-life better by:

  • Making communication easy and instant
  • Reducing time spent in physical meetings
  • Helping projects move faster
  • Reducing the time-drain of email
  • Improving overall productivity and satisfaction
  • Increasing teamwork and collaboration
  • Allowing for more flexible work schedules and remote offices
  • Building more positive relationships

Collaboration that comes out of personal connections is amplified.(1)

Offer a Technology or Gaming Lounge in the Office

Obviously, businesses focus a great deal of time and energy on events and technology that help engage customers and create profitable B2B relationships, but many of the techniques that our SmartSource Blog discusses in relation to business events can be applied to your corporate culture.

For instance, we’ve discussed the benefits of offering a technology lounge at events, but the advantages of a tech lounge apply equally for your work teams! Yes, your employees have access to desktops, printers, and charging stations in their work areas, but a workplace tech lounge is a common area which serves as a place to:

  • Gather
  • Exchange ideas
  • Enhance creativity through play
  • Recharge mentally and socially
  • Build stronger work relationships

All of these benefits help to create a better work/life balance—one of the most important qualities that today’s employees want from their job!

 

References:

(1) http://i-sight.com/resources/millennials-turn-corporate-culture-on-head/

(2) http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-corporate-culture.htm

(3) Byrne, Jeffrey C. “Generation Tech: Leverage leading-edge technology to engage millennials.” SmartMeetings Nov. 2015: 34. http://pubs.royle.com/publication/?i=278186&pre=1

(4) http://www.wired.com/2012/03/opinion-levy-backchannel-video/

The New Sales Cycle
newsalesimage
Dec 22, 2015 by Anonymous

As Sales teams know, consumers are now more educated than ever before, due to the enormous amount of information available to them; they hold new keys and have a new empowerment. Due to user-generated content, buyers are now extremely educated (if they choose to be) about the price, value, sourcing, and competitor offerings for any purchase they intend to make—whether for goods or services.

How does this affect the sales cycle? According to a New Aberdeen study, when participants were asked about their greatest business pressure, 62% of participants answered: “Customers are demanding better service than ever.(1)

How is Technology Affecting Sales?

Although change is often viewed with skepticism, in the case of the sales cycle, technology is definitely aiding and improving sales process engineering by creating a better, faster, and—most importantly—more productive sales process. It is important to remember that neither customers nor sales teams want drawn-out sales procedures—customers want solutions, and sales departments want to close deals quickly. Technology helps shorten the process by:

  • Improving education
  • Refining lead qualification
  • Streamlining communication

While sales teams may feel additional pressure, it can be a great advantage to work with well-informed consumers who expect excellent service. Let’s evaluate each of these advancements.

Education is the Key to Conversion

Needless to say, most consumers are now FAR more educated about their prospective purchases than at any time in the history of sales. With the Internet ready and waiting at any second to answer questions, provide pricing comparisons, and offer contact information for your competitors—there is no SHORTAGE of education; however, this is why the RIGHT information and education regarding your company and products is CRITICAL. The Internet abhors a vacuum, and if you don’t flood the search engines with the correct information about your product, your competitors will be more than happy to fill the void.

The Solution: E-Literature and digital document solutions make your company’s flawlessly written promotional materials instantly available for viewing, sending, sharing, printing, or downloading on any electronic device.

Pre-Qualify the Prospects

Qualifying prospects saves time, money, and effort—ensuring that sales teams focus their resources on fertile territory. Qualifying the prospect should, ideally, not only confirm that a customer is willing and able to purchase a product, but should also provide detailed information about the customers’ unique problems and product interests.

The Solution: Lead retrieval systems are becoming more advanced each day—helping to integrating customer data silos such as: CRM platforms, marketing automation systems, contact center deployments, and help desk operations—ultimately giving a more accurate customer overview to help boost the effectiveness of your sales reps!

According to research, 63% of companies polled nominated “integrate multiple internal sources of data into a single view of each customer” as their leading strategic action. (1)

Communication Makes Sales

How Can Sales Teams Stay Ahead of the Trends? By:

  • Responding quickly
  • Working to consolidate the data on customers
  • Determining clients’ needs
  • Hearing customers’ problems and concerns
  • Finding their solutions
  • Closing the deal

Communication is the beginning, middle, and finish line of all sales. Technology and the digital era are changing buyer seller relationships—streamlining the communication that closes sales, improving customer engagement, and meeting the high expectations of service that customers now demand!

About SmartSource Rentals

With over 30 years of experience in business technology solutions, SmartSource Rentals has the trade show, conference, and exposition hardware and software that can provide deeper insight into your customers’ needs—enhancing your bottom line. Contact us today for a customized consultation about the ideal technology solutions for your business event!

 

Resources:

  1. http://blogs.aberdeen.com/customer-management/customer-engagement-has-evolved-can-your-sales-team-keep-up/

http://www.inc.com/resources/sales/articles/20070801/jthull.html

Event Technology that’s Hot for 2016
Dec 15, 2015 by Karen Daniels

With 2016 right around the corner, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s hot for event technology, and how we can use that technology to improve both the experience of an event, as well as the bottom line success.

It’s important to note that even though technology now allows for virtual meetings and webinars, in-person events still provide the best way to build relationships, network, find qualified buyers, meet vendors, and generate buzz and interest.

eventtech1

Hot Event Technology to Use in 2016

1. Mobile Event Apps and Real Time Event Management

Mobile event apps are evolving and becoming much more than something that provides event information convenience. Because smartphones have a variety of sensors and GPS, when combined with a smart event app, event managers will be able to know the user’s likes and dislikes, what they are interested in, and their movements. In other words, mobile event apps are becoming a rich source of data for event planners and managers.

No longer do you need to wait until the end of a meeting or talk to get the results of a survey. The right mobile event app will allow you to gather data and then make changes right then and there.

Images and Social Media

If you use social media at all you know that social media channels such as Instagram are growing in popularity and that a Tweet with an image is almost twice as likely to be retweeted as one without. Streaming video apps are becoming part of events. Periscope was purchased by Twitter and so is likely to become very popular for events.

Incorporating social media into events has unlimited potential. One of the goals at your event could be to create those WOW moments that prompts participants to share in real time. You can make this sharing easier by including a “Tweet this” button in your event app that prepopulates the hashtag, for instance.

Using video walls as large screen social walls that stream all the hashtag conversations provide real time interaction that encourages people to participate.

2. Interaction and Immersion

The future is truly here and the name of the game is elevating the user experience. Curved screens and wide screens allow for the feeling of full immersion for the viewer. Utilizing this technology for PPTs and other presentations creates a whole new level of impact and immersion.

Projection mapping can add an unpreceded element of surprise and is a sure-fire way to get all viewers to pull out their smartphones to snap and post pictures.

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. (from Wikipedia)

eventtech2

Figure 1: projection_mapping_by_@DoloresJoya_@CODA_ME_codame_(photo_by_j_bizzie)

Though you may associate projection mapping with large surfaces, they can be done on a smaller scale for an event.

3. Smart Personalized Content and Alerts

The use of motion capture and facial recognition can allow you to provide personalized content as someone approaches a booth or certain venue location. This can be accomplished through an RFID chip or Bluetooth technology.

Wearable technology is a growing trend and is being used in places like Disneyland to create heightened personal experiences.

Beacons are low energy blue tooth devices that you attach to venue walls, doorways, or booths, that can give off personalized alerts. They are programmed to send specific alerts to smartphones when someone passes nearby.

Uses for wearables and beacons1 can include:

  • Help attendees track different exhibit booths visited
  • Alert attendees who are leaving a talk to fill out a survey
  • User initiated automatic posts to twitter and other social channels
  • Automated voting
  • Entrance ticket
  • Cashless payments
  • Sharing virtual business cards

4. Event Intelligence

Whether you’re using smartphone apps, wearables, geo positioning, or other technology, event managers now have the capacity to get immediate answers to many questions that before either went unanswered, or could only be answered belatedly. Now you can use technology to know:

  • Who your top speakers are
  • Which types of booths draw the most attendance
  • How event activities are rated
  • Who the key influencers are
  • What aspects of your event are most engaging
  • The flow of attendees at a venue Event intelligence is all about real time information and data, and real time event management.

5. Keep Your Technology Cutting-Edge with SmartSource Rentals

The possibilities with event technology have never been greater.

In 2016, aim to create your best events yet by tapping into the technology trends for that truly interactive, successful user experience, that attendees crave. Call us at 800.888.8686 or request a quote today.

Resources

  1. Nine Amazing Meetings Technology Trends to Watch in 2016
  2. Event Tech Trends in 2016
Technology that Supports Education
techedu1
Dec 08, 2015 by Anonymous

Education is the lifeblood of many industries. Although it’s easy to think only of traditional classrooms, many business functions are designed to facilitate the distribution and/or exchange of information. According to Wikipedia (we thank them for helping us ALL learn!):

“Education is the process of facilitating learning. Knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits of a group of people are transferred to other people, through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, or research.” (1)

 

Rental Technology Adapts to Educational Needs

While it may seem that education belongs entirely to schools, academies, and universities—businesses, in fact, are constantly educating in their own ways, through:

  • Training Sessions
  • Certification Programs
  • Extended Learning
  • Product Launches
  • Research
  • Initiatives
  • Conferences
  • Trade Shows
  • Lectures and Speakers
  • Sessions and Talks

In nearly all of these situations, the business “classroom” may depend heavily on a temporary technology installation which can be setup quickly as the situation demands. A transportable classroom installation is useful for short-term sessions, traveling corporate training events, for cost-saving situations where renting saves over the cost of purchasing, or for businesses that would prefer to test out certain technology options before they commit.

Technology is Changing the Way We Learn

By 2012, the use of electronic educational technology, or e-learning, had grown at 14 times the rate of traditional learning. (1) As technology feeds our innate preferences toward convenience and individuality, we now feel that it is our right to have any information we need—immediately available at the push of a button. Not surprisingly, technology has changed the way we learn!

For modern learners, flexibility is a key factor in education now; customization and interactivity are expected. Naturally, there has been an increase in the popularity of mobile and distance learning—including online education, and virtual or hybrid classrooms, which can still provide a person-to-person experience, even across the planet! While classrooms once consisted of desks, chairs, and a chalkboard, modern classrooms are likely to include:

  • Self-directed “autodidactic” learning
  • Gamification
  • E-books
  • Touchscreens
  • Networked learning communities
  • Electronic correspondence—blogs, chatrooms, email, SMS messaging

techedu2

For traditional or corporate educators who strive to establish modern classrooms, the following technology options are the new standards:

  • IPads – iPads literally put learning at one’s fingertips, whether as individual iPads for personalized learning OR a fleet of iPads that simultaneously distributes a presentation to an entire group.
  • WiFi Connection  – whether distributing information across the room or across the globe, a fast and reliable WiFi connection is nothing less than mandatory.
  • ARS Clickers and Keypads – for in-person lectures, sessions, speakers, and presentations, audience response systems are an effective and inexpensive way to give your audience a say in the material. Use them to produce question and answer sessions that truly offer extended learning and deep discussion!
  • Kiosks and Registration Stations – for on-location events and attendees, a registration kiosk is an excellent way to welcome guests and gather necessary information.
  • E-Literature Software Solutions – an ideal technology offering for education, our ELit Station stores your information and distributes it, on demand—no expensive printing costs, wasted paper, or weighty, outdated textbooks! Attendees quickly, easily download materials such as:
    • Coursework and assignments
    • Syllabuses and outlines
    • Reading materials and resources
    • Product specs

Bringing Learning to a Wider Audience

As technology brings us the capabilities for long-distance learning and hybrid events, it opens doors to a wider audience of learners— also bringing the potential to customize learning for each individual student! Technology motivates learners in many ways; by putting us in control, offering non-judgmental instruction, providing interactive experiences, and allowing us to move at our own pace, technology helps us love to learn!

About SmartSource Rentals

With over 30 years of experience in Technology Rentals, SmartSource has learned a LOT about what makes a successful event! Give us a call today to let us apply our knowledge to your advantage!

 

References and Resources:

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education

http://mashable.com/2010/11/22/technology-in-education/#QWvEPro6Uqq4

http://www.useoftechnology.com/the-use-of-technology-in-education/

 

Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI- Part 3
ROI Part 3 image
Dec 01, 2015 by Karen Daniels

The vast number of technology choices you now have to enhance your brand and exhibit booth at events means that with the right choices, you can make more impact than ever. To make the right technology choices, you should select tech solutions that support your specific company goals.

At SmartSource Rentals, we’ve been providing rental products and services for trade shows and professional conferences for over 30 years. So we know exactly how important your ROI is, and how vital it is that the technology you choose supports your unique goals.

To measure your ROI for an event you might look at:

  • Booth traffic
  • Closed sales or signed contracts
  • Increased prospects in database
  • Qualified sales leads
  • Increased distribution partners

Technology is an integral part of allowing you to track and measure your event ROI.  That’s why, in this series, Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, we’re linking up technology with specific event goals so you are able to make better choices on which equipment to rent to get the maximize return on your investment

For this article, Part 3, we’re focusing on using technology to meet the goal of expanding your customer base.

Event Goal: Expanding Your Customer Base

Growing your customer base is one of the primary reasons to attend live events and tradeshows. And the secret to success in gaining more customers lies in getting them to take an interest in your company, and then interacting with you on some level. We’re not talking about that all too common surface interaction where someone walks by your booth, says hi, picks up a brochure, and then quickly moves on. We’re talking about true interaction, either through an actual conversation with you or your staff, or via the technology you have: the type of interaction which allows a potential customer to see just how much your product or service can improve their life or business.

That deeper level of interaction is what converts potential customers into actual customers.

Digital Document Library

Digital document libraries give you the opportunity to interactively deliver content about your company, products, and services. This is a great tool for allowing a potential customer to interact in a customized way while learning about all the great things about your company that matters most to them.

Human beings love touchscreens.

Humans love touch screen image

So allowing customers to access your digital document library through a touchscreen boosts the level of interaction and therefore interest.

The second part of being able to convert a potential customer into an actual customer is, of course, gathering that person’s information. This is where a digital library really stands out because it’s the perfect platform to retrieve those sales leads. The retrieval of this information is done automatically while the user is interacting with the library.

Items to include in your digital library to generate user interest can include:

  • Informational resources including product and service information
  • Videos, new product and other promotional trailers
  • Images and information that demonstrate how unique your services are
  • Add to cart – sell products and services right from your digital library

Lead Retrieval Systems

Call Out for ROI Part 3

“When it comes to lead retrieval, there’s still a disturbingly high percentage of exhibitors relying on the so-called “fishbowl method” of collecting business cards, without any formal lead form, lead-qualification system, or badge scanner.” Exhibitor Online

During an event, retrieving all those valuable leads is key to expanding your customer base. Using a lead retrieval system gives you a technical advantage because you can gather everything you need just by scanning someone’s bar-coded badge or a magnetic strip.

This means, your overly busy booth staff won’t miss those leads. Having those in-person conversations between staff and potential customers is one of the most important aspects of tradeshows. And those conversations are what makes live events fundamentally different from online marketing.

Because it’s important that every potential customer gets all the individual attention they need to make the decision to use your company, a lead retrieval system frees you and your staff from having to spend time entering all the vital information you’ll need later to follow up on your leads. Advantages of lead retrieval systems for expanding your customer base include:

  • Data is organized so you can import to a spreadsheet or database for follow up
  • Generating interest with prize drawings which attendees can enter with no effort simply by having their badge scanned
  • You can access the data in real time allowing you to follow up on leads the same day and as we know quick follow up leads to a higher conversion rate

 

If you’d like to learn more about Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, in Part 1 we discussed three technologies, Digital Signage, Apple iPad Stations, and Video Wall Displays, that are great for grabbing a potential customer’s attention.

In Part 2 of Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, we talked about how to spread brand awareness and be memorable using Sound Showers and Charging Stations.

To use our technology expertise to help you achieve tradeshow goals and expand your customer base contact SmartSource Rentals today.

 

The Power of Data: Knowing Your Customers’ Needs and Wants
powerofdataimage
Nov 24, 2015 by Anonymous

Big data is flooding business news. While this ground-breaking wave of technology gives businesses the opportunity to possess nearly prophetic knowledge and intuition about their consumers, it can be difficult to process the torrents of information—both information on how the technology can be applied, and also literally processing the billions of pieces of data that companies may receive.

To cut through the noise, every company needs to approach data collection with clearly defined goals. Businesses must decide what SPECIFIC questions they want their data to answer—for example, how to:

  • Identify precise demographic groups
  • Attract customers
  • Match consumers to products
  • Increase margins
  • Meet business objectives
  • Streamline operations
  • Improve efficiencies and processes
  • Improve products and services
  • Identify seasonal highs and lows
  • Gauge customer satisfaction (and dissatisfaction)
  • Identify and decrease churn rates
  • Boost key performance indicators

The Fine Line between Big Business . . . and Big Brother

Big data seeks to offer consumers information that is targeted precisely to them; however, there’s a fine line between customization and “creeping.” Greeting a stranger by their first name, for instance, may be received as a pleasant or unpleasant surprise—making some consumers feel special and others feel uncomfortable. Ideally, a business’s data collection leads to:

  • personalization that impresses
  • timely offers for products and services
  • new products thoughtfully designed
  • advanced customer service
  • an opportunity to listen to customers directly

Technology that Genuinely Leads

SmartSource Rentals has options for any business that strives to know their consumers better. Whether for conferences, trade shows, corporate events, fundraising, product launches, training sessions, or road trips, the following suggestions can provide a technology portal that connects you to your target audience.

Lead Retrieval – lead retrieval systems are one of the easiest and most efficient methods for gaining insight into the behavior of your ideal consumer! Businesses, event organizers, sponsors, and exhibitors can gain use any combination of desktop terminals, software applications, barcoded badges, or hand-held units and scanners to gain minute-by-minute knowledge of attendee tracking that can boost ROI, increase attendee satisfaction, improve product offerings, and help convert leads into sales.

Digital Document Libraries – a digital document library offers all of a business’s print collateral in digital form, ready for immediate downloading, emailing, or even printing! This electronic library saves money on printing and shipping, while reducing waste; however, this technology also provides extensive real-time analytics by hour, event, attendee, session, kiosk, or digital asset—offering the best of content management and lead generation, while helping businesses to know what topics their customers find most interesting.

Touchscreen Kiosks – touchscreen kiosks and monitors are an excellent, interactive way to give and receive information from your audience. They are a highly-customizable technology option for:

  • Audience response
  • Live voting
  • Polling solutions
  • Capturing lead information
  • Offering interactive demonstrations
  • Extending surveys

By utilizing interactive technology rentals, events and businesses can be more fully connected with their consumers. Tracking can help event organizers determine the popularity of sessions, booths, exhibits, breakouts, and mixers—gathering information that leads to better events and services, without disrupting the guests’ experience. Most importantly, interactive technology can easily gather direct feedback from consumers—providing an open forum for them to speak candidly about their needs and wants, before, during, and after an event.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress . . .”

-Kofi Annan

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