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Five Best Practices To Get ROI From Video Solutions

In my experience helping customers  implement video solutions, their goals are usually to increase efficiencies, reduce expenses and even generate new lines of business. Cisco Collaboration Change Management Services (CCMS) helps customers accelerate adoption of collaboration solutions to achieve your targeted business goals. CCMS has a global team of experts in change management, communications, training, governance, marketing, operational processes and adoption analytics ready to help.  View this video to learn how one company realized the full benefits of their video solution.

Overall, our team has noticed there are 5 common traits among successful customers:

  1. An organization’s strategic objectives drive how, where, and why video is used
    Customer A’s strategic objective was to aggressively expand in emerging markets over the next 3 years.  This strategy was widely communicated and cascaded into operational goals throughout the company.  Significant investments were made to increase the size and quality of the sales teams in the Brazil and China sales offices.  Additionally, the customer purchased Cisco TelePresence video units for these offices to accelerate growth. The ‘boardroom ROI’ for this investment would be realized by achieving the expansion goals in Brazil and China.
  2. A business unit sponsor leads the deployment (not IT), communicates their vision, and sets expectations about how video will make a difference. The VP of Sales communicated to the sales teams in Brazil and China a compelling scenario of how they could increase sales by leveraging video for customer meetings.  After meeting their prospects, customers, distributors, and partners in person for the first time, follow-up video meetings would reduce the frequency of in-person meetings. Less travel time would allow the sales team to more effectively cover these large countries. The sales team could increase customer intimacy and loyalty between onsite visits.  The VP of Sales effectively communicated “What’s In It For ME” or “WIIFM” – to build interest and motivation and clarified the expectation that video meetings should begin immediately.
  3. Success criteria is clearly defined and, where possible, tied to improvements in existing operational metrics. The VP of Sales set specific goals – increase sales by 20% and increase video usage by 30% in the next fiscal year.  This provided the direction, motivation, and reinforcement for the sales teams to increase their utilization of video to directly improve their sales results.   Their results were impressive – in the first quarter, sales grew by 11% in Brazil and 13% in China and by 23% at the end of the year, surpassing their original target. These results surpassed the ‘boardroom ROI’ that originally justified the purchase.
  4. Team members are assigned to help people manage through barriers to adoption. It was clear from the beginning that there would be challenges with some team members’ attitudes and resistance to using video for meetings.  People had their reasons – preference for in-person contact, differing tolerance for risk, concern about video meeting etiquette, etc.  About a month before the VP’s announcement, the local management team in each office identified a couple of people who would readily embrace the technology and be good coaches for their peers.  They were fully trained in the technical features as well as how to identify and overcome people’s resistance.  The local sales team reached out to them and got the support they needed to get comfortable with a new way of working.   The need for this role diminished quickly after four weeks when adoption was in full swing.
  5. Employees understand how they are accountable for success. Things got personal -- our customer’s strategy to increase sales by 20% in the emerging markets of Brazil and China was cascaded to the individual level and reflected in each sales person’s sales objectives.  The VP of Sales also gave them the target of conducting 30% of their meetings over video. Each sales person clearly understood their goal and the behavior changes that were needed to achieve it.

So, I think the winning formula to achieve ROI for your video investment is a clear vision, measurable success criteria, WIIFM, personal accountability and some help to bring it all together.

Did I miss anything? What do you think are the best practices for implementing new solutions in your organization?

Read my latest post to learn how business leaders can champion the adoption of collaboration solutions: ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’ – NOT!

Reach out to us at collaborationadoption@cisco.com to learn more about how Cisco Services can help you achieve your business goals with collaboration solutions.

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13 Comments.


  1. Great post Frances. I find that the best stories about collaboration technology success tend to be tied to specific business processes. And the business impact is highest with customer-facing processes. I’m curious about the last point on personal accountability, though – was 30% target a hard goal for the salespeople?

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    • Frances Harpst

      Hi Phil, thanks for your insightful comment. Accountability is one of the most critical success factors for any successful change, as we know. To reach the ultimate goal of increasing sales by 20%, each salesperson was given a behavior-based target to conduct 30% of their meetings via video. There was indeed resistance and concern that the video experience would be less personal than an in-person experience and potentially counterproductive to their sales goals. We understood this resistance from the start based on interviews so extra coaching resources were created, e.g. best practices for the first meeting – always meet in person, explore the benefits to the customer with them, review the customized quick reference guide, create an audio-only backup, and commit to reassessing the video option after a couple meetings. Additionally, we created an internal marketing campaign and some fun customer giveaways. This approach built the sales team’s confidence and effectiveness and in most cases, enabled them to meet both the meeting and sales targets.

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  2. It’s a good read Frances. Perception of success must be crystal clear for achieving good outcomes. These are best practices for any organization. Point 2 is the good part of article. Thank you for share

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    • Frances Harpst

      Thanks, Grace. Totally agree that success metrics are foundational to the change initiative. We’ve seen instances of good video adoption but lackluster travel savings because the latter was generally expected as an outcome, but not managed as a target goal. Accountability for specific and measurable goals – adoption AND travel savings – needs to be designed into any change program to ensure success.

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  3. Great tups! Let’s be more efficient. And cost-effective.

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    • Frances Harpst

      Thanks for your comment, Ross. What examples have you seen where video has delivered these types of benefits?

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  4. The success traits here remind of an ERP or B2B Purchasing implementation.

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    • Frances Harpst

      Kak, you are totally correct to make this connection. Business systems such as ERP, B2B and CRM are built around well-established processes with existing operational or financial metrics that will be impacted by a new or upgrade implementation. However, video can add value to innumerable processes, organizations and operations. As a result, customers need to define specific use cases and success criteria that deliver value in their unique environment. Skipping this step usually results in low adoption and unclear business results.

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  5. Nice done Frances. Its always god to hear how to reduce expenses.

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  6. Nice doone frances…

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  7. Very well written post. Thanks for the info Frances!

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  8. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.Thanks for a great post

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  9. December 16, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Hey Frances, Its really good to know how to reduce the expenses.

    Nice Post

    Keep Sharing :)

       1 like