Insider Tips: Choose The Best Corporate Meeting Software For Your Business
The best corporate meeting software for large enterprises isn’t simply a scaled-up version of free conferencing tools. These niche platforms are made for big businesses that need to mitigate risks without compromising employee development. They can help you launch a successful VILT strategy, host webinars, and boost customer engagement; not to mention, reduce operational costs. This eBook walks you through the entire process, from identifying your buying requirements to drafting RFPs. So, keep reading if you want to be the host with the most and cultivate in-house talent using the right video conferencing software.
Here’s What You’ll Find Inside This Guide…
- 8 Steps To Choose The Best Corporate Meeting Solutions For Large Enterprises
- 7 Web Conferencing Budgeting Tips To Boost ROI
- How To Use Corporate Meeting Solutions Directory Listings To Vet Vendors
- 8 Questions To Determine The Right Corporate Remote Meeting Software For Your Team
- Everything You Need To Know To Write A Winning Corporate Meeting Solutions RFP
Selecting the best corporate meeting software for large enterprises can be a daunting task, particularly if your wish list is long and working with limited resources. However, there are some vendor vetting protocols that can help you simplify the process and avoid buyer regret. It all starts with an in-house needs analysis so that you can identify gaps and get a head start on your shortlist. Here’s a step-by-step guide that covers all the basics, from budgeting to tool test drives.
Analyze Business Needs
Different organizations have different conferencing expectations. This is why it’s crucial to conduct a needs analysis before starting your software search. What’s missing from your existing software setup? What do your staffers expect from the tool? Above all, what’s the primary use case? A needs analysis allows you to streamline the selection process because you know what to look for. As an example, these are the features you need to improve ROI and build a stronger team dynamic:
Set An Accurate Budget
It’s difficult to set a budget for corporate video conferencing if you’re unfamiliar with pricing models or fee structures. For this reason, you need to do some market research ahead of time. Is one-time licensing or a monthly subscription best for your bottom line? Are there any hidden fees you need to account for? How much are you going to spend on tool maintenance? Does the vendor charge a flat fee or per user? These are questions to help you create a spot-on budget for conferencing systems.
Find An Exclusive Directory
An exclusive directory is the ideal starting point as it features all the leading tools in your price range. You can even filter results by customer type to find systems that are geared toward large enterprises. Every listing includes a product overview so that you can evaluate the real-world video conferencing benefits and use cases. That said, you need to go with a directory that’s reliable and has fraud prevention measures in place.
Evaluate Features and Support
Another reason to use a niche directory is to check out the features, support services, and customer training resources. Every enterprise meeting management software page has a rundown of the key selling points and vendor support options. You can also filter the search results by feature to save time and rule out systems that don’t meet all your buying requirements. For example, you’ll only consider tools with whiteboard and group calendar features for your global team.
Compare Leading Software Solutions
The right directory should also have a built-in comparison tool so that you can weigh all the options. For instance, you choose up to 3 conferencing systems and compare them side-by-side. Another great way to determine which platform delivers max value for money is ratings and reviews. Users share what the pros and cons, as well as an overall satisfaction score. They even need to provide background information. As such, you can focus on reviews that align with your business needs and use case.
Compile A Shortlist
All the info you’ve gathered so far should help you create a list of top choices for your large enterprise. While some companies employ a scoring system to assess vendors, others use a column comparison sheet to see how they stack up. This shortlist is crucial because it allows you to narrow the scope and contact software vendors that meet your expectations instead of requesting free quotes from countless vendors or signing up for multiple test drives. Simply put, most organizations don’t have the time to qualify all the vendors in the directory one-by-one. And the shortlist helps you zero in on conferencing tools that are worth your consideration.
Many vendors have pricing plans already listed on the site or a form you can fill in to request free quotes. However, you should send RFPs to all the companies on your list for accurate cost estimates. The RFP includes project details, budget, implementation timelines, and evaluation criteria. Vendors respond with proposals that include cost breakdowns and real-world benefits. Ideally, all the software providers should send proposals by the deadline so that you can review them with your implementation team. Then follow up with the top choices so that you make the best buying decision. For example, send questionnaires or set up a meeting to discuss your concerns. There are plenty of RFP templates online, or you can contact vendors to request more info about their proposal.
Sign Up For Free Trials
Most vendors offer free trials so that you can evaluate the features and functionality for your team. Get everyone involved and encourage them to go about business as usual. For example, host client meetings online so that they get a feel for the screen sharing capabilities. If you’re new to the world of video conferencing, schedule a trial kick-off event that explores all the basics. Highlight your evaluation criteria and some pointers to help them lower the learning curve. In fact, try to create a checklist so they know what to look for based on your business objectives.
One of the most dread-worthy tasks for your acquisition team is corporate meeting software budgeting. There are so many costs to consider, ranging from payroll to tool maintenance. Plus, they need to conduct market research to evaluate pricing models and licensing types, which is a process in and of itself. However, you need an accurate budget to make a successful business case and boost ROI. Fortunately, there are some tips to help you calculate all the expenses and avoid overspending.
Disclose Existing Gaps
Most organizations invest in enterprise conferencing solutions to fill existing gaps in their toolbox. But the ultimate goal is to address business pain points. For example, employees lack the necessary skills and your current ILT approach falls short. Thus, you can launch a VILT program using the corporate meeting software and provide peer coaching or address customer service issues that negatively impact your profit margin. Simply put, you need to determine the role that conferencing systems play in your L&D and business strategies. Survey staffers to gauge their expectations and meet with team leaders to disclose hidden gaps. They’re in a unique position to tell you what their department needs to get the job done and achieve their full potential.
Research Pricing Models
The most popular pricing models are one-time licensing and subscription-based services. One-time licensing typically involves a large upfront fee, but you don’t have to worry about monthly software expenses, aside from customization and maintenance. On the other hand, subscription plans require a monthly or quarterly fee that may fluctuate over time. Your team should also research pricing details. For instance, does the vendor charge per user? Do they offer subscription levels that include different features or user caps?
Many software vendors list their pricing plans on the website. You can also learn more about their starting costs and licensing types in their online directory listing. However, you can always reach out for a custom quote based on your company size and buying requirements. In fact, you’ll typically find a contact or quote request form on their landing page, as well as details about free trials or demos, like how to sign up and if credit card info is required. Bear in mind that this is usually a ballpark estimate and that you should consider a software RFP for cost breakdowns.
Estimate User Count
As most software companies limit users or charge by the number of attendees, it’s best to estimate users beforehand. This includes employees, external partners, and team leaders. Not everyone needs an account (username and password), as this is usually reserved for hosts. However, the system may set a user max for your meetings. For instance, it only supports 50 users per event based on your pricing plan. To increase that limit, you have to upgrade to the next level. It’s a good idea to overestimate users so that you stick to your budget instead of having to upgrade at the last minute.
Factor In Additional Support
There are two types of support you need to factor into your corporate meeting software budget. The first is additional vendor support that isn’t covered in your upfront licensing fee or monthly subscription. For example, they may charge extra for phone or live chats while their online knowledge base, forums, and email support are already included in the price. The second is support resources you need to develop internally for front end users, such as tutorials, demos, and walk-throughs that show them how to log in and attend meetings. This is crucial for teams that may not be familiar with video conferencing and need personalized support.
Include Payroll Expenses
Even the most intuitive video conferencing software takes time to set up, customize, and implement organization-wide. Thus, you need to include payroll expenses in your budget. How many hours does your team need to install the tool and familiarize themselves with the features? How much time do you need to allocate for marketing the new video conferencing strategy internally, such as sending out emails and hosting live kick-off events? You also need to account for long-term payroll costs associated with the software. As an example, your employees need to periodically download updates or new versions of the system. Then ensure that all the settings are still accurate and/or develop new support resources to improve functionality.
Send RFPs To Adjust Your Budget
A request for proposal is usually one of the last steps in the vendor qualification process. However, it also allows you to adjust your budget based on more realistic cost estimates. For instance, maybe some of your market research is outdated or the software company has changed their pricing plans recently. In some cases, your budget might exclude crucial fees, like upgrades or add-ons. The RFP outlines all the expenses involved so that you can develop a holistic budget for your conferencing solutions. That said, the vendor may not be privy to some of the costs, such as internal IT issues that incur additional payroll expenses.
An exclusive corporate meeting software directory has pricing info, user reviews, and a comprehensive features list, which gives you the opportunity to qualify vendors and get max value for money. So, what do you look for in product listings? Is there a way to speed up the search without overlooking top solutions? First things first, conduct a needs analysis before visiting the directory and develop evaluation criteria. This helps you zero in on vendors that meet all your requirements instead of casting a wide virtual net. Once you have your software checklist ready to go, it’s time to put these tips into action.
Kick Things Off With The Product Overview
Once you click on a listing, the first thing you’ll notice is the product overview. Every vendor has the opportunity to highlight their main selling points and real-world benefits up front, as well as a brief overview of their software use cases and tech specs, such as which platforms and browsers they support. The product overview is an effective way to rapidly qualify vendors based on their customer type and support services. For instance, this software provider caters to large enterprises, but they don’t have phone support, which is a deal breaker for your business.
Check Out The Software Features
Another crucial section in the directory listing is the features menu. It’s broken into categories, which makes it easy to determine which vendors meet your buying requirements. For example, which conference management features does the tool deliver? Do they offer enough customization options? What are the different conferencing modes? You can also save time by using the built-in filters when searching for vendors. Simply check the functions that matter most to your organization on the main directory page.
Users have the chance to leave reviews about their software experience, such as what they liked best and least about the system. The first item in the review is the summary statement, which helps you identify reviews that align with your priorities, followed by the pros and cons. Users must also provide background info, like their industry and focus so you can concentrate on reviews that support your use case. As an example, the user has a similar company size and focus area.
Top corporate meeting services have high satisfaction scores. These ratings should have specific evaluation criteria, including CX, usability, and usefulness. Evaluate scores to see which vendors are a cut above the rest—at least from a customer satisfaction standpoint. Another option is to filter search results by rating so that the tried-and-tested vendors show up first. In addition to individual user ratings, there’s also a performance overview at the top of the listing. This calculates all the star scores, including the likelihood to recommend percentage.
Get Pricing Details
While features and social proof are essential, it all boils down to the price point. You need to know which solutions are within budget to get the best ROI. Fortunately, listings also include a pricing overview. This covers everything from starting cost to licensing type. You can even see which vendors offer free trials or demos, as well as their pricing models. For instance, they offer a monthly subscription or one-time licensing fee. Some listings include a brief explanation of costs too, like how much they charge per user or if there’s bulk pricing available. Bear in mind that it’s best to calculate your software budget BEFORE qualifying vendors. That way, you have a clear idea of your spending limits and can eliminate some solutions right away.
Compare Leading Solutions
Many organizations develop checklists or scoring systems to qualify vendors. I highly recommend you do so, as it allows you to find the right tool for your business objectives. However, the directory also features a comparison tool to streamline this process. You can choose up to 3 software vendors to evaluate side by side. The directory automatically compiles all the video conferencing info into columns, which makes it easy to weigh the benefits and drawbacks. For example, the first vendor has more advanced support options but it’s the most expensive solution. On the other hand, the second vendor has all the features you need but you need to compromise on customer training. If you’re still considering multiple vendors, repeat this process until you compile a shortlist.
Visit Vendor Websites
Many directory listings include links to vendor websites so that you can evaluate their features and pricing plans firsthand. It’s wise to check out their landing page to learn more about their brand. Some vendors even include client success stories and demo videos. Another reason to visit their site is to contact them for a free quote or verify their RFP contact details. Do they have recommendations for what to include in your request? Who should you send it to? Furthermore, do they accept RFPs by email or is there a form you need to fill out online to get rapid responses?
Picking the perfect corporate meeting software is all about asking the right questions. Namely, questions that help you qualify vendors, evaluate pricing options, and find the ideal level of support for your team. The secret is to ask them BEFORE compiling a shortlist so that you make the best buying decision. You can identify your needs and price point to speed up the search and make the most of directory listings. It’s also wise to get staffers involved from day one so that they can provide feedback and set their expectations.
What’s Your Software Price Range?
How much can you really spend on new corporate video conferencing software? You may already have a ballpark figure in mind. However, did you include additional support, maintenance, and other corporate meeting costs? You should know your price range ahead of time to simplify the search process. For example, you can immediately determine which vendors are in your budget and deliver the best value for money. Research pricing models, request free quotes, and conduct a needs analysis to pinpoint your price range.
Which Support Services Do You Need?
While some organizations can get by with email support and online FAQs, others expect more advanced options, such as being able to call the vendor if they run into an IT problem or access the online knowledge base for DIY resolutions. For this reason, it’s crucial to consider the level of support your team needs to maximize tool functionality, not to mention minimize stress and implementation delays. Ask vendors about the support services they offer and if they’re included in the cost. For instance, do they have a virtual help center that features demos and tutorials?
Is Your Team Familiar With Virtual Meeting Solutions?
If your team isn’t knowledgeable about virtual meeting solutions, there are two things you need to consider. First, they may need more time to master all the features, which increases your payroll budget. Secondly, you should find a tool that’s intuitive and user-friendly to lower the learning curve. For example, they can quickly customize settings and log in on any device.
Which Features Improve ROI?
You should have a complete list of corporate meeting software you need to achieve business objectives and cut costs. Ideally, these selling points make it easy for your team to host meetings and attend live events that bridge work-related gaps. For instance, you need a platform with screen sharing because there’s a lot of software troubleshooting involved, or maybe recording features are at the top of your list since they allow you to expand your L&D library.
How Quickly Do You Need To Implement The System?
Organizations should have an implementation timeline before searching for vendors. In fact, this is something to include in your RFP. Have you allocated an entire week to download and set up the system? Or is your first live event scheduled for tomorrow? If you’re racing the clock, you should look for tools that are easy to customize. For instance, cloud-based solutions with plenty of vendor support resources that give you a head start.
What Does Your Team Expect From The Tool?
Everyone has different expectations for the corporate remote meeting software because they have different roles. Your L&D team is looking for a tool to launch VILT events and webinars, while your HR team may need it to schedule remote interviews and onboarding events. Furthermore, they have unique expectations for tool functionality. For instance, users that aren’t necessarily tech-savvy know that there’s some familiarization involved. But, they also expect you to provide one-on-one support, such as kick-off events and walkthroughs.
What Is Your Use Case?
We’ve already covered the employee use cases, but what does your organization need from the system? What role does it fill in your business strategy? Will you use the new platform to keep external partners up to date? What about team meetings or feedback sessions? The great thing about corporate video conferencing software is that’s is multifunctional. Every department can use it to streamline work practices and improve productivity. But you need to know the primary use case to find the best solutions for your telecommuting team, as well as your business’s bottom line.
What Are Your Top L&D Priorities?
Aside from business objectives, you must have a clear idea of how the system fits into your L&D program. What are your top online training priorities? Are there any gaps you need to focus on to get top value for money? Can you use the video conferencing tool to move your ILT sessions online and cut costs? Many organizations invest in meeting software to tap into a global talent pool and mitigate risks. For instance, you can host weekly webinars to recruit talent or build core competencies internally. Best of all, employees can train from home instead of having to travel for on-site L&D. That means, no safety masks or social distancing because everything happens online.
A well-crafted corporate meeting software RFP gives vendors all the information they need to provide a targeted estimate. They can also highlight tech specs, support options, and real-world benefits to help you get max value for money. So, what should you include in your request to get responses? Are there any mistakes to avoid? Below are some insider secrets to draft a corporate meeting planner RFP for your large enterprise, regardless of your budget, staff size, or business goals.
Outline Your Business Objectives
Every organization invests in video conferencing tools for different reasons. For this reason, it’s crucial to outline your business objectives and goals in the RFP. That way, vendors know which selling points to focus on and how to address your unique buying requirements. What is your use case? What do expect from your software investment? Are there any business challenges you need to address with the new corporate meeting software?
Explain Current L&D Gaps
In addition to organizational objectives, you also need to highlight L&D gaps the software must help you address. For example, your current approach is ILT events or on-site certifications, but the global pandemic has put a wrench in the works. Or, maybe you need to host webinars and customer training events online to reduce spending. Make sure vendors know your L&D pain points so that they can explain how selling points translate into real-world benefits.
Include Your Software Budget
You don’t have to break down your entire software budget in the RFP, but vendors should know how much you’re willing to spend and what you expect. For instance, these are your budget and licensing preferences. Are you looking for corporate meeting planner companies that offer one-time licenses or monthly subscriptions? Do you prefer to pay per user or a flat fee? Vendors should respond with a detailed estimate based on your price range. As an example, their mid-level pricing plan is ideal for your budget and business objectives.
Mention Your Must-Have Features
You probably have a general idea of which virtual meeting features the software delivers thanks to their landing page and directory listing. However, you should also include your must-have list in the RFP so that vendors can address them individually in the proposal. For instance, they have recording and editing tools that allow you to record your webinars and add special effects. If their tool lacks the necessary features, they can highlight other functions that bridge the gap or even integrations and add-ons that might do the trick. If you’re unsure which features improve ROI, use an online directory to see what’s available. Listings have a categorized list of selling points you should consider, from conference management to customization.
Make Vendors Aware Of Your Support Expectations
Every software provider offers different support options. While most have email and basic customer training resources, some deliver advanced services, like one-on-one support and a large online knowledge base that includes demos and checklists. You need to make them aware of what you expect from your investment, beyond software features. Ultimately, the vendor must stand behind their product and help you get the most from the system. But some companies take it to a whole new level, even if it comes at an extra cost. For example, you may have to pay additional fees for phone or on-site IT support. However, it helps your team overcome obstacles quickly and host winning live events.
List Evaluation Criteria
Another crucial item to include in your corporate meeting software RFP is vendor evaluation criteria. How will you review proposals? Is there a scoring system? What’s the deadline and when can they expect your response? Are there any additional items they should include with their proposal, such as free trial details or relevant links? In short, these criteria help vendors custom tailor their proposals based on your buying needs. It’s easy enough to send a free quote but the RFP takes it a step further by providing them with personal info. They know your budget, essential features, and use case. But they also need to know your priorities so that they touch on all the relevant points. You can even mention follow-up protocols. For instance, your top 3 vendors must complete a questionnaire.
Invite Software Vendor Feedback
Corporate video conferencing companies should have the opportunity to provide feedback, especially if it helps you make a well-informed buying decision. So, include a section in the RFP for open responses. Does the software have any features that benefit your bottom line, even if they aren’t included in your must-have list? Is there another pricing plan that might suit your needs, even if it’s slightly over budget? In some cases, they may request a meeting to discuss your concerns or ask for more project info. That’s why it’s important to include contact details so that they can reach out BEFORE submitting proposals.
Corporate meeting solutions for large enterprises benefit every aspect of your business. Employees can schedule remote team meetings, while instructors can move their L&D sessions online. It’s even ideal for customer training events that turn consumers into brand advocates. The tips in this guide can help you make the best buying decision based on your business objectives. We also have articles that cover other steps in the selection process.
Before you start your software search, download the latest eBook to maximize value for money and take the stress out of vendor vetting. From Client Meet-Ups To Live Events: How To Find The Best Corporate Meeting Software For Large Enterprises isn’t the only resource at your disposal. Our exclusive corporate meeting solutions directory has the leading vendors for large organizations. There are even ratings and reviews to help you verify social proof, as well as pricing overviews that highlight everything from starting cost to licensing options.