How to Improve Remote Engagement and Build Long-Term Relationships
Judy Kaneko | October 11, 2017
Collaboration3 min read
In a recent article, we addressed the ongoing challenge of differentiating your consulting firm at a time when clients almost uniformly expect to get more for less. With heightened competition for business and intense cost pressures on every engagement, how are you supposed to make your firm stand out from the pack?
Some firms have focused on cutting costs by encouraging consultants to work from home. But in the process, they may be undermining the cohesiveness of their teams and making it more difficult for them to deliver outstanding results.
Nevertheless, dispersed teams are probably here to stay – which begs the question, how do you improve remote engagement with your clients? (After all, would you give up the chance to work from home in shorts and flip-flops?) And so we recommend you focus on using collaborative technology to get better information from clients during the pre-sales process. That way, you’ll be able to deliver impactful recommendations that no other firm can match.
So, what’s holding you back from differentiating your firm during the post-sales process? Let’s take a look at some possible challenges.
Why Dispersed Teams Struggle to Collaborate
One of the main challenges of the pre-sales process is just as big of a concern during the post-sales process: today’s project teams tend to be geographically dispersed. This means it’s going to be difficult to collaborate and communicate in ways that please your clients:
Your remote meetings will enable you to get information across, but they won’t help you build trust with face-to-face contact.
Your brainstorming activities will always be operating at a disadvantage. How do you whiteboard or conduct a Post-It Note exercise when many team members are simply listening over a smartphone?
Your remote team members who can’t see what’s going on in the main conference room will always feel like they’re interrupting the main conversation when they speak up with their input—no matter how much you try to reassure them that you want to hear from them.
Don’t Just Make Another Boring Presentation. Try This Instead.
Throughout the delivery phase of your project, your clients—especially if they’re a new account—are expecting to be wowed by your contributions. Just because you have a dispersed team doesn’t mean you have to settle for poor communication and strained collaboration. Today’s best technology solutions let you improve remote engagement and get more out of all project stakeholders, whether they’re in the conference room or halfway around the globe.
The right technology can help you:
Involve clients in the creative process, rather than simply presenting your ideas and waiting for their response.
Keep all project documents, meeting records, and notes in one accessible online location.
Level the playing field for remote team members by allowing them to participate fully in all conferences from any device—and to go back and see whiteboards from any meeting they may have missed.
Change direction quickly by keeping everyone notified of shifting goals and modified deadlines.
Engage all team members by giving them the tools for two-way communication.
Now, at this point of the article, you may be nodding your head and thinking, “Yeah, and we can do all of this with online meeting technology and screen-sharing.”
No, not exactly. Previous technology solutions were designed to connect people over long distances. But they don’t do much to engage people and bring out their best in virtual conferences.