[Your Business Name] – Powered by Communication

[Your Business Name] – Powered by Communication

We’ve always heard that communication is key, but in today’s world it’s not only key – it can make or break a business.

Nearly every minute of every workday we are communicating – whether it’s internally with coworkers or trying to close the next big deal with a business prospect. We now have more communication vehicles than one could imagine. It’s becoming rare that people pick up a phone, much less engage in face-to-face meetings. Rather, most businesses rely on email, social media, media outlets, mobile apps, chat boxes, and texts.

Communication by the Numbers

According to one report, the costs of poor communication has hit $37 billion annually with large organizations (over 100,000 employees) reporting losses in productivity of $62.4 million per year. For a company with fewer than 100 employees, studies show a loss of $420,000 annually due to miscommunications.

Think what your company could achieve with $420,000 more a year.

While communication has always been a challenge for businesses, these astonishing statistics show just how much more an employee is overloaded in today’s workplace.

  • Every day, 205.6 billion emails are sent; only one-third are opened1
  • Americans spend 26 minutes a day texting and send 5.3 more texts than phone calls they make2
  • 46% of employees leave a meeting not sure of what they are supposed to do next2
  • 57% of projects fail due to breakdown in communications3
  • 11 hours a week are wasted on poor email communications3

To make matters worse, studies have shown that different generations have different communication preferences. If you’re a millennial, you may be thinking IKR – “send me a text, forget emails.” (That’s “I know, right?” for those of you who don’t speak text.) If you’re a baby boomer, you may just want to talk via phone or face-to-face.

So, how can you use the tools and methods available to you to better communication to co-workers and future partners or clients?

How to Succeed at Business Communications

Today everyone is bombarded with messages from social media, emails, and texts. To get the next deal or partnership for your company, it’s important to make every message count. How can you make sure your message is heard above the noise?

To succeed in today’s art of Business Communication, follow these simple steps:

  1. Actively ‘listen’ and pay attention. Ignore the next email that just came in or the text that just appeared on your phone.
  2. Be empathetic and understanding. Everyone is managing multiple tasks and fires each day. Be aware that people aren’t starting their days from the same place every day.
  3. Assume good intent. Clients and prospects are busy – just like you. Most people are focused on getting work done and doing what’s best. A brief response or delayed response does not mean that person is angry or ignoring you – they are likely buried in priorities.
  4. Don’t make assumptions. You know what they say when you assume. With much communication happening in writing, it is easy to misread a comma or a text message gone bad.
  5. Be self-aware. Know your own emotions and if you have a reaction that you feel strongly about, double check where you are mentally and what you have going on around you before you respond.
  6. Ask questions. Work under the guidance that there are no dumb questions. If you don’t know what the person is communicating or you are confused, ask for clarification. Asking questions will ensure that you and the other person/s are on the same page.

In summary, communication takes practice. No one will ever get it right all the time. We leave you with these pearls of wisdom.

woman with technology looking up

You’ve Developed the Next Greatest HIT Tool. Now What?

Key elements to a successful product launch

In most industries, and especially with technology, continuously innovating is a requirement for maintaining and expanding market share. Releasing new products and features requires several months of strategy and development, the completion of which is met with great fanfare within the company. Now, you need to share this advancement and sell it to customers.

In a world that is always looking to the next greatest thing – from iPhones and the latest Star Wars installment to artificial intelligence – how do you stand apart? Here are some points to hit so your new product/significant upgrade receives the appropriate attention.

Know the level of your announcement: Put yourself outside of the company for a moment. Is this an enhancement or tool that will matter to current or potential customers? Sometimes, companies are tempted to announce tools that may have required a fair amount of development work but are not significant to their general audience. Refrain from issuing a press release with all of the bells and whistles unless it is a new product or a significant upgrade, such as version 2.0. Targeted e-mail outreach may be a better medium for reaching your desired audience if only a subset of customers will find it pertinent.

Focus on the benefits: The tendency for many is to talk about features and discuss innovation for innovation’s sake. Don’t fall into this trap. At the end of the day, the goal is for people to use your new widget. Think about the benefits this solution brings to current and potential customers, and focus on those. If you have an idea of how much efficiency will be realized or money will be saved, consider creating an infographic that will visually demonstrate these advantages.

Include quotes: The customer is always king, or queen, and there is no exception with new product announcements. As much as people want to be on the cutting-edge, the minds of potential buyers are put to ease knowing that someone has been there first. It also shows that a peer views this as a good idea. Another way to show market demand is through a quote from an industry analyst.

Show market demand: This can be accomplished through a quote from an industry analyst or through survey results. It is great to point to a survey that finds 90% of people struggle with a problem and then announce you have the solution. Show that you are listening to the market and addressing its concerns.

Ensure spokespeople will be available: The press release is out and members of the media want to write about it. Make sure the people quoted in the press release, or a close approximate, are available for interviews in the days following the announcement.

Educate internal teams: It is easy to get tunnel vision with the launch of a solution and forget to involve additional teams that may be impacted by this announcement. Have sales and support been brought up to speed? If someone calls about the new product just announced, will they know how to answer basic questions? Many companies have been guilty of missing this step, at one time or another, although it is important. If this is a significant release, or one that differs from your core business, consider developing an FAQ that internal teams can reference to learn more.

Fill your marketing toolkit: Where will your customer learn more about this new solution? On launch day, be ready with some, if not all, of the following:

  • Press release announcing the new solution
  • Product-related product page/microsite
  • Data sheet
  • Screen/product shots
  • Pre-approved social media posts
  • Beta customer references (if available)

A product launch is an exciting event with many moving parts. With the proper planning and coordination, it can be executed seamlessly and show your company as the experienced innovator it is.