Friday, March 21st, 2014 .

“The jungle is dark, but it is full of diamonds, Willy.”

-from ‘The Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller

And that is the problem salespeople have had for years and years and years: the jungle is dark but it is full of diamonds.  There are sales out there to be made.  People, businesses, organizations, families — they need the things salesmen sell.  The problem is the jungle was dark, and finding the customers who need or want to buy what you are selling is time-consuming, wasteful and exasperating.

My first job straight out of college I was in sales. I sold dictation equipment for Lanier.  It was a grind.  I’d walk the streets of San Francisco — my territory was from the point where Market Street and California Street meet and extended as a triangle all the way to Van Ness.  This was old-fashioned knocking on doors selling.  I had virtually no information about any prospect and would try to find a picture on a desk or trophy on the wall to find something we had in common.  It rarely worked.  How great would it have been to have the LinkedIn profile of the guy I was pitching?  Where he went to school, where he used to work, etc?  Or what connections we had in common!

When I’d stay in the office to cold call, that was it…COLD.  Blindly dialing businesses.  Ouch.

Everyone who has ever worked in sales immediately recognizes this scene from “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

That was sales preparation in those days: here are the leads, now go out there and make some calls and close some sales.

It was a remarkably frustrating and inefficient system.  All I knew about these “leads” was a name, a business and a phone number.

This has begun to change dramatically in recent years.  A number of cloud-based software packages have emerged that significantly increase the amount of data a salesperson can access from almost anywhere about customers and potentials customers.

Knowing more about my leads, as I do today…boom!  Success.  And I don’t need to be in the office tied to some proprietary database to do this…it’s all in the cloud.  I’d rather do it from home in my pajamas anyway, and now I can.

Salesmen are now armed with enormous amounts of information.  They have access to prior purchases with the company (great for upsells, renewals, etc), complaints from the customers (Zendesk), and basically every interaction anybody in the company has ever had with a prospect or existing customer (Salesforce).

They also have the ability to work from anywhere, 24/7, and appear as professional as if they were sitting in their office, thanks to all the cloud-based information and tools.

My frustrating experiences in sales informed a lot of the product decisions we made early on in designing our company’s teleconferencing product: UberConference. UberConference makes great sales calls possible in four ways:

1. We make it easy for a potential customer to get on a call (no PINs).  The easiest way to lose a potential customer is to provide them with even the smallest barrier to communicating with me.  PINs are a potential barrier.  That’s why I insisted we not require them in UberConference.
2. You won’t waste everybody’s first 15 minutes figuring out who just joined the call (visual).  We provide on-screen updates so you know who is there as soon as they sign on.  No need to reintroduce yourself each time a new caller signs on.
3. You know who’s talking at any point: is it the IT guy or the finance guy? That may not only be helpful to know, it could be critical in closing a sale.
4. You get a rich UberProfile on each caller.  You can see their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ accounts and get an idea of who the person is to whom you are speaking.  This could prove to be crucial in the trust-building phase of a sales relationship.  The more you know and understand about your customer, the better you can serve them… and sell to them.

I lasted only one year in sales.  I realized it was too hard for me so I went back to school to get my MBA and then to law school to hide for a longer time.   Had I had these tools I may have stayed in sales.  Thank God they didn’t have them back then!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 .

UberConference is launching its packaged app in the Chrome Web Store today. The app is an upgrade to the version that was previewed at Google I/O last May in San Francisco.  Google has worked closely together with UberConference to include it in this consumer preview of its Chrome Packaged App initiative.UberConference’s packaged app provides an updated user interface and makes it easy to start, schedule, and be notified about upcoming conferences – independent of the browser. Packaged apps benefit users by delivering the performance of standalone applications; instantaneous responsiveness, ability to be always-on in the background, and the simplicity of launching from the Start menu with the ease and convenience of the Chrome Web Store.The UberConference packaged app is available here in the Chrome Web Store.imageCurrently, the app is available for Windows users on Chrome. It should be available for Mac soon, and you can sign up on the Chrome Web Store to be notified when it becomes available.

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 .

Brian Peterson is VP of Product Engineering and co-founder at Switch Communications, specializing in web development, cloud services and databases. Before Switch Communications, Brian was at Google for eight years, where he spent most of his time working on the Google Voice team and leading the transition of GrandCentral’s technology onto Google’s infrastructure.  

Brian Peterson and John Rector, co-founders of Switch Communications

We built both UberConference and Switch.co on Google Cloud Platform using WebRTC. Our goal from the beginning was to bring innovation to some of the obvious problems with conference calls and business phone systems, making them relevant and useful again. We wanted to develop our products for the way we work today — faster, more mobile, and across multiple platforms and devices. WebRTC helped us do that.

WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers (right now, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities.

Why is that cool?

It’s cool because it’s a way to get very high-quality, secure VoIP to your browser (for free), without having to install any extra plug-in.

WebRTC uses the Opus Codec, which offers the best audio experience out there. Not only does it give your Switch.co and UberConference calls HD audio, but it also handles dynamic network conditions by adjusting to the available bandwith wherever you are.

UberConference was one of the earliest WebRTC adopters, launching at Google I/O in 2013 — just one week after Google released it. With WebRTC implemented into UberConference, our users can connect to their calls in real-time without having to leave their browsers and make international calls through the browser at no cost.

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For similar reasons, Switch.co uses WebRTC for voice communication through your desktop. It’s available without any extra software across Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, and even Linux, and because of its cross-platform capabilities, WebRTC allowed us to deploy the Switch.co native app instantaneously across all platforms, instead of having to build separately for each one. It allows for a more streamlined experience for developers, but also lets us roll out the app faster for users on any platform.

Because Switch.co is a Chrome web app, WebRTC is already built in and users only need to have Chrome to use it. Just like with UberConference, it gives Switch.co users HD audio and lets them call internationally for free when making and answering calls from the desktop.

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WebRTC is game changing, and it’s paving the way for whole new types of web applications like Switch.co and UberConference. We do our best to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to advancing the quality and accessibility of our products, and as the WebRTC standard becomes available in more browsers, we plan to build accordingly.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 .

Webby_LogoHelp UberConference win a People’s Voice Award!

UberConference has been nominated for Best Mobile Productivity App in The Webby Awards. To be a Finalist our content, structure, navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall product experience was assessed.

This year, The 18th Annual Webby Awards received 12,000 entries from all 50 US states and over 60 countries worldwide. We are so pleased to be in such great company and send the best to all nominees!

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 .

Learn how to add UberConference lines as “resources” in Google Calendar to quickly add UberConference meeting information to Google Calendar events.

At LTech we email, schedule, and manage our documents exclusively in the Google Apps Cloud.

As a Premier Google Apps Reseller and Amazon Consulting Partner, we’re always looking to find ways for our clients to take advantage of cloud-based business tools to help them streamline all aspects of their business.

UberConference was a natural fit for us. It allowed us to replace our old conference bridge service with a cloud-based service that was integrated with Google Apps.

Since we do all of our scheduling through Google Calendar, we decided to add our UberConference lines as “resources” in Google Apps. By doing this, we were able to “book” the UberConference line in Google Calendar through the “Book a Room” feature.  The UberConference dial-in number and URL was then automatically inserted into the Google Calendar invite and sent to our customers.

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The setup process only took about twenty minutes.   Here’s how we did it:

  1. We created a spreadsheet with a row for each of our team member’s UberConference phone numbers, PINs and custom URLs.
  2. We logged into our Google Apps control panel with Administrator access and added each conference line as a “resource” to Google Calendar.  You can learn more about adding resources to Google Calendar by following this link.  A Google Calendar resource is anything you can schedule that isn’t an event, like a car, a computer or a bridge line.image
  3. We then changed the sharing settings for each resource to “see all event details” so that the bridge lines could be viewed and booked by all LTech team members.

When an employee is hired or terminated, we simply add or remove their bridge line resource from Google Calendar.

Now, when we need to schedule a meeting with UberConference, we simply click “Rooms,etc.” in the calendar event and click Add but our personal UberConference bridge line.

This method allows us to quickly schedule and share UberConference meeting information more efficiently because we can do it all from the Google Calendar interface.
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Our guests then receive a calendar invitation with the meeting URL and phone line.  When it’s time to start the meeting, we log into UberConference and click “New Conference” to send out the invites again, but guests can also just dial in with the open PIN without the conference being created beforehand.

Please tweet us at @ltech if you have a question about booking UberConference resources.

You can learn more about LTech and our services at Ltech.com or by following us at @ltech.