How Athena Software grew globally with GoToMeeting
A quick Q & A with Dana Fox, director of global
They’ve got 800 clients in 15 countries on 5 continents – and only 54 employees to rely on. Sound like a problem? Not to Athena Software. Based in Waterloo, Canada, the company cites GoToMeeting as a major factor in its growth and success. Athena has been using GoToMeeting since 2006.
Q: What first prompted you to seek an online meeting tool?
A: We wanted to demo our product and be sure it’s a solution that’s going to work for them. Potential clients need to see what we’re doing. They need to see directly how the technology works. We were looking for something easy to use that would enable us to do that and we found GoToMeeting. It was like going to Disneyland.
With GoToMeeting I can control the entire sales theater. I can hear and see what people are doing, and they can see me. We can establish that relationship, and I can completely control the flow of what we’re presenting. It was a really big jump for us, and we use it now for everything. GoToMeeting is standard issue at Athena.
Q: What were your remote demos like before GoToMeeting?
A: People really need to see what we’re doing to understand what they’re investing in – they need to see how the technology works – so we were giving them links and passwords and telling them what to do, without seeing what they were actually doing. We could only guess, based on time between clicks and what they’re saying, where they were in system. Often, they were not following me at all. If a potential client is confused, it’s demo over. It was so frustrating – you can’t imagine.
When I saw something online about GoToMeeting, I thought, “This describes us, where we are, what we’re doing. This will work.”
Q: What has kept you with GoToMeeting all this time – over a decade now?
A: The actual product keeps getting better, and it’s still relatively inexpensive. A number of features have been added to make it easier for you as a presenter and for the user on the other side. It’s just super easy. You get a link, the date, the time – click a button and we are all there. And it lets me manage the theater so everybody has an enjoyable experience and can ask direct questions. It helps us do a very good job and look professional in a short space and time.
Q: Do potential clients ever resist or push back when you suggest a GoToMeeting session?
A: I don’t have anybody push back and say, “No, we’re not doing this.” If they don’t expect this, they probably don’t want to buy our software. That’s like saying I want to buy it but I don’t want to see it. I need to spend time with people that are interested in the software and how it works so that I’m understanding the problem and they’re understanding the Athena solution.
Q: How often do you use the video function?
A: We try to use it as often as possible. It’s another way of establishing a more solid relationship with that person. With the webcam, it’s almost as good as going there in person. That, I think, is very valuable.
Q: Is the use of GoToMeeting required at Athena?
A: Anybody that comes in doesn’t have a choice – this is what we use. It is standard issue. You join Athena; you get a notebook and a GoToMeeting password. We use it for sales. Our whole deployment team uses it. It’s easier for us to share ideas and do training online with GoToMeeting. It enables face-to-face relationships, and it allows us to record a session. It enables us to have conversations not just with our clients in the sales cycle, but also, once they decide to buy, to deploy the technology and chat with clients for customer support.
Q: What experience have you had with GoToMeeting customer support?
A: We rarely have problems with the tool. But when we do, the customer service is there, and we fix it together. The support is outstanding. We have people using the technology in lots of different ways, and this is not just a one-way or no-way product. That’s also very valuable.
Q: What other significant benefits does Athena derive from its use of GoToMeeting?
A: Savings is a big one – savings on travel, on time and carbon footprint, too. It also enables us to truly show customers how our own software, which is highly configurable, would work. And we interview potential new employees via GoToMeeting. Because we use the tool so heavily, I need to see that candidates are going to present well there. We have studios in our building set up expressly for GoToMeeting sessions.
Q: Is it fair to say that GoToMeeting has become essential to Athena’s own process?
A: Yes. It’s a scalable platform that enables us to achieve explosive growth. It will enable you to talk to really large groups, and the results you’re going to get are better because with GoToMeeting you can deliver a better message. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to use it. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to grow our business. For us, it’s not a matter of whether we’re going to keep using it. We’re going to lean on it harder and add more people.