WEB EXCLUSIVE: The Ins and Outs of Learning Via Virtual Events

How organizations are leveraging virtual events for sales training and channel meetings

Virtual-event platforms, delivered as a SaaS, start at about $30,000 per event and can range up to $100,000, depending on what kind of vendor services (customization, project management, video production, etc.) you use. But the costs are miniscule compared to those involved in “real” physical meetings, and the skills needed in planning a virtual event are very similar to those needed for a successful physical event.

Cisco has been doing virtual events for more than two years, according to Kathy Sulgit, the company’s director of virtual events. It uses some proprietary technologies like WebEX, Telepresence and Webcasting, along with a virtual event platform to create a 2-D/3-D experience. Cisco is somewhat of an extreme case, because it converted an annual big sales event (congregating 20,000 sales people in Las Vegas) to a totally virtual event last year.

One of the lessons Cisco learned is that hybrid events (some physical and some virtual) are probably the best option. One of the other unexpected developments was the popularity of a new game. Cisco hired a gaming company, created an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) called “The Threshold” (www.juxtinteractive.com/cisco/threshold.html), and had a “leader’s board” showing the high scores for the best teams each day. Since salespeople can be very competitive and very smart, they started learning ways to “game” the game, racking up extra points with little effort. (To view an event video, go to www.juxtinteractive.com/cisco/index.html.)

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