Hewlett-Packard Sales Conferences Go International, the Easy Way

Simon PuleoSimon Puleo has a big job at HP, training sales staff and new hires to present HP products to the world. He designs curriculum, and pioneers new ways of training and connecting with HP sales teams in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Simon dislikes simply flipping through slides on the program or product at hand. He prefers to get the sales staff to dive in and interact with concepts and content, instead. That’s why he’s always looking for the best way to up the ante on trainee engagement. Now he’s found a new secret weapon in the fight against monotony: Poll Everywhere.

Super Smooth Deployment

“I had tried other polling software in the past,” Simon told us. “But Poll Everywhere had the easiest deployment of any of the options out there. There’s no equipment to buy, and no special installs of an app or any other device.”

That was important to Simon, because other polling systems have mobile app installs that have become a problem for HP training programs in the past. There always seem to be huge bandwidth issues in the hotels and conference centers where training takes place. Simon reports that participants would have to  download the polling app on limited wifi, and it took forever. Sometimes people had to skip it altogether and do without.

“That’s why the text message voting option won me over,” he said. “No need to rely on limited hotel bandwidth anymore.”

Immediate Engagement

IMG_5029This year HP ran three huge regional sales conferences for its teams in San Diego, Kuala Lampur, and Malta. Each one drew up to 800 attendees. Simon decided to put on a sales pitch contest between sales teams, and he used Poll Everywhere to track audience votes on the best pitch. Each team stood up on stage and delivered their best sales performance to a crowd of hundreds. Sales execs scored the presentations, and then the audience got the final say with a poll.

“Turned out it was really fun!” Simon said. “Because Poll Everywhere’s responsiveness is so fast, the minute people start texting in their answers or using the web interface, you’re seeing results onstage.”

Simon told us that people were standing and cheering, totally enthralled to see who would win, Team 1 or Team 2. “They see the bar going across the screen, and they start grabbing all their devices trying to ring in as many votes as they can!”

International Portability

Simon’s team used the same poll setup in North America, South Asia, and Europe. It was a once-and-done functionality that they had never found with any other program. Attendees were able to choose between texting a local, international number, or using the web interface. Simon says most of the international participants chose to use the web interface.

“It was amazing that we were able to take the program to three different regions and have the same success,” he told us. “And you think about budget, resources, and not having to drag additional tech around the world with me and or hire additional crews to facilitate – This was pretty amazing!”

HP also uses polling to spice up the breakout sessions and training seminars, to increase engagement with integrated questions. Participants chime in with their sales experiences and tips, and that gets the conversation headed in a direction that includes everyone. “There are fifty people in the room, and they’re all getting bored. They just want to interact. This is an opportunity for everyone to jump in.”

The Best Parts

Simon told us about a few of his favorite Poll Everywhere features, now that he’s had a chance to get to know the program over the past year:

  • Not dependent on hotel bandwidth, or a platform
  • Totally customizable
  • International and portable
  • Any device
  • Responsive, real-time polling
  • Instant results
  • Engages young participants

Simon explains, “I think it’s another way for people to interact, especially the younger part of the audience, who are used to interacting with mobile devices.. It feels more comfortable to them.” He and his team plan to keep integrating Poll Everywhere into future events. They are always on the lookout for new ways to use it.

“It’s a huge success,” he says. “Poll Everywhere makes a really interactive environment for a big group of people, without having to do an intense technical implementation.”