• August 6, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Brainshark Floats a New Version

Business communication applications vendor Brainshark today announced the release of Brainshark Version 16, the company's presentation, marketing, and sales effectiveness tool. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) application aids in creating high-impact, highly traceable on-demand marketing and sales materials and training modules. "It's all about communication and content, especially with sales and marketing," says Joe Gustafson, Brainshark's chief executive officer. "The impact of a presentation increases dramatically when you include oral and visual elements. While recorded speech adds 10 percent to presentation retention, and visuals like video and animation add 20 percent, together they increase retention 65 percent." To that end, Brainshark's new release adds an optional clickpath-tracking module that allows creators to see exactly how recipients are viewing presentations and training documents. Among the items tracked:
  • order of slides viewed;
  • number of repeat clicks;
  • time spent per page; and
  • whether any attachments were launched.
Clarity is another hallmark of the system; the Brainshark viewer includes foreign-language support, displaying presentations in up to nine languages, with more planned. Creators can embed navigation rules with the presentation, so that slides are viewed in a particular order. Question-and-answer segments can be built into a presentation, with different answers leading to different result pages. Slides can be dynamically branded for each recipient, and individual pages can be printed on the fly during viewing. "The salesperson's job just got a whole lot easier," says Aimee Roberts, research analyst in the digital media practice with Frost & Sullivan. Praising the new release's "high-impact communication, yielding greater results than ever before," Roberts goes on to note that the program also "enables organizations to improve communications, increasing sales and productivity." Among the enhancements, Roberts singles out greater survey and polling functionality and improved reporting. These, she says, "will give Brainshark an increasing ability to improve the effectiveness and impact of organizational communication." In addition to its uses in sales and marketing, Brainshark is also built for employee education. The program's interactivity, especially the question-and-answer content, can be used as a training and testing application. Navigation rules keep users from skipping ahead, and the order of answers can now be randomized, lowering the tendency toward rote memorization and collaboration. The new rapid-learning module can group courses together into a curriculum (complete with prerequisites) and will auto-enroll new group members into an existing curriculum. "Brainshark will demonstrate positive growth as a result of shifts in organizational needs," Roberts says. "The presentation creation and management market is poised for substantial growth. One-dimensional presentation platforms of yesteryear will take back-seat to organizational solutions like Brainshark." Related articles:
Brainshark Clears the Sales and Marketing Channel Waters Can the company's Marketing and Sales Effectiveness Suite facilitate clear communication between marketing and sales? Brainshark's Improved Communication The company's latest content communication platform adds tighter integration with Salesforce.com and enhanced workflows, which one industry analyst says sales forces are looking for. Condemned by Every Syllable She Utters Ineffective speaking and presentation skills can kill a sale.
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