Well hello there.
I decided to take my turn contributing to our series of in depth guides to using popular video calling platforms to make remote sales presentations.
Back in the early 2010s, before I was familiar with Zoom, I was quite a loyal user and fan of GoToMeeting. Now the universe appears to have come full circle and I find myself (like many presenters) looking for alternatives to Zoom — so I'm keen to see how far the GoToMeeting platform has come.
So join me as I (re)discover how to give a sales presentation over video call using GoToMeeting.
The premise of our series is to look at all the popular video calling platforms available on the business market today and measure them against criteria focused on sales presentations.
Our criteria is as follows:
- How easy is it for you, the presenter, to use?
Can you schedule that call at a moment's notice? How easy is it for you to present your screen once you're in there?
- How easy is it for your prospects on the other end of the call to use?
Is it easy for them to start the call and their camera at their discretion? Can they dial in by phone if their microphone isn't working?
- How well suited is it for screen-casting a presentation?
When you’re casting, can you see your screen and the recipient's video? Can your recipients hear the audio from videos that you're playing? Can you cast from your iPad?
- Are there any extra features that make it more compelling to use?
For example, a chat function to send links to your viewers, or being able to record the call so that you can review it later.
- How’s the security and privacy?
Can you password protect the call? How secure is the software in general?
To get a true sense of how video calling platforms stack up against these criteria, we’re putting each contender through an exhaustive mock sales call. Naturally, the sales presentations we're using on these calls are all hosted on our award-winning, easy-to-use sales presentation platform: Showcase Workshop.
If you haven’t experienced the extreme gratification of using Showcase Workshop yet, now is a great time to try it out for free. But if your company still insists on using PowerPoint presentations, this guide is generic enough to apply to you as well.
LogMeIn, Inc. is the provider of GoToMeeting along with a suite of other products focusing on remote connectivity and collaboration.
One of LogMeIn’s other big name products is LastPass which has many fans here at Showcase Workshop.
Just the stats, thanks
Based in: Boston, Massachusetts
Company size: 3,974 employees as of December 31, 2019
Cost: The Professional edition starts from $14 USD per month / per host with discounts for annual payment. For an extra $5 a month you can upgrade to the Business edition which gives you quite a lot more for only a few extra dollars including unlimited cloud recording, transcription, and drawing tools.
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Chrome OS, iOS, and Android
Reviews: GoToMeeting has a TrustRadius score of 7.9 out of 10 and a Capterra rating of 4.4 out of 5.
As we’re trying to treat all the tools fairly during these in-depth assessments, let’s start the same way we have for the other tools.
Ease of use for the presenter
Setting up an account and scheduling my first call
Signing up for a 14-day free trial was fast and easy (no credit card required) and GoToMeeting gives you automatic access to the upgraded Business edition during your trial, which lets you get a taste of all the features on the slightly more expensive plan. Good thinking team!
Setting up a meeting was a similar experience to many other platforms I’ve used in the past with a fairly simple set up window:
I really appreciated the ability to choose my long distance numbers at the time of setting up the meeting, rather than supplying non-US attendees a generic link to go fishing for their local number.
Sure, it’s a positive to give attendees the option in case they’re travelling or I (as the host) am not aware of all the time zones that my guests are in. But in the more common case that I do know where my guests are, I think it shows a sense of caring and respect that I can preselect my attendees’ timezones for them and make it really easy if they want to dial in.
This next one is a Professional level feature but the ability to add a co-organizer is a nice touch. For us at Showcase, we have some meetings — such as Showcase demos or tutorials — that are dished out on a “round-robin” basis, so being able to set up a recurring meeting and have any one of us designated as the co-organizer is a nice feature.
There was no option to add meetings directly to your calendar but the copy meeting instructions function is easy to use and there are Google Calendar and Office 365 plug-ins available for Business edition users.
I was able to set my meeting up entirely from the web app and at no point did I receive any strong encouragement to download the GoToMeeting app. The suggestion that I should was quite subtle at the bottom of my meeting record and it was not mentioned in any of the automated emails I got as part of my trial.
I bring this up because I strongly encourage you on GoToMeeting’s behalf to download the app before you run a meeting or saddle up to lead any important demonstrations. There’s a lot of access and set up that GoToMeeting needs to run through, and for many of those it needs to restart the app for it to take effect. You don’t want this happening during one of your sales calls I’m sure.
Starting my first meeting
GoToMeeting provides a nice clean dashboard. In fact, this is probably the cleanest and most user-friendly dashboard or meeting hub among the competitors we’ve looked at so far.
But the dashboard is where the beauty stopped and the painful memories came back to me.
The 65% faster claim
When searching for pricing and plan options I noted a rather specific claim on GoToMeeting’s Google ads: now 65% faster. 🧐
It initially gave me some hope because the speed of GoToMeeting was one of the main reasons I looked elsewhere a decade ago.
I don’t know if my 10-year-old memories have gotten fuzzier in the rear view mirror but if GoToMeeting was 65% slower at any time in the past it’s hard to imagine where their popularity came from.
It can’t be understated: GoToMeeting is very slow.
My brother has a saying that he picked up in the Army: “If you’re less than 5 minutes early, you’re late.”
This same statement works well as a warning for GoToMeeting hosts.
Be early. Earlier than you think you need to be.
Yes. Even if you’ve previously installed the app.
At least 5 minutes before you want your meeting to start, click on the blue ‘Start’ button in your dashboard.
As the host, there are no options to run GoToMeeting from your browser, but participants can join through their browser (more on that in the next section) so you’ll need to install/wait for the app to go through its launch sequence.
You’ll then be able to check your audio and video settings. One thing I did like at this stage was being able to modify my name before the meeting starts; President Business sounded about right. By default, GoToMeeting will remember the name you chose for your most recent meeting so, if you’re being cheeky with your meeting names, be sure to tidy it up before you start your next call.
Unlike some other platforms, GoToMeeting doesn't appear to offer virtual backgrounds so for my calls it was just me and my pottery collection.
I quite liked the control panel as it gave me easy access to all the settings needed during a call, including participants, chat, and audio controls.
I really liked the option of detaching the camera viewer from the control panel. This feels like a feature that customers requested and I like it when I get the sense that a software development company listens to their customers and responds with features they want.
The reason this feature is special is that if you work on a large, wide screen like my Mac desktop computer and the video conference tool you’re using forces you to have the camera viewer in a specific position, it often doesn’t look like you’re actually looking at your guests when you’re talking — or worse, when they're talking to you!
If the camera is positioned to the side on a wide screen it looks something like this:
But being able to detach and move the camera meant I could move it up to the top of my screen, near the camera and look directly at Nicky during the call, just as if we were meeting face-to-face.
And obviously these are the kind of casual faces we’d make at each other in a face-to-face meeting too:
Our verdict: Ease of use for the presenter
Score: 3.5 / 5
Similar to Nicky’s experience with Microsoft Teams, I found GoToMeeting had a slightly frustrating mix of very good features (control panel, detachable camera, and notes) but the inability to start the meeting confident that it would all just work was a big pain point — as was the speed.
Ease of use for prospects
Joining the call
Like me (the host), Nicky found joining to be a bit of a slow and arduous process.
At the beginning of the call, GoToMeeting prompted her to download and install the app.
Only after agreeing to download the app was she given the option to join from her web browser.
It’s there at the bottom of the screen but it’s not exactly screaming out to the participant as an option for joining.
I do understand why these types of platforms want to get users on the apps — it’s generally the most reliable experience, after all. But, for the context of a simple sales presentation, a web-based meeting is sufficient so I think it would be nice if the web options were a bit easier to find and access.
Nicky was also given this slightly strange message after she had already downloaded the installer. We aren’t quite sure why this one was necessary.
The system prompted her to allow access to her camera which worked fine, but the microphone didn't work the same way.
When Nicky clicked "Allow Microphone access" and "Open system preferences", the System Preferences opened but GoToMeeting wasn't in the list of apps she could select to allow mic access for. Strange.
So she joined the meeting muted. On the positive side, she was given a preview like the host’s preview before joining so she could check her hair and set herself up in an ultra casual joining pose:
After joining and clicking "Unmute" she got another prompt to allow mic access — and it worked! So ultimately she got there with the mic, but I think this would have been quite frustrating and maybe a bit intimidating for less tech-savvy users than Nicky. 🤓
Viewing a presentation
Overall, viewing a presentation on the guest side functioned well and as expected. I could show slideshows, PDFs, images, links to websites, and videos and they all came through clearly on Nicky’s side and without delays.
Nicky couldn't hear audio in the videos though, nor was I able to find a setting to make this adjustment. I had a look in the GoToMeeting knowledge base and it appears that it can be done in a rather contrived manner for some platforms but for the most part I’d say this is not a feature GoToMeeting offers their users.
We were able to annotate and highlight which would be a really useful feature for a sales meeting, especially one that includes any kind of consultation.
Nicky was able to add new participants to the call without my permission as the host; in a sales context, this is probably fine as it would allow her to add a colleague or boss if she thought the information I was sharing was really good — without having to interrupt me to add them on her behalf.
With the ease of being able to remove participants I think not being asked for permission to add them or to have them join is actually OK.
Our verdict: Ease of use for prospect
Score: 3.5 / 5 stars
Time consuming and a bit messy to join but once the meeting was rolling a good experience for participants. In light of the participant experience being so important for sales calls and the potential for them to be put off at the start of a call I’m docking a few points.
Screen-sharing a presentation
If this is your first presentation using GoToMeeting you'll likely have to modify your settings to share your screen, and modifications require GoToMeeting to restart for the changes to take effect. So I highly recommend you run through a mock sales call or two with a colleague before you take GoToMeeting out for a spin with potential custies.
Once I started sharing my screen I could choose between sharing my entire desktop or selected applications.
For the purposes of this test run I obviously needed Showcase Workshop but, whichever option you choose, GoToMeeting places a control panel in the top right corner of your screen.
I’m taking marks off for the fact there was no easy way to include the audio inside my presentation and because we found that the preview tool in the control panel didn’t keep pace with what either of us was seeing.
Nicky’s delay was less than 1 second from when I changed a slide, yet the preview tool took up to 3 seconds to change. It’s good to know that your guests are in fact keeping pace but knowing that makes the preview tool a bit distracting as the presenter and ultimately a bit pointless.
Our Verdict: Screen-sharing a presentation
Score: 4 / 5 stars
GoToMeeting has good implementation of screen-sharing, but I’m docking a point because there is no audio capability.
Chatting itself was basic and easy to use. It gives the option to chat with everyone at once, or privately with another participant:
Emoji and links were accepted in chat but not GIFs or videos.
As the presenter I also had flexibility to disable chat for any participants that might have gone rogue. Likewise, dismissing an attendee altogether was swift and final!
We both liked that the guest was able to save the chat log — I’ve found myself in meetings where good links or resources are shared and this is a handy feature.
Adding notes is another smart new feature that seems to be (at the time of writing) a fairly exclusive part of GoToMeeting offering. I didn’t see it in any of the other competitors’ products.
The Notes feature opens in a new browser tab and allows you to timestamp your recording with:
- Notes: Add text based comments throughout the meeting. I could see this being useful for adding the kind of notes you might otherwise want for your CRM — notes about your prospects business, their needs as it relates to your product or service, objections they raise etc.
2. Highlights: This feature could be really useful if you’ve got your wits about you during a recorded call that you know you’re going to be sending to someone after the meeting — you could use it to mark key spots to be revisited and watched after the call.
3. Action items: I think this might be hard to use in a sales presentation meeting if you’re on your own — at least in a first meeting where you don’t really want to break your flow — but it could be a great way to make use of your co-host if you’re using the Business plan or if you’re into more of a nitty gritty level of specifics to close a deal.
When you launch Notes you get a warning reminding you that if you’re sharing your full screen and making notes, you might want to be thoughtful about what you write because your participants can see it.
This gave me the impression that, as long as I wasn’t sharing my full screen (only the app), the notes, action items, and highlights would only be visible to me after the call or in the recording, but this is not the case. Anyone with the link to the recording can see all notes, highlights, and action items — so use this power accordingly.
Recording the meeting
Another nifty feature on the control panel is the Record tool. When you start a recording, GoToMeeting tells all attendees in a gentle British accent that the meeting is being recorded.
In the case of this meeting, I’d started recording before Nicky joined the call. It was clear to her that a recording was going on because of the red, flashing record button, though it wasn’t formally announced when she arrived.I think that’s probably OK as you don’t really want the voice over if you have late comers and you’ve started your meeting:
GoToMeeting sent me a nice, clear email notification with a link directly to my recording. I thought the inclusion of participants’ names is a nice touch. It’s a helpful reference if you have a recurring, generically-named meeting such as ‘Showcase Sales Presentation’ and you’re doing a lot of meetings in a day.
The recording itself is nice to share with attendees after a call, with thumbnails at the bottom indicating every time I changed slides. This would be fantastic for reviewing a recording after a meeting or for sharing with people who weren’t able to make the call at the designated time.
I could also easily find my notes and jump to the exact point I made them.
As I said earlier, I had the impression at the time I made them that the notes were private to the presenter but in the shared recording anyone with that link can see them. So I’m sorry sales peeps — yet another piece of software that won’t help you update your CRM post-meeting. 🙂
These were unexpected but a great set of analytics to be able to access after the meeting.
- Starting with the date and duration of the call.
- The attendees — noting Millie Blackwell and President Business was the same attendee (yours truly) but renamed during the course of the meeting. It might be better for historic records for this to appear as a single attendee but I could probably go either way - maybe there’s a useful reason to seperate the two.
- A collection of the slides shown in the call which is a great feature if you’re sharing presenting duties with someone else.
- Talk time and a breakdown for each participant — also a clever feature if you’re from the school of thought that the customer should talk more than the sales person.
Our verdict: Extra features
Score: 4 / 5 stars
I think GoToMeeting has developed some nice thoughtful extras that complement the job of the presenter.
Security and privacy
My impression of GoToMeeting is that they’ve always strived to be seen as an industry leader in security. This blog post from April 2020 — most likely in reaction to Zoom’s series of security fails around the same time — is heavy on the jargon but works hard to reinforce that position or perception. from April 2020 — most likely in reaction to Zoom’s series of security fails around the same time --- is heavy on the jargon but works hard to reinforce that position or perception.
Security is likely the reason the system starts meetings as slowly as it does and for that I guess we shouldn’t be too upset about the delays.
A key security feature for many users is whether data is encrypted in transit and at rest — something Zoom said they did but actually didn’t — and Go To Meeting does both.
If you’re not a big data security nerd, encryption “at rest” protects your data wherever it’s being stored — on your computer, your company server, or in the cloud. And encryption “in transit” protects your data as it moves from one location to another (e.g. when you’re uploading from your computer to the cloud).
Our Verdict: Security & Privacy
Score: 4.75 / 5 stars
I’m cautious to give anyone in this space a full five stars for security in case it comes back to bite me on the buttocks. So 4.75 / 5.
What’s GoTo Meeting’s overall score for sales presentations over video call according to this writer?
Host ease of use: 3.5/5
Participant ease of use: 3.5/5
Screen-casting capabilities: 4/5
Extra features: 4/5
Security and privacy: 4.75/5
Total: 19.75/25 or 79%
If you want to have a chat with us about using Showcase and GoToMeeting for your sales presentations — or sharing some of your insights about presenting on GoToMeeting — drop us a line or ping us on Twitter. We’d be delighted to hear from you.