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A Time Zone Apart: Coordinating Client Meetings Around the Globe

An image of a revenue operations team setting their next meeting.
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You’re a remote sales rep from Australia, sipping a flat white in your home office as the sun blazes overhead, and your phone pings! You realise a prospect in Canada has just booked a sales demo with your product team.

Meanwhile, your Canadian lead is wrapping up their day, soaking up the first bit of sunlight that managed to squeeze its way through the snow-filled clouds of the January winter.

What’s worse, is that Canada has six primary time zones, observes daylight saving time, and operates one day apart from Australia; today in Canada becomes yesterday in Australia, creating an even wider time gap, placing sales calls – hours ahead in one case and hours behind in another.

Your first thought is how to coordinate the time difference for that sales meeting.

What do you do in this scenario? Do you morph into a night owl to match their schedule? Or do you find a middle ground?

It seems that even though we’ve unlocked a treasure trove of remote possibilities with the globalisation of remote jobs, we’ve simultaneously inherited a basket of remote problems.

Let’s explore the time zone challenges that create time zone boundaries for remote revenue operations and their corresponding solution and tools to optimize global customer acquisition.

1. Challenge – Diverse Time and Coordinating Global Meetings

An image of how revenue operations teams develop a remote work schedule and how they set client meetings.

Meeting Across Meridians is complex and has been exacerbated by the increasing democratization of virtual business opportunities.

For instance, a team in New York (Eastern Standard Time) needs to collaborate with partners in London (Greenwich Mean Time), accounting for a 5-hour difference. This scenario becomes more challenging when dealing with regions spanning multiple time zones, such as the United States or Russia.

The complexity of this challenge is not just in calculating the time difference, but also in managing the practical aspects of these differences. Different time zones mean that it is hard to determine a suitable meeting time, with the understanding that one region might fall outside of standard working hours in another.

This can lead to decreased participation, reduced attentiveness, or even the need for some participants to attend meetings during personal time. The problem extends to the scheduling of follow-up meetings or deadlines, where what might be the end of the business day for one party is the beginning for another.

The need to juggle these different time zones can lead to increased administrative overhead, revenue loss, potential scheduling errors, and the risk of negatively impacting team morale and productive time.

The Solution

How to implement tools and create a client agenda

To effectively schedule a meeting regardless of where a client or prospect is located, your organization needs to make use of a system that supports your team, such as calendar applications, that automatically take into account the time zones of all participants when proposing meeting times.

Your sales team will then be able to identify overlapping working hours across different time zones, minimizing the inconvenience to a prospective client or prospect.

Additionally, these tools can be programmed to account for changes in daylight saving time, ensuring that the time differences are always accurately reflected in the scheduling.

Your entire company can streamline the scheduling process, reduce administrative overhead, and ensure that meetings are scheduled at times that are convenient for all participants, thereby improving attendance and engagement among other things.

2. Challenge – Daylight Saving Time Adjustment

Remote work service departments creating a schedule.

The adjustment for Daylight Saving Time (DST) adds a layer of complication to the already challenging task of coordinating global client meetings.

Not all countries observe DST, and among those that do, the start and end dates vary. For example, the United States and the European Union have different schedules for DST, leading to weeks where the time difference can vary unexpectedly.

This can cause significant scheduling conflicts, such as arranging a meeting that inadvertently falls outside of normal working hours for some participants – and when the deal is for remote work to provide a better work-life balance, a schedule after work hours is not ideal.

The impact of DST on global scheduling is not just a matter of an hour more or less. It affects the rhythm of communication and collaboration in international teams. For revenue operations that rely on timely and efficient collaboration, this can lead to delays in decision-making, a bottleneck on important tasks and delayed project progression.

A simple oversight in accounting for DST changes can result in missed meetings or deadlines, hampering the smooth operation of global business processes for revenue operations.

Team members in different regions might not be aware of the DST schedules of their colleagues, leading to assumptions and miscalculations. This can particularly affect teams that span across several continents, where multiple DST schedules need to be considered and tracked throughout the year.

Solution

A remote work team ensures that their operations in running smoothly.

Companies will do well to formulate a proactive approach to DST adjustment, which involves advanced agenda planning, the creation of a to-do list, and promoting clear communication across your revenue departments.

Teams can utilize scheduling tools that automatically adjust for DST changes in different regions. These tools can send out reminders or notifications when DST changes are approaching, ensuring that all team members are aware and can adjust their schedules accordingly.

Additionally, when planning meetings or setting deadlines, it’s crucial to verify and communicate the impact of any upcoming DST changes. Clear communication about these changes should be a standard part of meeting scheduling processes, ensuring that all team members are informed and can prepare for any adjustments to their usual schedule.

3. Challenge – Synchronizing Schedules

A meeting of minds in a remote work organization.

The challenge of synchronizing schedules is a critical aspect of coordinating global client meetings. This involves aligning the availability of globally distributed team members, each with their own local working hours.

The difficulty lies not only in finding a mutually convenient time for all participants but also in ensuring that this timing does not adversely impact the work-life balance of team members.

For instance, a meeting scheduled during regular business hours in the United States may fall during late evening or early morning hours in Asia, causing inconvenience and potential burnout.

This challenge is heightened in organizations where teams are required to collaborate frequently. The need to participate in meetings outside of standard working hours can lead to extended workdays, impacting personal time and potentially leading to decreased productivity and job satisfaction.

The issue becomes more pronounced in scenarios involving critical decision-making or brainstorming sessions, where the active participation of all members is crucial.

Furthermore, the lack of overlapping working hours can delay project timelines and affect the efficiency of decision-making processes. This can result in a slower pace of work and can potentially affect the overall productivity of the team.

Solution

A data dashboard used by companies and their support team.

If your organization benefits from remote work, a great idea would be to identify and establish ‘overlap hours’ or ‘golden hours’ where remote team members are available for meetings. These hours should be chosen to minimize inconvenience for all parties involved.

In addition, rotating meeting times can ensure that no single team or individual consistently bears the inconvenience of attending meetings outside their regular hours.

Moreover, regular check-ins and updates can help maintain alignment among team members. These check-ins provide opportunities for teams to discuss progress, upcoming tasks, and any challenges faced, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Implementing these strategies can help balance the need for synchronous collaboration with the importance of respecting individual work-life balance while serving global clients.

Challenge – Date Confusion

A system showcasing client data for an upcoming meeting.

Arranging global client meetings is made challenging by the International Date Line, as it causes a divergence in the calendar date experienced by different parts of the world simultaneously.

As mentioned above in our Canada-Austrlian example, this can create significant confusion when scheduling and conducting international meetings. Such discrepancies can lead to misunderstandings about the actual date and time of a scheduled meeting, potentially resulting in missed or delayed meetings.

This challenge is particularly acute in industries where timely decision-making is critical, such as in finance or global project management.

The confusion over dates can lead to missed deadlines, overlapping schedules, inefficiencies in workflow and decreased service quality.

Moreover, for teams working on time-sensitive projects, this can lead to delays in deliverables and can affect the overall timeline of the project. This problem is further compounded in situations where teams are working on a tight schedule and need to coordinate activities across different time zones.

Solution

A 24 hr clock showcing time data.

To mitigate the risk of date confusion, teams can adopt the use of a 24-hour clock format in all communications. This reduces ambiguity and ensures clarity in communication.

Moreover, sending out meeting invitations with the time zone information included and setting reminders can further reduce the risk of confusion.

Teams can also consider using scheduling tools that automatically convert meeting times to the local time zones of all participants, thus reducing the manual effort required to calculate time differences.

5. Challenge – Communication Delays

Technology to track and establish the syncronous point to the benefit of meeting attendees.

Communication delays due to time zone differences pose a significant challenge to revenue operations leaders.

When team members are spread across different time zones, responses to emails or inquiries can be delayed, affecting the pace of decision-making and project progression. Imagine, that a message sent by a team in Europe during their workday may not be received until the next day by a team in North America, leading to a lag in response and potential project delays.

This challenge is not limited to email communication; it also impacts other forms of asynchronous communication, such as shared documents or project management platforms.

These delays can create bottlenecks in workflows, especially in situations where quick turnaround times are essential. Moreover, the lack of real-time interaction can hinder the team’s ability to address urgent issues promptly, affecting the overall efficiency of the team.

Additionally, communication delays can lead to a lack of alignment among team members, as important information or updates may not be disseminated promptly.

This can result in misunderstandings or misalignments in project goals and expectations, impacting the team’s ability to work cohesively towards common objectives.

Solution

Remote meeting attendees working on a future agenda for a client review.

To address communication delays, teams can adopt asynchronous communication methods that do not require immediate responses. This approach allows team members to respond to messages and updates at their convenience, thereby reducing the pressure to be available outside of their working hours.

Teams should also leverage digital collaboration tools, such as project management platforms and shared documents, which allow for the updating and tracking of project progress in real-time, regardless of the team members’ locations.

These tools can help maintain a continuous flow of information and ensure that all team members are kept up-to-date with the latest developments.

Furthermore, establishing clear communication protocols and setting expectations for response times can help manage the impact of communication delays.

Teams can agree on standard response times for different types of communication, ensuring that urgent matters are addressed promptly while providing flexibility for less time-sensitive issues.

6. Challenge – Efficient Time Zone Tracking

Remote employees track meeting points and create a schedule and client agenda to be discussed.

The necessity to constantly be aware of the local times in various regions where team members and clients are located can lead to errors and inefficiencies.

The risk of miscalculating time differences is not trivial. It can lead to scheduling meetings at inconvenient times, missing deadlines, or sending communications at inappropriate hours. Such errors not only cause practical issues but can also be perceived as a lack of professionalism or cultural sensitivity. Moreover, manual tracking of time zones can be a significant administrative burden, consuming valuable time that could be better spent on core business activities.

In addition, the challenge extends to the management of daylight saving time changes, which can further complicate time zone calculations. The adjustment of clocks forward or backwards in different regions at different times of the year can lead to an additional hour of difference, often overlooked in manual calculations.

Solution

Revenue departments across a distributed team schedule global client meetings.

Implementing specialized time zone management software can greatly alleviate the challenges of tracking multiple time zones. Such software can automatically display the current time in different regions, send reminders about meetings scheduled in different time zones, and adjust for daylight saving time changes.

These tools can integrate with existing calendar and scheduling systems, ensuring that all meeting invitations and deadlines are set in the correct time zone for each participant. By automating the tracking of time zones, these tools reduce the risk of human error and free up time for team members to focus on more productive tasks.

Additionally, using time zone management tools can enhance communication efficiency and show consideration for the personal time of global team members and clients, fostering better professional relationships and cultural sensitivity.

Here is a software stack💡to help you schedule and prepare global meetings

  • World Time Buddy is an essential tool for coordinating client meetings across multiple time zones. It simplifies the process of finding suitable meeting times, enhancing productivity and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

  • Hubspot integrates seamlessly with Google Calendar, ensuring that meetings and schedules are automatically adjusted for Daylight Saving Time changes. This integration streamlines the scheduling process, reducing the risk of missed meetings due to time changes, and thus supports efficient customer acquisition and client meetings management.

  • Calendly remains a strong choice for this challenge. It simplifies the process of finding mutually convenient times for meetings by considering the availability of all participants. This tool is effective in ensuring that meetings are set at convenient times, promoting effective collaboration and productivity.

  • Monday.com a versatile project management software, Monday.com can be instrumental in synchronizing schedules. It allows teams to visualize their tasks and deadlines in a shared space, making it easier to align schedules across different time zones. Its integration capabilities with various calendars and communication tools also help in maintaining a harmonious balance between different team members’ working hours, contributing to a better work-life balance and ensuring that important tasks are managed efficiently.

  • Every Time Zone offers a clear visual representation of different time zones, helping to avoid confusion over meeting dates and times. This is crucial for international teams to stay aligned and productive.

  • Slack‘s asynchronous communication capabilities allow team members in different time zones to communicate effectively without immediate response pressures, thus maintaining continuous workflow and productivity.

  • Asana helps in tracking tasks and projects across different time zones. It’s an effective tool for managing delays in communication, ensuring that all team members are updated and on track with their responsibilities.

Final Thoughts

Half of the globe sees daytime while the other half sees nighttime.

Revenue teams are heavily challenged when seeking to schedule global client meetings across various time zones. While significant, these are surmountable and understanding the issues can provide a great opportunity for teams to apply a bit of diligence and common sense.

The key lies in embracing technology for efficient scheduling, fostering clear and proactive communication, and being mindful of the diverse time-related needs of global teams.

By addressing these challenges head-on, organizations can not only enhance the efficiency and productivity of their operations but also nurture a respectful and collaborative international work environment.

Ultimately, navigating these time zone complexities is not just about overcoming logistical hurdles; it’s about building a more connected and harmonious global business landscape.