Growth, Engagement and Webinars: How Today’s Top Marketers Make it All Work

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.com by Sydni Craig-Hart. Syndicated with author’s permission. To learn more about Smart Simple Marketing, follow this link.

This week, I was a first-time attendee at Webinar World, a user conference hosted by ON24, in San Francisco, CA. ON24 is an enterprise-level technology company that, per the comments on their website, “is on a mission to redefine how organizations engage with their audiences, powering interactive, data-rich webinars and content experiences that help people connect on a more human level and make smarter business decisions.”

(By the way, many thanks to ON24 for hosting such a great event right in my backyard… I love the no-plane 10-minute commute and sleeping in my own bed! 🙂 )

Table of Contents

At Smart Simple Marketing, we’ve been producing high-quality webinars since 2008, and I have personally delivered hundreds of live webinars. They are one of my favorite platforms for teaching. Webinars have been an integral piece of our marketing strategy, and we’ve consistently used a variety of webinar formats to build our 29,000+ email list, build relationships with industry influencers, train small business owners how to attract more clients and increase their revenue and so much more. Webinars have also been an integral piece of the work we do for our enterprise clients, helping them to drive engagement, deepen loyalty, and gain market share with small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

Hosting compelling webinars continues to be one of the top three strategies we recommend to our corporate clients, as highlighted in our insights paper, Successfully Selling to Small Businesses. In fact, our very first project with a corporate client was producing, marketing, and re-purposing a five-part webinar series for Verizon Wireless, called “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Business Success”, and we hosted that series using ON24.

As such, I’ve been looking forward to Webinar World 2019 and hearing ON24’s take on the latest success strategies for leveraging the power of webinars as a marketing tool. Since it is my first time attending the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed three of the sessions I attended yesterday. One of those was a panel discussion entitled “Keynote Conversation: Living Your Best #Webinerd Life.” Check out the description of the session:

“The life of a webinerd can get pretty crazy. From great successes to epic fails, there’s never a dull moment when you’re at the helm of your company’s webinar channel. Join ON24 Chief Webinerd Mark Bornstein in a panel of webinerds who will share their stories of webinar disasters and recoveries, getting big wins and internal recognition and their most valuable lessons learned.”

The session was moderated by Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Webinerd at ON24 and the panel included:

To provide a bit of context, Deanna, Josh, and Nina describe their work this way:

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “My team oversees all the marketing and strategy for three of Clarivate Analytics business units. Webinars have become critical to our demand strategy approach at every stage of the life cycle. Right now, we’re running about sixty webinars globally. We also support the field by repackaging and repurposing our webinar content.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We’re a tour operator, and we travel to all seven continents. We do B2B and B2C as well. On average, we do 500 webinars a year. Our goal is to educate travel agents, educate group leaders on our products, and then educate members of those different groups to get them to purchase different tours. We provide webinars throughout the entire life cycle.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “For all of our different products and industry segments, my team handles all the executional programmatic approach to our webinars and overall strategy.

Following are my favorite takeaways from the panel discussion along with suggestions for how to implement the insights shared into your own marketing programs.

How Have Your Webinar Programs Evolved?

Mark (ON24) – “How have your webinar programs evolved; are they still talking PowerPoints, or where are you guys with that now?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “For us, it’s all about engagement. We recognize that industrywide, people are willing to pay more for a premium experience. So, we are really implementing that as part of our webinar strategy. It provides us with an opportunity to not just have engagement, but to give all our prospects and customers experience, and so, for that, it causes us to evolve and look at everything differently.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “If you look at where we were seven years ago to where we are now, it’s completely different. We’ve definitely grown and come up with real strategies for the year and try to plan things out for the following year. We take all the surveys we get and listen to our consumers and our travel agents. We really plan things that are interactive; we do series. We try to do value-added webinars as well; it’s not just about selling for us; it’s about, for example, ‘how to use Facebook’ or ‘how to take the best photography’, so we try to really add that into our strategy.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “One of the biggest changes is how much traction our webinars have gotten over the years; we continue to see increased numbers of webinars that we’re doing every single year. We do still have our PowerPoints and audio, but we’ve done a lot more with video recently. We have a studio that we will pre-record in or stream live in, so people are sitting just like this in a panel discussion, talking about things that are interesting to them or product launches or things like that; so, we’ve gotten a lot more innovative that way over the years. We’re not just PowerPoint and audio.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Focus on creating TRUE engagement—meaning allowing your audience to share their thoughts, ideas, and struggles with you (all of which is far more important than what you have to say to them.)
  • Plan your content in advance, and don’t fly by the seat of your pants. You’ll be less stressed and create a better experience for your audience.
  • Design webinars that make life easier for your audience. Focus on helping them solve the problems that cause them to waste time, money, and effort. If you do, they’ll come back for more (which means lower customer acquisition costs for you).
  • Look for ways to incorporate video in your webinars. Including short videos will help keep your audience’s attention and provide more context for the point you’re trying to make.

How Do You Approach Webinar Management and Planning?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you manage so many webinars? What does planning look like when you’re trying to support so many events?”

  • Nina (Salesforce) – “It was definitely chaotic in the past. We’ve dialed it back, so now, people can only book webinars for the next coming quarter. We have a steering committee where we work together functionally, so we’re not just operating in silos. Also, we have a webinar brief that all of our campaign managers and product marketers fill out and turn in at least four to five weeks in advance of their webinar. That is our working point for our team, to make sure we’re taking care of everything that goes into a webinar. We’ve created stricter guidelines for the process, so we’re not getting a brief two weeks before a live event and people expect us to produce a successful webinar off of that.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Create a written process document to organize all the details of your webinar production and execution. Insist that every team (or team member) follow this process religiously. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort.
  • Create related forms (i.e., the brief mentioned by Nina) to help your colleagues think through the details of the experience they want to create. Not only will your form collect the information you need to produce a successful webinar, but it can also serve as a strategic asset that helps your team(s) collaborate. Your form can also be a strategic asset that can keep your team(s) focused on their goals.
  • Be intentional about knowledge-sharing between teams to help break down silos. This encourages greater collaboration and, ultimately, will create a more positive brand experience for your audience.

How Are You Evolving Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “Are you thinking about creating webinars beyond simple high-level thought leadership webinars? Are you thinking about building webinars for each state in the funnel?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Absolutely. It’s not just about the thought leadership piece. It’s about engagement and helping the audience really understand what they’re going to get from connecting with the company. So, we’re absolutely building out webinars that are a value add. ON24 allows us to provide our audience with content pieces that will help them with their decision-making at the end of the buying cycle as well. The calendar of how we’re building out webinars, and how many webinars, where they are in the year, and what the buying cycle looks like—we take all of that into account.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “With travel, we’re trying to not only get people to go on a tour; we’re trying to get them to buy. We’re also trying to educate our travel agents on the value of booking travel with Collette so they know exactly what their clients are going to get when they book with us. When it comes to the full year, we do have a strategy where we sit down in the summer and we talk about what we’re going to do for the following year.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We have a lot of your basic product-focused webinars, since we have a lot of different products to serve. We also have webinars that are more sales driven, so you’ll see a lot of buy-in from the sales team on those. These sessions are going to be a lot more targeted to a smaller niche area. We have our thought leadership and “trailblazers” type webinars, and these are going to be your industry topics. So, we do have webinars that fit into all these different levels, and it’s really important to us that we are tailoring the content differently in all of those areas.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Many companies make the mistake of using webinars as only a top-of-funnel strategy. Don’t be one of them. Leverage webinars to support prospects at ALL stages of the buying cycle. After they buy, you can continue using webinars to help your customers get the ROI they are looking for from your product.
  • Create content for different learning preferences. The same content you produce for a live webinar can become a series of checklists, worksheets, resource guides, templates, audio tutorials, etc., that support your attendees in implementing what you taught them. Distribute the additional resources during or immediately after the webinar to keep your audience engaged.
  • Developing a strategy is key to your success, but do allow space in your plan for flexibility. You want to be able to respond to a new trend, a hot news topic, a customer need, or a request from your sales team. Build in space for these sessions so they don’t throw off your editorial calendar.

How Do You Drive Webinar Registration?

Mark (ON24) – “Let’s talk about something that everyone cares a lot about when it comes to webinars. It’s the thing I hear again and again and again, which is driving registration, one of the hardest things to do with a webinar. You all have completely different types of audiences, what are you doing to try to get people to attend your webinar?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We are taking advantage of social. We have some folks that are really targeting and finding the right groups on Linkedin. And we have our partner groups making an appeal because these are their peers, and they are very respected by our audience. So, we give our partners “enablement packs,” where all they have to do is copy and paste into the respective Linkedin groups. This allows us to drive registration in addition to building out the typical paid and organic social and email channels that we are also using.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We do the basic e-mail that we always send out to get them to join. We have certain Facebook groups that we utilize with our agent network. We just started using Facebook groups over the past three months, and they have actually been working really well. When we’re on our webinar, we talk about what’s coming up next and get them to register right away; that way, we’re already touching that touch point with them.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Email is still our biggest driver of registration, so that’s what we put a lot of focus behind. Each of our teams that are actually running the webinars will do their own social and digital promotions. We have seen a lot of success when we do a blog post about an upcoming webinar too; so, second to email, that’s been our second highest driver of registration.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • A multichannel strategy is necessary to meet your registration goals. Take stock of ALL of your channels, the various features available on each channel, and create content specific to the culture of that channel. Feel free to repurpose content across channels, but do so strategically.
  • Use your marketing communications to give attendees a preview of the webinar event. Show them exactly why taking time out of their day will help them address a pressing problem or meet a current goal.
  • Once people have registered for the event, keep them engaged. Encourage them to invite a friend, learn about their needs by way of a brief survey, and give them additional previews of the content. You need to keep reminding them of the value you’ll be presenting to encourage them to attend live.

What Are Your Tactics for Webinar Engagement?

Mark (ON24) – “How are you getting your audience involved in the webinars? What are you doing to get more engagement in those experiences?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We’re absolutely taking advantage of the widgets on the ON24 platform, which, for example, gives us the ability to share white papers. The other thing we’ve done is enable our audience to use social media widgets. We have our social media manager paying attention so that if someone tweets or writes a post about the live webinar, they’re getting a response in real time, so that it becomes more of a conversation. That’s really important when you’re trying to create conversations versus campaigns and building more than engagement.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We utilize the ability to have resource links, polls and surveys built into the session on ON24. We try to have polls in every webinar, and we also try to ask questions to break up the webinar.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We do a lot of polls and share links to resources. Our other route is we bring video into the webinars so that people feel like they’re connecting with someone on a more personal level then just hearing a voice on a slide.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Take another look at the tool you’re using to host your webinars. Make sure you’re aware of ALL of the features and benefits available to you so you’re getting the greatest return on your investment.
  • If your tool happens to not have the interactive features of ON24, look to third-party resources to help create engagement during your presentation. For example, tools like PollsEverywhere, Slidio, ClickMeeting, and SlideDog are inexpensive, easy to use, and help create an interactive experience with your attendees.
  • Just because your webinar ends doesn’t mean engagement with your brand should end. While you have your audience’s attention, give them options to continue the conversation in a way that feels comfortable for them. This could include immediately scheduling a follow-up call, directing them to watch another webinar, or giving them a piece of relevant content that helps them implement what they learned.

Do You Integrate Video into Your Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “How have you begun to integrate video into your webinars?”

  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We decided we wanted to try something different than just the PowerPoint. So we thought, ‘let’s just try to go live and do an actual interview,’ so we did. It wasn’t in a studio, and we didn’t have lots of equipment. We had a small little Nikon camera, a little microphone attached to it, and a little tiny light, and it was sitting on a kitchen table. It just shows what you can do with a small budget. You don’t need tens of thousands of dollars. We spent $1,000 to buy all the equipment and created a great polished video.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Hubspot reports, “87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019.” As such, video is a MUST-have in your content marketing toolbox. The question is not “is video a fit for us?” The question is “how are we using video to connect with our audience?”
  • An easy, fun and inexpensive way to create great video content AND engage with your audience is going LIVE on a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Minimal setup is required to create a great video, and your audience will love the opportunity to have a conversation with you.
  • Video is ripe for repurposing! You can use a single piece of content in your webinars, your marketing promotions, and product tutorials. Get creative and start putting your ideas into action!

How Do You Cope with Bad Speakers?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you deal with bad speakers? There’s nothing worse on a webinar than a terrible speaker.”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We have some speakers who are deeply intellectual and very verbose, or they have slides that have 30 bullets on them, which can be very dense. So, in addition to helping with slide coaching, we run a practice session for our webinars. If we hear they’re not as engaging, we plan ahead to ask questions on certain slides to break up the sound of the voice. We let the speaker know in advance that the webinar manager is going to interrupt them on a certain slide, and this really helps.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We really try to make the speaker as comfortable as possible. Our team makes sure that everything is covered so that the speaker doesn’t have anything to worry about besides speaking. We try to make it so they just have to focus on their expertise for the webinar.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • It’s all too easy for a speaker to go off on an unrelated tangent or turn their presentation into a pitch about their company. In order to avoid alienating your audience, clearly communicate with your speakers your expectations about the focus of their presentation. Make sure they understand that they are there to create value for your audience, not “toot their own horn” or sell their product.
  • Keep your content simple. We’ve seen time and again that our clients try to cram too much information into a session and end up overwhelming their audience. Choose ONE topic for your webinar and design your content to focus on that one topic. You want your audience to walk away feeling refreshed and inspired, not overwhelmed and confused.

How can Webinerds Reach the Next Level?

Mark (ON24) – “For all of our future and current #webinerds, any one piece of advice that you would give our audience today to take their webinerdship to the next level?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Use the best practices that ON24 provides you with; they’re critical. View your webinars as engagement, not just a tactic.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “Don’t be afraid to try something new and try something different. Take what you learned here and try it. That’s what I’ve done (this is my third year) and every year we go back with at least one or two things that we’re going to try this year that has really impacted us.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Be really passionate about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Really push the envelope because who knows, maybe one thing, the next thing, will be a huge win for your company.”

As you can see, this was a rich session, filled with practical insights from three very different companies. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, whether you sell a product or service, whether your new to producing webinars or a seasoned veteran, there is always an opportunity to cross-appropriate strategies that are working in companies that look different from yours. I challenge you, as you think about what you learned in this article, not to think “yeah, but…,” and instead think “how can…”

Take “can’t” out of your vocabulary. Focus on what you CAN do. Commit to truly serving your audience. That is a guaranteed strategy that leads to success.

This is just one recap from the many insights we gained at Webinar World that we’ll be sharing in detail with our clients.

If you’d like to schedule a no-obligation brainstorming session about how to implement a results-focused webinar strategy, you can reach Sydni at sydni@smartsimplemarketing.com.

The Basics of Building an ABM Program with Webinars

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

We’re now four weeks into the Road to Webinar Success! After having covered Panel Webinars, Webinar Operations, and Internal Alignment, it’s time we shift our focus to using webinars to build an ABM program. With webinars driving your ABM program, you can create scalable, highly-personalized, highly-targeted, and engaging experiences for your target accounts. And all while thoughtfully measuring performance, qualifying leads and pushing those leads closer towards a purchase decision.

Why should you use webinars to build your ABM program?

Webinars are, potentially, one of the most engaging tools both sales and marketing have at their disposal. They can present high-value offers, be personalized to different personas across all stages of the sales cycle, are highly-interactive, and they allow you to easily gauge the level of interest and intent from those who attend.

With webinars in your ABM program, you have an opportunity to reach the entire buying center and tailor content for decision makers and influencers in a much more scalable way. Plus, they are an excellent way to spread your marketing messages to a large number of prospects, both on the day and with the on-demand version, making it possible to continue to share your content, ideas, and messages well-beyond the live webinar.

Give Your Audience a Highly-Personalized Experience At-Scale

Successful ABM relies on your ability to be highly relevant and highly personalized with each of your target accounts. With webinars, you have the ability to personalize your content in ways other formats just don’t support, and you can do so at scale. This is especially true for on-demand recordings where you can re-record or edit certain sections to align with your specific audience.

Get More Content to Your Target Accounts

Getting tailored content to prospects at the perfect time within their buyer’s journey is difficult enough. Adding in factors like email responsiveness, messaging points, and channel preference makes this task even harder. With a webinar platform, however, you can provide access to your downloadable assets like whitepapers, guides, product information, or case studies right within the webinar console itself.

You don’t have to deal with a handful of other factors that come into play when balancing email sends, targeted ads, and overall timing because now, the assets are right there in front of the prospect. All you need to worry about is getting them to watch.

Drive More Meaningful, Direct Engagement Among Target Accounts

Webinars provide a channel for two-way engagement, setting them apart from other mediums where communication is either one-way (videos and podcasts) or completely non-existent (whitepapers and their counterparts). Through webinars, presenters, moderators, salespeople, and consultants are enabled to make one-to-one connections on a far more efficient, authentic, and meaningful way, at-scale

Your webinars give attendees the ability to ask questions, respond to questions, or take polls, and they give your team the ability to engage back. The engagement is also immediate, unlike social media where comments and questions aren’t always responded to in a timely manner.

Gain Enhanced Engagement Metrics

While it’s nice seeing metrics like views, clicks, and downloads, those don’t do a great job of showcasing actual buyer intent. Webinar engagement metrics, on the other hand, show these as well as time spent watching, responses to questions asked, questions asked themselves, and surveys taken. Advanced webinar platforms also provide algorithmic engagement scores that summarize all activity into one, easy-to-understand number. These metrics can then be viewed on an individual contact level or can be aggregated for account-level views making it much easier to know where prospects are in the sales cycle

Stakeholders and roles

ABM, in general, is a cross-functional effort across your sales and marketing teams, so it’s important to ensure that both teams are aligned and working towards similar goals. Remember: Webinars aren’t just a marketing activity.

It’s especially helpful for at least one representative from sales to either act as a presenter or at least be available to answer any questions participants may have because sales teams are often grouped around verticals and industry segments.

Having such an approach allows a more seamless transition from a webinar to a sales conversation, as the person presenting can pick up the conversation directly with the customer.

More specifically, consider these roles and responsibilities as you conduct your ABM program with webinars:

  • Marketing:
  • Program Director: ABM Strategy and Approach, Target Account Alignment with Sales
  • Webinar Manager: Webinar Strategy, Webinar Production, Tracking and Reporting
  • Program Execution: Content Creation, Webinar Promotion
  • Operations: Webinar Set-Up, Webinar Tracking
  • Sales: Target Account Alignment with Marketing, Promotion, Follow-Up

Want more?

There’s so much more to learn about a webinar program’s role in an ABM strategy. Stay tuned, because in the next few weeks, we’ll revisit this topic to better understand the ins and outs of how to implement this kind of initiative in your own ABM efforts.

Webinar World 2019 Day One Recap: Comedy, Engagement and #Webinerds

Hello from Webinar World! It’s been a busy day filled with tips, tricks and #webinerd sessions.  We’re seeing a lot of great activity and conversations and we hope all attendees, both physical and virtual, are having a great time. In case anyone was too busy #webinerding out, here’s a brief recap of what happened at Webinar World today:

Joe Hyland and Mark Bornstein kicked off the day by laying out Webinar World’s central thesis: Today’s MarTech enables bad marketing habits, hurting digital experiences. To fix this, marketers need to slow down and understand audience needs to drive real engagement.

Then, Jim Blackie and Mika Yamamoto, Vice President and General Manager of Marketo, an Adobe Company, discussed why marketers need to partner with sales and how both can build a culture of success by supporting one another.

Soon after, David Nihill, author and public speaker, took to the stage to discuss how comedy helps presenters connect with audiences, improves retention and helps craft great stories.

In the afternoon, Sharat Sharan, ON24 Founder and CEO, broke down the barriers between inbound, outbound and personalized marketing and shared his vision of digital marketing’s future.

Then, Jayesh Sahasi, Executive Vice President of Product and CTO of ON24, shared how ON24 is changing ON24 for the better — including automated transcriptions, content playlists and much, much more.

After Jayesh, Mark Bornstein, Chief Webinerd of ON24, re-took the stage to talk all things #webinerd with panelists Deanna Ransom, Nina Purro, and Joshua Chelmo. Each panelist shared insights into how they run webinars, what new webinar producers should be aware of and how they recovered from webinar disasters.

Finally, the day wrapped up with our Webinar Award Winners. This year’s winners included Jackson Systems, SAP Concur, Merrill and many more. Keep an eye on this space as we dive into what made these companies champions.

That’s all for now! We hope everyone is having a good time at Webinar World and are looking forward to another day of engagement-driving tips.

New at ON24: Localization Gets a Power-Up with Cloudwords and ON24 Partnership

Webinar World 2019 is officially underway! As we head into another excellent engagement-packed conference, we wanted to take the time to highlight new partnerships and new ways marketers can make life a little easier. First up, let’s take a look at localization.

That’s why ON24 is partnering with Cloudwords, a leading provider of localization automation and software solutions. Cloudwords is a natural fit for the webinar community as it helps marketers engage with audiences wherever they may reside globally by making localization simple and scalable.

Cloudwords helps global marketers localize content, manage global campaigns and reduce time-to-market by connecting a marketer’s marketing systems with language service providers.

The result of this combination is a streamlined workflow allowing marketers to reduce the stress of scaling globally.

If you’re attending Webinar World 2019, stop by the Cloudwords booth in the atrium to learn more. Otherwise, check out Cloudwords here.

New at ON24: All-New Customer Community Experience

Today, ON24  is revealing an exclusive new customer community experience: the #Webinerd Community. The #Webinerd Community is your one-stop shop for everything you need to flex up your webinar skills, whether you’re a webinewbie or webi-pro. Best of all, it’s fueled by webinar pros like you.

Here’s what you can expect out of the #Webinerd Community:

  • Connect with fellow webinerds across the globe or in a city near you
  • Share webinar best practices and ideas with your peers
  • Draw inspiration from our most innovative webinerds
  • Pitch new product ideas and feedback to the ON24 team
  • Gain access to exclusive content, just for ON24 webinerds:
    • The ON24 Playbook Library
    • ON24 Certification programs
    • Ask the ON24 Experts webinar series
    • Product Release Update webinars
  • And more!

So, how do you access this community? Simple: just log into ON24 Elite and click on the hashtag icon on the far-left tab pane.  And that’s it! You now have instant access to all the benefits of the #Webinerd community! Log in now and start exploring.

Organizing Internal Teams for Webinar Success

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

So far in our blog series, The Road to Webinar Success, we’ve covered The Power of Panel Webinars and Streamlining Webinar Operations with Integrated Technologies. This week, we continue our journey to webinar success by understanding the roles, responsibilities, and importance of your internal teams, and how you can empower them to drive your webinar program forward.

Let’s dive in.

An overview on driving webinar success with your internal teams

Drive the success of your webinar program with best practices for communicating, collaborating, planning, and executing across your internal teams.

Why should you care about enabling your internal teams?

To drive the success of your webinar program at-scale

In order to implement a scalable, repeatable process for planning, promoting, and executing your webinar activities, you must ensure that all relevant parties within your organization know their roles and responsibilities.

To ensure alignment across your sales and marketing organizations

By aligning your internal teams, you enable marketing and sales to each knows what they’re responsible for both pre- and post-webinar. This alignment also helps facilitate sales and marketing’s ability to promote and produce webinars concurrently as well as in part of their larger efforts.

To effectively utilize webinars throughout your entire buyer’s journey

Gain the ability to more efficiently plan webinars ahead of time, rather than on an ad-hoc basis. With a repeatable process and central webinar planning hub, you gain a clearer picture of upcoming and past webinars and are able to better strategize where, in your buyer’s journey, you could include more or improve.

When should you start evangelizing your internal teams?

Evangelizing your internal teams for webinar success could be sparked from a number of catalysts.

You may want to make your webinar program more repeatable and scalable, you may be tired of constantly feeling the pressure to produce new webinars, or maybe you just want your webinars to more effectively touch on relevant themes and topics.

You could want to improve your organization’s internal alignment around webinars because you’re using them more often and need to ensure that your audiences, topics, speakers, sales and marketing channels, and other operations do not overlap.

Or, perhaps your webinars play a larger, more important channel in your demand generation program and you want to be able to more strategically plan them. Whatever the reason, rallying your teams behind you ensures that everyone is marching to the beat of the same drum.

Who are the key stakeholders involved?

To ensure alignment across the different teams involved in your webinar program, your primary webinar team should involve the following stakeholders:

  • Project Manager: Webinar Program Hub, Webinar Program Strategy, Webinar Calendar and Planning, Overarching Webinar Processes, Webinar Topics
  • Resource Manager: Webinar Resource Allocation
  • Other Roles and Responsibilities:
    • Webinar Abstract Development
    • Speaker and Moderator Scheduling
    • Webinar Deck and Content Development
    • Webinar Console Management

The webinar team should work with marketing (for top-mid funnel webinars), sales (for mid-bottom funnel webinars), product marketing (for bottom-funnel and new product webinars), and customer success (for customer and new product webinars) to determine things like webinar topics, promotion channels, and timing.

Want more?

Now that you know the principles of driving webinar success with your internal teams, it’s time to put it all together. To learn how to do this and much, much more, join us at ON24’s Webinar World 2019 from March 11-13 in San Francisco, CA! PLUS save $500 and get free tickets using the code “Heinz_VIP” at checkout!

Watch keynote presentations, join breakout sessions, and participate in interactive labs all designed to help you utilize webinars and engage for action.

We’ll see you there!

Want to see what the leading engagement platform can do for you? Try our free 30-day Trial.

New at ON24: New Styling, Ratings and Comments and Improved Functionality

At ON24, we’re constantly working to improve both our platform and our users’ experience with it. That’s why, every quarter, we issue platform fixes, product updates and introduce new features.

To inform you and get your feedback on our latest projects, we’re publishing a series of blogs detailing how and why we’re changing the ON24 Platform.

For this quarter, we’ve made improvements to our styling capabilities, improved Engagement Hub capabilities and made adjustments to help you deliver ongoing engagement. Let’s take a look:

Elegant User Experience

ON24 Engagement Hub now has new styling capabilities to ensure your best performing content gets the front-and-center treatment it deserves. We’ve also added two new enhancements to improve the way that content is displayed: Page Width and Featured Content.

Page Width now allows you to adjust page sizes between 990px (standard) and 1220px (wide). This allows you to display more content in your Engagement Hub. The Featured Content enhancement lets you feature select content, like high-performing assets, prominently within the Engagement Hub.

Scalability

You now have more customizable capabilities with thumbnails and fonts across Engagement Hubs and Target Content Experiences. These customization opportunities ensure Engagement Hubs and Target Content Experiences can maintain unique designs across different iterations. You can also simply create unique thumbnails as needed while continuing to track global engagement and performance on all content.

Ongoing Engagement

Everyone has something to say and now they have the opportunity to say it with the new Ratings and Comments feature for ON24 Engagement Hub.With Ratings and Comments, audiences have the ability to engage with content in a qualitative way. Attendees can like or dislike content and provide feedback or comments for each piece of content.

Actionable and Flexible Data

 

Content Insights are now available on ON24 Engagement Hub. Like in ON24 Target, Content Insights bring helpful metrics directly into the Engagement Hub workflow to aid users in understanding their content performance and in choosing the right content for their audience.

Content Insights provides data on unique views, average time viewing content, shares, ratings and comments, and the top accounts and roles that have accessed that particular piece of content. All you have to do is navigate to the content tab and click on a content thumbnail. An overlay should pop up and provide you with the insights you need.

That’s all for now. If you’d like to learn more about the ON24 Platform and how you can get more out of your webinars, contact us and we’ll set you up. Otherwise, keep an eye on this space for more product updates, how-tos and webinar-enhancing tips.

CMO Confessions Ep. 17: Higher Logic’s Hunter Montgomery

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, a bi-weekly podcast series discussing how sales and marketing really operates. In this episode, we talk to Hunter Montgomery, CMO at Higher Logic, a community management solution based out of the East Coast.

Hunter has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing sector, weaving his way through a variety of organizations. In July 2007, he joined Verizon Business before moving onto Vocus and, finally, Higher Logic.

Hunter has a sharp eye on cutting through the puff that’s common in B2B marketing. As we discuss in this episode, he has a learned preference for impactful action and content. I think that theme of taking the time to think things through carries well throughout this episode and I hope you all enjoy.

If you’re interested in diving into Hunter’s career as a rocket scientist, you can find his LinkedIn profile here. If you’re interested in his insights and expertise, you can find his Twitter here.

If you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Transcription:

Joe Hyland:        

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of CMO Confessions. I am really excited to welcome Hunter Montgomery, CMO of Higher Logic to today’s show. Hunter, how are you doing?

H. Montgomery:

Good. Joe, how are you doing?

Joe Hyland:

I am doing great. Just, year-end wind-down, which I love. So, we’ll get into that and how you look at the end of the year versus starting the year shortly. Just to start things off, talk to our audience about what you guys are up to at Higher Logic and what you’re all about.

H. Montgomery:

Alright, great. Thanks. So, Higher Logic, we are a community engagement platform. It started off about 11, 12 years ago as a professional association based here in DC. Obviously, there are people who say there’s an association for everything and everyone, which is pretty much true. So we built in a kind of idea of community, right? You have lawyers and accountants and scientists and they’re part of an association — they want to talk and interact. And so we built this online community platform, which is perfect for them. About four or five years ago, we really started to expand out more in the corporate space — software user groups, right? B2B software. And then at last, a little over a year ago, we bought two marketing automation platforms to really expand what we do. And now we kind of talked more about engagement, right? It’s about how do you engage with your customers, your members.

H. Montgomery:

They don’t care if you’re sending an email from a platform or a daily digest from the community or a request from somebody else. They just want to know that you care about them interacting with them and you’re giving them value. And so what we’ve sort of rolled out is combining the ideas of community and really the market automation part to give this personalized, customized interaction between a company and their customers or an association and their members, which is very similar, right? If you really think about an association member is just this SaaS user, right? Every year they get to renew their membership and they want to see value in it. If they don’t see a value, they’ll go somewhere else. So we’re all about that?

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, that’s great. I think a lot of marketing mirrors politics. I was a political science major so maybe that’s just my own leaning, but I think all things in life really are local — even as we’re moving to everything being global, I get it. I think people feel more comfortable with small intimate communities and I think a lot of marketing has — and we can talk more about this — but has leaned too heavily on all quantity and just blasting out as much as possible to as big of a group as humanly possible. But it’s all about how about engagement and quality. So talk more about how your company’s philosophy on this community engagement model, how your marketing mirrors that.

H. Montgomery:

So immediate it fits very well, right? It’s all about personalization. It’s about giving your prospect if you will — or your member or your customer — the information that they need that valuable to them. It’s to your point, it’s not blasting out. “Hey, here is a webinar on a topic and I’m going to send it to my entire database where we know not everybody cares about it fit their schedule.” So we’re similar in terms of how the community works, the idea of basically with the market automation platform we added. But what we had it in there also was looking at how people interact and then give them that content that matters to them. If it’s a product they use, if it’s a community, a subcommittee they’re part of, you know, it’s how they interact with it. Like we’re doing a lot now more with AI.

H. Montgomery:

We start to learn about the people in the community and in the marketing side, what they read, what they click on, what they replied to, what questions they ask, all those things. I’m kind of starting to build kind of a digital fingerprint if you will, of what that person’s doing. And then you want to give them what’s valuable to them. That’s when marketing automation came up. “Oh, don’t send a blast to everybody,” but for marketing automation, for a long time, it was firmographic. I know what title you are, I know how big your company is, an industry it’s in, so I have a good sense of what you want to read and look at, but if I all of a sudden learned that you’re the chief customer officer, but you tend to read and interact in a different community, I can actually really show you information and content that matters to you. Not just a generic eBook of what a chief customer officer needs to know about x, y, z, right? Which is great, but maybe I have specific areas of like customer support. That’s my focus. That’s my target. All the sudden I’m getting content around that. So that’s kind of how we’re built the platform. And then obviously that’s how kind of the modern marketing person tries to look at things and every time you get more data you can do more with it.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. Love it. I mean, the more relevant we can make our message and our delivery, the more successful we’ll be, right? So, I think people conceptually agree with that. It’s like breaking a bad habit. It’s easy to just flash your whole database with one message and I urge marketers to avoid that temptation.

H. Montgomery:

Part of it too is like what we’re trying to do, I mentioned the AI before, and I was talking to another guy I know, he’s writing a book about marketing in AI, and he had an example. I think it’s like BMW one of those companies, they’re basically creating 10,000 personas. Now, usually, if you have five personas of a buyer persona. That’s not a build-on and they’re great and they’re helpful. They’re good. What have you can create make 10,000? Everybody’s slightly different. The machines can learn more than you can and they can react to it. Not to scare people that marketers aren’t going to be important because you still have to understand who that buyer is, what they want, what they need, create content for them. But if you can just target that much more to somebody and that helps that much more of your click rate, you know, conversion rate — all the rates that you’re trying to track, then you can go focus on other things and stop worrying about the daily tasks. A lot of promises there. We’ll see how it comes out.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. That’s powerful. I love walking into a marketer’s office and seeing the five or six personas on the wall with a picture and their tendencies. Like, I’d love to see this 10,000 version.

H. Montgomery:

That’d be pretty cool.

Joe Hyland:        

Okay, well, that makes to me and makes me think about things we love about marketing and things we perhaps don’t. So, I’ll start with the positive side. What do you love about today’s marketing opportunities versus five or 10 years ago?

H. Montgomery:        

I like math, which sounds kind of crazy. I’m not a quant guy, I’m not math major, a history major and undergrad. But it’s made it so marketers can go to the CFO, CEO, whoever, maybe the head of sales and say, “Here is what I’m actually impacting on your sales. I can show you, I can draw a direct line from these people to your bookings, closings, revenue. I can show, I can draw a dotted line to this group saying, ‘Hey, I got them in front of your guys, somehow'” they know I’m not trying to take credit,” but when you can start to look at the math that — a company before called Vocus, we are a PR software company, but a lot of that was built on: you bring a lead-in, they convert to a demo — it was a little old school now — and then they close for win and there are rates each way, there’s your ASP. IT becomes math.

H. Montgomery:        

And if you get on the understanding of math, I mean it shouldn’t cloud everything you do. But at least you can go and say, here’s what I’m doing and if you give me more money I’ll get more of these for you. If you reduce my budget, I’m going to get fewer of those for you. So the math part and the connection with the finance side and really being able to trust it and it’s not “we think we influenced.” And obviously it’s different companies, B2B fits very well in. But that’s the one thing I do like because it gets to be cut and dry and you’re not sort of trying to have to talk smart. You can actually show some numbers.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, I love it. I think that’s a fantastic point. I love that in doing a compare and contrast to now to a decade ago when we were doing these models — it was a lot of assumptions. Your right, now like for us, we’re doing this right now actually. We have our plan for next year for revenue, and then we, based off of historical win rates, a conversion from inquiry to MQL, MQL to sales accepted, lead all the way through. We’re pretty granular. And what you said is dead on — there’s give and take. So, great, you don’t want to give us that budget. “Oh, okay. No worries. Like, you know, here’s what the marketing can contribute. It will be less than we had planned in and we do.” And then, so ON24, we then do check-ins every quarter to see how accurate we are. And, for us, a decade ago it was a little different. That’s interesting. I’ll get to the things that aren’t great in a moment, but you raised, you raised a great point.

Joe Hyland:        

I think there’s also … So if we’re going to be more quantifiable, there’s more modeling — there’s truthfully a lot more math in marketing today in data then there was a decade ago — in a lot of ways, I see geeks taking over marketing teams. You have more and more people who focus on data. I’m curious on your team if you’ve seen that shift or if the marketing personas are a little more traditional.

H. Montgomery:        

I think it kind of … there’s a few people who fit it well. They’re not quants or Geeks, but they understand the business side of it because really the numbers are about the business side. It’s one thing to understand the different conversion rates along the waterfall, but it’s why? Why is it important? Why is a booking today more valuable than the booking three months from now? And why is the ASP .. and all those things that the CFO cares about. You got to know what the CFO cares about. So we haven’t got there, I also have a younger team, so it’s almost like we’re helping them understand what marketing is going to be. I want to do email marketing or I want to do content and that’s great and they can. But Now let’s see: Did your content actually get downloads? We love that. Did it then convert — to your point — MQL, SAL, win? What do we see, how are you contributing?

H. Montgomery:

And then now they feel like, okay, I understand I got to be part of the business. I can’t just do content for the sake of content. And they’re not an indicator of that it was successful. It’s the first step So, it’s I have not brought in people and I’ve actually moved, kind of bringing an ops role. We didn’t have an obstacle here before. I’m like from an ops background, so I get the whole marketing ops and what it means and so kind of bringing people in, that’s a hard one to find. I mean, maybe, I think probably out on the West Coast it’s probably a little easier here on the East Coast. It’s still more traditional marketing people.

Joe Hyland:        

Out here, out here, everyone wants to call themselves the growth hacker, but which is really a demand gen person with a new name.

H. Montgomery:

Right, revenue, right? Revenue. What is it, what’s the new one? I can’t remember. It was like basically had of revenue or somebody in the marketing department, you know.

Joe Hyland:

Oh, you see some pretty … our office is right next door to LinkedIn’s. We see some pretty creative titles on LinkedIn.

H. Montgomery:

I’m sure.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, I think that’s interesting. We had a similar understanding of the why for a business is really important, particularly for young marketers. We have a lot of the younger marketers earlier in their career who listened to this show. It’s critical to my opinion. One, always tie yourself to revenue wherever possible and then, two, you’re dead-on like understanding why we’re doing all of this is so critical. We had someone who was running our social media a few years ago and was quite successful with it, but it was a bit of a learning curve to get to the why social influencers mattered. And, for webinars, I think ultimately where we landed was they don’t. Which is fine, we just had to change our social media strategy, but it was like, “Oh, wait, all of these people like this tweet.” Like, okay, cool. Like, what do we think that means to the business? So yeah, it’s an evolution.

H. Montgomery:        

We had one of the companies we acquired in the last couple of years, they had a really good blog. And they came over and I looked at it — like, three times as many as our blog in terms of people that subscribed to it. And you know, my CEO is like, “Oh my God, the blog is great. You got to look at it.” And we dug into it and there are no leads there. I mean, it’s not our audience. It’s great. I appreciate it. And one of their sales guys came over with that because he’s like, we got to do like we did before. I said, do you ever see that the leads at the blog generated? I like activity but not activity for the sake of activity. It does not bring any value to what we’re trying to do. And they did keywords. It was optimized for SEO, I guess. Optimized for SEO drives me crazy. I’m sure there are markets there are companies that need to do it and it’s very valuable. But when you look at it and you realize that there’s nothing there for you. You know, we had a lot of homeowners associations. That’s not a professional association. They’re not buying our software.

H. Montgomery:        

So yeah, it’s got to connect the dots for people and understand that’s what it is. Not saying that it’s bad. It’s not our business.

Joe Hyland:        

Focus is a powerful and beautiful thing in life, right? And understanding markets you were going to play in and double and triple down in versus those that are just a distraction I think is, man, that can save so much time and energy and money. Okay, cool. Let’s get back to the original question. Okay. We went over things you love. What about things that frustrate you or you just, you just hate about the marketing landscape?

H. Montgomery:        

Well, I think I kind of jumped the gun. I think that last one I kind of overstated. So, I think you mentioned a little bit about, for a long time social, right? Social’s gonna be the greatest thing ever; you can’t scale it, you can’t track it, to your point. That kind of helped with the SEO. I think SEO was way overplayed in my, in the companies I have been part of. Again, I’m sure there are businesses were they very important. I think the other thing is, and you alluded to, we talked about a little before we got on the call and that is kind of the tech stack. Six or 7,000 tech solutions now in the Martech one, you know, Scott Brinker’s thing, which is great. And it was 150 in 2011. I mean the sheer number that these little point solutions can solve all your problems or you’ve got to put them all together yourself, is crazy.

H. Montgomery:        

And I love the tech side. As I said, I was the op side. I liked for efficiencies. I like to find an advantage you can have. But there’s, I don’t know if there’s really 7,000 advantages out there.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. And we talked about this for a second before we started. It’s 10 times worse out here in San Francisco. Scott was on the show a couple of months back, great guy. What a gargantuan effort this has become. He’s got a research team behind it now because I think the last one was like 67, 6,700 companies or something crazy. But yeah, you’re right. It was 150 in year one. So in year one it was just him doing it was like pretty easy, right? Yeah. Everyone and their brother has a little kind of B2B marketing company right now out here. It’s like, you know, two guys in a cat and their garage.

Joe Hyland:        

I think what’s interesting about it, and quite, quite, quite dangerous, is so many of these companies have received funding from these venture capital firms. They have money that they need to deploy. They’re placing bets, if you will. If three or four out of 10 bets work, they’re successful. That’s generally their model. So, you have a lot of these companies who have raised one or two million and so it feels like a quasi-legitimate organization and it doesn’t solve enough of a business need to justify their existence. And so yeah, it’s out of control in ,y opinion.

H. Montgomery:        

Yeah, it really is. That and it makes it hard to find things out there. And how do you sift through it all?

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. And it’s all in. You alluded to this just a moment ago, anyone thinking that technology will be a silver bullet or, you know, kind of this one-size-fits-all solution and then they’re like, they’re really missing the boat. It’s all gonna work together. So a lot of these techs, it becomes your problem to now implement it, which is not how this needs to work. If it doesn’t connect to your marketing automation or your CRM, I mean forget it. So, and we’re both technologists, we work for technology companies, but I will always advise people to be considerate before they bring in tech to their org.

H. Montgomery:        

Yeah. And then, all of a sudden, you get a bloated budget potentially. You know, you add this thing here and that thing. All of a sudden, someone looks, you said you have a hundred thousand dollars for the software in marketing and what are you doing? And because, it’s SaaS, a lot of times you don’t have to get into. It doesn’t go through it. Right. And you just need somebody to hook it into Salesforce or hook it into your market automation or, to your point, it just gets a little bit out of control and then you become an IT guy.

Joe Hyland:        

It’s true. I mean it happens fast. I think it was Gartner, four or five years ago, who predicted that you know, it was probably around now 20, 18, 2019 CMOs would have a higher budget than CIOs. I think that I think they were right. It’s occurred.

H. Montgomery:        

They were right because it’s gotten easier because now these things do work better together. And out of the box, they work your marketing automation and out of the box they work with Salesforce. That’s always sort of the sticking point: How do I integrate it? But now it’s easy.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, it’s easy. Yeah. Last word on this for me: focus on things that will solve your use case if your use case. If your use case is Demand generation. Great. Double down on what will yield a greater return. I’m buying things because they’re nice to have. I mean, you’re just being irresponsible.

H. Montgomery:        

Absolutely right.

Joe Hyland:        

It’s like a PSA from you and I. Okay. So you guys are big in the engagement space, particularly on the community side. I’m curious to get your take on this move for marketers to own more of customer engagement. Again, if we do a compare and contrast to five or 10 years ago, I felt five or 10 years ago, it was rare for marketers — particularly in the B2B world — to own kind of post-sale. Oftentimes marketers said, “Hey, once someone becomes a customer, like, our job is done.” But I’m seeing more and more marketers really care about the customer experience and that customer engagement. So I’d love to get your take on, on this movement and kind of how you guys feel about it.

H. Montgomery:        

Yeah, I completely agree with you. We’ve seen it on our end. I’ve been in companies where marketing didn’t even touch the customer. One of the things I’ve seen, at least the customer side is, it has become a bigger deal, right? “Customer, customer, customer,” last couple of years, right? Everyone’s talk about it. There’s so many different places where the customer could sit. There’s renewal. There’s upsell if that’s your model. And then there’s having the whole, “Oh, we’re now we’re going to bring a Chief Customer Officer In” And where do they fit? Do they fit under the CEO? Do they fit under operations? Do they fit under sales? So the customer kind of gets lost. But the one group is sort of a neutral arbiter the whole thing that kind of a neutral friend, if you will, is marketing. Because it’s getting good content.

H. Montgomery:        

Hey, you know, here’s a webinar, here’s content. Yes, it’s, we’re using for a prospect. It’s about the same problem that you had before or issue or topic. So, by default we kind of accepted it and we went out and said, hey, you know what, we’re gonna shifted a woman on my team to just do customer marketing. We weren’t doing it before and she helped the upsell team, right? That was an easy traditional generate leads for them. We do a soft, very, a kind of relationship way. Did a monthly newsletter from the customer success people, but we generated it, but you still have that, “Okay, well who really owns their renewal rate, who really owns how are we going to support them in the right way they need?”

So it’s a little bit in a flux in all honesty. But as I said, it was a great opportunity for marketing to come and say, look we just want to make sure they’re happy. And can provide content and help and if they want to learn more about other products we will be able to give them the opportunity to raise their hand. That’s all we say. But it’s such an important thing now for organizations that they all have to figure it out. And we’ve gone through a transition internally here and I think we figured out, but it took a little time, you know? And there’s a lot of History of people doing this for the last 15 years in a new way. People think that it really needs to be done and for B2B, obviously, B2B is a different model than, obviously, a B2C or manufacturing or you know, whatever.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. And you reference the SaaS model a little bit ago and, you know, 10 or 15 years ago when you were selling an on-prem, bigger upfront cost. And then there was just a small maintenance component. It kind of mattered less. It matters a lot more now.

H. Montgomery:        

Yeah. It does impact. And back to your point, there’s tools now for it, right? You have the customer success platforms like Turn Zero, To-Tango, Gainsight. They’re leveraging that. Everyone’s jumping in. Everyone wants to be helping the customer.

Joe Hyland:        

It’s a big space. It’s actually kind of funny because your business, my business would not exist without our customers. I mean, I know that’s such an obvious point, but like, man, do we lose sight of obvious points in business? And so I had a friend of mine who works for another company here in the city, a pretty big role and he said, “Well. Listen, the only thing that matters is, is our upsell numbers for our customers.” And I said, “I don’t know what if, what if your customers are happy? Like where does that fit in there?” And he was like, “Well, yeah, yeah, that too.” I’m like, “Oh, okay. I don’t know if this should just be like assumed.” And I love it when, when the business strategy gets in the way of what’s actually best for the customer.

So, I think you’re right: marketing can play a pivotal role because we have no revenue targets, we really just want to make sure the customers are getting the best content, what’s, what’s best for them. So I strongly feel marketers should play a bigger and bigger role. Because if this sits on the sales side, and I mean to throw no stones here, sales will naturally lean into upsells. Great. You want them to. But I don’t think they should be the arbiter of ensuring that customers are in fact happy.

H. Montgomery:        

Right, right. Or really no… it’s trying to be a consultative approach where I look at the customer and say, “Wow, they’re struggling with this. I think it’d be a good opportunity.” Yeah. Maybe there’s an upsell versus recommending the wrong thing because they’re just trying to get through their upsell. Like, propagate, versus B or, where b really would fit them. But A is maybe on the spiff list. Someone has to have, truly have the customer’s best interest in mind and it pays off long-term. It’s that balance. Short-term, long-term retention, long-term revenue. You get somebody to buy another product or upsell for three more years versus the wrong one. And they canceled it after a year.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. That’s not good for the business. You mentioned ToTango and Gainsight and kind of this industry which has sprung up over the last 10 years for customer success. Love to get your take on this. Another thing I think that is interesting for companies is, and I think a lot of companies are getting it wrong, is CSMs didn’t exist eight or 10 years ago. Now every organization has at least who cares about the renewal basis, has a pretty big team of CSMs. Most CSMs though, how do I say this in an eloquent way? Most CSMs come from the client side and they want to ensure people are, you know, the clients are happy, which is great. But I don’t think they were necessary — they may have struggled to see the connection between happy customers and how a business is fully successful. I feel like a lot of companies have thrown a lot of bodies on the customer success side, which is great, but there’s not necessarily a strategy for how we holistically communicate with our customers. It’s almost like you have, if you have 50 CSMs, you have 50 communication strategies. There’s no like centralized plan.

H. Montgomery:        

Right, right. Yeah. I mean I think because, to your point, they all can have different even metrics. Is it NPS? Is it renewal rate? Is it upselling? They do, but I think that I do think it’s maturing. I do think that the idea of CSMs and having … you know, we have a woman here who manages all our CSMs and she also managed all our community managers. We’d have to have them for our professional services and our customers can use us for their community management services. So she comes from that. It’s all about engagement, interacting and making these … it’s one of our best services because it’s running a community is not a light lift. That’s her background. And I think that’s how she approaches she almost his approach to CSMs as community managers, even if they don’t have any community.

H. Montgomery:        

So I think, to your point, you kinda need the right person leading that group. So everyone sort of understands it. It’s, “Here’s how you’re going to communicate, here’s the outcome that we care about. And, but at the same time, you still ask how do you balance the upsell number if you have a strong retention number?” We have a very strong retention number, right? So everyone’s like, “Okay, what do we do?” Do we need fewer of them because our retention number is not an issue and then? No one, I think has solved it yet. I mean that’s the good thing is there’s an opportunity for people to get it right.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, I agree. And when you, you said it. Well, it’s, it’s understanding the why, right? As long as the, as long as that side of the organization understands what the real metric is and what we’re trying to accomplish. I think you’re on the right path to success. Right? So Listen, Hunter, this has been fantastic. I could do this for multiple hours, but I’m going to be true to our format and stop at half an hour. I really enjoyed the discussion. Thank you so much.

H. Montgomery:        

No, thank you. I love the opportunity and good luck with everything.

Joe Hyland:        

Awesome. Thanks, man. Thanks.

How to Streamline Webinars Ops with Integrations

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

Last week, we debuted a new blog series: The Road to Webinar Success designed to help you better plan, think about, and utilize webinars in your broader demand generation initiatives. Our first installment covered a brief background on the value of webinars as well as their effectiveness, and also dug into The Power of Panel Webinars. If you haven’t yet, go back and read that blog to get yourself oriented.

This week, I want to look at what it means to streamline your webinar operations using integrated tools and technologies. What are the values of integration? Who are the key stakeholders involved? What do you need to consider when it comes to integration? That’s what we’re here to find out.

An overview on streamlining webinar operations with integrated technologies

While the functionality of an individual tool matters, at some point, you’re going to need it to start sharing information. With robust integration between your webinar platform and the rest of your marketing tech stack, you can streamline operations across your sales and marketing initiatives.

Why should you care about streamlining webinar operations with integration?

To act on buying signals

Today, marketing is all about identifying signals and acting on them, and while we’re in no short supply of tools to identify what people do, when, and where, siloed tools makes acting on those signals much more difficult.

To react more intelligently

When your data is effectively integrated, you can identify prospect actions across your tech stack and better understand how best to follow-up on that action, without the manual data pulls. If a lead attends a webinar, sales can be notified to follow-up. If a lead registers but doesn’t attend a webinar, they can be added to a specific nurture program. If a lead asks a question on a webinar, an SDR can answer immediately. With the right integration, you are able to continue the conversation rather than reaching out cold.

To reduce manual workflows

Automation allows you to reduce the amount of manual processes to get the data you want before, during, and after a webinar. It also makes possible to develop programs or see new angles to data that were previously too difficult or too risky to do manually.

The ability to integrate helps mitigate risks with tricky data, and it allows you to focus your time on more important facets of your role, rather than spending hours sifting through data trying to decipher what’s actually relevant.

To share data across sales and marketing

When your webinars are integrated, sales and marketing can be better aligned when it comes time to engage a lead. With your webinar data being shared across systems, both teams know how leads have engaged in your webinars and can more thoughtfully route them accordingly as part of continued nurture.

When it comes to integrations, anything that speeds up the sales and marketing process is beneficial. Anything that delays it is a problem.

To improve data and reporting capabilities

Gain a single source of truth not just for your webinar data, but also the role it plays amongst your broader sales and marketing activities. With this, you can simplify reporting and analytics and ensure that marketing, sales, and executive leadership are all looking at the same data to see reports with the same lens.

With integration, you are also able to build a process around how data is collected and acted on, getting the right data in front of the right people at the right time.

The more you can do to automate your workflows with inputs from integrations, the more you can do to drive the business forward.

When should you consider streamlining webinar operations with integration?

You should never not think about the possibility of integration.

The minute you have two systems, you should ask if they’re able to talk with each other. Consider using this play when you want your webinar program to play a larger role in your marketing strategy, you’re tired of manually sifting through webinar data, or your marketing, sales, and executive teams all lack a central data source.

You may also want more transparency and reliability in your data and reporting. Maybe you want tighter alignment between sales and marketing before, during, and after a webinar happens. Or perhaps you want to improve your lead conversion rates, follow-up actions, and broader lead engagement tactics.

Who are the key stakeholders involved in streamlining webinar operations with integration?

When it comes to integration, your marketing operations team should lead the charge. However, they should be sure to work with both sales and marketing to identify what tools need to be integrated, what inputs need to be involved, and what signals need to be tracked.

Want more?

Now that you know the principles of streamlining your webinar operations, it’s time to put it all together. To learn how to do this and much, much more, join us at ON24’s Webinar World 2019 from March 11-13 in San Francisco, CA! PLUS save $500 and get free tickets using the code “Heinz_VIP” at checkout!

Watch keynote presentations, join breakout sessions, and participate in interactive labs all designed to help you utilize webinars and engage for action.

We’ll see you there!

Can’t make it to Webinar World? Join us with a panel of experts from ON24, Netline, Sketchdeck, and DemandBase for our Panel Webinar to Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion, and Loyalty. Learn More >>