Why Webinars Are Great for Research and New Content

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

Before diving in, be sure to read our previous posts on Panel Webinars, Webinar Operations, Internal Alignment, and ABM! Now, for our fifth entry into this blog series, let’s talk about how you can use webinars as a means of gathering new data to fuel your content strategy. By utilizing polls, questions, and other interactive assets in your webinars, you’re able to capture more data on your attendee’s level of intent and interest areas while simultaneously gaining insights for new research, content, and messaging.

Why should you use webinars for research and new content?

To Easily Conduct Research

With a captive audience and interactive tools on your webinar, you can conduct research to uncover new data trends, insights, or simply to fuel your content marketing strategy based on the responses you get back. This enables you to spend more of your time actually using your research rather than spending hours and hours conducting 1:1 calls, putting together surveys, or trying to schedule meetings.

To Produce Custom Content

By taking the pulse of attendees on your webinar through questions, polls, and downloadable assets, you’re able to better understand what content your audience actually wants to see. Use your findings to create custom research reports, share insights with your audience, and refine the relevance of your go-to-market in association with marketing campaigns, partner efforts, PR, analysts, as well as your customers.

To Gain Live Intelligence

When you ask questions or polls during your webinar, it makes it possible to tailor or shift the focus of your webinar on the fly to better align to what your audience wants to see or hear about. This can turn your webinar from one that just focuses on topics at a high-level to one that goes into more detail where the audience actually wants it to go.

When should you use this play?

Using your webinars to conduct research and fuel new content initiatives can be an effort spurred by a number of reasons. It may be time to reinvigorate your content, messaging, and persona strategies, or maybe you want to generate better engagement in your marketing campaigns overall. Or, there may be a need or want to discover new insights and trends, but you don’t have the resources or means to conduct more formal, survey-driven research

Stakeholders and roles

While utilizing webinars to gain better insights into trends and content themes may seem like a simple enough tactic, there are still a specific set of roles to consider. To ensure that you’re capturing data in the most efficient, natural way possible, a successful team should be made up of the following roles:

  • Webinar Presenter: to lead the conversations, ask the right questions, and guide and prompt the audience to respond to questions and polls
  • Webinar Producer or Technician: to set up surveys & polls and show questions and answers on screen in real-time
  • Marketing: to apply the insights gained in the webinar into their different campaigns, strategies, and tactics around content development and demand generation

Want more?

Stay tuned! In the next few weeks, we’ll revisit this topic to dive into the specifics and how-tos of using webinars to conduct research for your content strategy.



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.

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.

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 >>

8 Ways Panel Webinars Provide Marketing Power

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

With a panel webinar in your tool belt, you can give your prospects, leads and customers an authentic experience while engaging them far more meaningfully than with traditional assets. And, all while demonstrating your organization’s thought leadership with the added bonus of third-party endorsements from your panelists.

So, why should you care about panel webinars?

To Stand Out

Webinars have been done the same way for a long, long time, essentially comprised of one-sided PowerPoints, linear presentations, and a feeling of being lectured at. With a panel webinar, however, you’re able to foster much more fluid conversations not just between your panelists, but with the audience as well.

To Drive Authenticity

With a panel webinar, you become more approachable, more interactive, and more conversational. And these, in turn, highlight the more human, the more authentic, side of your organization.

To Gain Actionable Insights

Panel webinars allow you to engage leads in a much more powerful way — to make them a part of the conversation. And the more you involve them, the better you’re able to qualify them based on questions they ask and polls they respond to.

Through their interaction on the webinar, you are able learn more about them and move them through the funnel more effectively. And with this data, you’ll also have an easier time handing these leads to sales.

To Save Time and Resources

Most experts find panel discussions much easier than presentations. They’re more conversational, require less prep, and aren’t nearly as demanding as more traditional webinars are. Because of this, it will likely be much easier to get speakers to participate.

When Should You Use Panel Webinars?

As Mark Bornstein, VP of Marketing at ON24 says, “No matter where a lead is in the buyer’s journey, a conversation can be just as effective as a presentation.”

Top of Funnel

At the top of funnel, panel webinars can be used in a number of ways:

  • To establish your organization as a thought leader and trusted adviser
  • To generate net new leads with value-added content
  • To generate demand for and awareness of your organization’s expertise and focus areas
  • To drive deeper, more meaningful engagement amongst top of funnel leads

Middle of Funnel

In the middle of the funnel, panel webinars should be used to further qualify lead intent with more technical, educational topics that work to differentiate your brand. You can also use them to address use cases and scenarios by hosting a panel of customers who speak about their experiences with your product.

Bottom of Funnel

And at the bottom of the funnel, panel webinars can be used to speak to your core product capabilities with a panel of engineers or product managers, up-sell or cross-sell by promoting new features and product launches, and validate your organization with customers speaking to your expertise.

How Much Time Do You Need to Prepare a Panel Webinar?

When planning a panel webinar, you should give yourself between 6-8 weeks to prepare. This will ensure you have your resources planned, promotions mapped out, and topics and speakers confirmed.

Like most webinars, a panel webinar should be between 30-60 minutes. This will help ensure the audience stays engaged the entire length of the session and reduces the possibility of drop-off.

Who Are the Key Stakeholders Involved in a Panel Webinar?

Who’s responsible for what in a panel webinar?  Here’s a quick view of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Marketing: Strategy, Planning, Production, Promotion
  • Sales: Promotion, Lead Engagement, Follow-Up
  • Moderator: Discussion Guide, Time Management, Audience Input Management
  • Panelists: Subject Matter Experts, Strong Speakers, Engaging Perspectives

How Do You Produce a Panel Webinar?

Now that you know the principles of producing a panel webinar, 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 Matt Heinz and a panel of experts from ON24, Netline, Sketchdeck, and DemandBase for our panel webinar, “Cut Thorugh the B2B Noise: Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion, and Loyalty.”

Heinz Marketing On: The Road to Webinar World 2019

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

So much of what constitutes sales and marketing today is noise, and while noise may keep prospects busy sifting between what’s important and what’s not, it doesn’t do much to tip the marketing scales in your favor. Noise doesn’t stand out. It doesn’t get noticed. It doesn’t drive interest, engagement, urgency, or, most importantly, action.

But as we all know, creating content that resonates with one persona is hard enough. Doing so for multiple, across companies and industries? Well, that’s another story altogether. When today’s buying committee is made up of at least six people, and one in two consumers completely disregard content they deem irrelevant, what’s needed to drive meaningful, scalable engagement? How can you take into account your targets’ different roles, responsibilities, preferences, and concerns? How can you be sure what you’re sending prospects is actually valuable?

These are just a few of the questions we, as B2B sales and marketing professionals, must consider. But the answers are much harder to find. And while there may not be a silver bullet to solve all of our engagement woes, there is a tactic that can, at the very least, help to point us in the right direction — webinars.

With ON24’s Webinar World right around the corner (which you can get free tickets to using code “Heinz_VIP” at checkout!), we’ve been thinking a lot about the usage and effectiveness of webinars as a means to drive meaningful, scalable, and profitable engagement. In fact, according to ON24’s 2018 Webinar Benchmark Report, 95 percent of practitioners agree webinars represent a key part of their marketing and lead generation efforts, as well as:

  • 76% reporting webinars enable them to reach more leads
  • Over one-third (38%) considering webinars to be ‘critical’ to their digital communications
  • Half of those surveyed consider the quality of leads generated through their webinars to be above average
  • And eight in ten respondents report webinars help lower their cost-per-lead

Clearly, webinars possess a lot of value. The question now is: What are the different plays, tactics, and strategies around webinars you can utilize to uncover this value for yourself?

To help you get (and stay) on the right path to achieving webinar success, we’re excited to announce our new blog series — The Road to Webinar World 2019. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll share with you a new webinar tactic to help you do everything from planning, measuring success, and integrating a webinar program into your larger marketing strategy.

Here’s a calendar of what you can expect:

  • 2/20 The Power of Panel Webinars
  • 2/26 Streamlining Webinar Operations with Integrated Technologies
  • 3/05 Driving Webinar Success with Your Internal Teams
  • 3/12 Building an ABM Program with Webinars
  • 3/19 Using Webinar Data for Research and New Content
  • 3/26 Tracking Webinar Performance
  • 4/02 Extending the Life of Your In-Person Conferences
  • 4/09 Developing Webinars for Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)

Keep an eye on this space, the ON24 Blog, for these posts and more as we head into Webinar World 2019 and beyond.