Anita Wehnert HeadshotWe’re honored to share this guest blog from Anita Wehnert, Director of Strategic Partnerships with ReadyTalk.

According to a recent study by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 62% of B2B marketers are using webinars as a tactic in their content marketing strategy with 63% calling them “effective.” Why? Webinars are a convenient, effective, and affordable way to attract prospects and nurture them through the funnel. While webinars can play a role at all stages of the sales process – top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel – the experience needs to be tailored for the appropriate stage to get the best results.

Top of Funnel: Demand Generation

Is the goal for your webinar to fill the funnel with new leads? Here are a few tips to help you put on a successful demand generation event:

  • Identify your target audience and tailor the content to focus on an emerging market trend or business problem that is top-of-mind for them.
  • Take the time to develop meaty content that includes advice that your audience can take away and apply immediately in their daily job.
  • Bring in a recognized industry expert to add credibility to your event and potentially help draw a larger crowd to hear your message.
  • Take advantage of tools like polling, chat, and surveys to learn more about your audience and gather data that will help you qualify and pinpoint sales-ready leads.
  • Use a webinar platform that is integrated with your Marketing Automation platform to save time and leverage behavioral data to drive lead scoring, segmentation, and follow-up.

One “don’t” at this stage? Remember that this isn’t the time to pitch your product – you’ll lose credibility and alienate your audience. Save the product demos for later stage prospects.

Mid-Funnel: Deal Advancement

When talking to an audience that is further along in the buying process, remember that they are actively exploring solutions and looking for validation that yours is the right choice. Here are some thoughts on how online meetings can help:

  • Present slides that communicate specifics on how your company can help a prospect take advantage of an opportunity or solve a pressing business problem.
  • Share a brief video clip of a happy customer telling their story. A testimonial from a peer can do wonders to help put your prospect’s mind at ease and move towards closing the deal.
  • Tailor and deliver a demo that clearly illustrates how your product solves your prospect’s specific top-of-mind issues.
  • Automatically capture meeting and demo activity in your CRM system to increase sales efficiency and help sales management keep tabs on rep performance.

So, what’s a big no-no at this stage? Don’t dive into a generic demo of every feature your product has to offer. Get to know your prospect’s challenges and tailor the conversation to address their unique needs.

Bottom of Funnel: Onboarding & Growth

Even after you close the deal, webinars can play a role in driving revenue when you use them to train new users, explore advanced features, and ramp usage. Keep these considerations in mind for effective online training:

  • Create sessions tailored to the needs of different users. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience’s attention while you cover content that isn’t relevant to them.
  • Leverage live trainings as an opportunity to build rapport with new customers and respond to their questions in real-time on the phone and via chat.
  • Offer the option of on-demand recordings so users can consume the content at their own pace and when it’s convenient for them.
  • Integrate online training data with your CRM system so it’s easy for account managers to invite customers to relevant sessions and track their training activity.

A key “don’t” at this stage? Avoid too large of an audience. Smaller sessions give you the opportunity to connect with new users and ensure that they walk away with the information they need to succeed.

How are you using webinars to support the different stages of the sales process?  We’d love to hear your ideas and feedback.

About Anita Wehnert:  As ReadyTalk’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Anita focuses on exploring how integrating webinar, demo, and training data with other business applications can help companies win and onboard new customers and retain and grow existing accounts. Before joining ReadyTalk, she gained first-hand experience with the challenges of running a webinar program while serving as director of marketing at an IT analyst firm and spent more than a decade in high-tech product management and product marketing. When she’s not thinking about conferencing, she likes to ride her bike, travel, and spend time with her dogs. Follow Anita on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.