Increase Leads and Sales with a Webinar Strategy

» Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales | 0 comments

Increase Leads and Sales with a Webinar Strategy

A webinar is an online class or seminar given to an individual or a group.  With the appropriate technology, webinars are fast to develop using PowerPoint or another common presentation software, and inexpensive to deliver using something like WebEx or Citrix.  If you’ve been working on inbound marketing but aren’t sure what to do with your prospects once they get to your website, a webinar could be the answer.  Read on to learn about three different webinar strategies and when to use them.

3 Types of Webinars to Increase Sales

There are many types of webinars, including training webinars that are a product in and of themselves.  But here we are talking about webinars to increase your sales pipeline.  There are three different types of webinars that follow along with the sales process:

1.       Lead Generation Webinars

2.       Qualification Webinars

3.       Training and Product Demo Webinars

Each of these has their uses.  Here we will discuss what they are and when to use them.

Lead Generation Webinars are webinars on industry related topics, but are not about your product.  They are a free offering designed to demonstrate thought leadership and introduce your company to the marketplace.  It is often difficult to convince your sales and marketing team that they really can’t talk about your product in this type of webinar, but you’ll have much greater success if you consider it an investment for the future and focus on giving away value in return for lead capture.

How:  If you can offer information on a topic that is very important to your client base (but does not have to do with your product) then offer a free training session.  If you’re at a loss on topics, just call up one or two of your customers and ask, or peruse three or four industry magazines to find a common theme.  If your topic is truly relevant and your experts credible, prospects will sign on to learn what you’ve got to teach them.

What if you aren’t yet established as an industry leader?  Now is a great time to form a partnership.  Offer a trade with your largest customer, or with a related industry contact.  Your partner gets exposure, and you get their name to attract attendees to your webinar: it’s a win/win.  The best part is that once you’ve hosted a live webinar once, you can record it and offer it as a download (after lead capture, of course!) ever after.

Another approach is to offer your company as a speaker or teacher at a trade show or conference.  This works well if the market is small and narrow, and helps get name recognition for your company; but it is not as effective at lead capture as an online strategy.

When: If you are currently using a calling strategy, lead generation webinars can help to build a pipeline of warm leads, or at least of suspects who know who you are.  They are particularly useful when your inbound marketing is going well and your website gets a lot of hits, but you don’t have effective lead capture from the hits.  Offering a webinar and requiring a name and email registration is a great way to transition prospects from lurking on your website to joining your contact lists.

Qualification Webinars are webinars about your company and the problems that your company solves.  Here is the opportunity to put the marketing team to work on a presentation that gives your “elevator pitch” clearly.  One of your goals should be to give each attendee the tools needed to explain to their colleagues exactly what your product offers in less than two minutes.

How: This is a broad brush overview.  Pull together the marketing and branding materials you have and create a 20-30 minute show that highlights the problem that your product solves, and the way that you solve it.  Keep it clear and simple.  Give examples if you can, and show a few screenshots if you wish to give prospects an idea of your product’s “look and feel.”

When: If you’ve got lots of unqualified leads to sort through, or tend to get a lot of “lookers” on your website who may find you by accident, qualification webinars can help you sift through to find your real prospects.  The qualification webinar will weed out those prospects who don’t really understand what your product does or have your company confused with someone else.  Set up an “opt-in” strategy for those who want to pursue contact with your company after they’ve viewed the qualification webinar.

Training Webinars are in-depth product demos.  This may be what your sales team already does with a qualified prospect, but combining with other prospects to demo as a group has several advantages.  For one thing, more prospects who aren’t ready to commit to one on one time with a sales rep may want to sign on for a group webinar, which requires less commitment from them but still gives your sales team a chance to show their stuff.  (Note: “Training Demo” is often more appealing to a prospect than “Product Demonstration” which indicates a hard sell.)

How:  Get together with your support team and your sales team and combine the two for a product demo that can answer a prospect’s common technical questions.  Make sure to keep it broad enough so that you don’t get bogged down on detailed questions of individual applications, but be specific enough so that the question of “how would I use this in my everyday life?” is clearly answered.

When: If you know your prospects understand what you do, but you’re having trouble giving them a vision of how your product can help them, this type of webinar can help.  Shift your sales approach from selling the product to selling the demo.  People are often more willing to invest time in a half hour training session than they would be in engaging right away in a question and answer session with a sales rep.

Webinars are inexpensive, scalable, and effective.  A great tool to have in your sales kit, develop as many types as you need to fill your pipeline and qualify your prospects.

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