Beyond Basic: Event as Pipeline Accelerator

Beyond Basic: Webinars as Pipeline Accelerator

On April 20, 2023, Erik Newton, the CMO of Hubilo, was joined by Sruthi Kumar, the Head of Demand Generation at Inscribe, and Zoe Hartsfield, the Head of Marketing and Revops Evangelism at Swantide, to delve into the strategies and tactics that transform events from mere marketing activities into high-impact drivers of sales pipeline growth.
Nainika Sharma
Content Marketer
May 4, 2023

Events have long been recognized as powerful tools for engaging audiences, generating leads, and fostering meaningful connections. However, their potential as pipeline accelerators often need to be noticed. On April 20, 2023, Erik Newton, the CMO of Hubilo, was joined by Sruthi Kumar, the Head of Demand Generation at Inscribe, and Zoe Hartsfield, the Head of Marketing and Revops Evangelism at Swantide, to delve into the strategies and tactics that transform events from mere marketing activities into high-impact drivers of sales pipeline growth. Let's catch up with some of the key takeaways they shared to unlock the full potential of events as pipeline accelerators and supercharge your sales efforts.

Cracking the attendance code: from stealthy snipers to registration rockstars!

Targeting and generating registrations are crucial aspects of webinar planning and promotion and require a strategic approach incorporating distribution channels such as social, emails, and online communities. Creating compelling content and messaging that resonates with the target audience is another important factor in generating excitement and convincing potential attendees to join. 

Zoe says that there could be multiple channels to maximize visibility for your webinar, but that results are achieved when you actually meet your audience where they hang out for that kind of topic. 

You must understand the company's goals, target the right audience and tailor the content accordingly. If the focus is on top target accounts, the content should lean toward the bottom of the funnel and highlight the product rather than just thought leadership. Breakout rooms or similar interactive elements may be incorporated to enhance interaction and engagement, even in virtual settings. 

The crucial role of events in marketing: maximizing value and impact

When it comes to webinars, ROI matters. Zoe and Sruthi emphasize creating memorable experiences and positive sentiments in webinars to enhance sales conversations. While quantitative metrics like pipeline creation and influence are considered, qualitative factors such as feedback and personal connections are equally valuable. 

Capturing feedback through screenshots and incorporating them into presentations adds credibility. Engaging top target accounts and analyzing bottom-of-the-funnel metrics like sales, qualified leads, and opportunities provides a comprehensive view of event success. Emphasizing personalized follow-ups and involving executive sponsors can significantly impact the effectiveness of post-event interactions. Ultimately, the conversation emphasizes the dynamic nature of analyzing event data and finding innovative ways to tell a compelling story that resonates throughout the sales funnel.

Best practices for bringing in prospects

According to Zoe, aligning your sales leaders' drive with the company's overall strategy is essential. Ensure you include sales teams in the event and webinars, especially when the company sponsors or organizes them. 

She says, "It always gives the sales team a reason to talk, and that's how I try to frame things. Like, hey, we have this webinar, we have this event, and even if that prospect is not available to attend, you can use it to get into a conversation or reengage with them."

Such involvement allows the sales team to invite prospects, adding to their sequences and granting them autonomy while giving them conversation starters to use.

Unleashing audience participation with insights from engagement experts

When it comes to events, you absolutely must keep your attendees engaged. Zoe has a few tricks to drive engagement during webinars, such as using polls, Q&A sessions, and live participant interactions. The platform plays a crucial role in facilitating these interactions. Zoe also uses prompts to encourage attendees to take action, like writing down numbers or performing real-time calculations. Participants can share their responses with Zoe after the event, boosting engagement. These techniques have proven successful, resulting in greater audience participation.

Meanwhile, Sruthi shares her experience engaging people during the pandemic without the option for hybrid programs. Working at a direct mail platform, she highlights the effectiveness of direct mail in creating personalized experiences, such as coffee and wine packages. Even for significant virtual events with numerous attendees, she emphasizes segmenting the list and allowing Account Executives and Customer Success Managers to choose five recipients from their accounts for unique gifts. Sruthi also mentions the value of hosting separate virtual sessions, like morning coffee talks or happy hours, to encourage participation. She emphasizes the significance of follow-up and personalized engagement, inviting attendees to share their thoughts and finding humor in technology issues. Ultimately, she believes that creating human moments within virtual programs can have a lasting impact.

Fostering a strong sales-marketing partnership

For your company to thrive, your sales and marketing teams must have a strong relationship. Sruthi, who also has a background in sales, understands the challenges the sales representatives face and aims to alleviate their burden by providing comprehensive support. By taking on tasks such as email composition and prospecting, the marketer strives to make sales more accessible and efficient. This approach fosters trust and collaboration between the two teams, strengthening the partnership. She believes that delivering tangible results, especially in terms of generating a pipeline, is achieved by being a reliable and proactive partner, earning the gratitude and appreciation of the sales team. A successful sales-marketing partnership is built on mutual trust and a shared commitment to achieving collective goals.

Blend content strategy with your webinar strategy

Webinars offer a unique advantage by creating a sense of urgency and fear of missing out (FOMO) among attendees. Unlike email nurture streams, webinars provide a time-sensitive event that encourages immediate action. But what happens to the content once the event has ended? There is so much that goes into building that content, and with experts in an insightful discussion, it is essential to realize the value that content can bring to the brand. Sruthi emphasizes the importance of repurposing webinar content, such as breaking it into micro clips for social media, incorporating it into sales decks, or using it as acceleration collateral. She introduces the concept of gating the Q&A segment to create exclusive and valuable content that entices future attendees. This readily available quality content can be repurposed across various distribution channels and engaging partners to boost the reach. Upcycling this content can also boost efficiency, especially for marketers in early-stage companies. 

Keeping the momentum alive long after the event

There's always so much build-up and hype before the event happens, but it’s easy to let everything fade away once it ends. How can you keep the momentum going in this scenario?

Sruthi shares her approach to repurposing webinar content from an attendee's perspective. She highlights the importance of transforming webinars into various content formats to maximize their impact. Sruthi explains her three-step follow-up process: 

  • First, she converts the webinar into a blog post, providing a deeper dive into the topic and offering valuable resources 
  • Then, she shares the webinar recording to ensure attendees can revisit or catch up on missed content 
  • Finally, she selects the most engaging and informative clip from the webinar and includes it in an email, adding a touch of spice to keep the conversation alive 

Zoe suggests that she has used these "spicy clips" in marketing follow-ups to garner interest and promote on-demand viewing. She emphasizes the importance of building campaigns around on-demand content and scheduling emails and social media posts to ensure its visibility. Additionally, live tweeting, and LinkedIn posting during webinars can help capture key moments and quotes from the speakers, further enhancing engagement and exposure. By repurposing and strategically promoting webinar content, attendees can benefit from valuable insights and discussions even after the live event.

Are you ready to go beyond basic?

Well, if the answer is yes, here are a few things discussed during the webinar that can help you:

  • Obsess and align your KPIs
  • Don't put your webinars in a box
  • Turn the engagement ON

And if you want to get a deeper understanding and follow the conversation, check out the entire webinar here

Nainika Sharma

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