Webinars are a powerful addition to any content marketing strategy, and for good reason. One big problem for much of lead generation and pipeline advancement, however, is a tension between what audiences want and what your organization wants: they don’t want to be sold, but you’re not making a presentation just to hear yourself speak.
I think there’s a way to resolve this tension and, done right makes everybody happy: making sure there are five questions answered for your presentation. (If, by the way, you want to practical “how” to structure a presentation in a simple, methodological way, be sure to join me for Advance Your Pipeline: Influence Decision Makers with Persuasive Presentations with my friends at BrightTALK).
Intrinsic Value: Why do this — for both sides?
You have a sales pipeline with prospects who are at varying stages of affinity for your products and services.
Those same prospects are on a journey to solve their own problems (which may or may not include you). As mentioned before, they’re not looking to be sold, but they will place a high degree of value on genuinely educational content that helps them on their way.
For your part, the presentation needs to serve your ability to drive the intelligence needed for more appropriate follow up. After all, if you don’t learn something that improves segmentation, move some of those prospects identifiably to the next stage of your pipeline, have more relevant conversations, and/or improve your close ratios, why do this?
Topical Precision: What is the angle we’ll take on “ what problem do we solve for whom?”
Buyers are looking for different things along their path from discovery to decision. Solving one problem, however, could have different solutions. Your objective should be to pick one angle on the topic. For example, there are many different aspects of how one could advance their pipeline, but in this webinar we’re going to tackle just one: how to structure content in a compelling, brain-friendly way.
Topical precision serves you as you serve others for two big reasons:
- You know that those who respond resonate with that. What great insight for fueling appropriate follow up!
- You also avoid infobar. It’s way too easy to get sucked into a vortex of “we’re doing all this work to get an audience to our event, so we want to tell ‘em everything, including how we rescued a cat out of tree twenty years ago and seven other ‘look at me’ things.”
Just don’t do it. Get specific.
Actionable Point of View: What worldview would fuel a “no brainer next step?”
Notice that I didn’t use the term “call to action.” It’s not that that’s a wrong idea, but the risk is that we end up with technique-y, sales-y close that is off-putting to all but the latest-stage prospects.
Instead, if you teach someone something that changes how they see the world, they’ll more likely take a step in the direction you want them to go. And how do we do that? Educational content that is intrinsically valuable!
By analogy, there’s a reason why a salesperson hopes to get to a buyer early enough in their journey to “plant” questions in the prospects RFP – because if we can influence the criteria they use for decision making, we influence the likelihood they’ll choose us.
Remember, our objective is still to influence. Giving legitimate value can be done with integrity and in a way that moves the needle for us.
Engaging Presenter: How will the presenter help the cause?
Any form of communication is helped – or hurt – by the person delivering it. Instinctively we know that it’s not just the story being told, but how it’s told that has a lot to do with engagement.
The first downside of a less-than-stellar presenter is that someone may leave early. You may have captured them as a lead, but they miss the message (or fail to have it impact them).
The upside, besides commanding attention, is that webinar platforms can capture additional engagement data that can fuel follow up conversations.
Actionable Intelligence: What will you do with the additional insight?
If you have no more plan in place than to capture a name and email address to drop into some marketing automation system, perhaps this makes no difference to you. With a little foresight and planning, however, the additional information gained can be money in the bank. A few examples might be:
- Qualitative responses captured in Q&A can be given to the sales team to fuel warm follow up calls (“Hey Bill, I saw from the webinar that you asked about… Here’s some additional information about that.”)
- Polling or survey data could be appended to CRM records to improve segmentation or qualification.
- Trend data that shows that a particular prospect registered for certain webinars in a series gives you insight into their interests.
- Behavioral data might fuel a lead-scoring system that helps you gauge where the prospect is at in their journey and deliver more targeted messages.
As you can see, some of these involve the presenter being able to keep the audience’s attention and get them to engage conversationally – quantitatively or qualitatively.
The bottom line
We usually think of a “bad” presentation as one where the presenter was boring or the topic irrelevant. And those may be true.
More frequently, however, “bad” is more a descriptor of the results that happen – or don’t – as a result of said presentation. In other words, there’s a return on the investment.
As the old saying goes, “People don’t want to be sold, but they love to buy.” Better yet, consider adding to these five questions a content structure designed to create momentum in the direction you want prospects to go.
One thing is for sure: if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll getting what you’ve always gotten.
Here’s to your growth and success!