Webinars are incredible tools for inspiring interest, driving engagement, building rapport, and creating urgency. Now, more than ever, is the time to offer webinars, especially as many more of your prospects are comfortable with technology and interacting via screens. In fact, buyers value webinars: Research reveals over half of recent attendees say the webinar was the most valuable content they consumed in that time, reports Michele McGovern for ResourcefulSelling.
Webinars for the entire journey
McGovern compiles what she calls the “ultimate guide” to making sales with webinars, covering everything from timing to titles. Here we will cover a specific aspect that can be particularly tricky for sellers: timing. She points out that webinars can be valuable at every stage of the buyer’s journey; it’s just up to you to appropriately target them with the right message at the right time. As McGovern writes, “Webinar topics and content will be more effective if they’re scheduled for the right time for buyers along their buying journey.”
At the beginning of the journey, it’s about grabbing buyers' attention and informing them about your product or service. Use webinars to effectively promote brand awareness and introduce yourself, your company and what you’re selling.
McGovern encourages sellers, at this stage, to skip a heavy pitch. For now, use the webinar to “meet and greet” the lead, and position yourself as a credible, trustworthy expert.
Denise Gibson, director of AdMall sales, also points out, "If they attend a webinar, they have some interest. They are willing to listen to what you have to say and they don’t have to commit to a one on one sales call. Some people would rather see via a webinar if the service is a good fit instead of a live sales call."
You can also use this time to learn more about the buyer. You can make it easier by doing some prep work. “Invite email questions ahead of time, add real-time surveys and polls to the presentation and include a Q&A at the end. Use the feedback to identify ideal prospects and personalize future contacts.”
Webinars can now go a bit deeper. The buyer is determining whether to pursue a relationship, so it’s a perfect time to lean heavily on education. They should also be more forward-looking than early-stage webinars. These can also last longer. “By the time buyers reach the middle stages in the buying cycle, they’ll commit time to education – as much as an hour. But their expectations are high: They expect to learn something they can do almost immediately that will make them a better person or professional,” McGovern explains.
Make sure webinars include information regarding best practices, as well as anything that supports it, such as stats, research and visuals. You should emphasize the solution you offer and personalize it to the buyer. And again, stay away from focusing too much on you; this should present the prospect’s own story and how your product or service is the best solution available. “It’s OK to position yourself and solution in the webinar now, but don’t go deep into product features and ROI,” McGovern adds.
Gibson agrees, noting, "You want to show a solution to their pain points. This is the perfect time to recognize that you can help them achieve their goals and show them how."
At this stage, prospects have learned about you and your offerings, and there’s enough interest that they’ve made it this far into the journey. Those who sign-up now need specificity about your solution and how they would implement it. It’s also time to optimize webinars for credibility-building. “Because you’ve earned buyers’ trust through other meaningful webinars,” McGovern writes, “they’ll be open to information and praise from other sources, specifically your customers with success stories. Invite customers and advocates to share and interact in late-stage webinars.” Also, include testimonials, online reviews and other forms of social proof.
Keep the webinars coming
Once you’ve won the sale, don’t stop offering webinars! They can add even more value to current clients by:
- Educating — walk new customers through training and set-up, and aim to offer both live and on-demand webinars.
- Stimulating — regularly show customers content that helps save time and money.
- Updating – keep customers up to date with short webinars that introduce new features, updates and best practices.
For more tips, check out past SalesFuel articles on the topic of webinars. By delivering valuable, engaging webinars for prospects, as well as clients, you establish yourself as trusted advisor and solution provider.
Photo by Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.