The following post is very specific for SaaS companies thinking about Webinars in their Content Marketing strategy. Anyway, here at biz shakalaka, we thought that reading this piece trying to extrapolate general concepts from it may be very enlightening for every Industry/Content you may use.
Here is the post as reported on The Demio Blog:
Quality beats quantity. Stop wasting your time collecting tons of lead forms that won’t give you the results you want. Instead, focus on creating powerful marketing assets to attract high-quality leads.
SaaS companies must hate me.
You know why? Because I’m the worst lead ever! I’ll download eBooks, access on-demand webinars, subscribe to newsletters, and unlock gated articles … But not because I’m interested in what these companies have to sell.
I’m doing it because I’m a content marketing nerd who spends all of my time researching the growth strategies these SaaS companies are using.
So if you ever receive a lead form with XYAWE instead of the name and WJEXE instead of the company, know that it’s probably me spying on you.
But, please, don’t delete me from your database!
I want to receive your newsletters and emails to see if they’re better than the ones your competitors send me. Otherwise, I won’t have material to write about and make David, our CEO, happy.
Jokes aside, you’re most probably all-too-familiar with having to unclog your lead pipeline. And in most cases, a mix of vinegar, baking soda, and water won’t help.
What you’ll need to do is spend plenty of time analyzing your leads’ behavior and deciding who is worth keeping. Otherwise, your sales team will come after you with pitchforks, and we don’t want this to happen!
But first, let’s see where these high-quality leads stand on the Fit and Intent Matrix.
High-quality leads and the Fit and Intent Matrix
I’m not going to waste time explaining the difference between high-quality leads and other types of leads. We’re far more advanced than that. Instead, let’s analyze your leads based on the Fit and Intent Matrix.
I first heard about this model while listening to Shay Howe, vice president of marketing and design at ActiveCampaign. He presented the framework during our SaaS Breakthrough Virtual Summit 2019.
As Howe notes, “Fit” stands for how well your SaaS solution solves the needs of the customer. The Fit will, usually, answer the following questions:
Do people have a problem your company can help them solve? Can you make your target group achieve the results they want? “Intent,” on the other hand, stands for how convinced a prospect or customer is that they need to make a change in the area your company serves.
Are they at the point of making a decision? Are they willing to make a change, and can you help them do it? Having these two criteria in mind, we can break the model into four quadrants and see the highs and lows for each.
The Fit and Intent Matrix quadrants
As you can see in the image above, we have the following quadrants:
First quadrant: Low fit, low intent
These are the leads that should never go to sales. Your marketing team shouldn’t spend too much time on these leads, either, although some basic nurturing might work.
After all, you’ll still want to develop and grow these leads with the intention of eventually moving them over into one of the other quadrants.
But they aren’t a group you’ll want to invest too much time or effort. They aren’t considered high-quality leads by any means.
Second quadrant: High fit, high intent
These leads are ready to take off. This is where the sales team takes charge. The marketing team’s job is to support the sale.
Third quadrant: Low fit, high intent
These people may fall outside of your target audience or buyer personas, but show a great interest in your company. While you don’t want to disregard these leads, they can artificially inflate or clog your sales pipeline.
This is where sales and marketing need to work together and test how far they can push the line between what will be sales-ready and what leads need to be qualified through a bit more guidance. A lot of experimentation happens here.
These people might be curious about your product and be early adopters, or individuals who love spending their time on learning new solutions.
If you’re the right fit for them, they’ll be willing to make the change. On the other hand, they might have a problem that is not their highest priority at the moment.
Fourth quadrant: High fit, low intent
This quadrant is the real moneymaker. If you can convert these folks from low intent to high intent, this is really where you can grow your business. People in this quadrant are likely to use the software of one of your competitors.
This is what you can call high-quality leads. Sales and marketing should be relentlessly focused on this area and pushing these folks over to the high fit, high intent quadrant. If you find the right way to do it [hint: set up a strong webinar strategy, this is where you win.
The problem with low fit, low intent leads
It’s obvious that the first quadrant stores the low-quality leads. They’re not interested in discovering or purchasing your product, nor do they have a problem you can help them solve.
However, you’ll get plenty of these leads clogging your pipeline. And if you don’t have a clear strategy, chances are that getting low fit, low intent leads will result in:
Building campaigns for the wrong peopleWasting your sales team’s time and effort Slowing down the sales cycle, which will lead to a lower MRR Drinking more coffee than needed trying to solve this problem (and then having trouble sleeping at night)Things aren’t so bad, though. We’ve decided to help you increase the number of high-quality leads by showing you how to attract them through webinars.
How to run webinars and generate high-quality leads
When executed correctly, webinars are timeless, meaning you can extract value from them months after their initial launch. Just think about it: By collecting new leads to attend your live webinar, you’re offering them the possibility to connect with you or your speakers live.
Or, you can offer the same webinar as an on-demand piece of content they can access by providing their data. Subsequently, you can use this information to look after your leads, send them valuable newsletters, or simply engage in meaningful conversations with them.
But how can you make sure that your webinars will attract high-quality leads? We looked at what other SaaS companies do and put together a list of hacks to help you attract high-quality leads:
Hack 1: Run webinars for BoFu leads
As you may know, there’s no shortage of webinar use cases. (I wonder how we still don’t have TikTok-style webinars with moderators who’ll dance and sing for their audiences. But, I digress.)
For the moment, we have webinar use cases such as educational interviews, introducing new features, onboarding users, presenting case studies, etc. All of these case studies focus on different stages of the buyer journey.
For example, you can run a series of educational webinars for your top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) leads. During these sessions, you can familiarize your audience with the main concepts you’re operating with or explain some basic solutions they can put to use to overcome some of the challenges they may have.
However, focusing on attracting top-of-the-funnel or middle-of-the-funnel leads means you’ll need to continue taking care of these people so that they keep moving through the pipeline.
What if you could build an entire webinar strategy on attracting just the bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) leads?
You can obviously continue creating marketing assets such as gated articles or eBooks for less-qualified leads who are at the beginning of their buying journey, but try and rethink your webinar approach and make it appealing for those who are searching for a solution or are ready to make a purchase.
This will reduce the time between consuming the webinar and a purchase decision, meaning you’ll invest in creating valuable webinars focused on persuading people into choosing your brand.
💡 Webinar use cases for high-quality leads
There are many different types of webinars that will attract high-quality leads. The first one is the classic demo webinar.
Monday.com offers a recurrent webinar series titled “Basic Walk-Through,” which is an introduction into the platform, its features, and use practices.
Next, we have the educational webinar for BoFu leads. Weekdone offers a great example here.
The team runs different webinars, most of which are focused on software for team managers. But the OKRs Advanced Practical webinar is held “For those who understand the basics of OKRs as a methodology, but are looking to understand more about setting up, using OKRs to drive the Organisation, Department, and Teams forward.”
If the Monday.com team decides to run webinars for ToFu leads, they would probably focus on explaining basic concepts, such as the definition of an OKR and how an organization can take advantage of this framework.
In this case, they’re talking to people who are taking OKRs seriously and know that this model works, meaning they’re ready to apply it to their company. And that’s how you attract high-quality leads with your webinars.
The last example comes from Intercom and its webinar “Is Intercom for you?” As indicated in the description, this webinar includes a brief overview of Intercom and its features, along with a customer-led Q&A session.
The focus of the webinar is straightforward and aims to attract high-quality leads that have already made up their mind and want to purchase a solution.
👉 Bonus tip
If you’re running a BoFu webinar, make sure to limit the number of attendees the same way Pipedrive does.
As you can see from the screenshot, you can’t register for the Pipedrive Essentials webinar anymore. The session is full. What’s the difference between having 30 or 300 attendees?
When you have fewer attendees, you can take your time and engage more with your audience. You can run live polls, ask questions, encourage people to interact, and take your time to answer all of the questions people may have. This will not only help you build meaningful conversations with your attendees, but also help you further qualify your leads.
When you have more attendees, you won’t be able to give everyone your time and attention. You won’t have the time answer everyone’s questions. Or, you won’t be able to better understand the profile of your audience and move them further through the sales pipeline.
So when running BoFu webinars, try to limit the space so that you can build a more personalized experience for your attendees.
Hack 2: Plan webinars for different decision levels
Have you ever thought about combining your webinar strategy with account-based marketing? If not, you’ll want to hear me out.
According to Animalz, you need to be thoughtful about the personas you create. “Reaching decision-makers” is a trope. Every content or webinar strategy aspires to reach the C-suite executives.
But, as the blog post explains, you’ll need to consider that your software or product will be likely adopted by a wider collection of people, such as:
🔶 Leaders or C-Suite executives
These are the people who set up the strategic vision of the brand. They hold the team accountable, and decide whether or not to purchase new software. Yet, when deciding if a product is worth their money, they’ll usually involve their teams in the decision.
This group will be testing your trial version and trying to figure out if it can get the job done. At the end of the day, their opinion about your product may have more weight, since they’re the ones who’ll be using your SaaS tool.
In some cases, companies will have a team of researchers. Usually they are tasked with learning about various SaaS tools and capabilities.
Ask yourself whether your webinar strategy covers all three of these decision-level categories. If your webinars are mostly focused on C-Suite executives, chances are that you’re ignoring other high-quality leads who are researching your tool or trying to see if they can use it to achieve their goals.
So instead of trying to appeal one decision-level category, why not cover all three? Intercom is doing a great job with its webinars!
This first webinar aims to attract C-suite executives. The topic has a strategic approach and strives to help team leaders in their efforts to improve and scale their support department.
The second webinar example focuses mostly on the doers.
From the webinar description, we learn that it shows how to resolve customers’ common questions and how to train the Answer Bot to provide comprehensive coverage. In other words, its main focus is on getting the job done.
Finally, the third webinar presents the new features across the company’s suite of tools.
This webinar is perfectly aligned with the researchers’ tasks to understand the tool’s capabilities.
👉 Bonus tip
If you’re running a B2B software company, remember that you’ll have to work on convincing multiple people within the same company that you’re worth their attention and money.
That’s why you’ll want to create webinars for people who are researching for the best tools for their company, will be using these tools, and will be incorporating your software into their business strategy.
By combining your webinar strategy with outbound marketing, you can ensure that more people within the same company will watch your webinars.
So make a list of people who work for the same company and try to reach out to them. LinkedIn is a great resource for this.
You can find people who work at the same company, and then, depending on their position, invite them to attend your webinars. Also, if you have someone from the C-suite level attending a webinar of yours, you can always reach out to this person and ask him or her to share a more hands-on webinar with the team.
You’ll attract different categories of high-quality leads and increase the chances that your webinar strategy will lead to a purchase.
Hack 3: Choose the right topic to attract the right leads
We’re always discussing webinar structure, marketing or outreach campaigns, engagement strategies, etc. Yet, we rarely ponder how important the webinar topics are. If you want to attract high-quality leads, you’ll want to create high-quality content.
It all depends on how you approach creating a webinar and who you’re targeting. If the topic answers an ultra-specific pain point your target audience has, you’ll be narrowing down the group of people who would be interested and willing to leave their email to access the content.
Here’s an interesting example from Shopify.
Shopify has a great webinar called “How to migrate from Etsy to Shopify Webinar,” which solves a very specific problem Etsy creators have.
👉 Bonus tip
How can you make sure that the topics you’re choosing for your webinars are truly meaningful for your target group?
My advice: Spy on your leads! No, I don’t mean to follow people while they’re at Starbucks or try to break into their email accounts. Or you’ll end up with is a restraining order, and that’s not something you want to deal with when growing a business.
When I say “spy on them,” I mean conduct social listening. Go to online places where your leads are hanging out, like LinkedIn or Instagram, read their comments, engage and communicate with them, see what they’re posting about, check out their questions, etc.
Also, you can go to the popular blogs your target group read and check out their comments and concerns. You can also visit the YouTube channels your high-quality leads watch and pay attention to what people are talking about in the comments.
These simple tips will help you identify a pattern related to people’s interests and challenges. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to create a niche webinar that tackles a topic of high interest, subsequently attracting high-quality leads.
Hack 4: Add a qualifying question to identify the high-quality leads
The problem with bad leads is the time and effort your sales team waste on them. But what if you could eliminate this problem? Convert came up with a smart trick, adding the “demo question” to its lead capture form.
Convert asks its leads if they’re interested in seeing a demo of the product. People can choose from the options “Yes, please,” “No, thank you,” or “Maybe later.”
And although this quick question won’t keep the bad leads at bay, at least it will help you qualify the right people. Plus, you’ll know exactly what leads to redirect to your sales team to schedule demo calls.
At the same time, you’ll continue to build a relationship with the leads who answered “Maybe later” to your demo question.
Another practice that will help you keep bad leads at bay is by adding a qualifying question to your registration form. Here’s a simple example from Slack.
As you can see, when people fill out the form, they have to indicate the size of their company. Having this as an example, let’s imagine that your SaaS brand is focused on selling products to big companies only. By adding qualifying questions, you’ll be able to identify your ideal leads and focus on those who work for big companies.
👉 Bonus tip
Although it may sound extreme, some SaaS companies give themselves the option to veto webinar attendees. If you don’t qualify for attending the webinar because you have a different profile or don’t match with their buyer personas, you’re not allowed to participate.
While it sounds like a harsh measure, this step helps companies interact exclusively with high-quality leads, focusing their resources on those people who are more advanced in their buyer’s journey.
Hack 5: Involve your audience as webinar co-creators
Your webinar can start long before you choose your speakers or build your landing page. Instead of brainstorming and analyzing what your target group may want to hear, you can co-create a webinar with the people you want to attract.
For example, you can run a LinkedIn poll and ask people what topics they’d like addressed during the webinar. Obviously, this involves you having a higher number of LinkedIn followers who’ll be willing to engage with you and share their thoughts.
You can also ask people to comment and give you more details or drop some names of people you could invite as speakers. Once the webinar page goes live, you can apply the outbound marketing technique and send messages to the people who participated in the poll and thank them for their help, and then share the webinar link with them and invite them to attend.
Something I’ve learned from the events industry is that people like when they’re involved in the process and their opinion is considered. Once you get your potential attendees (aka high-quality leads) to co-create the event, they’ll be more invested and interested in attending. So give it a try!
👉 Bonus tip
A quick thing related to LinkedIn: Personal profiles have better outreach and engagement than company profiles. People want to interact with other people, not brands. So start building your community today by getting more active on LinkedIn, sharing valuable posts, and talking to other people.
Then, once you’re ready to start planning your webinar, poll your audience with a topic-related question. You’ll be amazed by how eager how many high-quality leads you’ll discover in this process.
I had a few more planned hacks to share, but it’s a warm, beautiful day, and I live by the beach … And you know what this means … So let’s recap fast because my nice smoothie by the beach awaits!
Here are a few takeaways:
Don’t waste time simply attracting as many leads as possible. This will clog your pipeline and diffuse the strength of your marketing strategy. Instead, focus on attracting high-quality leads. And don’t forget: Quality beats quantity. A high-quality lead is a person who has a problem you can help solve. Webinars are great for attracting high-quality leads. It’s a timeless and evergreen piece of content you can reuse after the webinar is over. To attract high-quality leads with your webinars, focus on trying to appeal to your BoFu leads. Schedule demo webinars, educational webinars that aim to attract advanced professionals or extensive Q&A sessions. If you’ve developed a B2B solution, merge your webinar strategy with account-based marketing. Whenever you’re selling something to a company, there will be usually several people evaluating your product and trying to decide if you’re worth their money. So make sure you create webinars that cover different decision-level categories, such as C-suite executives or leaders, implementers, and researchers. These are all high-quality leads that will have a say on whether to purchase your product. Choose the right topic for your webinars. To do that, shadow your target group. Hang out on social media and analyze their content and comments. Go to the blogs or YouTube channels they’re following and check out their comments. Search for questions they may have, the challenges they’re encountering, and the topics they’re mentioning the most. Sometimes, you may not know if your webinar attendee is a high-quality lead or not. To find this information, always had one qualifying question to your registration form. Some SaaS companies make their attendees fill out huge forms, asking them for every piece of personal information shy of their blood type. Don’t do that. Keep it simple and add just one relevant question that will help you qualify the right leads. Finally, establish a relationship with your potential leads and encourage them to co-create the webinar with you. Poll them for topics they’d like to see addressed during the webinar. Usually, when people are invested somehow, they may be more interested in attending. Done. I’m off to the beach! Bye! 👋
Source: The Demio Blog
Author: Victoria Rudi
Date: 2020 08 08
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