Web Conferencing Community

We have a great training team at ReadyTalk. If you did not know, we offer free training to anyone that wants to sign up everyday. Even with everyday training, they still get a flood of requests for best practices, advice on webinars and practical applications of web conferencing for their particular industry. We try to handle all of these requests but there are a tremendous amount of them and the training team is limited.

Solution: The web conferencing forum. This is a community forum started by Ken Molay, of Webinar Success. I think this is a great step in the right direction for the web conferencing industry. We need a place where people can gather and share best practices and tips. Come visit and see what you can learn.

[tags]Ken Molay, Webinar Success, community, web conferencing[/tags]

Creating Relationships

hands-holding-a-tree.jpgAs I noted in an earlier blog post, we are in the process of putting together a lead nurturing program for our sales team. I came across this interview between Brian Carroll and John Miller, author of the Marketo blog as I was doing research for our program.

Brian comes up with a very nice succinct definition of lead nurturing, he states that "lead nurturing is having consistent and meaningful communication with viable customers regardless of their time to purchase." I find the key points to be "consistent" and "meaningful" in his definition.

Let me expand. Consistency has three meanings. Consistent tone, content and delivery. In terms of tone, your communication with the prospect should reflect their industry and job function. For example, if you are contacting a marketer in the web conferencing industry, you want to make sure you use the proper jargon and keywords so you are communicating in "their" language.

Your content needs to be consistent as well. Make sure you are sending content at regular intervals (but not too regular) to keep top of mind awareness for the prospect. Also, make sure your calls to action and hooks are consistent. Do not keep changing the call to action.

Perhaps the more important of the two is meaningful. Any content that is not meaningful to the prospect will be considered unwanted spam and will either be deleted at best or, at worse, get you blocked. The purpose of nurturing is to provide the prospect with valuable information that will help them with their jobs. By doing this consistently, you are establishing yourself as a go to resource.

The key, and I think we can all agree on this one, is to form a relationship before the buying process begins so there is already a preference for your product/service.

[tags]B2B, lead generation, nurturing campaigns, Brian Carroll, Jon Miller [/tags]

Buying Lists

I came across this interesting post about list buying. While the post uses direct mail as an example, it is just as relevant for e-mail marketers as well. The reality is that marketers are demanding more from the lists they buy than ever before. At ReadyTalk, we spend a great deal of time assessing the quality of the lists we receive. How accurate our the titles? The job function?

Google has spliced our world ad infinitum. Marketers are now demanding their lists be finely segmented in order to message to the individual. For example, we might want to know who their web conferencing provider is and when their contract is up. The old model of targeting to the masses is gone. In its place, is 1:1 messaging that makes the prospect feel like you understand the issues they face on a daily basis.

Humans are selfish. If the message has no relevance to me, I am going to tune it out.

[tags] lists, B2B, web conferencing, lead generation [/tags]

The Decision Maker

Is it always critical to find the decision maker? Aaron Ross seems to think you are better served obessessing over the decision making process. From the number of RFPs that come across my desk, I tend to agree with him.

Today, most of your B2B purchasing is done in collaboration with other departments. This is even more true in the web conferencing industry. Not only will a web conferencing service be used by several departments, it will also be used in different ways. Each department might be looking for a different piece of functionality and have a different of needs.

Here at ReadyTalk, our account executives seek to understand the process first. Take for example and RFP I did for a government agency last month. I discovered today that we won the contract. It had the least to do with the actual writing of the contract and the most to do with the account executives understanding of the process and who was involved.

In this case, the AE had already cultivated relationships with several key people involved in the decision process. Because of this, he got early warning of the RFP and we were able to easily meet the deadlines for submission. Seems pretty simple? It is if you understand the process. The AE could have just as easily received the RFP too late or not done his due diligence up front.

[tags] B2B, Aaron Ross, web conferencing [/tags]

Lead Nurturing Program

We are in the beginning stages of implementing a lead nurturing program. Up to this point, our sales people have been left on their own as to how they want to handle any leads that had a future close date. Some of the Account Executives were diligent about cultivating their relationship and others…well lets leave it at that. Let's face it; I was a sales person at one point and the only leads that mattered to me where the ones that were going to close immediately.

This is short-sighted. A key aspect to successful selling is maintaining a relationship until the lead is ready to buy. One of the key aspects of this is education or what some people refer to as thought leadership. B2B buyers are busy; they don't always have the time to thoroughly research every possible vendor and circumstance that might arrive. As I stated in an earlier thread, it is our human nature to gravitate towards the familiar. If a vendor is consistently in front of a buyer and has shown considerable knowledge and expertise in their area, that vendor will be on the short list when a purchase decision needs to be made.

Web seminars are a great way to promote thought leadership and are an essential part of any lead nurturing program. Periodic invitations to valuable and targeted content is critical. This is where segmentation plays a key role. If you are sending IT subject invites to marketing people, you are wasting your time and efforts. By providing your leads with easily digested and disseminated (through recordings) information you are making their jobs easier and in the end will be rewarded.

I would love to hear about some of the ways in which you nuture your sales leads.