BMA Colorado Roundtable on Webinar Best Practices

Last week, ReadyTalk hosted a BMA roundtable;  Best Practices for Webinar Planning, Execution and Effective Follow Up. Our senior demand generation manager, Mike McKinnon led the discussion and we had a full house ready to share their insights and learn more about webinar best practices. Participants received the whitepaper: Best Practices for Webinar Planning and Execution.

The thought of putting on a webinar can be a daunting task; so Mike broke it into manageable segments of information. Whether an advanced or new webinar user, the audience got pointers and new ideas from each topic.

 The agenda covered:drive revenue with webinars

  • Trends in system integrations
  • Conducting engaging webinars
  • Repurposing content

The integration discussion pointed out that data silos are everywhere in business and the fact that a simple integration via an API can make sharing data across systems (such as your CRM, marketing automation system and your webinar platform) happen on the fly. Integrations keep data clean, lead to better segmentation and create seamless experiences for customers and prospects. While the experience is improved from the customer stand point, the marketer enjoys a holistic view of campaigns.

Engaging webinars – it’s not just about the content; the speaker and type of session also counts. Engagement is now measurable so make sure you are using all of the interactivity tools available to you. When it comes to metrics; track average duration of attendee, number of polling questions answered, chat and social media activity. If you are not using social media tools during your webinar, you should try it out – it’s a great way to continue the conversation online.  Just be sure to put the hashtag on every slide so the audience participates.

Other things to consider:

  • The speaker can make or break your presentation, chose one that is used to the virtual environment and is well trained on the webinar platform
  • Consider using more than one speaker and have a dialog on the topic
  • Always have a moderator
  • Use chat and social media to change the presentation on the fly – best to have someone other than the speaker doing social media engagement throughout the event
  • Know your audience – simple things like the title and abstract will attract the audience so make sure you define who you want to attract first

Trends in Content – this is a hot topic lately and certainly bears repeating. Webinars are content creation vehicles for numerous channels you already have in place; blogs, use cases, Q&A, training videos, whitepapers, case studies, and testimonials. I frequently have audience members chat in questions throughout an event but don’t always get the chance to answer all of them during the session. But we do respond to them on a follow up blog post.  These questions can also identify key areas you might be able to build more content around. Be open to feedback, you never know what juicy nugget someone might offer.

And if I could tell you one more thing – record your webinar and you will increase your ROI, build new content and have more conversations.

Have other webinar ideas not mentioned here? Drop us a comment and continue the conversation.

 

 

5 Unexpected Benefits of Working at ReadyTalk

It is a well known fact that ReadyTalk is one of the Best Companies to work for in Colorado (and the country).  We offer one of the strongest benefits packages around. This includes 100 percent employer-paid benefits, which includes health, dental and vision insurance for employees and their families.  We also offer some of the best company perks including, 2 kitchens stocked with snacks, onsite massage therapist, chiropractor and acupuncture, $25 a month toward a health club membership and matching 401K.

However, there are a few unexpected benefits of working at ReadyTalk which I am excited to share:

1. Close to Parks and Trails

ReadyTalk's new office is located at the corner of 16th and Wewatta in downtown Denver.  We are within walking distance to Commons Park which boasts lush and relaxing green space.  You will find local fitness enthusiasts enjoying their afternoon boot camp, people walking their dogs, sunbathers or just locals enjoying a picnic in the sunshine.  Commons Park is right on the South Platte River Trail which offers a 19 mile loop of historic and scenic Denver.  The trail is great for an afternoon jog, bike ride or a refreshing walk along the river.

2. Nerd Lounge

With a name as enticing as the "Nerd Lounge," it can be a fairly popular spot for ReadyTalk employees to gather and have fun.  The nerd lounge is located on the 7th floor and offers a family room style area for ReadyTalker's to relax, play or meet.  The last few weeks the Nerd Lounge has been the gathering spot for watching the Euro 2012 soccer matches.  The live games have been playing on the big screen so soccer fans across the company can keep up with the action.  It is a relaxing and fun way to spend your lunch hour.  Late Friday afternoons the Nerd Lounge turns into a platform for Rock Band competitions and performance.  Various ReadyTalker's turn into musicians and jam out together for some end of the week fun.

3. Team Bonding

Each year ReadyTalk encourages teams to organize an off-site outing that will help the team members bond and get to know each other outside of the office.  This year the Accounting/Finance team and Account Management teams took an afternoon off to cheer on the Colorado Rockies.  It was a chance for them to grab lunch, sit in the sun and watch a game together.  The Human Resources team is planning on hiking Mt. Bierstadt, a 14'er located south of Georgetown.  The sense of accomplishment you feel after a 14'er is something we will all be able to share after this fun day of hiking in beautiful Colorado.

4. Volunteering 

ReadyTalk is an amazing place to work not only because of the benefits that we enjoy as a company but we are encouraged to give back to the community.  There are amazing people at this company that have different passions and causes.  There is never a lack of where you could spend your time volunteering. A few organizations that ReadyTalk supports include, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill of Denver, Same Cafe and Skyline Park.  Employees are offered 20 hours of paid volunteer time per year which provides support and incentive to give back.

5. Charitable Contributions

ReadyTalk matches up to $500 per year for employees that would like to donate to a non-profit of their choice.  This is amazing considering the fact that we have about 150 employees that work at ReadyTalk!  The company makes the process for attaining the matching very easy.  All you have to do is fill out a form and send it in to the the Charitable Contributions Committee.  A few examples of where you can donate and match include: your college alumni association, annual pass to a museum, zoo or botanic gardens or any non-profit organization.

As you can see there is a lot more to ReadyTalk than meets the eye!  We have an amazing culture, amazing benefits and the list goes on.  

ReadyTalk volunteering on the trailsPing pong in the ReadyTalk officeReadyTalk bike parking

 

 

 

 

 

Leveraging partnerships for mutual benefit (part 2)

In my previous post you can see that a lot of intelligence is gathered prior to picking up the phone and initiating a discussion with a potential partner. Now that you’ve prioritized the prospects and outlined your expectations, you are ready to start making phone calls.

Wait a minute, who exactly am I calling? Some companies have a business development group in place that handles partnerships. If not, you might be speaking directly with the President or CEO. Regardless, remember that they have their own agenda and you should be open to learning about their business as each partnership is unique. Executing a standard non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is the first step in opening up a dialogue, so make that part of your initial call.

NDA signed? Check. Discovery call scheduled? Check.

Prep for the initial discovery call by outlining what you have to offer and developing a set of questions designed to uncover specifics that help determine if you want to move forward. A discovery call should be collaborative (not salesy) and should be open to exploring what each company has to offer. Know ahead of time what you want to get out of the partnership so you can stay focused on your goals, but be prepared to be flexible; you never know what you might hear.

Maybe they have the customer base that uses your product. Maybe they sell to the same buyer persona you target. Maybe the products and services are complimentary.

You’ve targeted, had conversations, and now you have a handful of prospects that want to proceed.

handshakeNow that you’ve met a company you are interested in working with you’ll want to negotiate value and set expectations with each other. While many companies don’t use contracts with their partners, they will setup a checklist or project plan that is agreeable to all. This checklist or project plan will help all parties negotiate value.

So what do I mean by negotiating value? Set a value to the products and services you are offering as well as the marketing resources you are willing to commit. As an example, in the previous post, my company sells data cleansing services. I have found a CRM company that wants to work together, so I’m willing to give this partner a discounted rate for services for xx months for their own use and in exchange they agree to promote my product to their customers for xx months. The promotion value should equal the value of the services offered. I want to make sure the value is balanced; otherwise the partnership will not run well.

To keep the partnership in high gear, plan on quarterly meetings to reset expectations, discover joint marketing opportunities and continue momentum on programs that are working. Plan a retrospective meeting both internally and with the partner to evaluate the outcome of marketing initiatives.

Key takeaways: to find the right company to partner with set expectations up front, as the partnership evolves negotiate and renegotiate the partnership value for both parties, find ways to build on the relationship to make it successful.

Do you have comments and great ideas about identifying partnerships? Please feel free to start a conversation!