ReadyTalk’s HubSpot App is Now Certified

In early December of 2013, ReadyTalk released an integration with HubSpot. The integration allows marketers to:

  • Create landing pages for registration and emails for invites, confirmation and follow-up within HubSpot
  • Make it easy for registrants to attend your webinar by including an ‘add to calendar’ option in confirmation and reminder emails with a unique join meeting link
  • Capture registration, attendance and poll response data on the individual Contact Record in HubSpot to drive quick, tailored follow-up

In early 2014, we had the opportunity to become a certified HubSpot app, which would essentially give our app a gold star from HubSpot, providing their sales and services teams the confidence to recommend ReadyTalk to their customers. As part of the certification process, we asked a few customers that were using the application to participate in three surveys over four weeks.

  • Survey 1: Are you receiving the value you expected from the app?
    • Customers were asked various questions including if the integration delivers the value that was promised, if it was helping to improve their business, and if the integration compliments HubSpot well
  • Survey 2: Is the user interface and support experience on par with the rest of the HubSpot product?
    • Users provided their feedback on the visual appearance of the product, ease of navigation, and the knowledge, friendliness and level of help they received from our support team
  • Survey 3: How likely are you to recommend the app to a colleague (Net Promoter Score)
    • We scored 9s and 10s on this! Enough said.

After the four weeks, HubSpot conducted a personal follow-up meeting with each customer to hear their perspective on the app, as well as ReadyTalk in general. I’m very happy to report that we passed the certification process with flying colors!  We are always very appreciative of the feedback that our customers are willing to provide us, especially when it takes time away from their jobs. Each participant provided excellent (and complimentary) feedback about their experience. Here are a few direct quotes:

  • ReadyTalk has really cut my time in half for creating and managing webcasts using HubSpot. It really automates so much of the process. I love that I can set it all up at once and can leave it alone up until the webcast occurs, knowing each step will be completed 100% fine!
  • Great communication and feedback from ReadyTalk staff
  • It works well and is fast! Data on who attended versus who did not gets transferred right into HubSpot, making the follow up procedures for all of my webcasts so easy!

We also received some great ideas about how to enhance the integration, and will be taking all of the feedback into consideration as we build out the requirements for the next release.

Our app is available now and is free to all HubSpot and ReadyTalk customers. Check it out today.

Webinar Leads vs. Trade Show Leads: How do they compare?

Webinar leads compared to tradeshow leads

Leads come from various sources, and marketers need to do a cost and time analysis on which tactics are providing them with the most qualified leads. Not only is increasing competition a concern, but the various sources for leads no longer exist in silos – this is the age of the interconnected customer. Prospects are looking in a variety of places to get more information about you and your competitors. Based on our research, webinars and trade shows are becoming more successful lead generation tactics. Let’s compare how these tactics match up.

The Content Marketing Institute estimates that 62% of all B2B marketers use webinars to prospect or nurture leads. Webinars, after all, offer the best stage for the marketer to provide value to the prospect, with the prospect’s permission. The marketer is provided with an opportunity to establish their organization as an expert in its niche, as well as be a primary resource for the latest and most authentic information related to that niche. Marketers can reach out to prospects all over the world, from the comfort of their office or their pajamas. And of the attendees for each webinar, about 20-40% turned into qualified leads.

On the other hand, 76% of marketers attend in-person events, such as trade shows. These events are ways for marketers to showcase their products or services in-person, which can also generate qualified leads.  Although live events are much more expensive than webinars or any other online methods, they offer that unique in-person contact, which delivers results without requiring much follow-up. The fact is, that 53% of potential or closed sales are the result of what attendees saw at an exhibition. However, that comes at the cost of travel, lodging, conference fees, and more to get that face-to-face contact. And that might be for multiple team members!

High costs mean that companies cannot just rely on such statistics alone and hope for the best. Not all tradeshow visitors may be potential leads. Many visitors simply attend an event that interest them, while some others seek knowledge and information with no intent to buy, while some might just be tourists passing time. The burden is on the marketers to identify visitors with a genuine buying interest and prioritize their time wisely. Sometimes, this means that marketers will spend thousands of dollars before figuring out that a conference doesn’t make sense for them. No one goes home happy when this happens.

In the spectrum of lead generation tactics, webinars are a more efficient, more cost effective way to generate high quality leads. Are we saying that trade shows aren’t effective or worth the time? Definitely not. But we are saying that webinars are a great way to provide valuable content on a regular basis at a fraction of the cost.

Compared to other marketing tactics, webinars offer higher quality leads and a shorter lead nurturing phase. This means more dollar signs and a happier marketer. Find out how and why the cost of a webinar lead is justified in your marketing budget in The Cost of Webinars whitepaper.

 

Reference:

1.     http://meetingsnet.com/site-files/meetingsnet.com/files/uploads/2013/02/MeetingsNet%20Webinars%26Tradeshows.pdf

2.     http://www.salesify.com/blog/bid/52625/Tradeshow-Leads-They-re-just-not-that-into-you

3.     http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/5938/

4.     http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/10/2014-b2b-content-marketing-research/

5.     http://www.webattract.com/blog/?p=379

6.     http://www.salesify.com/blog/bid/52625/Tradeshow-Leads-They-re-just-not-that-into-you

7.     http://www.readytalk.com/sites/default/files/docs/support-training/ReadyTalk%20-%20Using%20Webinar%20to%20Land%20Tradeshow%20Leads.pdf

8.    https://www.readytalk.com/blog/demand-generation/after-the-webinar-how-do-you-compare-infographic

Feature Frag: ReadyTalk Engineers Gone Wild

First the posters appear, and t-shirt size order forms get circulated. Then calendars shift with the addition of brainstorming sessions and the removal of a plethora of standing meetings. It can only mean one thing. Feature Frag is coming!

Mokey from Fraggle Rock. Image from http://muppet.wikia.com/Feature Frag is an event held a few times a year here at ReadyTalk. Company lore tells me that the name is from video games. I just know I kept expecting a knock-off muppet with bubblegum-colored hair to pop out from under some engineer’s desk at the end of the week. But no, something even more mysterious was happening here in our office in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Feature Frag is a week where development at ReadyTalk turns on its head. Our talented Engineers have the opportunity to select their own projects and see what they can complete within the course of four work days, before presenting them to the company in a large “Demo Day” presentation on Friday. The first Feature Frag of 2014 was held May 12-16.

The brainstorming sessions in advance allow anyone to pose a customer or business problem, and then Engineers select which one(s) they plan to tackle.

This year each development team could also involve a “business partner” from elsewhere in the organization to serve as the Voice of the Customer. Then, with the arrival of the donuts Monday morning, they set to work. For the next four days the Engineers were left to do what they do best: solve problems and code.

“Feature frag is a great time that allows us developers to work closely with our product people to investigate feasibility of features. We then get to dive in and code these features with the hope of producing a gem of collaborative genius. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but everyone learns a lot in the process. The best part is some ideas are so good that we re-organize our feature release schedule to get them in”
– Jon Steege, Software Developer

Problems tackled ranged from helping participants enter meetings without remembering passcodes to improving webinar promotion, registration and reminder processes to vastly improving presenters’ in-meeting experience. Attendees at Demo Day were blown away at the innovative approaches the Engineers came up with to solve customers’ long-standing pain-points.

Feature Frag was a great way for the engineers to hear what problems our customers would like ReadyTalk to solve from our customer facing teams. I think it adds a personal aspect to what they do in development and why they do it.
Also it’s just a great way to bring the whole company together to rally behind the big picture of always evolving our platform to better serve our customers.
– Shannon Westmacott, Account Executive

When the smoke cleared on Friday, 23 Engineers had contributed to 14 different projects aimed to improve web conferencing for our customers. The energy of presenters and attendees was palatable. After only a handful of presentations, the Account Executive next to me murmured “can we do Feature Frag every month??” I dare say that the Engineers presentations rivaled the Marketing departments’ creativity with their prevalent inclusion of pop culture references and memes. They were clearly proud of what they had accomplished over the week.

 

 

 

Naturally, not all the projects were at the state where they could be immediately incorporated into the product. Some need more testing, some need some UI love, and we’d like to validate some of the projects with customers just to be sure they meet their needs. But much of the hard work the engineers put in over the past week will be in your hands in the not-so-distant future.

Besides the great product enhancements, Feature Frag serves another important purpose here at ReadyTalk. It helps employees gain a better understanding and appreciation of each other and our customers.

“I love the energy around Feature Frag. It’s fun to see people from our customer-facing teams collaborate with engineers on an idea that they try to make shippable in a week. Sometimes they end up fixing things that we just typically wouldn’t pick against our other product priorities, and other times they bite off something bigger and make an amazing amount of progress on it. Demo day is the best part. Everyone in the company is invited, and engineers present their work for the week. And, we drink beer and eat snacks, of course. What’s not to love?
– Kim Wachtel, Director of Technical Product Management

We look forward to sharing these new features and enhancements with you in upcoming months. And in the meantime, we continue to invite your suggestions and feedback, so we can have more challenges for our Engineers to attack in the future.

The Cost of Bad Data is the Illusion of Knowledge

improve data accuracy for webinarsToday's post is provided by Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist at Redpoint. Tomasz originally shared this post on LinkedIn. You can learn more about Tomasz on his LinkedIn profile. Because bad data and the associated costs is a theme we talk about often at ReadyTalk, we wanted to share it with our audience as well. A great way to improve data accuracy is to integrate your webinar program directly with your CRM, marketing automation and other technology platforms. Check out our out-of-the-box integrations to improve data accuracy

Each time I open Salesforce in my browser, I think of Steven Hawking. It's because of an aphorism an entrepreneur shared with me a few weeks ago. He said:
 
The cost to fix a data error at the time of entry is $1. The cost to fix it an hour after it's been entered is $10. And the cost to fix it several months later is $100+.
 
Take for example a venture capitalist's CRM tool. If I mistype an email address or the details of the last fund raise, it might cost me a minute or two to fix it at that very moment. A minute of time is worth about $1.
 
If I'm lazy and don't correct the error, later on that day one of my colleagues might search our CRM for the company and comes across the erroneous record which he suspects is inaccurate. First, he will check his notes, then he will call me to verify and then he will change the record. The rigamarole has undermined his trust of my data and the ten minutes he spent correcting my data entry are wasted.
 
Worst of all is if I contact a startup to inquire about an upcoming fund raise with incorrect data. As a result, I could miss an opportunity to partner with a great company because of incorrect timing or lose credibility with the startup's executive team. The cost to the firm could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
 
All because I was lazy updating the CRM record.
 
Data promises compounding returns. The more data you have on a customer or prospect or your own business, the better the insights you can draw and the better decisions you can make. But these returns are blind to the quality of data.
 
Bad data has equally great compounding effects. And as Hawking so succinctly put it:
 
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking 

5 Things Every Marketer Can Learn from HubSpot’s 2014 Attempt at the World’s Largest Webinar

5 Things Every Marketer Can Learn from HubSpot’s 2014 Attempt at the World’s Largest Webinar

In August 2011, HubSpot set the Guinness World Record for hosting the world’s largest webinar with a whopping 10899 attendees and 31100 registrants.  In April 2014, HubSpot set the lofty goal of “blowing up the internet” with a webinar that tapped into the collective social media expertise of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (disclaimer: HubSpot is a ReadyTalk customer and partner but this particular event was not held on our platform).  In the end, “The Secrets to Success on Social Media” drew in a huge and engaged crowd, but missed the record by a few hundred attendees. However, every marketer can take away some tidbits from HubSpot’s experience to help get better results from their next webinar.

engaging speakers and a compelling topic were key for #WLW14

I chatted with Amanda Sibley, Co-Marketing Manager at HubSpot, for a behind-the-scenes at #WLW14. Here is some of her advice for other marketers:

Tip #1: Pick a Compelling Topic

Back in the Fall of 2013, the marketing team at HubSpot saw an opportunity to make some noise by leveraging partnerships with social giants Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  They thought that marketers would jump at the chance to hear the secrets to social media from the companies themselves. By partnering with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, HubSpot believed that not only could they offer great content to their audience, they also had a shot at breaking the record for world’s largest webinar, again. The goal of HubSpot’s webinar was to generate as many attendees as possible. If your company is looking to generate a high volume of leads at the top of the funnel as well, select a topic for your webinar that is top-of-mind.

Tip #2: Go Beyond Email Invites

HubSpot calculated that they would need an astounding 50-60K registrants to break the Guinness World Record. While emailing their extensive database of marketers was an effective tactic, they created a broad promotional campaign across all inbound marketing channels to drive registrations:

  • Including slide-in calls-to-action on related posts on the HubSpot blog 
  • Creating buzz on the #WLW14 hashtag in the weeks leading up to the event
  • Leveraging the social reach and reputation of their partners and speakers
  • Sprinkling webinar CTAs throughout the HubSpot website, customer sign-in page, etc.
  • Engaging key HubSpot influencers and speakers to start talking about the event 24-48 hours beforehand

One unique tactic they used was the World’s Largest Webinar VIP Program, which rewarded registrants who referred colleagues with customized advice from experts at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tip #3: Sometimes, Less is More

The folks at HubSpot are obviously experts at optimizing landing pages to drive results. Amanda recommends that your webinar registration page:

  • Provide concrete details about the event itself (date, time, time zone, etc.)
  • Make it clear whether the event is live only, on-demand, or both
  • Highlight what the audience will learn or be able to do after the webinar
  • Include the minimum # of form fields required for sales to qualify the lead (5-6 max, if possible)
  • Make it easy for your audience to share the event with their social networks

One creative angle that HubSpot used was displaying the number of registrants on the landing page once they reached critical mass.  This added credibility and cache to event, giving people the sense that they were missing out on something big if they didn’t register.

Tip #4: Get Creative to Drive Attendance

Getting registrants is important for a successful webinar, but getting registrants to actually attend is just as important. As attendance rates decline, marketers must get creative to incentive people to attend webinars, especially a webinar that may be live only. The Guinness World Record is based on the number of people who attend the webinar, not the number who register, so driving attendance was a key goal for the HubSpot team. They were able to outperform their average attendance rate by ~10% by getting creative:

  • Billing the webinar as “live only” with no recording available after the fact
  • Relying heavily on word-of-mouth and social media in the 3 hours leading up to the webinar
  • Offering giveaways to attendees:
  • Incorporating a number of contests:
    • 10 random attendees received a free full copy of Dan’s book
    • Top 10 tweeters got a coupon for HubSpot swag

Tip #5: Be Prepared for Anything

On a related note, one snafu that HubSpot encountered on the morning of the big event was a rush of registrants who were confused about how to join the webinar. Amanda recommends that marketers:

  • Clearly communicate when (time zones) and where (how to sign in) the webinar is on the conversion page/thank you page and in email
  • Include an add to calendar option in the registrant’s local time zone (for both Google and Outlook) on the confirmation page and in confirmation and reminder emails
  • Ensure your customer care team knows what to tell people who call in with questions about joining

Bonus Advice

In the end, Amanda had a few pieces of advice for other marketers:

  • Be prepared for anything  – so many little things can go wrong
  • Get creative – don’t be afraid to be scrappy and hack things together
  • Plan ahead of time to get others on board and excited 
  • Provide weekly updates to keep the team engaged 
  • Tie the webinar to corporate, team, and individual goals

So, with these tips in mind, go forth and conquer your next webinar and blow away your own records. Have other tips to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!