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The Impact of a Great Webinar Program

Webinars are still a big part of the marketing mix, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

And by now, most of us know how to create content and webinars that serve a higher purpose than simply promoting products and services. After all, when someone is truly interested in what you’re selling, they’ll find a demo on your website.

A webinar program (and every other kind of content) is about thought leadership, sharing insights, and providing access to expert knowledge that can help people do their job better.

Inbound marketing (synonymous with content marketing in many ways) is not a new concept. Most mature organizations have learned that inbound leads from content promotion can be pretty “top of the funnel” and have a demand waterfall in place to separate the noise from the good stuff.

If you’re great at creating compelling content—promoted through a mix of channels—you’ll certainly stuff the top of your funnel with new contacts, but not necessarily your top prospects.

That’s where lead scoring should kick in, routing leads through your funnel depending on demographic data and behavior.

Demos and trials, for example, are high value activities that immediately trigger sales engagement, where content downloads, visits to your website, and webinar registrations are usually scored and routed differently.

So let’s talk about how to create a webinar program that does three important things:

  • Attracts New Contacts

  • Serves Every Stage of the Funnel

  • Creates Sales Opportunities

Start with a Three-Part Webinar Series

It doesn’t matter what you’re marketing—a cybersecurity product or healthcare services—you can create a three-part webinar series that casts a wide net at the top and works down to niche topics that indicate more serious interest in what you’re selling.

Let me clarify with a real-world example from a previous company.

They sold analytics software to companies who want to embed analytics in their own products. Their ideal prospect was a product manager—a decision-maker who was charged with product ownership.

Ironically, one of our key challenges was that literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD cares about data analytics. We could spin up tasty dataviz content, promote it with Outbrain, and get thousands of downloads.

The problem was conversion: tons of new names in the database but abysmal conversion to opportunities or even to MQLs.

The same was true of webinars. We could easily get 1200 people on a webinar about designing data dashboards, but many attendees were already using Tableau or other competitors’ solutions. They would never be our customer.

So we decided to do a Summer School series of three webinars:

  • The first was a “fan favorite” on dashboard design, meant to attract a large number of top of the funnel registrants.
  • The second was a little more in the weeds—still offering high level info—but getting closer to our message on the value of embedding analytics in a product.
  • The third was directly targeted to our ideal prospect, offering go-to-market strategy for an analytics software product. The only people who would care about this are the very people we wanted to talk to.

We knew that the number of registrants would drop dramatically from the first webinar to the third, but we welcomed that drop off.

The registrants of the second and third webinars were perfect for our SDRs to follow up with, and to track carefully through the funnel.

The registrants of the first webinar would drop into Marketo engagement programs for further nurturing.

The Set Up

Assuming you’re using a marketing automation platform integrated with a CRM system, this type of program is relatively easy to set up.

If you’re already running webinars, then this is super easy to set up.

In this example, we were using Unbounce for landing pages, along with Marketo and Salesforce (WebEx was our webinar platform, for better or worse).

Like most teams, we would send the first webinar invite two weeks before, a second invite the week before, and various reminders to folks who didn’t open and so on.

Hmmmmm

So the question is, do I create one landing page to promote the series, or separate landing pages for each webinar in the series?

The answer is, do all the things.

To get the most bang for your buck, create a landing page for the series (where folks can register for as many as they want), and create separate landing pages for each webinar. This way you have flexibility in how you promote, and you’re still able to send an email invite before each one.

This also gives you the ability to experiment with promotion and channels: maybe you’d promote the second and third (more in-the-weeds) webinars through channels where you can be more targeted (LinkedIn sponsored content and InMail, for example).

Since these webinars are designed to attract your ideal prospect, think about the watering holes where they’d likely consume content.

If you need ideas or practical guidance on how to set up a program like this, talk to us. Here at Sponge, we love to talk demand gen, campaigns, and marketing ops.

The Follow Up

OMG the follow up.

Like I mentioned, the drop off in registrants from the “fan favorite” webinar to the third—more highly targeted one—will probably be pretty big.

And that’s ok.

This program is meant to attract a lot of new names at the top of the funnel, and select out your ideal prospects at the bottom.

Here are some tips to drive engagement and opportunities from your webinar series:

  1. Generate a list of people who register for all three webinars.
  2. Craft an email or call script for your sales development team. Since the people on this list are signalling a high level of interest, the goal should be to set a meeting. At the very least, provide an introduction, and more info about your products.
  3. Track the people who attend and craft a special follow up.
  4. Track the people who watch the recording and craft a special follow up.
  5. Send future webinar invites from the rep, making the invite feel more personal (this can be automated in any system).
  6. Remove these folks from any “standard” nurture program, and serve them middle of the funnel, more product-specific content.
  7. Consider a gift card incentive to drive demos after the webinars.
  8. Track carefully and watch sales opportunities roll in!

And before you launch the program, make sure your SDRs and sales reps know about it:

  • Send them the landing page and brief them on the topics.
  • Have them register so they experience the process as their prospect would.
  • Offer to set up notifications of registrations or attendees so they can work the leads more personally.
  • Stay on top of marketing and sales follow up during and after the series to ensure you’re not stepping on each other’s toes or that nothing is falling through the cracks.

Q4 is not so far away (I know, right?). Start planning your series before the holiday season and close the year strong!

In our upcoming blogs, we’ll share more demand gen ideas that create sales opps. Meanwhile, feast on this:

Building the Perfect Marketing Team – Step 3

The role of marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade, and the mix of people you need on your marketing team is very different than it was in the past. There are new roles and skill sets, new technologies, new mindsets and biases. When CEOs complain about their marketing department, I’ve found it’s not necessarily that the individuals on the team are incompetent. More often, it’s because the marketing team doesn’t have the right mix of skills required to achieve the CEO’s goals, which are often driven by revenue.

At my previous company, we fumbled in the dark to build out the marketing team we needed to grow from $10 million to $40 million in revenue by making a lot of mistakes. We hired the wrong people and had to let them go after too much time had passed. When I talk to other marketing leaders, they have similar stories. In this post, I’ll share a team structure that has worked for me in the past, including roles, org chart, and lessons learned on what not to do. Of course, this certainly isn’t the only way to structure your marketing team, but I hope it will provide visibility into the capabilities you need, regardless of how they’re organized.

Sample B2B Marketing Org Chart

Here’s the org chart I’d use if I were starting a new marketing team today from scratch.

Marketing Organizational Chart

Marketing Organizational Chart

I’ve organized the team into three groups: 1) brand, 2) demand generation, and 3) product marketing. Each group is led by a Director, and the whole team is led by the CMO or VP of Marketing. This marketing team is comprised of the following 13 roles:

  1. VP of Marketing
  2. Director of Brand & Communications
  3. PR & Social Media Manager
  4. Customer Marketing Manager
  5. Marketing Events Manager
  6. Director of Demand Generation
  7. Marketing Campaigns Manager
  8. Digital Marketing Manager
  9. Marketing Operations Manager
  10. Content Marketing Manager
  11. Director of Product Marketing
  12. Product Marketing Manager
  13. Analyst Relations Manager

B2B Marketing Job Descriptions

This is our final post on the perfect marketing team, and we will be wrapping up be discussing the demand gen team, as well as the product marketing team. These teams are important because they are the ones responsible for getting customers in the door, and then getting them the right products. We will break down each position starting with the Campaign Manager on the demand gen team.

Marketing Campaigns Manager

Marketing campaigns are a great way to communicate with team members, clients, and leads. In today’s tech thriving world campaigns can be used to not only generate sales leads, but also to help progress those leads through the sales funnel. This is easier said than done however, as too much contact with leads can cause them to unsubscribe, and too little contact can cause them to feel unwanted and leave the sales funnel all together.

Responsible for:

  • Building and growing company database of sales leads including name, company, title, contact information.
  • Automating marketing campaigns process to engage with and nurture leads as they progress through the sales funnel.
  • Managing and designing email, blog, webinar, and other campaigns that will be collaborated with other in-house marketing team members.
  • Measuring and reporting on key metrics from campaigns such as open rate, conversion rate, and MQL.

Digital Marketing Manager

Once your company has enough size it is time to switch your marketing approach from purely outbound, to a more inbound marketing strategy. This will require hiring a full time position, hence the Digital Marketing Manager.

Responsible for:

  • Generating engaging content and posting frequently
  • Building demand through content enhancing company prospective leads list
  • Automating marketing strategies to ensure productivity of channels including social, email, blog, etc.
  • Optimizing conversion rates through CTA’s and landing pages.

Marketing Operations Manager

Marketing operations managers are the Swiss Army knife of the marketing team. They are able to do a little bit of everything and go back and forth between the creative and analytical sides. The main overall goal to get out of a marketing operations manger is to measure all of the ROI from marketing activities. Another important goal for a Marketing Ops Manager is to be the liaison between the marketing and sales team to ensure a cohesive marketing message throughout the sales process for customers.

Responsible for:

  • Managing company CRM systems used by the marketing and sales teams (Sales Force, Marketo, Sponge).
  • Establishing and maintaining line of connection between key marketing team members and sales team members.
  • Creating and maintaining metrics reports on marketing and sales activities, effectiveness, and business impact.
  • Analyzing marketing and sales data to develop insights and make recommendations on areas for optimization.
  • Monitoring and maintain data quality within the marketing database.

Content Marketing Manager

You may have noticed in the first two jobs that generating content is mentioned often, and that is because content is the fuel that drives your marketing campaigns. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B businesses that allocate 42% of their annual budget have higher ROI from marketing campaigns than those who send an average of 28% of their annual budget on content marketing. You have to have someone whose job it is to create the best content for your marketing campaign; you have to have a Content Marketing Manager:

Responsible for:

  • Creating marketing resources each month to drive metrics such as leads, subscribers, and brand awareness.
  • Consistently blogging to attract site visitors through search, social media, and email subscribers.
  • Increasing subscriber base by releasing regular, and helpful content that’s aligns with their needs and interests.
  • Collaborating with internal marketing team, and external influencers and industry experts to produce content that meets the needs of both key stakeholders and our audience.

Product Marketing Manager

The Product Marketing Manager is a very important role. They have to be able to work with both the marketing and the sales team to ensure a fluid message is being relayed to the customer. One of the main activities for the Product Marketing Manger is to determine the value proposition for a product, and how it can be incorporated into the marketing message. Possibly the largest task though, is understanding the companies customers. The Product Marketing Manager is responsible for developing a buyers persona for the company.

Responsible for:

  • Develop product positioning and messaging that differentiates company products in the market.
  • Develop and communicate the value proposition of products to the sales team to ensure marketing message.
  • Plan the launch of new products and releases while managing cross-functional implementation of the plan.
  • Understand customer personas and their needs through research, direct observation, and conversations.

Analyst Relations Manager

The Analyst Relations Manager is responsible for facilitating regular contact with the analyst community, driving strategic analyst relations programs, collaborating with sales, marketing, product management and company executives to engage with analysts on new product enhancements, company news and strategic initiatives.

  • Work with product marketing to secure positive analysts reports, and deliver quality information to analysts
  • Work with analyst firms to complete research reports and whitepapers
  • Preparing analyst briefing tours, presentations, and documents
  • Oversee budget, analysis and recommendations for purchased analyst research services
  • Support the communications team in other PR-related programs and activities

There is not “one-size fits all” for the perfect marketing team; there are too many variables like company size, structure, etc. Having said this, we here at Sponge believe this a highly effective marketing team and most companies can benefit from its structure. Of course you need to find the right people to fill these positions, but if you can, then you are well on your way to building the perfect marketing team.

For great tips on how to enhance your marketing skills, sign-up for Sponge’s Marketing Machine Playbook – an 18 week guide on building an integrated marketing system to drive growth!

Building The Perfect Marketing Team – Step 2

The role of marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade, and the mix of people you need on your marketing team is very different than it was in the past. There are new roles and skillsets, new technologies, new mindsets and biases. When CEOs complain about their marketing department, I’ve found it’s not necessarily that the individuals on the team are incompetent. More often, it’s because the marketing team doesn’t have the right mix of skills required to achieve the CEO’s goals, which are often driven by revenue.

At my previous company, we fumbled in the dark to build out the marketing team we needed to grow from $10 million to $40 million in revenue by making a lot of mistakes. We hired the wrong people and had to let them go after too much time had passed. When I talk to other marketing leaders, they have similar stories. In this post, I’ll share a team structure that has worked for me in the past, including roles, org chart, and lessons learned on what not to do. Of course, this certainly isn’t the only way to structure your marketing team, but I hope it will provide visibility into the capabilities you need, regardless of how they’re organized.

Sample B2B Marketing Org Chart

Here’s the org chart I’d use if I were starting a new marketing team today from scratch.

Marketing Organizational Chart

Marketing Organizational Chart

I’ve organized the team into three groups: 1) brand, 2) demand generation, and 3) product marketing. Each group is led by a Director, and the whole team is led by the CMO or VP of Marketing. This marketing team is comprised of the following 13 roles:

  1. VP of Marketing
  2. Director of Brand & Communications
  3. PR & Social Media Manager
  4. Customer Marketing Manager
  5. Marketing Events Manager
  6. Director of Demand Generation
  7. Marketing Campaigns Manager
  8. Digital Marketing Manager
  9. Marketing Operations Manager
  10. Content Marketing Manager
  11. Director of Product Marketing
  12. Product Marketing Manager
  13. Analyst Relations Manager

B2B Marketing Job Descriptions

In this post, we’ll cover the team that is in charge of brand. Branding is important because it how your company is perceived in the market. You have to have a one or two strategies about how you want to brand your company, and then execute those strategies flawlessly. Someone should be able to see a post by your company and immediately recognize it from the coloring and style.

Social Media & PR Manager

Perfect Marketing Team

Social Media Icons (Source)

Social media is a strong marketing tool used in both B2B and B2C industries. Social media has so much of an influence on consumers today, that 74% of consumers say their purchasing habits are influenced by what they see friends posting about on their social media feeds. With that much purchasing power allotted to social media it makes sense to have a full time employee managing your social media accounts at all times.

Responsible for:

  • Building and managing company social media presence in appropriate channels including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Generating engaging content for followers to like and share, as well as increase company following.
  • Monitoring social media activity and responding immediately to consumer’s issues and concerns in an appropriate manner.
  • Identifying social campaigns aimed to engage with target market to produce prospective leads.
  • Working strategically with other marketing team members to promote their campaigns through social channels.

Customer Marketing Manager

Marketing campaigns are a great way to communicate with team members, clients, and leads. In today’s tech thriving world campaigns can be used to not only generate sales leads, but also to help progress those leads through the sales funnel. This is easier said than done however, as too much contact with leads can cause them to unsubscribe, and too little contact can cause them to feel unwanted and leave the sales funnel all together.

Responsible for:

  • Building and growing company database of sales leads including name, company, title, contact information.
  • Automating marketing campaigns process to engage with and nurture leads as they progress through the sales funnel.
  • Managing and designing email, blog, webinar, and other campaigns that will be collaborated with other in-house marketing team members.
  • Measuring and reporting on key metrics from campaigns such as open rate, conversion rate, and MQL.

Events Marketing Manager

Your events marketing manager is in charge of determining not only what public/private events your company should be involved with are, but also making sure the company is well represented at those events. This persons has great people skills and always seems to meet the important people. They drive growth for the company through attending the right events and interacting with perspective clients. Much of their job is identifying leads and qualifying them quickly for the sales team.

  • Identify both public and private events in the community to attend and promote brand awareness and product demand.
  • Communicating, maintaining and developing strong client relationships.
  • Have projects remain on budget and on schedule for delivery with little to no issues.
  • Ensure marketing message is clear and well represented at events by current and prospective clients.

In our next post, we’ll dive into the demand group to describe the roles and responsibilities for driving demand for your business. Stay tuned, and be sure to share how you structure your marketing team in the comments!

Join our Marketing Playbook – an 18 week series to get more information about how to build better marketing plans and fuel growth for your company!

Building the Perfect Marketing Team – Step 1

The role of marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade, and the mix of people you need on your marketing team is very different than it was in the past. There are new roles and skill sets, new technologies, new mindsets and biases. When CEOs complain about their marketing department, I’ve found it’s not necessarily that the individuals on the team are incompetent. More often, it’s because the marketing team doesn’t have the right mix of skills required to achieve the CEO’s goals, which are often driven by revenue.

At my previous company, we fumbled in the dark to build out the marketing team we needed to grow from $10 million to $40 million in revenue by making a lot of mistakes. We hired the wrong people and had to let them go after too much time had passed. When I talk to other marketing leaders, they have similar stories. In this post, I’ll share a team structure that has worked for me in the past, including roles, org chart, and lessons learned on what not to do. Of course, this certainly isn’t the only way to structure your marketing team, but I hope it will provide visibility into the capabilities you need, regardless of how they’re organized.

Sample B2B Marketing Org Chart

Here’s the org chart I’d use if I were starting a new marketing team today from scratch.

Marketing Organizational Chart

Marketing Organizational Chart

I’ve organized the team into three groups: 1) brand, 2) demand generation, and 3) product marketing. Each group is led by a Director, and the whole team is led by the CMO or VP of Marketing. This marketing team is comprised of the following 13 roles:

  1. VP of Marketing
  2. Director of Brand & Communications
  3. PR & Social Media Manager
  4. Customer Marketing Manager
  5. Marketing Events Manager
  6. Director of Demand Generation
  7. Marketing Campaigns Manager
  8. Digital Marketing Manager
  9. Marketing Operations Manager
  10. Content Marketing Manager
  11. Director of Product Marketing
  12. Product Marketing Manager
  13. Analyst Relations Manager

B2B Marketing Job Descriptions

In this post, we’ll cover the top two levels, namely the VP of Marketing and the group leaders. In the next three posts in this series, we’ll do a deep dive on each group to describe the various roles and responsibilities within them.

 

CMO/VP of Marketing

Your VP of Marketing is responsible for the company’s overall marketing strategy, including messaging, campaigns, and metrics. This person is also responsible for putting the team in place to execute on the marketing plan and is a member of the executive team. This is a key hire, so this person should have the right skills to fit your organization. Do you need to grow revenue? Then you need hire someone with a strong demand generation background. Are you having trouble telling your company story? Then you need to hire someone with a strong background in product marketing. Do you need to modernize your look & feel? Then look for someone more brand-oriented. Someone once told me that when you’re recruiting a VP of Marketing, you’re looking for a mix of three skills – brand, demand gen, and product marketing – but you only get to pick two. It’s *very* rare to find all three in one person, so you’ll need to decide what’s most important for your company in the current stage.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Create, communicate, and execute on the company’s marketing strategy
  • Support sales through comprehensive demand generation programs, which may or may not include management of the business development team
  • Craft the company’s story and manage consistent communications of the marketing message with press, analysts, and the market at large
  • Own the the company’s brand, including the look & feel of all branded assets and web properties, as well as any touchpoints along the buyer’s journey
  • Manage the marketing budget to ensure efficient spend across programs
  • Develop and assist programs with quantifiable objectives to measure results of ROI

 

Director of Brand & Communications

The Director of Brand & Communications is your brand champion. They’re creative, have a strong eye for design, focus on the big picture, and manage major projects with a lot of stakeholders. They’re also a bit of a stickler. That’s a good thing – because you want someone who will be a bit bullish to set brand standards and push the rest of the organization to maintain consistency across different assets and channels. This person also works closely with the VP of Marketing to formulate the marketing message, which will influence the corporate website, press relations, and other corporate communications within their domain.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Work with internal stakeholders to formulate the company story and craft messaging in response to new competitive positioning, product releases, etc.
  • Manage the corporate website to present the marketing message in a visually compelling way (note: usually in conjunction with an agency for development support)
  • Expand company awareness through the press, social media, and events
  • Own the consistency of all touchpoints along the buyer’s journey, with a particular focus on customer engagement and happiness

Director of Demand Generation

The Director of Demand Generation is where the rubber hits the road for sales. They’re energetic, analytical, ruthlessly efficient, detail-oriented, and have a way of creating great relationships with sales without being afraid to push back on dumb ideas. This person is a truth teller and relies on data to make decisions, but ultimately has a service orientation to support sales in achieving their goals. This person owns the plan, execution, and analysis of all marketing campaigns to generate leads and opportunities. They also work closely with sales to ensure leads are followed up with appropriately to achieve the best results.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Plan and execute demand generation campaigns across all channels, including email, paid search, display advertising, content syndication, social, etc.
  • Own the marketing prospect database and maintain efforts to improve the size and quality of contacts to support future marketing campaigns
  • Analyze campaign effectiveness to maximize marketing ROI to achieve sales goals within given marketing budget
  • Manage the marketing automation system and integration with the CRM to ensure the right information is captured to handoff leads to sales and attribute campaign success
  • Own the content calendar to support demand generation efforts across channels

Director of Product Marketing

The Director of Product Marketing is responsible for ensuring that the company’s products and services resonate with the target market. They’re highly intelligent, creative, strategic thinkers who can translate convoluted technical concepts into easy-to-understand frameworks. They’re the “thought leaders” of the organization, in that they’re generating the “thoughts” that the rest of the marketing team will distribute inside and outside the company. They interface directly with clients and report back to product management on key findings, monitor the competitive landscape and marketing trends, and are responsible for the ever-misunderstood sales enablement to support new messaging, product launches, and other marketing campaigns.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Plan product launches for all new products and releases and coordinate with product management, marketing, and sales to execute a successful launch
  • Conduct regular, in-depth competitive analysis to ensure the marketing and sales teams are aware of new developments so they can speak more credibly with prospects
  • Develop all sales tools, including value propositions, competitive positioning, launch scripts, customer proof points, ROI metrics and calculations
  • Develop thought leadership for use in bylines, corporate messaging, and other content

In our next post, we’ll dive into the brand & communications group to describe the roles and responsibilities for driving brand awareness and managing consistent corporate communications. Stay tuned, and be sure to share how you structure your marketing team in the comments!

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