WARNING: If you are of the mindset that all prospects are leads, you’ll probably disagree with what I’m about to say.
I’m a huge fan of online product demos and webinars because they let me easily self-educate about a product or service I’m considering. And as a business, you should love these tools as well because they help prospects self-select into your sales process. In fact, I believe the single best reason to invest in product demos is to help your prospects realize that you’re not the right solution for their need.
Now to traditionally minded sales teams, this might sound totally counterproductive—but consider this before you decide: With only 24 hours in a day, each salesperson can handle only so many sales calls, live demonstrations, and other customer interactions. And no matter how great your product or service is, it’s never going to be the right solution for 100% of the prospects who visit your website.
So the way I see it, you have two choices. You can let unsuitable prospects figure that out on their own without wasting your sales team’s time, or you can let your salespeople present that live demo or sales pitch to each and every unqualified prospect. Even with a top notch sales team, the results would probably be quite similar—if a product is just not the right match for a prospect, you’re likely not going to win that sale.
The choice is yours, but I’d submit that your sales teams will be happier, more productive, and less expensive by letting your prospects self-select themselves out of your sales funnel. By having your salespeople follow up on only qualified leads, you might even be able to reduce the size of your sales team because your staff will be making fewer but more qualified sales calls.
One important aspect of establishing your webinar strategy involves deciding whether you want to allow some or all of your recorded webinars to be viewed without requiring prospects to provide an email address. This question is hotly debated in B2B (business-to-business) circles.
One side firmly believes that gaining that email address is a necessary prerequisite and must be the primary directive of any online webinar. On the other hand, the qualified lead group believes you shouldn’t collect an email address or even begin tracking prospects until you know they are truly leads.
Both sides of this issue present strong arguments. Before you begin using webinars, you should think through these arguments and determine where your company is going to fall on the continuum.
Whether you’re demonstrating a product or selling a service, webinars and demos both give your prospects an opportunity to sample your service and determine whether your company should make a short list of contenders. From there, you can move them along to a live webinar or a sales call. Not only will they at that point have to reveal themselves by providing a valid email address, but you’ll also be able to begin to learn a bit about their needs through marketing automation software that tracks their content consumption on your site after they’ve provided that email address.
Webinars and product demonstration videos are both fantastic tools for marketers because they give your prospects the chance to test-drive your product before purchasing it. This creates a sense of trust and comfort in the purchase decision that moves prospects farther down the purchase funnel before they reveal themselves to your sales team. That way, when prospects do choose to share their email or complete a lead-generation form, you know it’s because they have a direct interest in your product. This creates a win-win for both parties: Your prospects are allowed to self-educate, and your sales team receives far higher-qualified leads to close.
Speaking of webinars… if you’re interested in our latest one — Aligning Marketing Automation Platforms and Content to Create Leads Sales Can’t Live Without — feel free to register here.