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Not Your Parents' Webinars

"Webinars are so 1998". Webinars are not something you would expect to encounter in the SaaS industry / startup ecosystem. I used to think that a few years ago, turns out I was wrong.

We have the same conversation over and over with advisors, investors and friends: you don't realize how much webinars are used until you pay attention. If you go over to Twitter or to your favourite SaaS website now, I bet you'll find links to webinars everywhere. More surprisingly, for those companies, webinars are a fundamental part of their inbound sales strategy or customer training.

I have a few names for you: Kissmetrics, Uberflip, Drift, Pipedrive, Buffer, Front, Mention, or Leadsquared you already know some of them, right?

Well, guess what? They're doing webinars on a weekly/monthly basis for product demos, customer training and/or content marketing.

Marketing Challenges in SaaS

We run a SaaS business ourselves, we're aware of the challenges one can face when running a SaaS. Let's try to list some of those.

Finding That Growth Engine

Sometimes, as a SaaS, you have a low to medium ARPA, therefore your lead generation will be a mix of content marketing and inbound sales, since you cannot afford to do pure sales/prospection.

Inbound marketing is easy, cheap, and everyone has some level of experience with writing about their industry topic. Main downside: it takes time to get significant results.

Usually they say that when you're running a low ARPA SaaS business you want to keep your CAC at a third of your life time value or less. Doing outbound sales or paid acquisition can increase dramatically your cost of acquisition (mostly on the software market).

Finding that growth engine that will help you get from A to B is always a struggle.

Shorter Sales Cycles

Qualifying your leads for sales usually take a certain amount of time depending on the number of calls you schedule and nurturing campaigns you set up. The longer the sales cycles the higher the cost of acquisition.

Plus, the longer the sales cycles, the longer you will have to nurture them and create content for those leads.

So the goal will be to: A) shorten those sales cycles to lower the CAC and B) create nurturing content that will help you qualify and accelerate sales.

Scaling is Hard

Scaling 1:1 demos is hard. Passed a certain volume of demand, you will need to scale your inbound sales team in order to process more demos. Plus, often, you host demos for VIP leads and low-value leads alike.

Basically, you want to host more demos with the same number os sales rep in same timeframe, increase productivity, and keep high converting 1:1s for important leads.

Why SaaS & Webinars are A Match

Webinars Compress Your Conversion Path

Webinars are great for SaaS because they do just that. They enable you to be more productive (sales-wise), to nurture leads and generate new ones.

You reduce the number of interactions by qualifying your marketing leads using webinars. The simple fact they attend the webinar already tell you if they're willing to engage with you.

Then you can monitor their firmographics, their participation rate (did they attend the whole thing?), their level of engagements (questions asked, messages sent, etc.).

Finally, you can send polls to your audience and ask for sales insights: did they hire someone to handle your solution? Are they open to a 1:1 to discuss opportunities?

In a 30 minutes session you can tackle all those items for multiple leads at once. And you will lower you CAC since you're more productive from a sales standpoint.

webinar saas conversion path

They are Vertical Agnostic

This is typically a channel that does not care about your verticals. Whether you're a new kind of healthcare SaaS or a law firm management solution, you can host webinars to demo your solution and/or train your customers.

This principe does not apply to Adwords for example. Try doing SEA in the travel or the real-estate industries, it is a financial abyss.

See this post from WordStream to see what I'm talking about.

They are Growth Stage Agnostic

Webinars don't care about size. Companies from 10 employees to 1000+ are hosting webinars:

The objectives are not the same but the channel will adapt to your need. You can create awareness about the problem you're trying to solve, host demo webinars, host live training session with your newest customers.

All you need is an audience. The size of that audience does not matter.

They Help You Scale Your Customer Success

It is common for fast growing startups to get buried in tickets and support requests. And most of the time, you get the same question over and over again.

Often, this leads to lower NPS, more frustration (for customers and employees), and eventually churn.

GrooveHQ put it this way on their blog:

If your team is getting crushed under the weight of too many incoming emails, then response times can suffer, and your business can end up paying dearly for delivering less-than-excellent customer service.

As you can see here, companies can process over 10k tickets a week...

You could prevent that by helping you customer success team create kick ass onboarding with documentation, tutorials, and of course basic training webinars.

Webinars will help you get the most basic questions out of the equation and leave the specific ones to the support team. It requires consistency and time, but eventually, it will pay off.

They Fit Your Content Strategy

Webinars are a great way to either create original content you can easily repurpose into blog posts or you can reuse your top blog posts to create a mini-talk about it.

Either way, webinars are a great way to create more engagement around your content and eventually generate actual leads.

How to Run your First Webinar as a SaaS Business

Like blogging, webinars are a long process that requires commitment and perseverance. You will need to run some tests to find your content sweet spot, get used to the software and find the right promotion lever.

Testing The Channel

This might seem counter productive coming from us, but don't pay to test the channel. You can host webinars for free using YouTube Live and see how your audience responds.

But you can just as well jump into Livestorm ask us for some free webinars and test the channel.

pipedrive webinars

Want to give webinars a test?

Try Livestorm, you get one free webinar by creating a free account.

Try Livestorm For Free Now

The Minimum Viable Webinar

Hosting webinars demands time and resources. Often, small companies get frustrated because they don't get fast results vs. the effort they put into the channel.

My recommendation is: start slow, cut off what you don't like and/or stick the very basics of webinars. Cut the webinar fat and host minimum viable webinars.

Webinars The Hard Way

Once you have tested the channel, commit, and had some ROI, it's time to go pro. Invest in hardware (we can help you with that!), build a small webinar team (1-2 people), and industrialize your content and your promotion.

I suggest you take a look at our free ebook about getting started with webinars, we cover those specific items in details with examples.

Make Webinars Part of Your Marketing Stack

Your final touch will be to integrate your newest channel to the rest of your marketing stack. You don't want your webinar software to generate data outside your marketing automation loop.

Make sure that attendees are created/updated in your other tools. You want your CS or sales to be able to see if Lead A or Customer B have attended your awesome training webinars. You can also trigger retargeting workflows based on a lead/customer webinar activity.

Livestorm provides some integrations with Pipedrive, Hubspot and Zapier so you can send your data anywhere.

Conclusion

Webinars are great for any SaaS business because you either have to show off your software or train your customers to use the platform (or both!) in a scalable way.

Finally, webinars is just a word, think "workshop", "live event", etc. You don't like presenting a PowerPoint? Do something else. Have fun, come up with a new live streaming format. It does not matter, as long as you're able to help multiple leads and customers at once.


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