B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1739 · 3 months ago

Optimize Lead Generation from Events, with Micheál McGrath

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode Benji talks to Micheál McGrath , the Head Of Marketing at VisibleThread  

Discussed in this episode: 

  • The importance of mastering the language of sales
  • Webinars and Events that convert leads into clients
  • Tips for presenting a marketing campaign to the C-suite

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is B two B growth. Today I am joined by Mehmograph. He is the head of marketing at visible thread. Me Hal, welcome into B two be growth. Thank you so much like to be here. Thank you, Benji. Now I know we're gonna end up in a conversation around optimizing lead generation specifically for events. There's a lot that we can talk about within that space, but maybe before we go there, just give us some context on the work that you do and what you're focused on these days. Yeah, sure, I work for a company based out of Ireland. So we're headquartered in Ireland, but Um, we're kind of split between Washington and Ireland and we're a software company. We are about sixty employees and I am the head of marketing. So at the moment I am leading our marketing team, building out our marketing function and spreading all good news about visible thread. I love it. Okay, so one of those common marketing conversations is we're all thinking about and looking for ways to optimize lead generation. We're looking at it, we're thinking about it. How do we get quality and quantity right? But then there's also like an internal fear happening at the same time where we kind of like maybe want to shy away from pipeline conversation, we want to let sales manage some of that. Have you felt that career, that tension in your career as a as a marketing leader? Yeah, and that's it's more so in terms of conversation, I really have a line my career was talking about pipeline. Um, I feel that marketing, in order to have a true seat at the table and to really start impacting things for the business, bringing that convert bringing those metrics, bringing that sort of terminology into our day to day conversation is vital. And even from managing a team or growing a team, if you start at the basis of putting pipeline in every discussion, you will you will connect your your your teammates and your the people that work within your group directly to the company and the company outcomes almost straight away. Yeah, I mean so many of those crucial conversations in our organization are cross departments. So if we can all speak the same language, especially marketing, speaking the same language, let's says, as sales and is speaking that pipeline language. uh, it creates momentum internally. I wonder, before we jump to talking events or webinars like, has there been some subtle changes in the language that you use when you're talking to sales that you feel like has been really valuable in ways that you talk about pipeline, that that creates that sort of synergy? I suppose the day old, day old, is marketing and sales speaking different languages. MISALIGNMENT, not producing enough leads, not working the leads hard enough. All the day to day conversations that we expect. I feel it's often on marketing benefit to does change their analysis in terms of how they speak. Like if you take a very simple tactic like webinars, and now we're going to speak about events in the second but you take a Webinar and instead of talking about registrants, are engagements, are attendees, and you talk about pipeline, you talk about how many, how much? What was the value of the opts going to that event? That changes the scenario. So if you want your sales team to promote a Webinar from a marketing standpoint, you're not better. You're you're way better off saying that in the last Webinar we had a quarter a million signed up to that that Webinar. This Webinar, we have nothing that would resonate. If you say we have to under residence and this in this in this month we have fifty. I don't think it resonates the same way. If you talk about pipeline, they'll go I have a lot of ops...

...at the moment that I'm struggling to move along the line. This webinar will help them. Clearly my ops aren't aren't connecting with this Webinar yet that's on my job to do that now. So it kind of it just means we're speaking the same language and reporting on on ops, value on pipeline is just it will create more action and it will just allow you and sales to work a little bit closer together, which, in the end of the day, is going to benefit the company a lot more. A lot of times in marketing we're thinking of about resonants externally and when you can just turn that internal and you think about the same thing we apply externally with with trying to resonate with the market, trying to resonate internally with stakeholders, it does it changes the way you have conversation and the words you use. So I love that as an example. All right, so let's explore two different scenarios. They're similar in some ways, but virtual events. So you have the Webinar which you were just mentioning, and then second will go to an event specifically from a Webinar perspective. As you've really chosen to keep sales intentionally in mind, how has that begun to affect over all the strategy and then maybe the core numbers that you're looking to drive? Yeah, so I think from a strategy perspective you have to think of webinars like I always believe webinars are more middle of the funnel, if you can get then top of the Fune. I think sometimes they get kind of pushed into the top of the funnel racket that they're all about awareness, they're all about bringing people in, but I find webinars generally aren't the best source to do that. And if you have someone who's willing to spend an hour of their day listening to what your company has to say, whether it's on the podcast or Webinar or something like that, they're quite invested. Like they're they're willing to spend a bit of time with you. Therefore, they are more middle of the funnel than top. If they're willing to look at the blog post yet that's top because that will take them five minutes, but they're willingess to spend an hour, that's more middle. So it's about thinking in terms of the campaign perspective. It's about thinking of interesting ways to make that Webinar enjoyable, interesting, but also the middle of the funnel. That also ties into what your business does, how you can help people, how you can support them in their roles. So tying in in that way. And then it's about positioning it into sales and in order to get if your top goal is to get more pipeline there, like I talk about, well then you have then you have to sell it into sales and say this is the reason why they should go to this webinar because there's this big selling point in it. It's interesting, it's valuable. It might be a customer speaking about us, it might be someone in the industry sinking speaking about us. It's just flips it and it's about internally selling it into sales. But also make sure that you position it as the middle of the funnel exercise rather than, you know, there's a high level Webinar on registrants and engagements and people that turn up random. You talk about what what actually means different. That actually makes it different. What have you done wrong in the past or maybe seeing others kind of commonly get wrong about their their Webinar strategy? Yeah, that's an interesting one. I think you can promote. You can go way too wide, like for sure, like you can definitely go high level in terms of like what topic will bring a lot, a lot of people out there, like wide ranging topics. That going back to the top of the funnel. Right. Yeah, absolutely, and there none. And what you'll find is they never resonated as much as you want. Like you, you're way you're way better off going with something specific, solving a really specific problem and getting the right fifty people there, rather than getting a thousand people there on a real high level topic and they all walk away unsatisfied, saying I learned nothing of that Webinar. I would prefer bring fifty people in on how to do something rather than the hottest keyword of the week, trying to bring a lot of people in, because if they're willing...

...to spend an hour, as I said, talking you might as well show them something of value and something that's going to connect with them, and you're way better off with fifty valuable people than a thousand people who just came because it was a hot topic that week. It's about the mistakes I've met in the past is aiming for big, high numbers that really don't mean anything to Your Business. Tie It back to what you're trying to do. Build engagement where you want to build engagement. However, you shared up that handoff, because I love what you're saying. They're about it's a mid funnel action the Webinar. I think that's a great way of thinking about it. How do you sure up the handoff from that Webinar to your sales leaders? Yeah, the best thing I have found to do is is you just package it afterwards. So so it's a really big theme and you spent a lot of time thinking about really interesting way to tie up your products. You found an influencer that that would speak about it like if it's a customer, it's a big case study. It's a really like tie it all together. I've always found the best thing to do with sales afterwards it's almost immediately get ready to produce a really short brief and so like I would always do a one pager documented downloadable after that event and pass that to says and say right, here's the on demand, here's the slides and here's the one page of brief suits every part of the funnel that they're going after. The one part of the one pager brief can be really powerful in terms of if they went to the Webinar and make sure you send them this brief and say this would be great to send to your boss for securing executives, decision makers. So often you might do like a quick summary Guy. That's a that's a minute long scan or a two minute long scan. It's really digestible, but you're just using all the content from the Webinar. You put a lot of effort into doing this Webinar. Don't rush off and just do the next one straight away. Like make sure you make the most of that piece of content and repurpose it. Repurpose it Um and you could go a long way with an hour long piece of content before you have to go and do another one. What are what what's the call to action typically from one of these webinars? I think it's the for a salesperson. I think it's the discuss it. So you they went there for so. Say It was a particular problem that you're trying to solve. Say it was something like this, how to get get better lead generation from webinars. They came there for salesperson should be reaching out going I saw you, saw me halls Webinar. It's really valuable talking. It's something that we can really support on. Would you like to have a conversation about it? Go through the use case. We have lots of examples in terms of how to improve that particular area. But we have a following conversation and often when I talk about that exact brief and that short piece generally, what you're what sales reps are probably hoping to do is to bring more people into the conversation and with the exactly if you can kind of tie that together and say, I know you and your boss, you have this problem, here's the summary of the Webinar. Would you like Bo like to jump on the call to discuss it and see how we can support you further? So it's just continuing the conversation of the Webinar using that topic as a core. You know, they have interested in this. They went, they spent an hour in a time and just drag them back in. Hey everyone, if you've been listening to be to be growth for a while, you know that we are big proponents of putting out original, organic content on Linkedin, but one thing that's always been a struggle for a team like ours is easily tracking the reach of that linkedin content. That's why we're really excited about shield analytics. Since our team started using shield, we've been able to easily track the reach and performance of our linkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. It automatically creates reports and it generates dashboards that are incredibly useful to determining things like what content has been per forming the best, what days of the week are...

...we getting the most engagement and our average views per post. Shield has been a game changer for our entire team's productivity and performance on Linkedin. I highly suggest checking out this tool if you're publishing content on Linkedin for yourselves or for your company. You can get a ten day free trial at shield APP DOT AI, or you can get discount with our Promo Code B two B growth. Again. That's shield APP DOT AI. And the Promo Code is b. The number two be growth. All one word for a discount. Alright, let's get back into the show. I know you and your boss you have this problem. Here's a summary of the Webinar. Would you like, Bo like to jump on the call to discuss it and see how we can support you further? So it's just continue in the conversation of the Webinar using that topic as a core. You know they have interests in that. They went, they spent an hour in time and let's drive them back in. I love that with webinars too, because as long as you're not keeping it to top of funnel, you do, you're hitting on a pain point. That's giving you information on the people that attend. So then that's all sorts of content specific for that niche and that's what you want, versus, I would say, like an event, and we'll get the we'll go to this in a second, but to me you can generate all sorts of fun momentum like large scale. Get it just a bunch of people to attend and it can be a more high level conversation that you can get great social posts out of. Again, you can you can reuse and repurpose that that event content in unique ways. But it has to be a different strategy than a Webinar, because the type of content you're getting from those is very unique. How do you think of Webinar verse event differently and maybe where it falls in the funnel. So it depends on what type of events totally. If it's if it's a ample, like I'm a big believer in kind of round table virtual events where you might get five six organizations who are trying to sell to or you might get a couple of customers and a couple of organizations together that want to have a discussion on a similar topic. For those you're for those type of events, you're selling a bigger value than the company that you're actually the software that you're doing. What you're trying to do in those type scenarios is saying, look at the network we're going to put you in. This is what best the class look like. If you want to sit around the table, but people like you have a network, have people to bounce ideas off of, not just a great software, because we're going to do that anyway, but here's all the extra things that we can provide you. Webinars to assent do that. But people love talking to people, and people almost you know, they want to ask their own questions, they want to get involved in the discussion round tables and that those type of events can be way more strategic in terms of getting the people who don't have, of supposedly, the time and the day to go to a Webinar. Like webinars might be for a more junior persona and more tactical persona, generally people that want to learn, people who want to approve on a specific topic. Round tables, I find there more strategic Um and events like a summit or you might do like get a small get together of customers. They might be more and they might bring a higher level of leadership to those, a more VP level or c suite level. You might be able to convince them to go to those events because other people of those networks are going to those and they'll get to meet those people. So I would describe events being almost you can use them to go after a different persona, where webinars will find it hard to sell. This is a C suite Webinar. That that can be hard to do. How have you, how have you specifically and strategically optimized for lead generation from these from these events. I guess we didn't really give a clear example on...

...on the webinar either. I should have had you do that, but I wonder if you want to speak to both of those, because there's ways that we could be optimizing and I think that's where most of our audience is sitting, just going like that way. We have these, we have this Webin army all, we have this event and that follow up and the lead generation is is clearly what so many of us are after. So one, I would it's all about. Okay, what that? So one picking the right topic. That's going to help you an awful lot and that's just obvious. And and and and my people might say, well, look, that's easier said and done, but that's the first thing, finding out the pain point, that they can resolve it. Then it's finding out someone in your network that can speak about that coherently and who has a network themselves to bring it. So you might find bringing in a customer of yours, if it's a big logo, if it's someone who people will resonate, it is in terms of just their title or their logo that will help you an awful lot. Like I felt the last it's not even on the topic, is it's just who's speaking that can really help write the right logo or just the right persona and said like it could be just someone who has a big network, who who is well known in that industry. That's a big point. It's well worked investing in someone who's going to bring that audience and the cost for lead of getting somebody you might it might be a big cost to get someone on your Webinar that that that's you know has a big network. But if you actually break it down that, if those could bring you twenty leads or Turkey leads or forty leads, that are valuable, they'll probably cheaper than it would be to advertise it on Linkedin, you know, just having their network together. We'll tie you together for you. Let me ask you a fall questionnaire. Yeah, because I think what I'm wondering too, is on that. We see in podcasting sometimes, like if you get the big guest, even if you were to somehow get the numbers to go up for that episode, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to dry. I've like people that stay around because they're only there for that speaker communicator. So how do you balance that? Because you might get leads on or you might call them leads right, we might call them M quels because they're there's something in that space where, Oh, see, we got this big name, but they're not necessarily there for your company or interested in your product. How do you balance your thinking on that? And I think I've had this discussion a few times in terms of sometimes you can go too far out there kind of times into the very first question you asked me when I've gone too broad. So you might just pick the really, really big name because you think they have a huge network and they're gonna bring you tons of m quels or leads, and then it's so fair to suppose from your product it's it doesn't make any sense anymore. Once they once they come in. It does a fine balance there that you need align like you might have to the sacrifice that you're not going to get the hundreds of thousands of followers connecting with you because of this. You you might just have to s price to getting the fifty or thirty of the right people. I always find going with like the huge names, like you could go with for for anything like the big, big superstars of any industry, but you're actually better off going with the small consult consultancies that have a lot of customers that they could just promote it internally into their own networks. Are just people that have small, very kind of engaged audiences that speak about really similar top topics that you speak about. That I'd be like, don't always go for the celebrity kind of state. It's kind of scenario like that that that's where you get a lot of traffic that don't actually convert long term and even together. It's all about that repurposement as well, because once you bring them in on a certain influencer and a certain person, it's about chopping all that up, doing the exact brief and giving them multiple assets that's kind of curated from the core asset. So if it's snippets of the Webinar,...

...if it's an exact brief, it's the follow on piece of content, if it's a survey we ran during the Webinar, if it's all those little pieces, that just builds up their touch points and now they're actually yes, they confer on the first thing, but they also start to convert on the other things because it's all the same topic, it's all the same stuff. It's just value add after value add and then hopefully you can bring them on that journey. Then are you running the same sort of content briefs after an event where there's maybe more c suite level engagement, or is your strategy? They're different after an event versus Webinar? Yeah, like I always find the Webinar is key because it's middle to highs in that like I know I said it's middle of the funnel, but it's middle to high a suppose, and you need to bring them a little bit further. I think if you get someone to an event, it really I don't think an asset is going to support them there. It has to be a kind of conversation as thank you for going to that event and get the sales reps to take over. You could summarize that event for a different audience and kind of bring it in at the top of the funnel again. But at that point, if they've spent time in a physical location or in a small virtual group together, well, at that point it's probably it's important that sales keep nurturing the relationship going forward. I think this is such a good conversation, because we have to the follow up process and like what you do there. That handoff makes the Webinar or the event ultimately like worth it. If you don't do that, that touch point, well, a lot of us are like, well, you know, Webinar should just be part of our strategy. Events should just be part of our strategy, and like sharing that up and then using that content effectively. To me, I'm always asking questions on that because I don't want to just do an event for the sake of of event and not recut it. If there was a how that you were telling people to walk away from this episode with me, what would you tell people? Go back to your strategy, go back to what you think of on events and webinars and try this or or look for this. Are there some questions you would have US maybe ask as we leave this episode? Yeah, like even one quick tip which is quite tactical and people who don't use salesforce won't won't connect with it probably, but if you take like a campaign and salesforce and you say the parent campaign is is the is the Webinar or the Webinar theme, and then you have all the child campaigns underneath it, which are the Webinar, the exact brief, the follow up survey, all the other pieces, and you report on the top level theme. Forget about the Webinar, report on that theme as a campaign and all the pieces. And what you will find very quickly is if you talk about pipeline, you have a quarter million that that connect with the with the with the Webinar. You'll have double that with the exact brief. You'll have so much of that with the blog posts. You have so much of that with the survey. And suddenly it's not just a webinar anymore and it's like almost a campaign that's all connected. And if you start to set the campaign, uplight that from the start point and you strategically look at it going the first point of contact is the Webinar. The second point contact is an exact brief that's descended to their bosses. Third part is going to be this high level survey that we're going to send out to a different audience or something like that. You kind of you start to do like a full funnel campaign very quickly after one asset that everybody in this audience is probably doing already, but they just probably don't the iterative parts and they certainly mightn't report on it globally as one one big campaign. And it'll save time, they'll save resources and it will also make your content very coherent. You're talking about the same theme, you're using the same examples. You could literally follow a step one, step two, step three if you wanted to do that multitup journey are you have assets for the manager, for the for the for...

...the man, the senior manager, the VP in the C suite. You could have the whole suite of that multi touch kind of campaign. Very nicely done. Um. So that'll be my big takeaway in terms of just how you structure the campaign and how you even speak about it. Speak About pipeline, speaking about the campaign as a total rather than all the individual assets. Yeah, the total and you learn in the internal conversations outside of your department will be very appreciated and applauded because if you have the total, full picture, that's a game changer versus just saying Oh, yeah, we're running this Webinar this week. Right. Well, yeah, like a countless examples of where we've had a big Webinar, say the housing residents, and the pipeline was x and then we go to the next Webinar and the resistrants is a hundred people and I go the pipeline is actually bigger than what the other one was, and they go like round of applause. It's like that's actually way better. We prefer more value driven, clearly, and the people that the fifty people that went to that Webinar, they're more engaged, they're more likely to convert, they're more likely to pick up on the exact briefs and pass it to their boss and do the actions that you want them to do rather than the big high level topic that really just kind of fell away after a while. Yeah, they leave and you're having to chase leads that are only half interested. And Yeah, you don't that's that's not optimal by any means. Right. No, and and it's also if you lead the camp, if you get in a rhythm of doing it like this as well for sales, they kind of expect what's coming as well. So they know if they promote the Webinar, they know the next asset is coming almost immediately and they kind of like when I would do that internal briefing, I would always say, look, this is the Webinar but this is what's coming after it. Almost as like we'll get people there, but what we kind of expect after this is this type of follow up, and it's under this theme. We expect them to send it to their boss so they can kind of start to think about and go yeah, I I agree with this and take the learnings back from sales and go, yeah, that theme was too high level or, you know, the exact brief was too long. That that's something that can come on for three or four pages brief. They said, no, we just want one page, we only want ten bullet points, and they're like, okay, if that makes more sense and more people will read it and you will get more pipeline to read it, happy days. It sounds great. Well, thank you for breaking this down. For us always trying to to innovate and and tweak the way that we do this. So I know there's many of our marketers that are gonna take this conversation and start tweaking their strategy a bit. So Me Hall, for those that want to stay connected to you and the work that visible threat is doing, tell us a little bit about how we can do that. Absolutely so you can definitely connect with me on linkedin something on McGrath and head a marketing and visible thread Um. If you want to find out more about this, the thread its physible thread dot com. I'll tell you a little bit about the product and what we offer, and it's a marketing based product on many and many regards. We have slass solution and software solution that grades and scores the readability of any piece of contents. So whether it's a document or a written piece of text or showing even a web page, we'll grade that in seconds among things like readability score, passive voice, and it's all about will your communication land? So is your communication arriving at the end user and is it readable? Is it understandable as we create it in terms of that. In many of the areas we work, we work with like the most complex documents, contracts to really complex or P S and all this, all these type of documents, and we're scoring and supporting those people curating those documents to make them legible, readable often compliant as well, because readability and great levels. Now it's almost...

...a must. It's not even a we should have this, it's actually you actually have to have this, has to be readable. But we work on all types of type of communications and content. So if you'd like to take a look at vt writer as the product with Fourteen Day free trial that you can sign up to and you can start making your content more legible, more readable, more understandable right now and reduce your passive voice. I love it. Well, thank you for breaking that down. I know there will be those that will connect with you over on Linkedin as well and uh, we really appreciate you stopping by B Two B growth today. Me Home. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. For All of our listeners, you can connect with me on Linkedin as well. Just search Benji Block. Would love to talk with you about marketing, business and life over there. Want to have as many of these conversations as we can to help fuel your innovation and your continued growth. So if you aren't already following the show, you can do that on your favorite podcast platform and uh, connect that way as well. Keep doing work that matters. We'll be back real soon with another episode. We're always excited to have conversations with leaders on the front lines of marketing. If there's a marketing director or a chief marketing officer that you think we need to have on the show. Reach out email me, Benji dot block at Sweet Fish Media Dot Com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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