July 22, 2013
The easiest way for managed services providers to fill their sales funnel is via webinars, says Gil Cargill, founder and CEO of Cargill Consulting Group Inc., a B2B sales coaching and training consultancy based in Los Angeles. “Webinar prospecting and marketing will give you more prospects,” he says. For those webinars to be effective, though, Cargill says MSPs must change the way they market and the way they talk.
Cargill suggests the following steps to holding effective webinars:
1. Get a larger database.
That’s the first step, he stresses. “How many of us are touching 5,000 or more decision makers every month?” he asks. Most of the MSPs Cargill coaches have databases with fewer than 100 names in it, he says. “But you need thousands of names if you’re going to launch a marketing campaign.”
2. Use email effectively—and repetitively—to invite the people in your database to the webinars.
“You can’t email them once. You must email repetitively,” he says. “The rule of thumb is you have to mail at least seven times to get the message through to your prospects.”
It’s simple math, he stresses. For example, a recent webinar Cargill held had 387 attendees. “Out of 387, my salespeople are now working through that and closing business. The difference between no one in a webinar and 387 in the webinar is the size of the database; it’s just math. I sent out 59,000 invitations four times to get 387 people there.”
3. The webinars should be informational and results based.
That means focusing on communicating the value of the results that a prospect will get when he or she creates a retainer-based relationship with you. A “prospecting” webinar is not as effective as an informational webinar, Cargill adds. “I don’t know of anything that we sell that you can close in a webinar. I can’t close an MSP relationship in a webinar. I can get a commitment to do a first meeting, and from that first meeting I can sell an assessment.”
4. Determine the goal of your webinar and how you’re going to reach the audience.
“Write your invitations to focus on the results that a customer will get when they attend the webinar: ‘Learn how to save time, make money, streamline operations, grow without increasing head count.’ Those are some of the how-tos that we do. Very few people want to learn how to fine-tune Microsoft Exchange.”
5. Avoid Tech-Speak.
“One of the biggest challenges I have is to get my clients to start speaking English,” Cargill says. “Ninety-nine percent of ‘civilians’ don’t know what an MSP is. None of them are waking up this morning saying, ‘Wow, my life would be a lot better if an MSP called on me today.’”
6. Practice your speaking skills.
“If you are a presenter but you need some polish, join Toastmasters,” he suggests. Or record yourself to hone your skills. “If you have a smartphone with a recorder, you’ve got a free coach right in your purse or your briefcase.”
7. Be mindful of time zones and time of day/week.
Cargill suggests midmorning is best when people are still fresh. And he prefers Tuesdays and Thursdays.
8. Once the webinar starts, make sure there are no distractions.
Put everybody on mute, he says, so there’s no background noise.
9. Be neutral.
Don’t take a chance with jokes or opinions. “You have no idea what the values, morals, or ethics are of the audience,” he warns.
10. Ask participants to type their questions.
Don’t allow them to ask questions verbally, he suggests. “That allows you to censor the questions you’ll answer. You never know if one of your competitors is on that webinar.” Also, he says, use surveys during the webinar to have some interaction.
11. Always have a call to action included with a download of something.
If it’s a white paper, make sure it’s not technology focused, but includes information that will help them run their business better, he suggests.
12. Follow up.
You should follow up not only with the people who attended, but with the people who registered but no showed as well as the people who opened the invitation but didn’t respond. “Everyone that opens the invitation is key,” says Cargill.
For example, Cargill says he had a client who thought he only had 20 prospects [who attended]. “I pointed out that of the 500 [who received the invite] some that opened but didn’t register were interested in the topic, so now we’re going to call them and say, ‘Would you like a copy of the webinar you couldn’t attend?’”
Follow-up and practice are critical, he concludes. “The fact that they came to a webinar today doesn’t mean they’ll buy tomorrow. Always follow up immediately—perfect practice creates perfection.”