The Corona Impact on Event Marketing

Posted on Mar 10, 2020 by .

The last thing I want to do here is beat a dead horse, but let’s face it – the Coronavirus is having a massive effect on B2B events and B2B event marketers. SXSW just cancelled their March event last week. Facebook cancelled their event. Google cancelled their developer conference. Oracle, SAP, RedHat and many others have either cancelled or postponed what many see as industry critical events. Side note – even the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) was cancelled on Sunday and I’m a huge tennis fan! You get the picture, it’s a mess out there. If you want to see the lineup of B2B tech events that are being cancelled or postponed, here is a good resource for it.

With all this event hysteria, virtual/online events have come to the forefront again. Organizations are scrambling to put a digital event structure in place because, regardless of the coronavirus or any other pandemic, they still have an audience and they need to be able to give their audience what they want. With physical, in-person events not being an option right now, they’re turning to virtual events, online events and webinars as the main way to meet and engage their prospects and customers. All of this reminds me of two prior events that forced B2B marketers to look at physical event alternatives – the 2008 financial crash and the 2014 oil bust. In 2008, the first items that were slashed from the budget were travel, entertainment and thus, events. I would argue at that time virtual events had the biggest surge they ever experienced. In 2014, oil and gas marketers had to find alternative ways to meet with their audience. The good ole’ boy way of shaking hands at conferences and racking up big expense reports was no longer an option. We then started to see more oil and gas companies leverage virtual events, webinars, webcasts and all sorts of online events to market to their base.

It shouldn’t take a time of crises, however, to put an online event strategy in place. Too many companies dedicate most of their budgets to physical events and too often the ROI is just not there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked an event marketer how their physical events are working out for them and I get the response of “they’re okay.” When I proceed to ask why they keep investing so heavily in something that is just ‘okay’, I typically get the following:

  • “If we don’t show up or exhibit, people are going to wonder why we’re not there.”
  • “If we don’t have a presence, our competitors are going to get all of the leads.”

I call complete and total BS on both. The main reason most companies continue to invest in physical events more than anything else is because it’s what they’ve always done. There’s a resistance to digitally transform their event structure. They don’t want to step outside of their comfort zone and change the event narrative. I’m not saying to scrap physical events. I get that they need to be a part of the mix, but they need to be scaled back to make room for alternatives that have less barriers, are more measurable and more often than not give you more bang for your buck. Enter online/digital events.

When you think about planning your next event and all the money it’s going to cost, ask yourself if it would be better for you, your company and your customers/prospects if you did it via an online event or webinar. Is it really necessary to rent that space for $20k, pay for everyone to get there and pay for everyone to eat/drink, when you could’ve done it all online? Couldn’t that lunch and learn at the Marriott (with that brutal banquet food) have been a two-part webinar series? Again, I get that physical events need to be a part of the marketing plan. However, the smart marketers are going to ensure that every physical event has a digital element (see hybrid events, on-demand event webinars, on-demand virtual events) and are going to ramp up their webinar and online event game significantly moving forward. Online events are for everyone, regardless of industry, and there’s never been a better time to look at them as your go-to event option.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


10 Stats that Prove ABM is Ready for Primetime

Posted on Feb 20, 2020 by .

It’s no longer a buzzword, but rather a necessity for B2B organizations that want to get and stay ahead of the competition. Once thought of as a tactic for only large enterprises, companies of all sizes are starting to play the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) game. Spray and pray is out and a targeted, more personalized multi-pronged approach is the way forward (see Elastic’s Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success).

Here are 10 stats that prove ABM is more than ready for the big stage:

Higher ROI – Research by ITSMA found that 87%of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment.

Pipeline Impact – Marketing leaders are more tied to revenue than ever before, and because of that their main goal with any new marketing initiative is to generate revenue. In a study by Demand Gen Report and LeadData, 54% of marketers cite “influence pipeline” as their primary ABM metric.

Deal Size Increases – in a study by SiriusDecisions, 91% of companies using ABM were able to increase their average deal size, with 25% of respondents stating the increase being over 50% or larger.

ABM Maturity – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, 24% of companies reported having ABM programs that were well underway or advanced. Another 45% said they just started. Only 7% said they have no plans to start an ABM initiative

ABM Budget – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, the average percentage of the marketing budget that would be dedicated to ABM was 29%

Better ROI than Other Marketing Initiatives – 97% of marketers say ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives, according to SiriusDecisions

ABM=Revenue – Companies using ABM generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts

More Opportunities Created – According to Gartner, ABM programs show a 70% increase in the number of opportunities created

ABM Aligns Sales & Marketing – According to Demandbase, 83% of marketers say ABM increases engagement with target accounts, making the marketing and sales process more efficient overall

Marketers Want Better Leads; Enter ABM – ABM’s rise has largely been attributed to B2B marketers who were not satisfied with their more traditional lead-gen programs. According to Crowd Research Partners, improving the quality of leads remains the top priority for a majority (68%) of B2B marketers. Only 16% of these folks are actually happy with the effectiveness of their lead-gen programs

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Looking at Webinars Through a Different Lens

Posted on Feb 12, 2020 by .

Marketers know the power of webinars. When done well, they can engage, generate better leads and drive more pipeline than any other form of content marketing. With that said, the webinar game has changed and organizations need to be aware of the different ways webinars can be used and the different formats they can leverage to truly maximize webinar ROI. They need to look at webinars through a different lens and below are some ways they can do that.

Webinars aren’t only for lead generation – it used to be that webinars were only used as a top-of-funnel lead generation tool, but that’s no longer the case. Yes, most companies mainly use them as a way to build awareness and initial interest, but savvy marketers are using webinars for every stage of the funnel. And the approach of your webinars should be different for every stage. There are webinars that can be used to further qualify existing leads; webinars that can be used to build a business case and take an opportunity to the proposal stage; and there are ways you can use webinars to be the final push to close those hard-to-win prospects. Don’t stop there, though. Today everything is about customer experience and you must earn your customer’s business every single day. Webinars are a great way to continually educate and engage your customers, ensuring they’re happy and up to speed on everything you can do for them. They’re a great way to upsell and establish a larger footprint within your current customer base.

Your webinars don’t have to be live – I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I would venture to say that 5 years ago at least 85% of the webinars being executed were 100% live. That number might even be short. Your webinars don’t have to be live anymore. Yes, a live webinar still makes sense depending on the type of webinar and the kind of audience you might have, but there are options. Here are the different formats and when you should use them:

  • Live – go live when you want webinars that are collaborative and have a lot of audience interaction. For example, going 100% live is ideal for town hall-type webinars or any webinar where you want to answer questions from the audience while they’re coming in. Additionally, if you’re big on polling (if you’re not, you should be) and want to immediately publish the results for the audience, a live environment might be what you’re looking for (you can still do polling in other formats as well). If you have a sizeable database that is engaged, familiar with the type of quality content you put out, and you’re not concerned about poor live numbers, then going 100% live would be a fit for you as well.
  • Simu-live – there has been a sizeable shift in simu-live webinars (pre-record the presentation and broadcast it as a ‘live’ webinar with live elements) over the past 2-3 years. More and more marketers are going this route for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re sick of getting burned by live day webinars – the technology craps out on them; the audio isn’t working; they can’t move their slides; their speakers do a crummy job; or worse yet, something comes up at the last minute and they have to postpone or cancel the webinar altogether which is a terrible look. None of these are issues when you run simu-live webinars. Second of all, going the simu-live route enables you to get the presentation exactly how you like it and ensure that it’s going to be top-notch and well received on the day of the broadcast. There are a host of other reasons that simu-live makes sense, but ultimately it provides more peach of mind which is priceless.
  • On-Demand – no, I’m not talking about archiving it on-demand after the live or simu-live event. I’m talking about doing it on-demand from the get-go. Organizations large and small are taking this approach. If you’re a small company and don’t have a big enough database where a live webinar of any sort make sense, create an on-demand webinar. You can then use that on-demand webinar to build up your audience and generate leads at the same time. If you’re a company of any size and don’t want to deal with promoting a webinar, going through everything that a live/simu-live webinar entails, but you still want to create a piece of content that’s a lot more engaging than static forms of content (see whitepapers, eBooks, etc.), than an on-demand webinar is your answer.

Extend their shelf-life and re-purpose – almost all companies that are executing webinars are eventually getting them on-demand. However, most companies do a poor job of promoting the on-demand version. They archive it somewhere on their site, maybe send an email or two to their audience, and then they let it die on the vine. It’s a waste of a great piece of engaging content. You should promote your on-demand webinars the same way you promote your live webinars. Additionally, on-demand webinars offer a treasure trove of goodies from a re-purposing perspective. They can be used to create whitepapers, eBooks, case studies and blogs. The feedback you get from them can be used to create additional webinars. One of the things we’re doing for a lot of our clients right now is creating highlight reels of their webinars. So as opposed to only having the on-demand version and making people sit through 45 minutes of presentation, a highlight reel is a condensed 4-5 minute mini-webinar that highlights the most important pieces of the webinar that will deliver the most value to the audience. It’s easier to promote through social channels, gets higher response via email than promoting the entire on-demand version, and it’s a great tool for your sales force to leverage when they want an exciting, outside-the-box piece of content to send to their prospects. This approach has really taken off for our clients.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


The 6 Must Haves for Lead Generation Success

Posted on Feb 6, 2020 by .

With all the tools, tricks and tips available, B2B lead generation should be easy, right? Not so fast. It’s harder than ever before because there are more people vying for your prospects’ attention, your prospects have more data at their disposal and thus are more educated about what they want and why, and it has become increasingly difficult to rise about the noise. With that said, there are certain elements that are essential to consistently generate leads and drive pipeline in 2020 and beyond. Here are the 6 Must Haves for Lead Generation Success:

  1. Picking the Right Targets – who’s your target audience? Sounds simple, but it consistently gets butchered. An effective lead-gen campaign is impossible without nailing this first step. You need to select the right companies and ensure that you’re dealing with contacts that can actually move the needle and make decisions. One of the main downfalls of lead generation campaigns is that they’re going after companies that don’t need their product/service and focusing on contacts that don’t have decision making authority. Don’t let this be you!
  2. You Have to Actually Budget for it – a few questions to ask yourself here:
    • Are we paying for quantity or quality? MQLs (which we believe are dead and is a blog for another day) or SQLs? What about what we like to call CRLs (conversation ready leads)?
    • What tools, products, partners and services are we going to use to generate these leads? Which channels get X amount of budget and what are we expecting from each channel?
  3. There Must be an End Goal – and that end goal should come down to pipeline and revenue. How much truly qualified pipeline do you need to hit/exceed your revenue goals? Unfortunately, many marketers (and even business owners) can’t answer this because they’ve been tied to MQLs as a measure of success for as long as they can remember. As stated above, we believe the MQL is dead because marketers are more tied to revenue than ever before. You need to look at how many truly qualified leads and opportunities you need to generate to hit your revenue targets. In our opinion, there’s really no other way to look at it.
  4. A Multi-Pronged Approach is Necessary – you must take a multi-pronged approach to prospect engagement, leveraging different tactics at every stage of the funnel, to create competitive differentiation, generate qualified leads and close more business in today’s B2B landscape. This includes the methods (such as inbound and outbound) and the tools you use to engage your target audience (webinars, videos, blogs, literature, events, etc.).
  5. ABM is Now for All…Big & Small – it was once thought that only the big boys could leverage ABM, but that’s no longer the case. If you have key-account initiatives and the bandwidth and/or partners to support that approach, ABM is for everyone. The concept has been around for a while, but better technology and access to more/better data have simply made it more effective. In a recent report, SiriusDecisions said that “92% of B2B marketers worldwide consider ABM extremely or very important to their overall marketing efforts.” That’s an incredible number. Learn more about the Elastic Solutions Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success
  6. You Need an Inside Sales Team Filled with Killers – In-House, Hybrid or Outsourced – Whether you keep it in-house, completely outsource it, or take a hybrid approach (you have your own inside team but bring on third parties to add more horsepower to your efforts), you need a team of inside sales killers. Some questions to think about when it comes to building an inside sales presence:
    • Do I have the bandwidth to effectively train and manage an inside sales team?
    • Do I have the bandwidth to hire the right inside sales team?
    • Are there partners out there that have expertise in the industries I’m focusing on, and if so, can they ramp up quickly?
    • What does my call and email cadence need to look like? How fanatical do we have to be in our outreach efforts and how will the handoff process work?
    • Taking all the above into consideration, what can I actually afford to do and what kind of impact do I expect inside sales to have on revenue?

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Overcome These Webinar Hurdles to Drive Pipeline

Posted on Dec 12, 2019 by .

In our opinion, webinars are a marketer’s best friend. They cost-effectively extend your reach, generate audience engagement and drive pipeline. However, not everyone we’ve spoken with about webinars has achieved these benefits. Some organizations can’t even get a webinar strategy off the ground, while others who are running webinars simply can’t seem to get the ROI they’re looking for. Here are the four most common webinar hurdles that are preventing marketers from driving pipeline, and how they can overcome them.

  1. I don’t know how to kick-start a webinar strategy – many folks that we speak with simply don’t know how to get a webinar campaign off the ground. They see the value in webinars, and they want to add them to the mix, but they simply don’t know where to begin. They don’t know how to find compelling content; they don’t know how to find engaging speakers; they don’t know how to promote webinars the right way to generate the audience they’re looking for. At Elastic, our managed-service webinar offering can essentially act as your outsourced webinar team. From registration page creation to event archive, we manage the entire process to ensure your webinars are flawlessly executed and deliver on your end goal. And if you’re a marketer, your end goal with webinars should be quality lead generation and better pipeline results. View our on-demand webinar – How to Build a Webinar Program From Scratch – for more ideas.
  2. I occasionally run webinars, but I don’t have the bandwidth to run more – these are typically marketers that have had success with webinars and wish they could run more, but their lack of bandwidth is holding them back. In this scenario, like the hurdle above, a managed-service webinar provider makes sense. You don’t want a webinar vendor who can only drop off the technology and wish you the best of luck. You want a webinar partner that can do the heavy lifting and make bandwidth a non-issue, enabling you to create engaging content that will ultimately generate more revenue for your company
  3. My webinar content and formats are growing stale – keeping your webinar content and formats fresh is essential to ongoing engagement with your audience. Boring webinars and ho-hum formats will make your prospects think that you’re boring and ho-hum as well. Put together content that is different than everything out there in the marketplace and truly educates your customers and prospects. Don’t make it a company commercial…make it a fun, educational session. In terms of formats, if you’re going to do audio and slides be sure to make your slides pop. Look into vendors that can also offer live video streaming and/or can roll videos into your audio and slides-based webinar. Video-based webinars (videocasts, as we like to call them) offer a more personalized experience for your audience and can help optimize demand generation. Be sure to use engagement tactics like social interaction, Q&A, polls, surveys, content downloads and chat features. When you give your webinar audience more opportunities to engage, it means better reporting metrics and insights into your prospects on the backend. This intelligence will enable you to sell and market smarter, resulting in increased revenues and tremendous webinar ROI.
  4. My webinar attendance has been underwhelming, leading to a lackluster pipeline and poor ROI – let’s face it…as a marketer, you’re running webinars to get eyeballs that turn into interest and, hopefully, new business. Poor webinar attendance is the biggest webinar challenge out there today, and there are many reasons for it. In our most recent webinar – Solving the Webinar Attendance Problem – we go in-depth about this problem and what companies can do to solve it. It will give you the answers you’re looking for and is definitely worth a watch!

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Outsourced Lead Generation? Four Things to Consider

Posted on Aug 15, 2019 by .

Lead generation is the lifeblood of any sales force and the chief function of any marketing team. Unfortunately, too many B2B organizations aren’t equipped to do it the right way and what you’re left with are leads that aren’t truly qualified, a dry pipeline, and unaligned sales and marketing teams that are constantly playing the blame game. If you’re seeing this in your organization, here are four reasons why you should consider outsourcing your lead generation to somebody that does it for a living.

1. It’s more cost effective to outsource

Think of all of the costs involved to build an in-house lead generation engine – inside sales reps (ISRs) with their salaries, benefits and monthly expenses; sales managers to manage them with their salaries, benefits and monthly expenses; technology, both software and hardware, to help manage the process; offices to house them (they’ve got to sit somewhere don’t they?), etc. The list goes on and on. What if you could outsource it to a team that has all of this covered? What if you could have 1-2 (+) people dedicated to your account and you pay them on a retainer basis? Or what about performance-based contracts, meaning you only pay for the leads delivered to you that meet a defined criteria? You’re not paying for garbage, you’re paying for quality. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

2. It’s not what you do

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair (and fellow Houstonian)

It’s simply not what you do. You don’t have the process or technologies in place; you don’t have the people that have the experience to get the job done; and a lot of the time the good people you do have are completely out of bandwidth, meaning you’re out of resources to do the job right. Outsource this function to professionals that can provide the horsepower you need while you and your team focus on closing business. “Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.” – Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

3. Your sales reps are more entitled than ever before

That might sound aggressive, but it’s true. Today’s B2B sales reps, more often than not, want qualified leads delivered to them on a silver platter and they’re not willing to make the amount of touches necessary to drive leads. They don’t want to hunt. And when you tell them that’s a part of their role, they begrudgingly do it. This leads to resentment amongst your sales team, which leads to unenthusiastic calls (in terms of first impressions, having the wrong tone can be an absolute killer), poorly scripted out emails, and overall poor results. And for your sales reps that aren’t entitled, many times they’re getting poor training because their managers and supervisors don’t know how to implement an effective lead-gen strategy. Remember, it’s not what they do (see reason # 2). This is an instance where outsourcing this function to a lead generation partner is a necessity. Look at the commitment it takes to drive a sale at your company. Ask yourself, “Is my team willing and ready to do this?”

4. Setting appointments is just the tip of the iceberg

Many of today’s lead generation providers do a lot more than what you might be accustomed to. Scheduling the initial appointment with your ideal prospects is just the beginning. Look for providers that can shorten your sales cycles and increase revenues by helping you:

  • Build targeted lists that you don’t have the bandwidth/technology/resources to build in-house
  • Qualify inbound leads so your sales reps don’t have to, giving them more time to actually sell to existing leads
  • Nurture leads that aren’t quite ‘sales ready,’ ensuring that you stay relevant and on their radar when they’re finally serious and ready to begin the buying process
  • Promote and drive traffic to events where you’ll have a presence, resulting in more in-person meetings and better event ROI
  • Build relevant content that you can use to more effectively generate leads from your targeted account list

If you’re current ISRs are doing a poor job of filling the calendar and the pipeline, and you’re looking to get more return on your lead-gen investment, outsourcing should be at the top of your to-do list. Just make sure you do your due diligence on your lead-gen partner of choice. There are a lot of swindlers out there that muddy up the waters for the rest of us!

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Starting a Webinar Campaign? 5 Things to Know

Posted on Aug 9, 2019 by .

A lot of marketers want to make webinars a part of their content marketing and lead generation strategy, and why not? Webinars are the ultimate tool to extend your reach, engage your target audience and drive more pipeline. However, you can’t just jump into a webinar initiative without proper planning. In this blog, we outline the 5 things every company should know before they start a webinar campaign.

1. Outline Responsibilities

Responsibilities need to be defined before, during and after the webinar. Consider the following questions:

  • Who are the folks that will be building the topic and description for the webinar?
  • Who is going to build the project plan for the webinar and ensure that your team is staying on schedule?
  • What marketing tactics are you going to use and who will be managing/overseeing the promotions of your webinar?
  • Who are your speakers and how are you sourcing them? Who will be responsible for making sure your speakers are comfortable with the presentation, as well as the webinar technology, the day of the event?
  • Who will be building the slide deck and other supporting content in the webinar? Will it be audio or video-based and who is responsible for recording?
  • The day of the event, what members of your team will be there to support the event to ensure its executed flawlessly?
  • Post event, how are the leads going to be distributed to your reps for immediate follow-up? Who’s going to ensure that the on-demand version of the webinar is used properly so it continues to generate leads for your business for months to come?

2. Appropriate Bandwidth is a Necessity 

Many folks are shocked when they enter into a webinar campaign, only to find out that they don’t have the necessary bandwidth to execute their webinars the right way. In cases like this, it could make sense to work with a vendor that offers a managed-service option. Vendors like this can handle all technical and production details from registration page creation to event archive, allowing you to focus on putting together a top-notch webinar presentation and promoting it the right way to drive the traffic you want. We’ve often found that the #1 reason marketers don’t execute more webinars is because they simply don’t have the bandwidth to do so, regardless of how well their webinars have performed in the past. A managed-service webinar vendor can make this challenge obsolete.

3. Your Audience Doesn’t Want a Company Commercial

Too often, companies use webinars as an opportunity to tell their audience how great their company/product/service is. The truth is, your audience doesn’t care because they didn’t sign up for a 45-minute commercial. They want your webinar to be an educational experience, one that gives them tips/pointers and helps them understand how your company has helped businesses like theirs. This doesn’t only pertain to the webinar itself, but to the registration page and promotions as well. Your registration page should clearly outline who your webinar is meant for, what attendees will learn by taking 45 minutes out of their day to hear what you have to say, and the value they’ll get out of attending. If it doesn’t do that, you’re losing before your webinar even takes place.

4. Different Webinars Serve Different Purposes

If you’re using webinars for marketing purposes, there are different types of webinars to use throughout every stage of the funnel. There are webinars for top-of-funnel lead generation; webinars to turn existing leads into working opportunities; and webinars that actually close business. It’s important to understand different segments of your audience and what webinar fits them best. There are also webinars to improve the customer experience that can help establish a larger footprint in your client accounts; webinars for sales and partner enablement; and webinars for overall training purposes. Whichever way you plan on using webinars, just make sure that that you get the right webinar in front of the right audience.

5. Webinars Have Long-Tail Impact

The biggest mistake marketers make is putting all of their emphasis on the live webinar and completely disregarding the on-demand version. Yes, everybody wants a large live audience so they can immediately turn those attendees into qualified leads. However, its important to properly extend the shelf-life of your webinar content so it acts as a lead generator for your business for a long time to come. Your on-demand webinars can also be re-purposed into other forms of content – highlight reels, short videos, whitepapers, eBooks, blogs, etc. – that can drive significant pipeline for your company as well. When you are planning out your overall webinar strategy, be sure to outline what your on-demand plan is going to be for each webinar. Treating on-demand webinars with as much care as the live event can significantly increase the ROI of your webinar campaigns.

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


How to Pick the Right Webinar Topic

Posted on Jun 12, 2019 by .

You’ve committed to making webinars a part of your marketing strategy. Fantastic! Now…what are you going to talk about? How are you going to put together a webinar topic that speaks to your audience and makes them want to register and attend?

While the webinar presentation itself must be compelling and have substance, your audience will never even see your webinar unless you pick an engaging topic that they’re interested in learning more about. Think of it like a prospecting email – the message in the body of your email might be awesome, but your prospects will only read it if the subject line compels them to open it in the first place. Here are some tips that will help you pick the right webinar topic every time.

It’s not about you. It’s about your audience

It doesn’t matter what you want to talk about. What matters is what your audience wants. Where are they looking to improve? Where are they challenged? What information are they thirsting for and how can you give them what they want? Going to your sales team to get answers to these questions would be a smart move. They’re on the frontline every day speaking with customers and prospects. They’re hearing the complaints and challenges. They also know where there’s miscommunication and why some deals are being lost. They can essentially be the voice of the customer/prospect and help you build topics and messaging that resonates with your audience. Finally, don’t be afraid to simply ask your audience, “We’re going to be running webinars to educate and connect with our community. What would you like to see and learn in our webinars?”

Pick a topic with your webinar goal in mind

Are you looking to create mass appeal and touch your entire audience? If so, you’ll want to go with a topic that’s broader in nature. These are topics that will drive more webinar traffic, but most likely won’t generate as many qualified leads. If you’re looking to generate more qualified, sales ready leads or accelerate existing opportunities through the pipeline, you’ll want to pick a topic that appeals to a particular niche or segment of your audience. These are webinars that are meant to meet where your prospects are in their buying journey. We touched on this a few months back in A Webinar for Every Stage of the Funnel.

Repurpose content that’s been successful

We always talk about how great webinar content is staring marketers in the face…they just need to know where to look. If you’re struggling to find that perfect webinar topic, dive into past content, determine what’s generated the most buzz and re-purpose it. If you have a blog that’s gotten a lot of attention and shares, an eBook or whitepaper that generated a lot of downloads, or a video that got a lot of views, double down on that success and make it the topic of your next webinar. Too often marketing teams create great content, but don’t look at the big picture and realize the long-tail impact it can have. They’re just looking at short-term results. Webinars are the ideal vehicle to extend the shelf life of successful pieces of content.

Clearly articulate the purpose of your webinar

I know it sounds obvious, but too often the topic doesn’t clearly state what the webinar is going to talk about. Pick a topic that will give your audience a good idea of what the webinar is going to cover (for example, ‘Five Ways to Generate More Webinar Traffic’), and then when they get to the registration page have a description that clearly states the educational benefits of attending your webinar.

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


What’s Working in Demand Generation in 2019?

Posted on May 1, 2019 by .

Organizations are investing more in marketing than ever before. There are more tools at a B2B marketer’s disposal than ever before. Marketing budgets are going up. However, putting together content marketing and lead generation strategies that stand out from the crowd and truly deliver results has become increasingly difficult.

To find out what is truly effective right now, check out Demand Gen Report’s ‘What’s Working in Demand Generation in 2019’ report. Three key highlights from the report that we see:

  1. It’s time to test ABM. Actually, it’s been time to test ABM for a while now. It’s no longer a buzzword, but rather a necessity for getting ahead. Once thought of as a tactic for only large enterprises, companies of all sizes are starting to play the ABM game. Spray and pray is out, and targeted, personalized campaigns are in. A multi-pronged approach is key and that’s what we stress with our Elastic Solutions Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success.
  2. Webinars continue to be a killer lead-gen weapon. 58% of respondents to the 2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Report cited webinars as their most successful tactic for top-of-funnel engagement. Webinars are considered a ‘must do’ channel and new webinar formats will enable B2B marketers to increase prospect engagement, learn more about their prospects and drive more pipeline. If you’re looking to take you’re webinars up a notch, check out our on-demand webinar The Seven Pillars of an Effective Webinar Campaign.
  3. Build content with the customer in mind. While the goal of your content is to generate engagement and drive demand, don’t make your content a company commercial. Build it with the prospective customer in mind. Educate and inform your buyers, establish your brand as a thought leader and resource for them, and your content marketing ROI will greatly increase.

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Four Lead Generation Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on Apr 9, 2019 by .

More than ever, lead generation is top of mind for marketers. If we talk to 10 marketers, 7 of them will say that more effective lead generation is their biggest initiative. We believe it’s because marketers are tied to revenue more than ever before and there’s more pressure on them to deliver quality leads. Additionally, the B2B marketing landscape is increasingly competitive and marketers are constantly searching for the magic bullet that will allow their messaging and campaigns to rise above the noise. With that said, too many organizations are making crucial mistakes that are killing their lead generation plans before they really get started. Here are Four Lead Generation Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Thinking You Have Enough Leads– in our opinion there’s no such thing, and in reality, most of your ‘leads’ aren’t really leads at all. They may be website visitors, folks that download a piece of content or attend an event, but have they been truly qualified beyond that? Most of the time when companies take the time to dig through all of those ‘leads’, they find out that a small percentage of them are truly qualified. Thinking you have enough leads and putting a halt on lead generation for any extended period of time results in low audience engagement and an empty pipeline.
  2. ‘Testing Out’ Lead Generation– like marketing in general, lead generation needs to be an ongoing engine for it to be successful. If you’re new to lead generation, it’s not something you try out for 3-4 months and if it doesn’t work you scrap it and say “we gave it a shot.” In today’s B2B environment, an effective lead generation plan is essential for companies to efficiently grow and scale their business. You don’t simply ‘test it out.’ You go full throttle.
  3. Being a One Trick Pony– there are so many lead generation products, tools and services at a marketing team’s disposal it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to picking the right mix. What you absolutely CANNOT do is pick one and that’s all you do. It can’t be all outbound and it can’t be all inbound. You need to implement a multi-pronged approach that enables you to hit your target audience a number of different ways. Outbound calling and emailing to setup appointments, while having a team to qualify inbound leads. Different forms of content – such as webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, videos and blogs – that educate, engage and drive leads into the funnel. Have a social strategy that provides valuable content and helps to establish your company as a thought leader in the space. There are a number of ways to skin the lead generation cat, so take advantage of a multi-pronged approach.
  4. Randomly Buying and Renting Lists– many times, lead generation programs simply don’t stand a chance because the lists they’re targeting are complete and total crap. This is due to the fact that many companies just bought and rented lists from list brokers without doing any call and email verifying on their own. Additionally, many marketing teams do a poor job of consistently updating their lists. If you start with a list of 10,000 contacts at the beginning of the year, there’s a very good chance that 20% of that list is going to be invalid by the end of the year. If you don’t have the bandwidth in-house, make sure you work with a partner that can ensure your list will consistently be augmented and scrubbed. Otherwise, you’re going to be marketing to ghosts and your lead generation goals aren’t going to be met.

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


75 Quotes to Ignite Your Sales & Marketing Drive

Posted on Mar 8, 2019 by .

Sales and marketing professionals are the lifeblood of any B2B organization. They also get told ‘no thanks’ and have more doors slammed in their faces than the rest of the departments in any organization combined! Extremely thick skin, ‘can do’ attitudes, and a fearless mentality are a must in the sales and marketing game

As we’ve done the last few years, we direct you to our friends at Hubspot for their 75 Motivational Sales Quotes to Ignite Your Sales Drive in 2019. It’s a short read, but totally worth it. Now go make 2019 the best year yet! Click here to read on.


The Ideal Webinar Project Plan

Posted on Mar 5, 2019 by .

Without question, one of the biggest barriers to webinar success is simply not having an iron-clad webinar project plan in place. Too many companies and marketers think that they can simply ‘wing it’ and people will automatically register/attend. Nothing could be further from the truth. At Elastic Solutions, we believe the ideal webinar project plan is a six-week process that covers everything from topic/abstract creation to event archive. Here is a sample six-week plan for a live webinar (this will vary slightly if you’re executing a simu-live webinar):

Six Weeks Out:

  • Topic and Abstract brainstorming and selection
  • Choose compelling speakers that will generate interest and give an engaging live-day presentation
  • Plan out your promotional roadmap (email x 3 or 4, website, social, partners, etc.) and on-demand plan. Don’t forget that promoting the on-demand version can be just as important as promoting the live event

Five Weeks Out:

  • Finalize topic, abstract, speakers and live date
  • Build your registration page and have it ready to go LIVE!

Four Weeks Out:

  • Now that the webinar is live it’s time to begin promotion on your website, through a dedicated email blast to your audience, and through various social media channels. If you have partners and/or 3rd parties that you’re leveraging, begin promotions through them as well
  • Schedule a dry run 2 weeks before the live webinar

Three Weeks Out:

  • Make sure that your sales team gets your webinar in front of key prospects and customers. While webinars are the ultimate lead generation tool, they’re also a great asset to accelerate opportunities through the pipeline and can be used to upsell existing customers. Webinars are no longer JUST for lead generation!
  • Double check with your presenters to make sure that the live date still works for them and that no conflicts have popped up on their calendars. Things happen and you need to be 100% sure your presenters are going to be available

Two Weeks Out:

  • 1st Dry Run. First, make sure that your presenters are comfortable with the technology and are confident with everything they need to do to deliver a top-notch live webinar. Second, go through the presentation itself and make sure that presenters know their roles, who’s going when and who’s saying what, etc. An initial slide deck should be loaded into the platform for this dry run. Finally, start talking about what’s going to happen the day of the webinar – when do they need to login, what devices should they be using to deliver an optimal webinar experience for attendees, what happens if they’re having technical difficulties (worst-case scenarios…always need to plan for them), etc.
  • Send your second dedicated email blast to your list. Continue with the other promotional strategies, of course

One Week Out:

  • If necessary, execute an additional dry run with your presenters. For presenters that don’t have a lot of webinar experience and/or you don’t feel like they’re comfortable enough with the technology and everything they need to do the day of the live event, a second dry run is a great idea. For presenters that are webinar pros, it’s not necessary
  • First reminder email is sent to all current webinar registrants
  • Third promotional email blast is sent to your audience to generate more webinar traffic
  • Make sure the final slide deck is loaded into the platform and that your presenters know exactly how the deck is going to be presented

Day Before/Morning of Live Webinar:

  • If you are looking to get an extra registration boost, a final promotion the day before or the morning of the webinar has been proven to drive good ‘11th hour’ results
  • Send 2nd reminder email to all current webinar registrants the morning of the live webinar

Live Broadcast:

  • Presenters need to login 30-40 minutes before the start of the webcast to run performance checks and test audio/sound quality (no cell phones and no speaker phones!). Make sure your speakers are in a quiet environment where there won’t be any distractions
  • Ensure that your team is ready to support your presenters and your attendees in case there are technical difficulties that need to be troubleshooted immediately. Again, always be prepared for the worst-case scenarios

1-2 Days After Live Date:

  • Get your webcast archived on-demand and posted on your site within 24 hours of the live date
  • Send a post-event email to all attendees and folks that registered/didn’t attend, providing them with access to the on-demand webinar
  • Begin the process of promoting the on-demand webinar to the rest of your audience that never registered for the live event. Remember, don’t think that the live event is all that matters. On-demand webinars have incredible long-tail lead generation impact when promoted the right way!

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Three Common Barriers to Webinar Adoption

Posted on Nov 14, 2018 by .

While webinars are the most versatile, effective content marketing tool to engage your audience and drive significant pipeline, there are still a lot of companies out there that simply haven’t made webinars a consistent piece of their lead generation strategy. And after countless discussions with marketers, we’ve found three common barriers to webinar adoption:

  1. Bandwidth Issues – when a small marketing team looks at everything that a successful webinar entails, from registration page creation to event archive, they think there’s no way they can run a successful webinar campaign. It’s a legitimate concern, but if you work with a webinar provider that has a managed-service option, it can make the bandwidth issue obsolete. At Elastic, we assign a team to each of our client accounts to ensure their webinar process is seamless and on point. This includes a webcast project manager to build your registration page and customized webinar environment; taking care of all confirmation and reminder emails; managing scheduling logistics and dry runs; training your presenters on how they can be at their absolute best the day of the event; recording the day of the event and providing live support; archiving it on-demand and giving you an on-demand asset that you can use for lead-gen purposes for a long time to come, and much more! Long story short, having a team that can manage all the technical and production details, while you worry about producing great content, can help you execute great webinars on a more consistent basis
  2. Thinking they don’t have any content/topics to present on – we get this one all the time, but little do folks know that great content to present on is often staring them in the face! If you’re using blogs, repurpose a blog into a webinar. If you have whitepapers/eBooks/research reports/case studies, use those as the foundation of a webinar. Great content is typically there, you just need to know where to look for it. Read this blog to learn more
  3. They’ve been burned by webinars in the past – this is completely understandable. If you’ve had a bad experience with something in today’s world of instant gratification, you’re unlikely to go back to that well. However, we’ve found three reasons why folks have been burned by webinars:
    • Their previous webinars weren’t properly promoted or properly managed – they didn’t promote them long and hard enough (3 weeks minimum, leveraging as many promotional channels as possible) and the project management of them was poorly executed. They didn’t have an outlined, 5-6 week webinar success plan in place. Proper planning is essential to webinar ROI
    • Their previous webinars didn’t drive value for the attendees – the topics didn’t speak to the pains and challenges of their target audience; they didn’t truly educate their audience; and worst of all, they used webinars as a one hour sales pitch. Big no no.
    • They had technical difficulties – plain and simple the webinar platform they were using didn’t work. Nobody could get in and watch the presentation; the slides wouldn’t move; the audio didn’t work; they didn’t get the reporting metrics they were looking for. And worst of all, they didn’t have anyone from their webinar provider that could troubleshoot it for them in a timely manner. Challenges like this can make it hard to regain the trust of your audience

Does any of this sound like the reason(s) you’ve shied away from using webinars as a tool to drive pipeline for your business? If so, all of these are challenges that can be easily solved!

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of ElasticSolutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Why Aren’t My ‘Qualified’ Leads Converting?

Posted on Oct 30, 2018 by .

I’ve been in the lead generation game for a long time, and whether it’s our webinar-based software or services, Elastic Solutions is laser-focused on quality lead generation. Because of that, our conversations with our clients and prospects always center around the topic of lead-gen. We’re increasingly hearing marketing and sales leaders say that their qualified leads aren’t converting, and after peeling back the onion we’ve found three common themes:

  1. It was never qualified to begin with – this above all else, and most of the time it’s because the organization doesn’t have a clear definition of what a qualified lead is. They weren’t dealing with the ultimate decision maker, aka the person that is going to sign the contract; they didn’t confirm that there is a true intent to purchase the type of solution that they offer; they don’t even know if this ‘lead’ can afford what they’re selling, regardless of how bad the need may be. You get the drift. Add in the fact that the majority of ISRs/BDRs – typically the roles that are tasked with qualifying leads – get happy ears when a prospect says ‘yes’, without qualifying them further, and it’s no wonder that ‘qualified’ leads not converting is a headache for marketing and sales leaders
  2. Not all of the stakeholders are being touched – according to multiple studies and surveys, on average there are 6-8 stakeholders involved in an enterprise B2B deal. And chances are you’re not touching all of them. Just because it’s important to Jim the COO, doesn’t mean it’s important to Suzie the CFO. Samantha the SVP might be faced with this challenge, but another challenge is keeping Danny the EVP up at night. Are you marketing and selling to all of these pains? In today’s marketplace, it’s imperative that you A) understand who all of the decision makers are at the outset B) figure out the unique challenges that these decision makers are faced with, and C) present a business case as to how your solution/service can solve these challenges and generate ROI for all stakeholders involved. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen deals lost, that could’ve been won, because this wasn’t properly vetted upfront
  3. You’re just checking in – let’s assume that everything is properly vetted. You’re dealing with the key folks; you know their challenges and have a solution in place that can solve them; the intent to purchase a solution like yours is there. And then…crickets. The deal goes cold on you and you find out that it went to a competitor. Where did it all go wrong? We’ve found that many times this happens because organizations are ‘just checking in’ and stop marketing and selling. Active opportunities need to be nurtured every step of the way until close. Instead of ‘just checking in’ – three words that decision makers hate, FYI – send them something of substance. Invite them to a webinar or send them a video. Send them a recent whitepaper or pass along an article that speaks to them and the position they’re in as a buyer. Give them something that matches up to where they are in their buying journey. Trust me, your conversion percentage will thank you for it

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of ElasticSolutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com


Webinar Registration Page Do’s and Don’ts

Posted on Aug 9, 2018 by .

It’s where everything begins. It’s where you make your first impression. It’s where you’re audience decides whether or not they’re going to give you 45 minutes to an hour of their time. The registration page. Seems simple enough, but a boring, vanilla, unoptimized registration page can be the difference between a webinar with huge registration numbers or one with little to no audience at all. Let’s look at the Do’s and Don’ts of webinar registration pages

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The 7 Pillars of a Successful Webinar Strategy

Posted on Apr 21, 2018 by .

Webinars are the best content marketing/lead gen tool in a marketer’s toolbox. Successful webinar strategies don’t just simply happen…far from it. There are certain steps and processes involved that separate the great ones from the rest of the pack. Anything worth doing is worth doing exceptionally well, right?
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The Anatomy of a Good Lead Generation Survey

Posted on Apr 4, 2018 by .

Think about how many tools allow you to:

  • Know if you’re dealing with the right decision makers and influencers
  • Learn about what your targeted accounts are doing around X, Y and Z
  • Get insight into what they like/dislike about their current solution
  • Understand if the person on the other end is a legitimate opportunity for you and your business

Not many. However, a well crafted survey is one of those tools. Because it’s a part of our business, and because more and more B2B marketers are using surveys to drive actionable insight from their key accounts, I present to you the ‘Anatomy of a Good Lead Generation Survey’:

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The Top Lead Generation Trends in 2018 for B2B Marketers

Posted on Jan 31, 2018 by .

If you’re a B2B marketer, you know one thing is for certain – driving qualified, ‘sales ready’ leads is tough. I’m talking about leads that are truly qualified and fit a defined criteria. Quality lead generation is the #1 thing that keeps marketers up at night, and it should because the B2B landscape is more competitive than ever and it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. With that in mind, here are our top lead generation trends in 2018 that B2B marketers should implement into their strategy to drive pipeline like never before.

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60 Quotes to Ignite your Sales & Marketing Drive

Posted on Jan 26, 2018 by .

Sales and marketing professionals are the lifeblood of any B2B organization. They also get told ‘no thanks’ and have more doors slammed in their faces than the rest of the departments in any organization combined! Extremely thick skin, ‘can do’ attitudes, and a fearless mentality are a must in the sales and marketing game

As we’ve done the last few years, we direct you to our friends at Hubspot for their 60 Motivational Sales Quotes to Ignite Your Sales Drive in 2018. It’s a short read, but totally worth it. Now go make 2018 the best year yet! Click here to read on.


4 Tips for Better Content Engagement

Posted on Oct 12, 2017 by .

Content is king, and the amount of engagement that content is generating will tell you whether or not you’re hitting all of the right notes with your audience. The challenge, however, is that most folks know that content is king and marketers are creating more content than ever before, making it increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd.
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