When Sales Fails Marketing

One of the most popular forms of online marketing and lead generation is online webinars. Online webinars provide great value for the presenters as well as the attendees.

I usually register for 2-3 different webinars per week on topics that interest me from a sales and marketing perspective. The follow up from these webinars is poor, which is surprising because many of the webinars I attend are hosted by sales and marketing software platforms.

Here is the most common follow up process by these companies:

  • I sign up for the webinar and get a calendar invite.
  • After the webinar I get a copy of the recording, sometimes shortly after the webinar, other times weeks after the webinar.
  • Then, I am added to whatever monthly/quarterly email blast they are doing about their company.

That is it; nothing else happens. No one calls me, no one emails me directly, no one puts me in some type of email sequence to share more information with me.

Sales Is Failing Marketing

I believe sales managers are simply allowing marketing to handle all the follow up after webinars. Sales is taking no ownership, and has no strategy about how to get these contacts into the funnel and turn them into qualified leads. For example, if your sales team is waiting weeks after an original webinar to send recordings out, then they have waited too long and the prospects have already moved on. Marketing sets up the webinar, handles all the logistics, and then emails the attendees the recording. If the company is big enough they send the attendee list to inside sales or outside sales and the sales team cherry picks which prospects they believe to be the best. (Sometimes someone from sales follows up with one email, but that is pretty rare.)

As a sales organization you are missing a great opportunity to nurture warm leads and eventually get them into your sales funnel. Prior to hosting the webinar, sales and marketing should sit together and lay out an exact plan on what the follow up will be with the attendees. Setup an outbound marketing calendar specific to each webinar.

An example of a strong outbound marketing to sales transition:

  • Day of Event: Send recording to all attendees, whether they attended or not
  • Day Two: Inside Sales sends a follow up whitepaper or case study related to the webinar topic
  • Day Four: Inside Sales cold calls into the prospect
  • Day Eight: Inside Sales follows up with another email asking about their current process
  • Day Ten: Insides Sales follows up again with a phone call

There should be a clear distinction between what qualifies a lead that should continue to receive marketing alerts and collateral and a lead that should be actively transitioned into the sales organization. Webinar attendees signal that they want to learn and are interested in receiving information. An outbound sales effort (what Sales Engine likes to call “proactive pursuit”) can continue this process while actively qualifying leads in and out of the sales funnel.

There is one company that does an incredible job with webinar follow-up and that is InsideSales.com. Every event I attend one that they host seems to have a specific follow up plan including both email and phone calls. If you haven’t already, register for a few of their webinars and watch the follow up process. Their process is a good example of how to follow up after webinars.

Simply adding these individuals to your company wide email marketing list is not enough. Sales management needs to take ownership and outline a process for the sales team to follow up with the webinar attendees.