Working with partners to ideate, execute, and promote joint content can be a huge revenue-generating activity. So much so that we’ve already crafted an overview on the core steps to doing so here. But let’s take some time to hone in on one of the most common co-marketing tactics—especially in B2B—the trusty partner webinar.
Full transparency: Hosting a partner webinar isn’t without it’s challenges. Coordinating with marketing counterparts in other organizations is often hit and miss. And the moving parts required to successfully pull off a partner webinar are ripe for technological error and frustration. If things go well, the webinar could further cement a partner relationship and be extremely lucrative for both parties. But if things go badly, a botched webinar can actually hurt your reputation with your partners and customers.
Want to make sure your next partner webinar is seamlessly executed? Below you’ll find a playbook detailing how to manage the three core elements of the event: people, process, and technology. Combine those insights with our exclusive Partner Webinar Checklist for a robust tutorial that will help you make sure your webinars thrive instead of dive.
People: Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities involved in creating a partner webinar go far beyond just who from the partner orgs will speak. It’s crucial to put on your project management hat and explicitly assign roles, responsibilities, and due dates for the following deliverables:
The Partner Webinar Strategy Session
Give serious thought to who will attend this session, where the following decisions will be made:
- What are the shared goals of the webinar?
- Who is the target audience (demographics)?
- At what stage in the buying process will the target audience be when attending (moment in time, behavior)?
- How will the webinar benefit each partner?
- What customer problem are you trying to solve with the webinar content?
- What are the service level agreement definitions, escalation paths, and conflict resolution steps?
The Partner Webinar Ideation Session
Once the strategic objectives are finalized, stakeholders should begin ideating around the content. Consider the following questions:
- Who will speak?
- What is the main solution to the customer problem?
- What is each partner’s role in solving the problem?
- What is the theme?
- When will you host the webinar and how long will it last?
- How will you promote the webinar?
- What is the call to action at the end of the webinar? (i.e. sharable slide deck, distribution of related content, push for demos)
The Project Management Behind the Partner Webinar
Once your strategy and content outline are in place, it’s time to execute. The key parties should decide:
- Who is the project owner? This person (and only one person) must be the hub of all activities related to the webinar.
- Who will project manage the webinar, holding everyone accountable to timelines?
- What specifically must each speaker do? Beyond crafting what they plan to say, consider how the slides will be created. Will there be a design resource available to finalize the deck(s) and ensure a consistent look and feel?
- Who will own the registration process (landing page, registration form, webinar hosting platform, etc)?
- Is there an integration that will automatically share the registrants with all partners for exclusion lists?
- Who will write the promotional copy?
- Who will create the promotional imagery?
Promotion of the Partner Webinar
To ensure ultimate audience engagement for your webinar, it’s important to make sure that each of the following promotional pieces have an owner:
- Internal: Who will educate your own employees on the initiative and encourage them to share the registration link?
- Email: Who will own sending demand gen emails for each partner?
- Social Media: Which individual will be responsible for managing these channels for each partner?
- Ads: Who will handle paid media initiatives and what is the budget?
- Other channels: Consider any and all other avenues of promotion and assign a lead to each.
Will reminders be consolidated through one partner (highly recommended) or is each partner responsible for their own?
- During the event
Which webinar attendees can help create buzz by tweeting takeaways in real time? This is a great role for partner employees.
- Post event follow-up
- Emailed Thank Yous and We Missed Yous: Who owns sending out these standard communications?
- Sales Meetings: If your webinar includes a call to action to set meetings, who will own that follow-up? Are you planning to have joint sales calls? If so, how will that flow work?
- Nurture cadence. You’ll want to use the topical interests of our target audience to drive future communication. Take the time to ensure your marketing teams are not overwhelming the audience with similar nurture streams.
- Repurposing content
- Who will add text to the video in post-production?
- Who will add the slides to Slideshare? Will each partner add to their own account or will there just be one?
- Who will write follow-up blogs digging into questions asked during the session or expand on areas only quickly touched on?
- Who will push traffic to these follow-up articles and the recording?
- Will every partner commit to backlinks?
Evaluating the Success of the Partner Webinar
Once your webinar is over and you’ve set up a solid repurposing plan that optimizes your content, next identify the timeframe for reporting on movement toward your original goals. If the partners have wildly different sales cycles (1-day closes versus two year consideration cycles), a middle ground will need to be decided. When it comes to analyzing the metrics, partners are encouraged to learn from each other and help one another to be great, data-driven marketers!
Evaluating The Hard and Fast Numbers
In terms of success, you’ll want to compare your results against your original goals. But be sure to also measure how the webinar impacted revenue. Encourage partner teams to share stats around the following data:
- New names added to your database
- Meetings set: If you co-sell with your partners there should be coordination here.
- Pipeline sourced: Track opportunities that generate FROM a person who was acquired by the webinar.
- Pipeline influenced: Track opportunities where one of your webinar attendees is currently engaged or engages AFTER the webinar.
- Revenue sourced: Same as c, except with closed won opportunities
- Post-content stats: Since you’re creating additional content after the webinar, be sure to share how it’s performing using the same major categories outlined above.
Addressing Fluffier Feelings
The final feedback you’ll look to capture can most commonly be aligned to a project management technique for retrospects. Essentially, in an unstructured way, get everyone involved in the process together and simply ask, “What did we do well and what can we improve next time?”
The Process: When and How?
Once you’ve assigned everyone their roles, it’s time to align on the systems the team will use to communicate, share updates, and execute. Some of the elements for this process are decided during the beginning phases, specifically the strategic session. For example, the reason you’re specifying SLAs in the strategic portion is to understand the individual processes and hold everyone accountable to their part.
The process takes all the grand plans and sets very explicit next steps for each action item. In the Partner Webinar Checklist you’ll notice that some sections include the term “Next Step.” We’ve mocked up some simple statuses to give everyone what amounts to a quick project management overview. Defining next steps is absolutely critical to ensuring things keep moving forward succinctly toward the end goal.
The Technology: Shortcuts, Hacks and Tools
The speed of technological innovation means there’s almost always a shortcut that will enhance partner collaboration. The downside is that there are so many options. When you’re working internally, these tools are often easily shared across the organization. But when you’re partnering with a separate organization, or a host of organizations, it can be challenging to get everyone to use the same tools.
For example, we love Slack for communication. When our partners also use Slack, we’re able to easily access them for quick questions or encouragement. But when we’re working with partners who use Microsoft or HipChat, then we need to coordinate another way to collaborate in real time, or gain an understanding that vehicles like email and booking meetings will be the tools for communication.
A Sample Partner Webinar Tech Stack
- Google Docs
A Note About the Google Doc
Think of the Google Doc as a hub for project management elements and maintaining direction. It should include:
Page 1: The Gist
- The registration goal
- A running update of registration numbers (including each partner’s sourced number)
- A simple chart with: Topic, Date, Object, Target Registrants, Target Audience, and Hosting
Page 2: Webinar Details
- The header
- The webinar’s main title
- Main copy
- Takeaways (What attendees will learn)
Page 3: Supporting promotional tools
- Social copy
- Asset links
Conclusion: Partner Webinars Made Easier
Hosting a partner webinar is a great way to expand your business’ customer universe. It’s also an exciting chance to network with individuals at other companies for professional development and mentorship opportunities. While the many moving parts of a partner webinar can seem overwhelming, dividing your planning process to thoughtfully focus on people, process, and technology will streamline the experience exponentially. So what are you waiting for? Happy webinaring!