Is your webinar meant to serve a marketing need or a sales need? If you cannot quickly, easily, and clearly answer that question, you are most likely undermining its effectiveness.
In the broadest brushstrokes, marketing is everything necessary to get targets to the point where they are ready to consider making a purchase. Sales is the process of removing final doubts, overcoming objections, negotiating terms and pricing, and getting signatures.
In the majority of business-to-business sales/marketing cycles (certainly above a given price point), the two tasks are separate and are carried out by different groups - often over a significant period of time. But many people involved in the process (particularly marketers) try to combine them. That's usually a bad idea.
I grant you that there are a limited number of cases where marketing and sales can be combined effectively into a single presentation. The easiest examples to point to in America are the ubiquitous "infomercials" that pepper the airwaves. These set up a pain point the audience didn't realize it had (marketing), introduce a product the audience wasn't aware of (marketing), demonstrate its effectiveness to remove doubts (marketing/sales), list a price (marketing), immediately REDUCE the price to encourage purchase (sales), and give viewers the mechanism to complete the transaction (sales).
Because we have become used to this approach from our consumer viewing perspective, we often think we can apply the same technique when making a business presentation for a $10,000-$1,000,000 enterprise solution. We can't. Or at least we shouldn't.
One of the most common errors made in marketing webinars is an attempt to overcome sales objections or to remove sales barriers too early in the process. This is usually done under the justification of "gaining credibility with our audience" and takes the form of two slides provided by the Corporate Marketing group. Do you know which slides I am talking about? You have seen them countless times…
The Company Backgrounder slide trumpets how big you are, how many years you have been in business, how many employees you have, where your offices are located, and fascinating facts like that.
The Customer Logos slide supposedly builds trust and credibility by letting people see that others have bought your products.
Both of these slides have a use… They overcome potential or real objections and barriers to making a sale. They reassure the person with signature authority that they are making a justifiable investment with a vendor they can trust. That is a good thing. In a sales context, this information is requested, expected, and welcomed.
Except in very unusual exception cases, the slides are unimportant and unpersuasive to a marketing target. It is not the information they need in order to get to the point where they are willing to consider making a purchase. They know they'll have to do their due diligence at some point, but that point has not yet arrived.
Instead, it adds distraction and a redirection of focus from the key message of how you can solve their problems. It is almost never the reason they came to hear your pitch, so the information seems gratuitous and self-serving on your part. The data being shared is not what the target expected or requested at that point of the relationship, so it loses much of its value.
If you want to make your marketing webinars more effective, don't rush the prospect and introduce sales closers before they are ready to process that information. Once in the sales process, don't go back and cover initial setup of marketing needs. By keeping your presented information appropriate to the target's expectations at each point in the process, you make each presentation more effective and persuasive.
[For more on this topic, see "Why Pain Points Are Hurting Your Marketing Webinars"]