Topics vary, said Ryan Pope, product manager-Americas at 2X Software, but they are usually related to new-product and feature releases for the company's virtual application servers, load balancers and thin clients (applications that have a graphical interface on one PC but run on a second server or workstation).
“Every time we have a new release or feature addition, we make that the focus of the webinar and go over the new features, ask for questions and show people the technology as soon as it's available,” he said. The session is run by the marketing staff as well as a few members of the company's senior support staff. Marketing handles the licensing and general questions, while the support staff handles the technical ones.
The program, which has been around for about a year, is publicized via email in a partner newsletter. Until about three months ago, the emails went out and, if they were interested in attending, people had to RSVP via email. Once they did, they were sent a second email containing a link that would bring them to the online session. After the webinar ended, a thank-you email went out with links to additional documentation and the 2X Software partner portal.
This month, hoping to simplify signups and boost attendance, 2X Software streamlined the signup process. The company now sends out the newsletter with a link embedded. When a reader clicks on the link, it acts as an RSVP and they are taken to a landing page that has a short signup form—attendees only have to provide an email address to attend an event.
This small change reaped big benefits for the company. Almost immediately sign-ups increased by “more than 100%,” Pope said. “It really drove improvement by letting people click on a link rather than [them] having to go through two steps. We're getting a lot more partners involved in the trainings.”
This is significant because Pope said the trainings were a big part of the reason the company grew 20% in 2010. “We're seeing the same growth this year, too,” he said. The webinars, which are split 50/50 between product demonstration and a Q&A period, help the company demonstrate how and when its products can be sold. And having existing products in the mix, Pope said, is just as important as highlighting new ones. “People can ask technical questions as well as how they can market the product to their own customers,” Pope said. “We position these Friday sessions as one of the benefits that our partners get. This type of support is really encouraging people to jump in and become our partners.”