Reveille leverages spend with webinar series

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Objective: Increase new leads interested in the company's experience and performance management solutions.
Strategy: Stage webinars monthly or more frequently, hosted by the company itself as well as in partnership with partners and resellers.
Results: 60% of all new leads have been attributed to the company's webinars in the past year, with several deals directly attributable to the channel.

Reveille Software creates software that monitors the health and performance of other, business-critical software applications.

“Anybody that uses electronic images instead of paper to do business-critical applications is a candidate for our system,” said Judson Phillips, the company's VP-marketing.

When Phillips joined the company in late 2008, he decided to employ webinars as a key lead-generation channel, as he had at a previous job.

“When I worked for software companies in the 1990s, the usual ways to get out information about products was to send out mail invitations to hotel breakfasts and demos,” Phillips said. “But with the virtual world of webinars, you have the leverage to get people from all over the world to come to your event online.”

Webinars have another advantage, he said: They're a nonthreatening way to get people interested in taking a first look at a product. “I think [webinars] offer tremendous bang for the buck,” he said.

Phillips also saw a commitment to webinars as a way to promote a corporate rebranding. (Through the middle of 2008, the company had been known as VSR Networks, selling its products under the Reveille brand.)

“We knew webinars would be a key component of the rebranding,” Phillips said.

Reveille worked with PR and marketing consultancy Arketi Group to assist in the transition, including the development of graphics, collateral materials, a revised Web site and strategies behind the company's first webinar series, launched last year.

“Often, the first webinar in a series of related topics can focus on educating an audience about concepts, with follow-up webinars using product demos,” said Sami Jajeh, principal with Arketi. “Also, some companies may have three or four product lines, divide up each one with its own webinar, and run them over different months. There is no right or wrong way, except to make sure the content is relevant.”

Reveille conducts its own webinars, as well as working in conjunction with resellers and vendor partners. The company is beginning a series on Jan. 21 with content management company EMC Corp. that offers an assortment of backup, recovery and archiving solutions.

Phillips uses the traditional approach of e-mail invitations to webinars, drawing upon Reveille's in-house list, as well as rented lists of prospects. Phillips also has run banner ads on complementary sites to drive viewers to the Reveille site to register.

For its 15 webinars in 2009, the company used the WebEx platform.

Phillips has seen strong results from his webinar series in the 14 months he's been on the job.

“If you look at the sales pipeline, a good number of prospects came into it through our webinars,” he said. “According to my VP of sales, approximately 60% of new leads to our pipeline was generated via the direct and partner webinars we performed from Q4 2008 to Q4 2009. “And some deals that closed in the third and fourth quarters were directly the result of the webinars earlier in the year.”

In the future, Phillips said he may use outbound telephone marketing as well as increase the use of Twitter to supplement his e-mail and display ad channels that support the webinars.

“As a small software company, we can be creative and lean in these times,” Phillips said. “Thus, we're starting to explore Twitter and already are seeing it drive Web site traffic. We're also committed to frequent, targeted press releases. And we plan to be more aggressive this year in creating thought-leadership articles.”

Phillips said a combination of social and search marketing can be effective in “triangulating” the marketing of the company's webinars.

“I love webinars,” he said. “They're a great way to leverage your assets and bolster your marketing dollars.”

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