From 33% to 50% Attendance: Scaling Webinar Success with Cognism

October 28, 2022

Meisha Bochicchio, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast

Ashleigh Frank is one part of the magnificent seven demand gen team at Cognism, the sales intelligence company serious about quality data. 

As a member of the greater 26-person marketing department, Ashleigh’s role requires her to be one heck of a plate-spinner. From managing podcasts, paid ads, social media and orchestrating every piece of content across every platform — Ashleigh and her team really do cover all bases.

Their latest endeavor? Creating a scalable webinar strategy to position Cognism as a genuine thought leader in the B2B sales community. 

We caught up with Ashleigh to find out how she went from hour-long AV checks and manually copy/pasting Q&As, to scaling a successful series of marketing- and sales-led webinars that help fuel Cognism’s demand gen success.

About Cognism

Software/Technology | ~400 employees

Cognism is a premier sales intelligence platform fueling lead generation, sales management, and alpha discovery for a growing number of B2B companies.

Their mission? To help sales and marketing teams drive predictable revenue by providing premium contact data that helps businesses find and engage with prospects who actually want to hear from them.

With this in mind, Ashleigh’s primary go-to-market goal isn’t lead gen — it’s brand awareness. “We're not passing any of these leads to sales at any point,” she explains. “What we're doing is just trying to create awareness, while building a community.”

Taking webinars from glitchy to great

Cognism’s event strategy reflects its strong commitment to sales and marketing alignment.

Each team has its own live event series. On the sales side, the Cold Calling Live series features a member of the Cognism sales team who leads live cold calls alongside external experts in the B2B sales community. The speakers deliver a live post-mortem after each call, offering actionable advice and feedback to attendees.

“It’s our way of connecting thought leaders to the audience and making a name for ourselves in sales,” explains Ashleigh. While Cold Calling Live is there to build awareness, Ashleigh and her team also oversee two other important events series. 

First, there’s Demandism, the roughly once monthly webinar led by Cognism’s marketing team diving deep into trending B2B marketing topics. Then there’s the Cognism Customer Summit, a virtual awards ceremony celebrating key customer wins and case studies.

From the outside, it might look like Cognism’s events program fits into quite the tidy package. But for Ashleigh and her team, scaling a full-funnel event strategy hasn't always been smooth sailing. 

As Cognism’s event needs grew, it became clear their original event platform wasn’t hitting the mark. 

“The entire experience, from end to end, was not where we wanted it to be. We had a lot of tech issues that could derail the entire webinar and we couldn't engage with our audience in real time. We decided to see what else was out there.”

Ashleigh and her team set out to find a new digital event solution — one that could elevate the attendee experience and also scale easily across Ashleigh’s growing demand gen team.

Luckily, that’s when they struck Gold(cast). 😉

We've been able to build up a following around our event series. We’ve never had that kind of repeatable event that people like before. That's a massive win for us.” — Ashleigh Frank, Senior Demand Generation Executive, Cognism

Twice the events, half the meetings

“The big thing for us was how does the software function? After so many issues with our previous webinar platform, we wanted to make sure the next one would be seamless for us to use and easy for other people to learn too,” explains Ashleigh.

Instead of wasting time fighting technical fires and copying/pasting Q&As during the live chat, with the help of Goldcast, Ashleigh and the team could now focus on the demand gen tasks that actually move the needle.

“The tech checks alone would have easily been at least a 30-minute call per event which we're now saving,” Ashleigh says, “That’s a lot of time.”

With more time on her side, Ashleigh was eager to double down on her mission of driving brand authority. And her core metric for measuring success? Audience engagement. 

With the help of Goldcast’s video Q&A feature, speakers in the popular Cold Calling Live series could now invite audience members directly on stage to make live sales calls, listen in, and receive expert feedback in real time for a truly immersive experience.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. With chat functionalities like GIFs, emojis, conversation-shaping polls, and text Q&As, Ashleigh and her team are able to see what really works with their audience.

Goldcast’s direct Pardot integration also allows her team to track attendance, see which sessions guests enjoyed most, what questions they asked, and pinpoint the core topics discussed. With deep account-level data at their fingertips, Cognism’s marketing team is better able to score leads and funnel them into customized nurture and follow-up campaigns.

But sometimes it’s the little things that deliver the greatest momentum. 

In this case, being able to duplicate events at the click of a button inside Goldcast allowed Ashleigh to create a repeatable events schedule her attendees could rely on.

From start to finish using Goldcast is way faster than it would've been with a competitor. I find the UX really easy — our team can even teach themselves.” — Ashleigh Frank, Senior Demand Generation Executive, Cognism

Transforming webinars into a content creation goldmine 

Increased audience engagement was great, but it wasn’t the only goal for Cognism’s event program.

As part of their focus on brand awareness, Ashleigh and her team are committed to creating targeted content for each of their ideal customer profiles. “We use our webinars afterwards for content. We ask ourselves, ‘Can this poll inspire us to make more content down the line?’ If the answer is yes, step one is putting it up on our podcast.” 

Of course, repurposing event content doesn’t begin and end with podcasts. Ashleigh goes on to share that, “We make short videos, one to two minutes in length, from the most relevant or interesting parts of the webinar and turn that into content for LinkedIn, blog posts, YouTube videos, and ads.”

From a single webinar, Ashleigh and her team are able to spark countless conversations across multiple channels.

And by using the data from interactive polls and Q&A to direct targeted conversations attendees actually care about, Ashleigh and her team can grow brand awareness with little additional work.

Results that speak for themselves

Although Ashlegh’s team isn’t focused on hard MQLs, they still track core metrics to prove a positive event return with the leadership team.

For example, prior to switching to Goldcast, the team’s webinar attendance rate was 33%. Today, that rate has increased to 50%. 

That’s over a 50% lift in attendance rate, and one that Ashleigh attributes to:

  1. A vastly improved attendee experience that encourages attendees to remember (and actually show up to) Cognism’s events.  
  1. Automated calendar invites and magic links that make logging into the event simpler than ever. 
  1. A seamless technical experience that keeps attendees in each session longer.

And the results didn’t stop there.

Our priority is making sure that people enjoy our event. So long as someone gains value from it, that’s what we want — we're happy.” — Ashleigh Frank, Senior Demand Generation Executive, Cognism

“It’s been a really big win for us, and it's thanks to Goldcast”  

In less than eight months, Ashleigh and her team were able to take Cognism’s event strategy from unreliable to unmissable.

Alongside the 18 sales meetings booked so far, plus the 90 minutes saved per event by switching to a glitch-free platform, a big part of Cognism’s success can be measured by the glowing feedback they’ve collected along the way.

“The most ideal feedback is when someone says, ‘Hey, I want to volunteer for your next session’. That's just gold for us and that happened a number of times during the sessions on Goldcast.”

With smoother UX for both her audience and her team, the sky's the limit for Ashleigh and the demand gen team at Cognism. We can’t wait to see where their webinars take them next!

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