Will Yang, Head of Growth of Instrumentl
"We made a small investment in eWebinar and saw a 136x return in six weeks."
About InstrumentlInstrumentl (YC S16) is the best platform for nonprofits and grant writers looking to grow revenue. Through a personalized process, grant seekers can discover, research, and track their grants all in one place.
How Instrumentl turned a $198 eWebinar investment into $27k in just six weeks
The grant-seeking process isn’t an easy one, and that’s why Instrumentl exists. Instrumentl makes the process more effective and efficient, helping nonprofits, freelance grantwriters, students, postdocs, and university faculty find the right grants.
The company’s Head of Growth, Will Yang, sat down with us to explain how a $198 investment in eWebinar resulted in $27,000 in revenue in six weeks.
Hi, Will! Thank you for joining me today. Can you begin by telling me a little bit about yourself and Instrumentl?
Of course. My name is Will, and I'm the Head of Growth at Instrumentl – a company that brings grant prospecting, tracking, and management into one place. We aim to be the institutional fundraising platform that helps non-profits and non-profit grant writing consultants by helping their clients win more grants.
What problems did Instrumentl struggle with before adopting eWebinar?
Well, we have a fortunate situation in the sense that we have too many inbound leads to the number of account executives that we have. And so ultimately what we were looking for was a way to get folks the personalized attention that we would usually give if somebody signed up for a free trial account; typically every single person needed to go through a call with our sales rep.
“We brought in eWebinar when our sales reps became too busy to have immediate one-to-one calls with customers.”
But when our sales reps’ calendars were getting booked up naturally, that was leading us to have to turn off that call requirement. That resulted in a drop-off in which folks weren't getting the sort of experience that we wanted them to have. So the immediate use case for eWebinar was to send new sign-ups to an onboarding webinar for when sales reps couldn't do any more one-to-one calls. eWebinar has essentially allowed us to onboard more new customers at scale.
So when people sign up to your platform, you now feed them through to your eWebinars?
Exactly. What we designed when we started testing eWebinar was a unique signup flow in which, instead of what we were previously doing – which was just sending them to a Calendly link – we swapped it out with the eWebinar registration. And when they click that, what we do in our backend is use the web hook to activate their trial. That way when they go through the webinar, they’re getting their account activated as they would if they would have gone through a Calendly call.
“eWebinar helps us provide customers with the experience we want them to have.”
Can you go into further detail about how you use eWebinar at Instrumentl?
There are two ways that we use eWebinar at Instrumentl.
The first is that we use it for our free trial onboarding and activation. And then the second one is for workshop replays.
Before eWebinar, if our sales reps’ calendars were too busy, we would have to turn off our call requirements and send follow-up emails for people to book a time when the reps were available.
Now we use eWebinar to provide the information to the client right away, so they don’t have to wait half a week or a week to get started. Then after they’ve watched the 30 minutes of the webinar which includes the onboarding information, we have them schedule a follow-up call.“We use eWebinar to provide information to the client right away, so they don’t have to wait to get started.”
The second way we use eWebinar is to make our workshop series more evergreen. We regularly run workshops to the grant writing community, where we teach foundational grant writing skills. What we’ve done now is we’ve turned that into an eWebinar with a good replay from the past. And then we just have them go through that. That makes it so it’s lower lift on us because we don’t have to put together a completely dedicated event that we’re doing over and over again.
“We’ve turned a workshop into an eWebinar by using a good replay from the past, so we no longer have to host the same event over and over again.”
How many times were you previously running the same event every month?
We have a workshop collection of six right now. We were interchanging the topics, but more or less we were doing them one to two times a week, sometimes three times a week.
“We use eWebinar for workshops where we’re leading the entire conversation.”
We still do workshops with broader partners and things like that, but we use eWebinar for the workshops where we’re leading the entire conversation. What we do in those workshops is we spend half the time teaching some sort of foundational problem and then we spend the other half using our platform and showing how our platform solves that particular problem.
So what benefits have you seen from using eWebinar?
We’re really excited by the benefits we’ve seen from eWebinar. We launched on March 5th of this year and in 1.5 months we’ve saved 70 hours (eWebinar’s analytics have informed us of this).
We’ve also seen a 33% registration rate, along with a 68% attendance rate. What’s really impressive to us is that people are staying until the end. Actually 86% of folks are staying until the end, and the average watch time is 91%! Also the engagement of activating the trial, when they use that web hook, is 75% within the eWebinar.
“86% of our clients are staying until the end of our webinars.”
Then I took a secondary look at the data and that’s where things really got interesting. From 144 folks in our CRM that are flagged to having actually joined the webinar that they RSVP’d for, we have 20 customers. So that’s a 14% conversion. These people are pretty much people who otherwise wouldn’t have had any meaningful interaction with us if they’d come into our funnel at the time that they did.
So of those 20 customers, 15 of them actually never talked to a person on our team. So they’re fully self-service, and seven of them actually upgraded on annual plans, spending around $3,500, while the rest were monthly subscribers.
So when we look at the people that actually went through eWebinar and never talked to a sales rep, what I’ve calculated is that we’ve paid eWebinar $198 and we’ve made about $27,000 in revenue attributable to eWebinar in six weeks, which is like a 136x return. And that’s not even including the salary or time of the sales reps that we saved as well. So that’s what we’ve seen from the trial section.
On the workshop replay side of things, we haven’t finished optimizing that but we get leads from there and we also have customers that are tracked from there. So we’re just at the surface level of what we feel we can start to use the platform for, since we haven’t even started using it in terms of customer success and other implementations like that.
As for the customers who are self-service and never speak to a sales rep, what were they doing before you implemented eWebinar?
I think they were trying their best to navigate through our site – and our site is incredibly intuitive to use, but I think that was happening. People were potentially not getting this sort of experience that we would typically be giving every single new sign up, where they might drop off later because they figured most of the onboarding out but not the entire thing.
I’ve noticed in the past where people who never talked to a sales rep don’t know about an entire second and third side of our product, so they only really see the first one-third of what we do; when we talk about grant prospecting, tracking, and management they learn about the grant prospecting side but they don’t really dig into the tracking and management without the help of somebody else walking them through it. So I think what they were doing before was they were largely relying on our trial series which we sent through Intercom and whatnot. But if they weren’t engaging with that, they were potentially not having the sort of trial experience that we would want to standardize across all of the folks that are coming in. I mean, I think in this day and age we’re just seeing more and more people wanting to self-serve their journey – not wanting to talk to anyone, wanting to figure it out on their own.
How has eWebinar helped your team and your company?
I think the strongest point is that we’ve been able to give more of our brand experience without compromising due to time constraints in our calendar. In the past, we would literally turn off our call requirement and then see folks not get the same experience as everyone else. Now we have a way where folks can at least get something closer to the real deal of working with our team, while still allowing our team to catch up with the inbound flow.
What’s also cool is that we’ve been able to make webinars out of those workshops that we were regularly having to host one-off, and essentially just improve our marketing email funnels to drive to that webinar, as opposed to having to continuously drive towards a live event where we're doing everything in terms of the event management side of things, for a thing that we've already done before.
I think those are the two biggest wins that our team has experienced with eWebinar thus far.
When you're talking about your team taking calls, are these one-on-one, or are these one-to-many calls?
They're one-on-one calls. We tested group workshops, but we find in our space what's most effective is literally spending 30 minutes with somebody to walk them through the platform while also learning about their respective use case.
“From the moment I started my trial until the moment my first webinar was completed, the entire process was super smooth.”
Would you say that eWebinar gives them a feeling of that personalized touch?
It does because people interact via the chat as well. And even though we're saying very explicitly that this is a recording of our standard onboarding flow, they’re still actively interacting with our sales reps through chat.
“eWebinar gives the feeling of a personalized experience because people interact with the chat feature.”
And so while it’s not the exact same as a live experience, when you set the expectation of how it’s going to be delivered to them they’re actually very adaptable and they can play along with the format we’ve created for them in terms of their onboarding experience.
“When we set the expectation of how the onboarding experience is going to be delivered to our clients, they’re very adaptable to it.”
What do you love most about eWebinar?
What I love most is that it just works and it's not gimmicky.
I looked at other platforms before using eWebinar and I personally hate the experiences where they pretend like it's going to be a live workshop or they're checking their calendar and it's not actually checking anything, it's just showing the next available date. So what I appreciate about eWebinar and the way you guys position yourselves is that you’re acknowledging upfront that it’s a recording, but at the same time, that doesn't mean that it has to be boring or anything like that. It can still be a fun experience.
“I love eWebinar because it works and it’s not gimmicky.”
What I liked in general was that from the second I created my trial account to actually importing a past recording and turning that into a webinar, it was all super smooth. When I did have a customer support issue, the team was happy to take care of it.
“I think eWebinar hit the nail on the head.”
So overall I just like that it works and it's really easy to use. It doesn't try to do what some platforms do, where they try to extend themselves beyond what they do, or to position themselves as a live experience when it’s not. I think eWebinar hit the nail on the head.
That’s great to hear. When we designed eWebinar, we built it around integrity. We want our customers to be proud of partnering with us.
Yes. Instrumentl, in terms of our positioning in our respective space, really aligns to that mission too.
“eWebinar’s upfront and honest approach is refreshing.”
We’re all about 10x-ing the product experience because ultimately we feel like the nonprofit sector has been largely underserved with the tech solutions that have been created for it. So when I found eWebinar it really seemed like you guys got that. I never felt like I was being tricked into anything, it was always “hey, here’s the recording, here’s what’s going to happen, here’s what’s next.” So having that upfront, honest approach was definitely refreshing.
“eWebinar’s templates make it easy to start thinking about the different use case applications for the product.”
I also really appreciate you guys as resource guides. For example, when we set up the account, you had all those templates ready to go which made it really easy to start thinking about the different use case applications for the product.
That was really great in terms of ease of onboarding. We were able to turn this around so fast. We were able to create a webinar within a day or so. Then the following week we worked with our engineering team to get the web hook going and then test it out. So our entire time to go live was less than a week. That was great for both the technical and non-technical teams.
Who would you recommend eWebinar to?
I would recommend eWebinar to any product-led company that has a really strong product market fit and is looking for ways to expand the bandwidth of their respective team.
We’re a 15 person team right now and eWebinar gives us an extra pair of hands. So that’s really great for being more effective with our customers.
“I would recommend eWebinar to any product-led company that has a really strong product market fit and is looking for ways to expand the bandwidth of their respective team.”
I think eWebinar can be a way that you can provide a more real touch to the way that you're ramping up your customers or marketing, or teaching your customers in general. It's something in which there are so many different applications in the ways you can use it. So if you’re really product-led and you're really trying to teach the nuances of the way that you want customers to use your product, then I think eWebinar is a great solution to do that.
That’s awesome, Will. It’s so great to hear about Instrumentl’s success with eWebinar!
If you’re a non-profit organization or grant writer looking to grow revenue, be sure to check out Instrumentl!
…And if you’re a business leader looking to offer sales presentations, training, and onboarding around the clock – all while offering a personalized interactive experience – click here to get started with eWebinar!