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How to Facilitate a Virtual Roundtable Discussion That Converts

When done correctly, virtual roundtables generate game-changing customer dialogue.
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Virtual roundtables allow you to have face time with your buyers, even during a pandemic. They enable peer-to-peer networking and create engaging and exclusive conversation in a live setting, without having to be at a specific conference hall or boardroom. This level of flexibility, the ability to connect from any location into a live conversation, normally results in higher participation rates by senior IT buyers.

When a virtual roundtable is set around the right timely topic, it affords you the ability to explore the challenges, opportunities, and threats as they are told by your ultimate customer. Without distraction from other sources, you get face time with the most engaged audience of decision makers. By joining your peers from across your industry, virtual roundtables give you a platform to discuss best practices, and lessons learned, to help guide your decision making around a particular focus area of your business. More importantly, your customers are looking for this style of interaction to help with their purchase decisions.

Benefits of hosting a virtual roundtable include:

  • Captive audience of Senior IT decision makers
  • Exclusive in-depth live conversations with customers and prospects
  • A platform to identify customer’s key business challenges and peer-to-peer networking
  • Full contact information for all registrants and attendees

Virtual networking events and online product demos are the top two resources that will be more important as tech buyers research technology products and make purchase decisions over the next 12 months.*

How to Conduct an Effective Virtual Roundtable

  1. Pick a topic:  The topic is very important because it is the driver of engaged conversation versus quick short answers. Make sure your topic has breadth to it; It should not be centered around your business but reflect industry changes and opportunities as well.
  • Shortlist a speaker:  The right moderator makes all the difference in stimulating and maintaining an engaged discussion amongst all of your participants. Hosting a third-party speaker, such as an industry analyst, also supports your credibility in the topic area you wish to dive into, because they are an impartial expert. They also bring a level of thought leadership to the discussion. IDC analysts, for example, are recognized worldwide for their industry expertise, with over 1100 analysts specializing in technologies and industries in 110 countries. So, as a moderator, IDC analysts present key findings, engage in the discussion and work with you to develop a powerful topic fueled with our research, creating a more engaged audience.
  • Event LogisticsOnce you have a topic, so you know which expert moderator is the right fit for your discussion, it’s time to choose a date that works well with your teams. Create your digital invitations and plan for follow up messaging to non-responders. Design an inviting landing page to point your invitations to, and gather attendance. An effective landing page will provide your invitees more information about your virtual roundtable event, and, through carefully crafted urgency, encourage their participation. Lastly, follow up and create reminders of your event, before your event date. This will create excitement and ensure your participants attend on the day of your virtual roundtable. It’s an opportunity to create a relationship and show that their attendance matters. If you are working with a third-party research firm, such as IDC, they will take on this planning and development for you and guarantee you a minimum attendance of qualified leads for your business.
  • Content development:  It’s important to draft marketing-focused content that considers industry data points that can, not only, get conversation started, but keep it flowing. Your content plan is the driver of insights into what your customers are thinking, but it must be crafted in a way that creates a meaningful peer-to-peer discussion, one where everyone gets something of value. Your chosen moderator will work with you and craft the perfect content, layered with research, that will guide the conversation and leave everyone with best practices and lessons learned after the event.

Guaranteed Leads to Drive Your Business Forward

We are experts at organizing and facilitating virtual roundtables. Created and researched by IDC and produced in partnership with IDG Communications, the producers of the world’s largest technology media brands like InfoWorld, CIO, and Network World, you will receive targeted leads, a chance to give and receive constructive feedback from senior level tech buyers, a platform to identify your customer’s key business challenges and actionable pipeline for your sales teams.

Let’s plan a virtual roundtable

host a turn-key virtual roundtable

Host a Turn-Key Virtual Roundtable

The topic covered is crucial to the success of a virtual roundtable. The right topic and moderator will generate a two-way dialogue between you and your peers; one that provides you with enough insights to move your strategies forward. IDC’s Future Enterprise practice covers nine key areas that will be driving CEO agendas. We can help you host one of these critical conversations today:

  • Future of Digital Infrastructure:  responsive, scalable, and resilient infrastructure technologies
  • Future of Intelligence:  enterprise intelligence
  • Future of Trust:  risk, compliance, security, privacy, and ethics/governance
  • Future of Work:  workforce transformation
  • Future of Customers and Consumers:  data-driven customer experiences
  • Future of Industry Ecosystems:  open, agile, and scalable ecosystems that encourage innovation
  • Future of Digital Innovation:  trends in software development and distribution
  • Future of Operations:  resilient market driven operations
  • Future of Connectedness:  seamless connected experiences
Interested in hosting a Future Enterprise virtual roundtable with your key buyers and peers?
Let’s get started.

*Sources: IDG Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Survey, 2020; * Innovate MR –COVID-19 B2B Study, June 2020

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives.