Welcome to the first in our “Question of the Week” series of blog posts where we will address some of the most common issues sales teams deal with on a daily basis. We welcome your questions and comments, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have anything to add.
Events are great way to approach both customers and leads. Meeting face to face can be more impactful than the usual communication channels: email, video chat, and phone calls. Events can help you stand out from the crowd and build strong relationships — and build a strong brand.
Events should be a part of everyone's marketing and sales strategy, but there’s a downside: they’re time- and resource-intensive. That’s why it’s so important to keep ROI in mind. Have a clear idea about what you want in return for the investment.
There are also many event types to choose from. Conferences, webinars, panel discussions, dinners, etc. The first step is to pick what kind of event fits your company the best, and where your leads are most likely to attend.
Let’s talk through a trade fair as an example.
Alignment between sales and marketing
A great event is a collaboration, not a solo project. Many feel that the right way to go about it is to power through it alone, and sometimes it works, but more than often the event falls short of what it could have been. When the stakes are high and the resources scarce, why risk it?
Gather a team to create a plan for the entire event. Let them know which accounts you’re targeting and what kind of venue you have in mind. Collaborate on ideas for activities, booth design, and other ways to make it memorable. Creating lasting impressions is one of the great things marketers do, so use the resources you have.
It's not just sales reps who know how to write an attention-grabbing email. Marketers have a knack for it, too. Work with them to put a twist on your invitations and include them in building out a nurture campaign for the event. Social media is also your friend before, during, and after events.
Meeting leads face-to-face can be quite different from communicating on the phone or email. At conferences, you might meet many people from your target accounts at once. Make sure your team knows who will be there, and work together to fine-tune your pitches in advance.
If possible, reach out to your prospects and customers to find time to meet. That way, the hustle and bustle of the event won’t distract you from having high-priority conversations.
When you finally hit the event floor, be sure to take a lot of notes. You are going to meet a lot of people and its important that you log these interactions. You’ll want to track who you saw at the event in your CRM (and tie it back to the event’s ROI), and follow up with a personalized email. Your notes will come in handy.
After the event, and all the memories are still fresh, align with the marketing team again so you have the same impression of what went well and what could be improved. This might not be the most exciting part, but it can help you improve future events.
The truth is that you probably won't close any deals on the show floor. This happens after the event when following up on your conversations — whether you came back with fresh leads or you’re continuing a deal you’d started working before the event. The event in itself serves more as an icebreaker, making it easier to move forward afterwards.
In this part of the project your notes will also come handy since they might include insight on the leads that’ll help you break through the noise.
When all is done, it's time to wrap up. You’ll want to get the event team together to review what went well and what you want to do differently next time. Some things to include are:
Did the pre-pitch-training help when folks met actual prospects and customers?
Was the work appropriately distributed among all who helped?
Did the location work for the type of event?
How did follow-up go?
Was the event a success in terms of your ROI?
Should you make any major changes the next time?
We know that events can be stressful, but we hope these steps can help you in creating lasting memories for your leads and customers. If the project seems too big to handle on your own, be sure to check if anyone else would like to pitch in. Maybe another company is seeking the same account — why not team up in the effort to create something impactful?
Have your own event planning tips? We’d love to hear from you