The B2B marketing conference season is officially upon us. As any good field marketer can tell you, this is more than an excuse to take a trip and throw a party. Events are a valuable way to meet prospects, improve customer loyalty, and move deals through the pipe.
But maximizing your return on an event takes serious planning. I know planning and coordinating what seem like endless details can be overwhelming, so here are eight tips to help maximize your show presence and improve event ROI.
1. Identify your target audience. Before you sponsor a conference, do your research to confirm that your target audience is attending. Most events don’t give out full attendees lists, so use data-appending tools like InsideView to supplement. This way your sales team doesn’t have to manually scan through thousands of names to identify their target accounts.
2. Create content so sales can easily promote your presence. Your sales team needs as much information as possible to effectively drive pre-event outreach. Write clear and concise email templates with relevant messaging and CTAs, and host these assets inside a sales management tool like Clearslide. Sales management software saves your sales team time by freeing them from having to write and rewrite emails. You can also track the success of these email templates so you can optimize for future events.
3. Define event metric goals. Set clear expectations for the event performance. Define the number of leads you expect to generate, and have a set strategy for post event follow up.
An easy way to do this is to create a dedicated spreadsheet listing all event costs and goals so you can keep track of performance and measure success. It’s important to make sure to communicate these goals to all necessary teams.
4. Have a pre-show team meeting. You have eight seconds to make a connection with attendees at a trade show booth. Schedule an all-hands meeting before the show opens to ensure your team knows key messaging, important sessions, giveaways, demos, and booth etiquette. Even the best pre-event outreach will be worthless if your booth staff can’t quickly explain your value prop, or even worse, is too busy on their phone to pay attention to the attendees at the booth.
5. Use a lead scanner to capture data of everyone who stops by your booth. Be sure to set clear metrics about what qualifies a hot or cold lead, and add relevant notes to each person. We’ve recently adopted a new status called “booth qualified lead” or BQL. When an attendee becomes a BQL, they become a high priority for sales follow-up. But by calling them a BQL rather than hot lead, we can accurately manage our sales teams expectations.
6. Use unique phone numbers on your printed collateral. Often attendees will grab printed materials at the show but will take a few days or weeks before they get around to following up on it. Adding a phone number on the collateral allows attendees the option to directly and instantly contact your team.
A call intelligence solution like Invoca can help you track which inbound phone calls are sourced from which events and what piece of collateral it came from. This allows marketing to get credit for driving the lead, and the sales rep answering the phone has an added level of insight into why the prospect is calling.
7. Utilize your marketing automation software. The show is over, but your work is far from done. By importing your leads into your marketing automation, you can create tasks for the qualified leads so your sales team can prioritize follow-up.
At Invoca, we’ve created unique outreach tasks that automatically populate in our sales teams’ task lists based on the lead rating. This allows the salesperson to see exactly what needs to be done and when, without fumbling through clumsy spreadsheets.
8. Measure how events affect the sales process. You’ve set you metric goals ahead of time, now see how the event actually performed. Brightfunnel is an incredible tool to see how deals are sourced and influenced by marketing programs. As an added bonus, when you can prove the value of events, you’ll most likely get more budget to build your field marketing program.
By taking time to plan and evaluate before, during, and after the show, you’re guaranteed to improve the success of your events. And we’d love to see you at one of the fall shows! Check out our events page to see where Invoca is headed and be sure to stop by our booth to say hello!