We hear all the time that marketers are increasingly being measured by the sales team’s success, and EVENTS are a great channel for shortening the distance between marketing efforts and sales conversations.
Today, we’re going to dive into some key tactics that will help you make sure your event investments are positive. We’re talking about how to shape the audience before, during and after the event so you can connect with the right contacts and close business.
First up, shaping the audience.
What do we mean by that? Well, in some instances, when you sponsor an event, you have the opportunity to influence the event participants. So this is something you can do BEFORE the event.
Some ways to shape the audience in your favor include sending guest passes to your ideal prospects, or even to your best customers who you know will speak well on your behalf.
Another way to influence the event ahead of time is simply to provide the event host with a list of your ideal people you think would be a great fit for the event. You can let their marketing or sales teams do the outreach to connect and secure your list of prospects for the event.
Finally, you can recommend speakers or other thought leaders who you know will be a complement to your business or message in reaching your ideal audience. The event hosting company will most likely appreciate suggestions on speakers and thought leaders that have been recommended by someone in the industry. So it’s a win-win.
After you’ve taken these steps to help shape the audience with additional participants who match your ideal client, the next thing you want to do is focus on how you interact with the people you meet.
Now we have a whole other blog article that goes deep into this topic, but we want to share a few extra tips here.
How you interact on-site really is the main thing that can make or break your success at an event.
The biggest and most important tip we want you to take away today is this:
Connect your solutions to prospects’ needs
We’re going to assume you know how to break the ice and locate the right people to spend time with at an event. If not, you can check out our blog article on Return on Sponsorship.
What we want to zero in on here is the conversations and mini-meetings you want to have on-site with your ideal prospects.
I like to think of them as “mini-meetings” because that implies that there will be a purpose, some meat to the conversation, and next steps. A generic conversation may not have the same importance.
And your main goal in these mini-meetings is to connect your solutions to your prospects needs.
Once you are in front of someone you feel is an ideal prospect, here’s how to connect productively:
1) Listen, listen, listen – you can ask open –ended questions to get them talking, but mostly your first few minutes is spent listening. What do they care about? What are they NOT talking about? How long have they been dealing with this challenge? What will happen if they don’t do something about it right now?
2) Demonstrate where there is a match—starting with THEIR words, their concepts, link them into your solution. No need to fully sell the solution. You just need enough to convey there’s a reason to talk further.
3) Set up next steps—take action to set up a follow-up meeting with date, time, and participants.
Then, once you are back in the office, how about some tips for closing success?
You bet! Back at the office, your job is to guarantee a return on all that time invested on-site. How do you make that happen?
1) Follow the 48-hour rule! Within 48 hours—or less—enter your new contacts into your database, send an email, make a call, send a calendar invite, connect with them on LinkedIn
2) Adhere to GDPR rules for adding people to your marketing database. A best practice is to have a plan in place for how you will communicate via an opt-in email inviting new contacts to join your list.
3) Make any introductions that need to happen to your team and/or your prospect’s team.
4) Follow your sales cycle but take advantage of the relationship you’ve built. Don’t keep them hanging! There’s nothing worse than feeling connected and excited to hear from someone only to have them not follow-through.
So there you have it, our top tips on how to shape the event audience, connect well with the right contacts and close business.
Let us know in the comments below which one of these you’re going to try next time.
Also, be sure to join us in July this year for Marketing Impact 2025: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. You can find out more at marketingmindxchange.com.
Until next time, Grow your Brand….
And Drive Demand!