The term “event planning” makes most people think about venues, budgets, invites, RSVPs, etc. But when your event strategy is focused on creating and accelerating pipeline you need to do more than simply plan the logistics of the event. Creating an on-site engagement plan is critical to success in your Revenue Event Marketing strategy.
Missed Event Opportunities = Missed Revenue
At some point in your marketing or sales career, you’ve probably experienced what happens at an event without a plan for on-site engagement. Marketing plans the “perfect” event only to have sales reps stand in a corner and talk among themselves instead of interacting with prospects and customers. This happens because sales reps get sent to events without a plan of action or the information they would need to make one. At the event, they end up unsure of who to talk to or who is in the room.
In-person events are a big investment of time and money. That investment can pay off with just one good connection that leads to a signed contract. On the other hand, one missed connection could result in missed revenue. Factor in a handful of missed connections per event multiplied by your entire event schedule and you’re talking about a significant amount of lost revenue.
Creating Your On-Site Engagement Plan
To prevent these missed opportunities from happening, the event planning process needs to start with a meeting between marketing and sales to discuss the engagement plan. Every team member that will be on-site should have a personal plan of action for the event. The key is defining a game plan for who will greet and speak with each customer and prospect that attends. For example, each rep needs to have a list of the attendees he or she is responsible for speaking with at the event.
In an ideal world, you’d have the main contact or “owner” of every prospect and customer at the event to connect with them. Since that isn’t always possible, you’ll need to assign reps to connect with the prospects and customers they don’t “own.” That means your reps won’t have personal knowledge of each attendee’s relationship with your company. To give them enough context to have a productive conversation, they need to have access to the right information before, during, and after the event.
Get Sales The Information They Need
A big part of getting sales involved before the event is giving them access to the list of registrants. They need to be able to see updates in real-time and be able to access the the list easily. That means sending a weekly email with an updated spreadsheet won’t work. Sales needs to make event prep part of their process and having easy access to an always up-to-date registration list will help.
Reps also need to prepare for in-person conversations by reviewing profile info for contacts and their recent actions. Those actions could include call notes, content downloads, emails interactions, or any other relevant data from your CRM. You’ll want to make sure everyone has easy access to both before and during your event. On-site, your check-in process should allow for real time notifications that let your reps know when their prospects arrive.
Beyond Sales Engagement
Planning for on-site engagement plan goes beyond just sales reps. A prospect or customer speaking with your CMO has the opportunity to be far more powerful than a chat with a sales rep. To make those types of interations happen, your executives need the same type of engagement plan as your sales reps.
Executives should also plan which attendees they want to speak with to make the best use of their time. That means they also need visibility into the registration list and need to have easy access to attendee profile data from your CRM.
Plan Strategic Introductions
Strategically planning introductions between attendees is another best practice that goes a long way. For example, connecting a customer advocate with a prospect is a great way to accelerate a deal. If you have a rep working on a big deal or renewal, have them plan to intro their contact to one of your executives.
Members of your product team can also be extremely valuable at events for listening to customer feedback or providing “non-sales” demos to prospects. Planning the right intros between attendees and members of your internal team will add value on both sides.
Keeping Track and Following Up
On-site engagement is only valuable if you have a way to keep track of the interactions that occur. The final piece of the engagement plan is to ensure that every member of your on-site team follows a process for recording conversation notes. Without a process for on-site note taking that syncs with your CRM, all of that engagement doesn’t add up to much. When you are able to capture conversation notes and get them into your CRM, you enable quick and meaningful follow-up that accelerates pipeline and closes deals.