No CEO has ever leant out of his office and shouted “Get me an event!”…
Every event is a vehicle to achieve an identified outcome. The outcomes may vary between providing shareholder value, delivering internal communications, launching a new product or delivering sales.
LiNKED Technologies, a virtual event platform, hosted a debate recently between industry thought leader, Alistair Turner, author of the IBTM Global Trends Report; Amanda Young, CEO of Young Event Consultancy. Basia Dudziak, Global Strategy Director, LiNKED Technologies; and Nick Paul Co-Founder and MD LiNKED Technologies.
Five things to focus on when your event’s desired outcome is sales
- Setting Up Sales for Success
- Clever Engagement
- Data Expectations
- Data Driven Decisions
BD: In the build-up to the event planners must build up the momentum around the event. Make it an exclusive offer by issuing invites or ensure it is positioned as a “must see” experience. It is also imperative that the content generated is extended beyond the event and the engagement elongated.
NP: Planners must engage before the event, use attendee lists so the sales guys can connect on LinkedIn and get meetings set up at the event or in the week after. Post event is also crucial. Make sure that post event follow ups are as personalised as possible. Referring to the attendees areas of interest.
AY: Planners must train the sales team on how to use the event platform and ensure all of its functionality is used.
Setting Up Sales for Success
AY: At Live events you can take a client to the bar, go for a game of golf, take them to a show or dinner, there are loads of ways of driving success.
It is, therefore, difficult to set sales up for success if they are looking to achieve the same results at a virtual event as they would from a live one.
Set success metrics, so everyone knows what you are aiming for and make them achievable. How many leads will you generate? How many quotes/ proposals will be generated from the event?
BD: It is essential to look at your outcomes first and then work backwards to ensure that the right platform is selected and that an effective plan is put in place to achieve success. Training is absolutely key. No use buying a platform with every bell and whistle and then only using 20% of its functionality!
AT: All the sales people I know say that the best deals they sign off are on the golf course or in the box at a sporting event. How do I convince them that they can get results in Virtual?
BD: Well, let’s start by focusing on all the great things we can do in Virtual World. You can send out event packs pre-event so everyone has a real experience, you can set personalised alerts to keep everyone on track. Create a leaderboard for the most engaged, use people’s competitive nature to help power the event. Also remember an increased number of millennials are now in decision making positions and they are all far happier to converse online!
OK, OK, there are real world issues like the dog barking, Amazon making a delivery and the phone ringing
AY: Gamification is the new lead scoring, use the data to really understand what the buyers want!
AT: We want to buy and sell differently, with the Green agenda sustainability is a key in decision making. Don’t waste my time or my energy- as in adding to my carbon footprint.
AT: Nick, when you created LiNKED what from your experiences did you want to plug into and issues did you want to solve?
NP: I wanted to understand; Why do people go to events? Why do corporate organisations run events? What are the outcomes they are looking to achieve?
LiNKED was developed to unearth the data collection points and then to put them together to create a powerful dataset that would speed up the sales process by providing insight and relevance.
The Pandemic has basically forced the event industry to do something that they have been resisting for at least a decade- embrace digital. The event industry has been battered but now events will develop using virtual first to ensure that the live events are more successful.
Hybrid is the merging of the live and the virtual in whatever way most suits the event brand/ owner.
AY: Companies can get round the clock data on their products. But as event professionals we have to stop thinking that the event starts and stops around the event dates. We must deliver 365 engagement.
Setting Data Expectations
AY: Setting data expectations is so important, it is essential that you get clarification on your outcomes. We also try and grab every piece of data, but we can suffer from data fatigue. So in some cases, certain datasets will be of no use at all in delivering a successful event.
BD: Don’t overwhelm sales and marketing with no-relevant data as the key data may be lost!
Data Driven Decisions
NP: These decisions are sometime completely reliant on the power of the selected platform. Many platforms do not provide real time analytics and only provide your data a few days after the event. But, if your platform has a dynamic data dashboard, then; your sales team should be all over it, locating the most engaged attendees with relevant profiles.
Understand what they interact with and feed them more relevant information, reports and content that you know will engage them. Ensure you link up with them on LinkedIN and have content marketing plan for the event, that includes content to be used for post event comms. It is essential that once you have engaged the buyer that you continue after the event and that you keep providing them with value.
Virtual Events are here to stay but ensuring that they deliver results requires you to set clear objectives from the outset. Relevance is key, use the data collected to provide even more relevance to your buyers and to build a stronger relationship with them based on clever content and an authentic voice.
To watch the video of this discussion click the link: https://bit.ly/3zuTiYX
If watching on a mobile, scroll down to video at near the bottom of the page