Event marketing has taken its bruises. Yet it persists as a powerful tool not only for brand awareness but also for demand generation. It generates urgency and excitement and because the importance face-to-face contact isn’t going away.
Want to avoid your trade show budget becoming a victim of cuts? Sales enablement. If your goal is lead generation, invest some time in planning how you’ll help Sales engage leads after your event. Enable Sales to turn the leads into opportunities, and those opportunities into revenue – that’s how you’ll deliver a great return for event marketing. IDC and SiriusDecisions have recently noted sales enablement is receiving increasing focus across the organization for this very reason.
Here I outline some sales enablement basics everyone working in event marketing should know.
Align before you sign
Before you even sign an agreement to sponsor or participate in a trade show, get some input from your best sales people. You know, the ones who really know the landscape and what they consider a high-quality lead. Prepare to be surprised and even to give up sacred cows: those events you’ve “always done” regardless of whether they help you meet objectives. Sales and marketing alignment is not always pretty, but the early collaboration helps you focus on objectives and start the process of involving sales so they will be enabled and enthusiastic about follow-up.
Your booth experience, the way you promote your company’s presence online and offline, the materials you distribute –these are all part of your message. And that doesn’t end at tear-down. Your follow-up communications, lead nurturing plans, and even the scripts used by your telesales team should be consistent with the message. It’s jarring for prospects to hear message 1 at your booth, then a disconnected message 2 when your team follows up.
Engage and convert
What happens to your leads when the show is over?
A. I email a spreadsheet to Sales, wish them luck, and start working on my next project.
B. I segment the leads according to pre-determined criteria for immediate follow-up and lead nurturing programs, upload them to an automated campaign I’ve already created, ensure Sales is aware of special considerations and has a playbook for immediate follow up.
Making the handoff from marketing to sales as seamless as possible is the prescription for effective follow-up. Lay the groundwork during your planning phase, and make sure everyone is ready to roll as soon as your leads and notes are ready.
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