As someone who has been involved with events at almost every scale, it baffles me that so many organizations fail to have a follow-up strategy despite the time and money they put into planning and executing events. Yet, we see this missed opportunity over and over.
As Vendors, we need to set our Channel Partners up for successful events! Consider incorporating these best practices into the training support you provide your Partners to ensure they have a plan. Now you both can relax and soak those tired feet knowing the leads are being handled correctly.
What’s the plan?
Anyone who’s planned an event knows that details are a deal-breaker. Therefore, your outcome can't be pre-determined if you don’t have a post-event plan. During the pre-event planning meetings, be sure to get the right folks together to solidify your goals. In addition to Marketing and Event teams, it's important that Sales and/or Business Development weighs-in on the following:
What makes this event a success? The number of leads? $ business generated in X time?
What kind of contact constitutes a lead?
What kind of lead categories are there?
Based upon your lead categories, determine workflows and appropriate follow up content to nurture those leads. Most likely, each lead is at a different point within the buying process. Most will not be ready to buy today, but keep in mind that 75% of the time a lead will buy from the first salesperson to provide value. In a previous blog, we discussed all your Account Based Marketing questions answered. Revisiting those tactics will help you develop your strategy.
Don’t forget your social media plan! While pre and during event posting is typically the focus, there is a missed opportunity if you fail to connect with those leads on LinkedIn. A simple message from someone in your Sales or Business Development team simply stating “It was a pleasure meeting you at the event and I’d like to connect with you here on LinkedIn” will do the trick. Then be sure that person has a solid profile and posting cadence. If you’d like a refresher on social media best practices, check this blog to ensure you're ready. It’s also important to engage with your prospects and nurture them so that you come to mind when they’re ready to make a buying decision.
Timing is important
Time and post-event resources are the most common pitfalls. Oftentimes after events, we like to take a little time off, events are stressful after all. Even if that’s the case, having semi-custom emails prepared before the event and lining up resources back at the office to execute a timely follow-up plan is crucial. Also be sure to load these leads into your CRM and incorporate them into a nurturing workflow in provide ongoing value.
Measure against goals, again and again
Leads don’t close overnight. What does your sales cycle look like? Snapshots at 90 days, 6 months, even a year or later can result in surprising results if you keep nurturing them. As we’ve discussed before, a buyers journey isn’t linear and a sales flywheel might be more true to their activities. Again, combining nurturing emails and social posts is a winning strategy to engage with potential buyers and remind them of the value you can provide.
If someone signed up for your event but didn’t attend don’t fret. There was interest there, so be sure you have a workflow to nurture them as well. A simple “we missed you” with a link to the recorded session (behind a gate) or another piece of nurturing content. Include them in a nurturing workflow that continues to touch them on a regular basis via email.