This post was originally published on Attend by Event Farm's blog and was written by Garrett Huddy.
Why does your company host events? Your event strategy, like all other marketing activities, should ultimately be designed to build pipeline and drive revenue. As marketing and sales teams morph into revenue teams with shared goals, marketing has started to start thinking more like sales by tracking success in pipeline and opportunities instead of just lead generation and awareness.
This new view of marketing success needs to be applied to events in the form of revenue event marketing. So what does your event need to help you accomplish your revenue team goals? Here are six characteristics of a revenue-generating event:
1. Attendees are mix of prospects and customers
Getting your prospects and customers together at an event is a great way to accelerate pipeline with in-person customer testimonials. You don’t even need to have your customers speak at your events (though that’s also a good idea). Just having them around to chat with your prospects provides an opportunity to create and accelerate pipeline at your event.
An ideal revenue-generating event will help you:
• Create new pipeline
• Accelerate existing pipeline
• Engage your customers
The only way to accomplish all three of those goals at one event is to have a mix of leads from target accounts, prospects that are already in your pipeline, and customers. The ideal ratio of those three groups will vary depending on your business. As an example, we recently held an event that helped create and accelerate pipeline while engaging customers, and our ratio was around 60% leads, 20% opportunities, and 20% customers.
2. The event provides relevant, useful content
Event content doesn’t have to come in the form of presentations or speakers. Many successful executive events revolve around a VIP experience, like a high-end dinner. Instead of a presentation, your event offers content in the form facilitating conversation between executives in your target market.
If you are hosting an event based on presentations or a panel discussion, that content needs to be valuable to your audience. We’ve all sat through presentations and event sessions that provide no value. Maybe it’s all basic marketing tips we’ve heard hundreds of times before or it’s something that’s completely irrelevant to your business or position. Don't let that happen at your event. Providing useful, relevant information that aligns with your product and message should be a top priority.
3. Multiple internal teams work together to make the event a success
To make the most of your events, it helps to have several teams within your company on board. Hosting an event with only sales reps present won’t be nearly as effective as one that also includes representation from marketing, customer success, and your executive team.
This involvement should start long before the day of your event. Marketing plans and promotes the event while sales invites prospects, customer success invites customers, and your executives reach out to their peers at strategic customer and prospects accounts.
On event day, having these groups on-site can also help you accomplish your event goals. Marketing makes sure the event runs smoothly, manages check-in, and coordinates presentations and content creation. Sales and customer reps connect with prospects and customers to create and accelerate deals. Executives can provide thought leadership in a presentation and connect with attendees one-on-one to build stronger relationships with your customers and prospects.
4. There is an on-site engagement plan
Gathering all of the right people together for an event is a great accomplishment, but just having everyone in the same room isn’t going to guarantee engagement with the right attendees. That’s why you need to create an engagement plan that details who from your company will connect with specific attendees.
Some of the connections are obvious: the attendee’s “owner” (salesperson, customer success rep, etc.) should connect with them. But chances are you won’t be able to have the owner of every contact at your event on-site, which means you’ll need to plan who’s responsible for talking to who.
There may be other strategic introductions you want to make as well, such as introducing a prospect who is in the evaluating stage to a customer rep or one of your executives. It also helps to plan introductions between customers and prospects to give your prospects informal, in-person customer testimonials.
5. The event provides time specifically for networking
Networking time at events is where the magic happens. Without networking time, you don’t have a full opportunity to put your engagement plan into action. No matter how much great content you have to share with your event attendees, it’s important to leave time for conversation.
This free time for chatting allows your guests to network, but more importantly, it gives your team time to connect with customers and prospects. To get your attendees to engage during your networking time, you’ll need to provide some refreshments. This networking time can apply to events like executive dinners as well—just set up a cocktail hour before or after you sit down to eat.
6. After the event, there is contextualized interaction and follow-up
Context is the most important part of any marketing or sales activity. Your team needs to have context on the attendees at your event to make your content, face-to-face conversations, and follow-up relevant.
One of the most difficult parts any B2B event is having access to the right contextual data before, during, and after the event. Having the right data beforehand involves using your marketing automation platform and CRM to invite the right people and plan for on-site engagement. It’s the on-site data that often ends up as a black hole.
On-site sales reps and marketers are often left with a serious lack of information on-site at events, leaving them with questions like: Which of my contacts have arrived? Is this attendee a customer or a prospect? Who is their sales/customer rep?
Even more questions come up after the event: Who actually attended? Who did they speak with from our company? What were those conversations about? Who should follow-up after the event? To give your team the context they need on-site and post-event, you need to leverage event technology that allows you to access attendee data on-site and take notes on event conversations.
Ultimately, an event that accomplishes all of this will succeed in pipeline creation, pipeline accleration, and customer engagement—and that results in revenue. If you're looking for more information about how your organization can work together to host a successful revenue-driven event, check out our on-demand webinar, Supercharging Marketing and Sales Alignment at Events, where you'll learn how the two teams should work together before, during and after events. Watch now!