According to a Marketo report, companies whose sales and marketing organizations are well-aligned are 67% better at closing deals, and extract 208% more value from marketing spend. This is particularly important when it comes to in-person events and experiences, which are quite costly and can consume up to 40% of a B2B company’s marketing budget.
It usually falls under marketing’s responsibilities to plan and execute top-notch events, while the sales team is responsible for adding value and meaningfully engaging prospects and customers once they’re in the room so that ROI is as high as possible. How can sales and marketing professionals ensure that they are aligned and are working together to drive revenue with events to affect a business’s bottom line? We’ve come up with six great tips to help you improve sales and marketing alignment at your future events.
- Understand your mutual goals
First, marketing should set the expectation for the sales team that the upcoming event is one that is designed to create pipeline and accelerate current deals, rather than something “fluffy” that they may view as a waste of their valuable time. Because of this, you may need to properly set expectations and outline a strategy surrounding this shift.
Once goals have been set, for sales-oriented events – ones that are designed to generate pipeline, create opportunities and close deals – your sales team should approach marketing with ideas to make the event better and and makes it easier for them to get their job done, as well as come up with a list of target attendees that will contribute to the event’s bottom line or goals.
- Identify your target attendees
Start by identifying both the prospects and customers that make up your target audience and would benefit from in-event engagement. Use the data in your CRM and marketing automation software to help you compile that list, based on their stages, location and other important factors like who would get the most value from face-to-face engagement.
Once this list is set, each team should start sending out event invitations. Who will do this depends on who is best suited to reach out to each person based on their pre-existing relationship. If a strong relationship already exists, sales should reach out; when that’s not the case, marketing is a better fit. In addition to sending out digital invitations, sales and client services reps should also be sure to follow up with each desired attendee by phone or 1:1 email to add that personal touch and increase the likelihood that the person will show up.
- Set up engagement mapping
One of the most important things to do before an event is identifying which sales rep is responsible for each person attending the event, which we call engagement mapping. On the most basic level, this process entails assigning each registered customer or prospect to a rep who will be in attendance. This often happens before, or right after, sales and marketing work together to learn as much about each attendee as possible to craft a plan for making the most of their time on-site.
To make the most of engagement mapping, we recommend thinking about if there are any attendees who many benefit from interacting with one another. For example, you could introduce an attendee to your marketing team about being featured in a customer interview, or could introduce a high-value prospect to one of your existing champion customers to help move that deal along.
- Give your reps access to the right technology
While face-to-face interactions themselves may not rely on digital tools to make them successful, your company’s reps should be armed with the best event technology at their event to make their interactions more meaningful, and to give them a chance to properly log and track their interactions. These technologies, like mobile event and check-in apps, CRMs and more should give reps context about attendees, provide alerts when their assigned contacts arrive, and allow them to take detailed notes about their conversations for proper follow-up. Best of all, these technologies should sync with one another to make sure that your data stays consistent and updated amongst your preferred software platforms.
- Follow up quickly and personally
Your event strategy doesn’t come to a halt once the last attendee exits the building! Even if your event was a smashing success, the real success takes place once your sales reps follow up with attendees in a meaningful, personal way. The timing will depend on the event, but in many cases, one business day is ideal. Each rep should be sure to look at notes and tasks that their colleagues recorded in Salesforce to make sure that the follow-up hits on important talking points relating to what was discussed at the event.
In addition to sales follow-up, your marketing team should send out a more general follow-up email with information like any recap information, slides, videos, survey links and more. Sales and marketing should be familiar with who is sending out what information to avoid any duplicate follow-up efforts.
- Start measuring success
Start by meeting with everybody who was involved with marketing or was present at your event to go over what went well, and what didn’t. Document this feedback and use it moving forward to improve on future events.
When your event is designed to generate pipeline, your sales team will need to be involved in tracking the success. Use your event marketing software platform and CRM to track how each event impacts pipeline by measuring new opportunities, the length of the sales cycle, close rate and other key sales metrics. This will help you prove your event ROI down the road and prove their value to later increase the size and scale of your event strategy.To learn more about how to align your marketing and sales organizations, and optimize your event strategy for sales, watch our free webinar, Supercharging Sales and Marketing Alignment at Events. The webinar dives into the content of this blog post in more detail, and covers:
- How to keep your sales team accountable throughout all event stages
- Using engagement mapping to maximize face-to-face time
- Measuring the ROI of your event
- ...and much more.
Event marketers, what tactics do you use to make sure that your team and your organization's sales squad are on the same page? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @eventfarm to keep the conversation going.