In a digitally connected and powered world, it’d be simple to forget about the importance of a genuine face to face connection. Quite the opposite, events have proven to be a key driver in negotiations and relationships because face to face connections are so few and far between. Event managers are now being held to similar performance indicators as content and digital marketers in order to prove the value of their events as a lead-generation channel.
Whether an organization is exhibiting at a tradeshow or hosting its own event, it is critical to have a lead management and nurturing strategy in place for three reasons:
- Event managers can understand their impact of their events on the sale’s pipeline and revenue contribution
- Business development and/or sales reps can capitalize on the event generated
- CMOs gain confidence that the event marketing strategy is driven and supported by actionable data
With your event driving lead generation, it is important to have a tight sales and marketing alignment. The sales team should be involved in pre-event calling to help drive traffic to your booth or inviting prospects and clients to your organization’s events. One way to increase alignment between the sales team and the event marketing team is to integrate your most effective tool, the event management software with theirs, CRM (customer relationship management) software.
1. Automate Your Manual Tasks
Experts today say an organization's marketing and sales teams needs to continually improve “speed to cash” time. A native integration with Salesforce, for example, increases your business development and sales team’s ability to quickly connect and qualify for new opportunities within the prospect or client. Without an integration, the event manager is dependent on marketing operations to scrub, codify and import leads into the CRM system using an Excel template. Unfortunately, this process allows for human error and time gaps. As an event manager, there is already enough stress to deliver at the event. An integration gives you an innovative way to deliver leads to the sales team and allows you to focus on delivering top notch events to the attendees. Overall, it closes the loop with your lead management system. The next step would be to consider an integration with a marketing automation system for better lead nurturing.
2. Access Lead Quality and Understand the Journey of Your Event’s Leads
An integration between an event management software and Salesforce gives the event manager the ability to gauge the event’s lead performance. The marketing operations team has likely set up a lead management process that includes: lead statuses definitions and lifecycle stages definitions. Examples of lead statuses include New, Attempting Contact, Converted/Qualified, Disqualified, etc. So, lead statuses give both the sales rep and the reporting user an understanding of the status of the record. Furthermore, lifecycle stages can show you the quality of the event’s lead as they progress down the marketing and sales funnel. Most importantly, it can answer how many marketing qualified leads your team delivered, how many sales qualified leads were delivered, how many of your leads converted to opportunities and how many of your leads became customers. With a closed loop lead management system, you will have better visibility within the lead’s progression.
3. Prove Your Event’s Performance
Your event management software can help you show your boss how attendees are engaging, which sessions are most popular, attendee feedback and etc. You can prove this even more with a CRM integration. We’ve discussed how a connection to Salesforce can show insights into lead statuses, conversion metrics and funnel visibility. Another key performance indicator that can be shown in Salesforce is the amount of opportunity value and revenue value that your event has generated and/or influenced. The event and attendee data can be tied to a campaign in salesforce with the attendees as campaign members. If set up properly, when your leads convert into opportunities, you will be able to see how the campaign influenced the opportunities being worked. Even better, you can show how the event helped influence closed deals.
This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for relevance and clarity.