This time last year, Certain teamed up with Heinz Marketing to check the pulse of B2B event marketing going into 2018. We heard from over 270 B2B professionals about their experiences, successes and challenges with hosted events, and from their responses two things were made very clear: importance of hosted events to companies’ success is increasing; however, proving return on investment (ROI) for events presents a challenge for most.
In a recent webinar, Certain’s CMO, Kristen Alexander sought to address this latter fact by exploring one of the key metrics used to measure event success: pipeline metrics. More specifically, how to tie your events strategy to pipeline creation, influence and acceleration. She spoke with Certain’s Chief Solutions Architect, Tim Schmanski, to get a sense of how companies are using face-to-face sales meetings during conferences to help with delivering ROI for their event spend.
Here are some highlights from that conversation:
Why are 1:1 meetings at events so important?
Events such as conferences, tradeshows and summits offer a unique opportunity for face-to-face engagement with customers and prospects that can’t be matched through any other channel. In the case of larger conferences, where you have your executive, sales and customer success teams engaging with your accounts, there is no better time to sit down and get to know the goals and pain points of your customers and prospects.
“What we found is that when those customer and prospects come to meet with you face-to-face during an event, they’re investing the most valuable thing: their time,” explains Alexander. “So what they’re really showing you is their highest intent.”
What are companies doing to get meetings booked in advance of events?
“With the advancement of meetings technology, companies are able to reach out to contacts or prospects prior to an event and begin engaging with their interests,” says Schmanski. “Then, using that data you can line up the corresponding executives or subject matter experts to those pre-scheduled meetings accordingly.”
By employing a meetings technology solution, teams who are reaching out directly to schedule with customers and prospects are using a single platform to centralize communications and data collection. As a result, everyone involved is working from the same resource, simplifying and organizing the process so that when an event rolls around, all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that scheduled meetings goals are met.
It’s all about having the right tools
These days, more and more companies are moving away from the offline approach to booking meetings—where information can be lost and messages missed—to a centralized meeting technology, where that valuable data can be instantly captured and synced with marketing automation and CRM (no more spreadsheets!)
So, for example, if your sales team is engaging with a customer or prospect about a particular need or pain point for them, sales can utilize the meetings technology solution to make real-time notes about their meeting, alerting marketing to this individual’s feedback. Marketing can then use this information to follow-up with suggestions on sessions that the individual might be interested in for the rest of the event. This syncing of data and strategies between sales and marketing results in a more personalized, engaging experience with that customer or prospect both during and after the event.
Tracking in real-time who attended a meeting and having questions set up in advance to help establish meeting outcomes are just two of the ways that companies are leveraging meetings technology to help drive pipeline.
Additionally, the right meetings technology solution should:
- Allow companies to send automated reminders and updates to attendees, ensuring that any schedule or location changes can be easily and immediately communicated. This helps to eliminate no-shows and ensure that all parties are in sync.
- Enable sales to capture valuable notes and details about the discussion—both during and after a meeting has taken place—to ensure that nothing is missed.
Quick tips for meeting success:
To wrap up, both Alexander and Schmanski offered their quick tips for setting up and executing successful meetings. Here’s what they suggest:
- Find the right location for your 1:1 meetings well in advance of the event. Whether it’s a meeting lounge, hotel suite, restaurant, or your booth, plan your meeting location somewhere that is convenient for everyone (ie – close to the event venue). Be sure that the location is equipped for your meeting needs, so if you plan on providing a product demo, access to wifi and electric outlets are a must.
- Have a streamlined system in place for booking your meetings. Don’t let these crucial 1:1 meetings that you worked so hard to schedule get lost in a sea of emails, texts and spreadsheets. Set a good first impression with prospects by having a streamlined, organized system for managing meetings.
- Set clear communication goals. As part of pre-event season planning, sales and marketing should come together to agree on what their goals are both internally, and what goals they should communicate to the customer or prospect in advance of the meeting.
With the right meetings technology, companies are able to capture actionable data from customers and prospects that can not only save them time and effort, but can also help move the needle for their business. For more information or a demo of Certain Meet, Certain’s leading meetings technology solution, contact us today.