After putting together a couple of event/ conference/trade show strategies for a couple of B2B SaaS Companies, I wanted to put together a general one that might be helpful for other folks thinking about the same thing.
Events are by far one of the most expensive (and effective) strategies for driving revenue for B2B SaaS. A lot of marketing teams and leaders struggle with measuring events and being strategic about them. Yes, you should be at events to get face to face time but because of the cost associated with them, there's a huge pressure to prove return.
There are some common mistakes I see people make:
- Salespeople show up without any support from marketing
- Marketing hopes people will drop by the booth
- Sales start talking to everyone and anyone who glances their way
- Events are measured with # of leads and the size of the attendee list.
- There's no prep before or a follow up system in place after the event.
I outline some of the approaches I advocate for and have seen success within the presentation below but for an overview:
- Break the event down into 3 stages:
- Before The Event
- During the Event
- After the Event
Before the conference/event/trade show
- Before the event is where you do the prep work. Who is going? Who are your most valuable accounts? Get sales to be involved in this. They know prospects and accounts better than anyone. Get them to flag their target accounts and prospects. help them with their email/call scripts. The objective here is not to spray and pray but be more strategic about which conversations YOU must have. Keep in mind, this should not be focused exclusively on new opps. Have a mix of current pipeline + new opps. Meeting current opps who are at the bottom of the funnel will definitely help accelerate the velocity.
- Get on the phone (and email) to commit meetings before the event. Get it on your prospects calendars. Follow up before the event, create an incentive for them to meet you and close the deal early.
- If any of your CEO is speaking or attending, highlight them. This is an opportunity for prospects to meet with the founder/CEO at the event in person. Position her as an expert in the space and offer it as a chance for prospects to buy into the vision of the company. This is a great chance for your customers to connect with your company on a deeper level as well. Don't ignore customers. They have to renew or you can upsell them.
- Leverage social & search ads to generate brand awareness before the event.
- Create landing pages for the event.
During the conference/event/trade show
- Keep to your calendar.
- Have marketing support you with social (live tweeting)
- Do a Facebook Live and stream it during the breaks to share quick takeaways from the sessions.
- Create a smaller 'Drinks and Mingle' for your prospects/customers.
- Target social Ads around the event venue & the event #.
After the conference/event/trade show
- Create content from event takeaways. Host a webinar, write a blog post. Share with attendees that sales are not personally following up with.
- Keep the momentum going. Support sales with follow-up messaging.
- Assign statuses and campaigns to event contacts & prospects. Attach existing opps you met at the event to Salesforce campaigns.
- Create workflows in your Marketing Automation like Hubspot & Marketo to create followup emails & flag engaged prospects to the BDR/AE team.
- Report on Pipeline Created, Opportunities Engaged / Stage Changed or Revenue Influenced by the event campaign.
Here's a brief Google Slide deck as well that outlines these strategies.
Feel free to download a copy for yourself.