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About This Episode
At Outreach, we love events. We love attending them, talking about them on our podcast, and producing them. It’s one of the most effective ways to get in front of your prospects and customers in one place.
“It’s almost like ABM in-person,” says Max Altschuler, VP of Marketing at Outreach. Not only do you get to just be around people who are in your customer profile, but you get to meet many of them face-to-face as well. Finding targeted face-to-face time is so valuable, and events are one of the best places to do so.
But maybe you’re not convinced that events are worth your business’ money. Travel is expensive and it causes some of your best employees to leave the office for a few days. So why should you continue to send your sales reps to events? Better yet, how can you ensure you’ll get a return on your investment?
Make sure they do these five things before they buy their plane ticket.
Five Ways To Make The Most Of Your Time And Money At Events
1. Dig into the numbers
Before purchasing a sponsorship, make sure to check how many people in the audience are people you’re actually targeting. There might be 15,000 people attending a particular conference (and they will advertise that!), but how many are your ideal customer?
What if only 3% of those 15,000 are sales reps, would that help your business? Before you attend an event or sponsor one, make sure you dig into the numbers to ensure your dollars will reach the right people.
2. Stand out
These days, there are a lot of conferences that are big for the sake of being big. That doesn’t work anymore. There is so much noise and saturation at these conferences, so whether you’re a sponsor or an attendee, find a way to stand out. From the placement of your ads to the color of the suit you wear, make it a memorable experience.
Make your connection more than just a 5-minute conversation in a hallway. Go for a walk around the block or grab a beer across the street. You can get on a phone call or send a million emails but all that pales in comparison to that one thing you shared together at a conference. Experiences are memorable.
3. Pre-event prep
The worst thing you can do is buy tickets for a conference and just show up. Similar to prepping for an exam, you should spend at least a few hours making a strategic plan before you get on a plane. There’s no time to waste.
Before the conference, check out the attendee list and create dossiers to learn more about them. Take that list to your sales and marketing ops team and ask them who on that list you should be talking to. If you can’t get the attendee list, do the same thing with the speaker, vendor, and sponsor list.
You could also check out the event app beforehand to learn more about who will be there. Reach out to attendees beforehand to schedule meetings, and make sure to grab a cell phone number so that you can text them. When you’re at a conference, text is better than email.
4. Keep things conversational
If you meet someone at a conference, just have a normal conversation with them and get to know them. Don’t go straight into a pitch. Learn about them personally, not just what they do. Keep asking questions until you find that chainlink that organically connects your pitch (or the pain point you solve) with something they say.
And your pitch doesn’t even have to happen at the conference. It’s a great place to make a connection and share an experience, but the pitch can be saved for the follow-up.
5. It’s all about follow-up
If you take one thing from this post, please don’t forget to follow-up! And you need to do it quickly; soon after you meet them. Don’t wait a month to follow-up on what you discuss in person because they’ll forget you and everything you talked about. Think about how many other people they’re meeting at the same conference.
In your face-to-face conversation, ask the person: what’s the best way for me to follow up with you? We tend to think everybody prefers email, but that’s not always the case. You might email them the next morning, but if you would have asked them that one question, you would know that they actually prefer or even want you to call or text them instead.
So get the business card when you meet them, connect with them on LinkedIn, and ask them about their follow-up preference. You might also ask if there is anyone else you should speak with on their team. Don’t let the other person be in control of the follow-up, you be in control.
Events are an incredible opportunity to connect with the right people; to get face-to-face time with your ICP, hear from inspirational leaders in the industry, and learn tactics to implement into your business. That’s why we’re pumped about Unleash 2019.
Three days of sales engagement teaching by the world’s most innovative, fast-growing companies on a private island in San Diego. Expect fireworks, dunk tanks, and awesome keynotes. Are you coming? Visit https://unleash.outreach.io/ to learn more, and listen to this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast for a special offer. HINT: it’s a promo code for discounted tickets.
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