Planning for an upcoming conference or tradeshow? It's exhausting for field marketers. Between logistics, travel schedules and venue deadlines, there is no shortage of tasks that need attention. But one critical aspect of event marketing can sometimes fall through the cracks in the hustle and bustle: setting up meetings for reps in advance.
Setting up meetings during a big event like a conference or trade show is the most effective way to drive ROI and influence closed business. Meeting face-to-face with new prospects and opportunities further down the funnel gives reps a chance to show products the solution in person, answer any questions, and spend time building personal relationships.
Pre-Event Marketing Is Critical
Whether it’s through email, direct mail, or phone calls, pre-marketing your organization’s presence at a tradeshow or conference directly to leads and customers is a must. This is the only surefire way to make sure attendees know your team will be there and to get them to set up a meeting with team members. Event teams shouldn’t just hope that top prospects will wander by a booth, or that if they do, they’ll have time for a 15-30 minute meeting. Reaching out to prospects beforehand engages them into taking time out of their busy conference schedules to meet one-on-one with your team.
Pre-event marketing is also a great way for marketing and sales teams to really dig in and drive a combined effort to set up meetings. Here's just a few of the ways marketing and sales can collaborate on pre-event outreach.
- Build informative email workflows
- Design creative direct mail, with online build-and-send tools, like Mailjoy
- Enhance email signatures, with design and tracking tools, like Sigster
- Enable leads to book meetings instantly, with appointment setting tools, like Chilipiper
- Craft concise messaging specifically for the event, based on event topics and audiences
Sales reps can help by going through attendee lists (or building a likely-to-attend list of their own) and highlight top prospects to target. This way both teams are on the same page with the same strategy going into an event.
Get Away From the Crowd
In order to truly rock a one-on-one prospect meeting at an event, make sure your team has reserved meeting space available away from any crowded exhibit floor aisles. This can be a booth with a built-in meeting space, a couch in a hotel lobby, or even a table at a nearby coffee shop. No matter where your meetings take place, having a designated area to talk with prospects and actually focus on the conversation can end up being the turning point between an okay event meeting and a great one. Prospects feel as though their presence is important to your team, and they will be more open to listening to your pitch moving forward.
Without any of flashy distractions to interrupt a conversation, prospects can be more engaged and involved in an event discussion. It’s easier for sales reps to run demos if necessary, and the meeting members won’t be trying to talk over others just to be heard. Having event meetings away from bustling crowds can also make individuals more comfortable discussing private or protected information, depending on the nature of the meetings.
Meetings Drive Event ROI
In-person meetings at events are an ideal way for reps to build empathy and demonstrate solutions in-person. As the old adage goes, almost 90% of communication is non-verbal, so in-person meetings can be much more compelling than phone or via video conference.
Your company is already paying for reps to attend events, so why not maximize the time reps spend in conversation with leads and reps by booking meetings beforehand? At the end of the day, pre-scheduled meetings at events help turn prospects into opportunities and open opportunities into closed won deals.