Whether it’s connecting with potential buyers to learn more about their pain points and challenges, or meeting with customers to discuss the health of an account, in-person meetings at conferences and trade shows is one of the most effective ways to influence the sales pipeline. At larger conferences, companies and organizations will typically have more stakeholders in attendance such as executives, sales, marketing and customer success teams. Given the high cost to sponsor and/or exhibit at these events, a well executed meeting strategy connecting stakeholders with prospects and customers can drive a higher event ROI.
In this two part series, we’re outlining the steps to incorporate a one-on-one meeting strategy within your event strategy.
Identify potential customers attending the event
The first step for successful meetings is prospecting the event’s attendees. If you aren’t able to access an attendee list from the conference organizers through your sponsorship package, don’t fret. There are still numerous ways to identify potential prospects and customers who will be attending the event. Check out the conference website, focusing on sponsors and exhibitors as well as speakers and panelists. Social media can provide great insight into who might be attending. For example, conferences often have Facebook or LinkedIn groups where organizers engage with attendees before the event. Scan the event hashtag and handles from previous years on Twitter. If the conference or trade show is a repeat event in your portfolio, there is a good chance that leads or accounts you’ve captured before will be attending again.
Location, location, location
Before you can invite prospects and customers to meetings, you’ll need a meeting location. This may seem like a mundane step in the process, but it’s key to ensuring a successful meeting and onsite experience. Some conferences and trade shows offer meeting rooms as part of the exhibit floor design as an option to purchase in addition to your booth space. There are many alternative locations that may make sense such as a coffee shop or room in a restaurant near the exhibit hall. Your company or organization could host a separate lounge that is near the event space. If the cost of hosting a lounge independently is too great, consider hosting with partners or other companies that make sense for your business. The most important factor in designating a meeting location is to make it easy on attendees. Locations too far from the event, too obscure or complicated with directions and you risk attendees not showing up.
Align sales and marketing teams
An event attendees’ time is valuable (as is yours), and in the chaos of a frenzied conference, you need to make sure you maximize the moments you spend with them. Use a centralized event management platform that allows marketing and sales to collaborate on the meeting strategy before, during and post-event. EventGeek’s new Meeting Scheduler feature supports the full lifecycle of sales meetings at events from request to report. Event marketers can provide sales teams or individual reps with landing pages where prospects and customers can book a meeting. Event marketers can also set up room-based resources, such as projects, catering and seating capacity and request/approval workflows to ensure meetings are only booked by qualified prospects and safeguard executive’s highly valuable time. By aligning sales and marketing teams not only on who should attend meetings but also the meeting scheduling process, the more likely your meetings will be successful.