B2B Articles - March 10, 2023
By Eddie Becker, Content Specialist
As lockdowns and restrictions created by the pandemic disappear, more businesses are returning to in-person events. Virtual events increased due to the pandemic, but marketers (and attendees) still desire the benefits of in-person events where networking opportunities abound. In fact, 65% of marketers surveyed by Kaltura said in-person events are vital to their marketing strategy.1 While the return of conference swag and networking cocktails excites many, it’s crucial that businesses transform their pre-COVID strategies to get the most ROI from their events.
Despite the massive decline in 2020, in-person events are not going away. But with more companies embracing webinars and other virtual events, we will surely see more hybrid events that feature in-person and online capabilities going forward.
But the type of event doesn’t matter without the right tools in place. In a recent Splash report, 81% of businesses said they would host more events if they were confident they had the right tools.2 Businesses need a quality customer relationship management (CRM) system to get the most ROI from events they attend. CRMs help companies build buyer intelligence, connect new leads to current leads being nurtured, and ensure access to accurate lead data across essential roles within the organization, including sales and marketing.
In-person events can provide excellent opportunities for networking and meeting potential leads. But companies attending a live event should do intel ahead of time. They should learn what companies will attend to target relevant businesses and begin nurturing. The event host can provide a list of participating companies, allowing businesses to research and determine which companies to speak with at the event.
For businesses hosting events, there’s a tremendous opportunity to begin generating leads with online invites. Using LinkedIn, businesses can search for targeted companies and send InMail invites to those they want to connect with. Hosting registration forms on a web page helps businesses begin digitally nurturing their registrants, as long as it’s connected to their CRM.
An Ironpaper survey found that before the COVID-19 lockdowns, 85% of B2B companies relied on in-person events to help drive demand. However, only 14.5% of B2B companies considered industry trade shows a successful lead generation strategy. Companies that aren’t moving their lead relationships to the digital space lose the opportunity to nurture those leads and continue building a relationship — making leads generated at in-person events less likely to make a purchase.
Capturing critical lead information during events in a CRM lets companies track interactions, record phone calls, maintain records of emails sent and received, and readily access essential data from any of their contacts. Some CRMs have apps that allow you to scan a business card and automatically generate contact information within the system. Another option businesses are using involves QR codes. Placing a QR code on a slide during an informative talk from a panelist can prompt attendees to scan the code directing them to a form-fill page on the company’s site.
When the event is over, prospect nurturing is just beginning.
As a list of leads is generated in the CRM, businesses can nurture those leads in various ways. Prospects can be assigned to specific sales reps. Emails with specific content downloads can be sent based on a lead’s information, such as their industry, job title, or specific pain point they’ve mentioned.
Getting this critical data from potential leads helps businesses nurture those leads with pinpoint accuracy. For example, let’s consider a SaaS company that develops tools to integrate essential business apps to work seamlessly together. They have detailed information about a prospect they met at a recent conference. The prospect has indicated the need for their business to be more efficient by reducing the time they use sifting through various apps to cull customer data.
The SaaS business can use this key data to begin a nurture campaign with the lead. They can send the lead a link to a blog from the CEO on tech trends in business or a white paper on “The Five Most Productive Apps for Small Businesses.” Because the lead works in IT, they can connect them with a sales team member who has more experience in working with tech leads.
This nurturing allows a sales team to build on relationships formed at in-person events and continue extracting new insights about leads after the event.
Businesses can also determine the level of engagement a lead has with them. Knowing what stage of the buyer’s journey a lead is in helps choose when to reach out and what tools to use. A CRM can answer key engagement questions like:
Get the ROI you want from in-person events by bringing leads online and nurturing them strategically.
Learn how first-party data can enrich your digital marketing strategy.
1Kaltura, The State of Events, 2023, 2022
2Splash, 2023 Events Outlook Report, 2023
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