2020 was the year that finally proved that Sales and Marketing must work together to achieve success. Trade Shows are lead generation machines and sales relies heavily on them to build their pipeline. One of the biggest challenges in 2020 was losing in-person events and the leads that come with them.
While the in-person events went away, successful marketers used special events to fill that lost demand, while the companies that relied solely on sales lagged behind. Based on surveys from Exhibitor Online, we learned:
- 39% indicate that the downturn has made the value of trade shows and face-to-face marketing more obvious to members of the C-Suite.
- 59% indicate a lack of leads/sales opportunities due to the loss of in-person events.
With that said, let’s start from the beginning. When you start any campaign or event planning, it is crucial that you start with one thing.
Research! We’re not talking about going on the internet but doing a deep dive into what makes your audience tick. The type of information you can only get from one place.
The front line of every company. The sales team!
Getting to know your audience will ensure the quality of your results. Quality results mean a better return on your investment (and an increased budget in the future!) It will also help you connect on a deeper level while creating the right experience.
Aligning sales and marketing is not a new feat. It just became more evident that event marketers need sales and vice versa. And your sales team is the key to gaining valuable insights.
Here are three questions to discuss with your sales team to MAXIMIZE your next trade show, online or off:
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE THINKS AND FEELS?
- As we said earlier, internet research is an excellent place to start, but you’ll only get so much information. Asking direct questions can get you more information. So how do you get direct access to clients and prospects? You guessed it! Your go-to internal partner, the sales team. By getting buy-in from sales, you’ll get that direct access you always wanted. And that is where the gold is. There are a few ways to get those questions across to prospects. For EDE, surveys are the ideal way to get feedback. Make sure you are only asking a few questions and tell them how long it should take. The last thing you want is a prospect getting annoyed by a survey that takes 20 minutes to complete. Be upfront and transparent, tell them what to expect. If it’s going to take 10 minutes, tell them. Long surveys that take too much time are not the type of surprise that people want. Sales can use their relationships to get buy-in from prospects. It is also another valuable touchpoint to show that you care what they think. Let them know the goal of the survey is to improve how you service their needs. With a little incentive, you also likely get higher quality responses. Understanding prospects’ minds is the foundation for creating personalized experiences.
- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR IDEAS WILL WORK?
- There are no guarantees your idea is going to work no matter how many of your colleagues tell you how amazing it is. Although you obviously have all the best ideas, a great way to execute with confidence is by testing. But how do you test a big idea ahead of an event? You guessed it! By working with sales. Think of it like A/B testing a marketing campaign. You can get a better sense of how the campaign will perform before putting all your eggs in one basket. Whether you are trying a new demo format, introducing gamification, or sharing a new presentation, offer up a preview. You’ll know which ones are home runs and which ones are duds. Testing give you the opportunity to make adjustments before the big day. Execute with confidence!
- HOW CAN YOU GET BUY-IN FROM SALES IN THE FIRST PLACE?
- For one thing, salespeople are always looking for talking points. There is nothing worse than sending an email or calling someone to say you’re just following up. If you’re feeding them new content that adds value to share with their clients, they are going to share it. If you tell them it is a sneak peek, they will sprint to test it out. They will also give you honest feedback if they don’t like what they are seeing in the first place. Beyond new content to share, we’re talking about sales. If you give them a new competition with some incentive, you’ll see the group sprint to get it done.
2020 taught us a lot. One thing that we saw was that our clients that worked with sales achieved far greater success than the ones that worked in silos. It’s not the cool gimmick or the latest trend that will help you create the slam dunk experience. It’s the research, understanding, and knowing your audience that will. The only way to do that is by aligning your event marketing team with the sales team. Both teams will be stronger as a result. So break down those barriers and get to work, together!