You just had a big event with lots of good conversations and leads, but now you’re back in the office and so are your leads. What’s the plan? What’s the best way to take advantage of the initial contact and build upon it? Here are some tips from my 20+ years of managing marketing for events that may help you.
1. Plan Ahead
Yep, take the learnings and make them part of your process. But why? Ask any sales person what the statistics look like for a lead based on time to reach out. The first few hours and first day is critical with great stats, then it all goes downhill from there.
What should you aim for? Try to have a targeted and relevant engagement with your lead within 72 hours of the end of the event. Sooner is better, but let’s be realistic. If you’re traveling to a big event, so are they.
If you’re doing a great job of getting qualified leads at the booth, then executing on the follow-up is even easier. If not, then think about having a marketing ops person clean and segment the lists. They can then send out a few focused emails that talk to that leads pain points and interests, with the correct sales persons follow-up details and Calendly for scheduling.
2. Contact plus value
Making contact is great, but so is offering something relevant and of value to the lead. That might be scheduling a call with rep or signing up for a free demo, gift card for filling in a feedback survey, etc. If you provide a service or product that solves a problem, then a guide to help with decision making, planning, or solving issues (much like this guide)!
3. The “Message”
It doesn’t matter how you connect (email, chat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn message, phone call, or other) but it does matter what the structure and content of your message is. Answer the “what’s in it for me to have this conversation with you”.
- Quick reminder about the event and how you are connected (This is John, we met at…)
- State what you’re offering
- Provide value (content, product/service, opportunity, knowledge)
- What should the person expect from this relationship/engagement (usually includes a call to action on next steps)
4. Customize your Approach
No two customers are the same, they all have different pains and motivations. Sending out one an email assuming that you know those pains and motivations after a 15-minute meeting at a conference doesn’t tend to sit well. If you’re wrong, people can be insulted that you assume you know their issues. If you’re right, people still can be insulted that you know them well enough. What to do? Take a more modest approach, and try to discover their issues and motivations by suggesting a discovery follow-up call/Zoom with your sales team.
If you have various regions, or a large sales team, make sure that the right SDR is assigned to the lead from the region they are in.
5. Consider the Sequence
It’s important to map out your approach to make things clearer in your head. Start with your basic order of events and then fine-tune your follow-up sequence. A marketing automation platform, like HubSpot or Marketo or MailChimp, can make this process easier and provide good tracking of opens, clicks, and downloads/signups.
How many emails should I send? Analytics shows it typically takes five to seven email messages for a lead to respond to a sales person (assuming they’re in a commercial stage of evaluating a product). Once you reach out, continue nurturing them with useful, engaging content to build a relationship and build brand trust.
How often? These nurturing messages can be sent once per week, more than that feels like spam. The call to action in these messages can lead to content on your website (blog posts, videos, case studies, etc.).
6. Data, Data, Data
The first engagements all went out, great…now what? Let’s look at the data, what was the response, who responded, who didn’t, and why. Perhaps a different subject or offer is necessary for people who didn’t open/respond. Look at the bounced emails or bad phone numbers, go back and try to clean them up from a service like ZoomInfo or Seamless, then try again.
7. Plan for the future, today
Now that you have some leads it’s good to assign them to regions and tag them for the event that you went to. Why? Because you may do the same event there next year, and you can reach out to all those people before the event to ask for meetings. It’s a great way to revisit existing relationships and try to move them forward in-person or simply keep in touch with relevant people in the region, who may be able to open doors to potential customers.
Have the regional or account SDR add them on LinkedIn with a nice message about the event and keeping in touch.
Other Tactics to Consider: Thought Leaders Self-Sharing Event Recap on LinkedIn / Company Blog
Having the thought leader of your company sharing their insights from an event with their unique perspective can help highlight them, your company, and earn some of the value from the association with the event. The goal of this post is to leverage the event and associate it with your own thought leadership brand.
LinkedIn individual posts are the fastest and easiest way to do this. Make sure the event hashtag is used, @ shout out to relevant people that you met at the event, thank your hard-working team, and add some pictures of you and the team/partners/etc. at the event. Add your insights, thank everyone, and if you’re coming back next year add a “looking forward to see you there next year!” If you had a speaking session, you can add a video of the highlights and include a link to grab the deck.