Live Event Lead Generation Guide: Advice from Marketing Gurus
One of the most thrilling aspects of attending live events is getting to speak face-to-face with people who are equally passionate about a subject as you are. In the Live Event Lead Generation: Advice Marketing Gurus eBook, we have attempted to simulate that experience by giving readers the opportunity to learn about lead generation best practices straight from the mouths of event marketing leaders.
There’s a reason that lead generation is such a critical topic of concern. The average B2B CMO allocates 24% of their budget to live events. Given the cost of live events, event marketers need to be strategic in how they work with their sales teams to maximize event ROI. Despite the risks, marketers agree that live events are the most effective B2B marketing tactic available.
We spoke with event marketers from a variety of industries and sectors—from large data analytics corporations to grassroots marketers—to discover what their years of experience have taught them about lead generation at live events.
Along the way we discussed:
- Lead generation strategies before, during, and after events
- How to leverage event sponsors and sponsorship opportunities
- How sales teams can best coordinate with marketing teams and event teams
- Training practices for on-site sales representatives
- Different methods of measuring event ROI
- And more.
As important as all of this information is, we know that at the end of the day what matters to you are the takeaways from this eBook that are relevant to you. That’s why we’ve included some of our own Main Takeaways at the end of each section.
We had a lot of fun interviewing these insightful and colorful event marketing leaders, and we hope you will have as much fun reliving our conversations through the printed word. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside. For the full interviews (and for access to special tips and takeaways) download the Live Event Lead Generation Advice from Marketing Gurus eBook.
Cari Goodrich, Senior Director of Global Marketing Programs, Looker
I think [live events] are critical. They end up having this effect across the board, across all of the funnels that you might not notice at first. What we notice, is if we don’t do events, it affects everything—our organic dips. People aren’t visiting our website as often. So, I think that events are one of the most critical components of lead generation.
“The three pillars of a successful event are people, places, and things that prospects usually don’t have access to.”
Since the beginning. They’ve actually been one of our earlier drivers for sales acceleration and net new. We’ve been big proponents from the beginning of producing our own events as well as sponsoring. We typically tend to sponsor partner trade shows versus industry trade shows.
Sarah Bolt, Events Manager, InsightSquared
Events are essentially one of the biggest channels for engaging leads. We do a lot of work ahead of time prepping the people who are going to be there and setting up meetings with them and making sure that people know that we’re going to be sponsors and where the booth is going to be to stop by. We host happy hours and dinners to try to find different ways to engage them.
“It’s more about lead engagement than it is about lead generation.”
We iterate every single time for every single event. We collect feedback. When we return I send out a survey to the team attending. I ask for everyone’s feedback from CEO to BDR, and what we think we could have done better and what they think we did well. We take that advice and improve every single time, and of course, every single time new stuff comes up.
Tom Shelly, Product Marketing Manager, Bizzabo
Utilize the event app. Get to know the people that are relevant to you. Search by the job title, company, whatever it is, and reach out to them. In general, maximize the technology that is provided during the event.
“Create that discussion early on; don’t wait till the last minute.”
If an event has a matching system, utilize that. Often, these events would require more pay in order to be part of the matching system, but it’s totally something that’s effective. If that’s one of the main reasons that you’re attending an event, to generate leads, then definitely utilize that. A lot of events have a designated program for that, and if you’re not part of that, you’re not exposed to a lot of networking situations.
Gaetano DiNardi, Director of Marketing, Sales Hacker
I think the beauty of the sales conference, or any conference really, is that you can avoid all that funnel stuff, and you can basically prospect who’s going to be at the conference ahead of time, you can scope out who is potentially gonna be a good lead for you. And you can find clever ways to strike up real human connection and conversation, in-person, and take it from there. Of course you’ve got to be good with people, you have to have good people skills. You can’t be awkward, you can’t let them know that you’ve been scoping them out on social media and that you’re trying to sell them something immediately.
“We try to have a good variety of sponsors that have tools that do different things.”
We usually try to get the best sponsors, so brands like Hubspot for example. We leverage them to get ourselves into media sites like TechCrunch, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, so on and so forth. So, number one, it is a brand awareness and a brand recognition tool.
Lloyed Lobo, Co-founder and Chair, Traction Conf
Live events are a great way for generating leads, if your annual contract for a client is large enough. If you’re selling 10 dollar stuff it’s not worth it, a way to primarily generate leads. Otherwise it’s a great opportunity engage your community and to build products, to understand what your community cares about. Because as a business you should always be talking to your customers.
“People love things being tailored to them.”
If you do a live event, you likely bring on some sponsors and those sponsors, based on the speakers you have, in business items of your event, could be big names. So as a result of throwing that event and all the press and the email and the sponsors surrounding it—even if you are not a massive company—you get the brand rub of those bigger brands. And it helps build your brand.
Lindsy Lettre, Senior Marketing Operations Manager, InsightSquared
About a year and a half ago we moved to account-based marketing. We redid our event strategy. We’re really focusing on cornerstone events where we think about which accounts we want to engage with are going to be at these events, for example SaaStr and Dreamforce.
“We work very closely with the sales team. The alignment is the most important thing.”
We don’t use MQLs. We use alerts, which are similar, just when there’s an engagement activity. Alerts are created, which is a pass in Salesforce, and those are passed to the sales team so they know who to follow up on. As soon we know someone attends they get the alert, and then they can follow up immediately so that they don’t sit there forever.
Roberta Ocamp, Events Marketing Manager, HubSpot
Live events are a useful way to generate leads and helps accelerate the sales cycle because they are a great way to create face time with prospects. Our sales reps are on the phone day-in and day-out, and we feel events are a nice way to put a human touch to our sales process. They’re a great way to educate prospects, and those that go to an event close way faster than the online-only sales cycle.
“Live events also do the job of a blog post, eBook or webinar but have a 10x impact.”
At HubSpot, we ensure that our event content gives attendees valuable information. We make sure they walk away with key tips and tricks they can actually use and apply back in their day-to-day jobs. Once they realize that what they learned at the event has helped them grow, they eventually come back to us, and we start building that relationship.
Michael Morris, Director of Sales, Bizzabo
I think that live events are the best way to generate leads, obviously depending on the event and depending on who the attendees are. I’ve always found them to be the best way to get leads. Face-to-face beats over the phone, beats over video.
“There’s no better time to reach out to prospects than leading up to an event.”
Each conference is different. For a tradeshow like IMEX, for instance, it’s all about putting things down on your schedule so it makes it a little easier. The event dynamics really dictate how you want to sell, how much you want to sell, and how much time you want to spend with each person. Just like if you’re doing outbound or cold calls or inbound, you want to qualify on the spot as best you can to make sure that you’re giving the right amount of time to the best qualified people.
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