In a recent survey, it was reported that 87% of C-suite executives not only believe live B2B events are becoming increasingly important to the future of their business, but they are also planning to invest in more events in the future. Conferences, roundtable discussions, networking meetings, vendor expos, and other business-related events can be the key step to closing crucial business deals that result in profits and long-term sustainability for any organization. If you plan B2B events for an organization that sells a product or service to a business clientele, you know how important events are to the sales process.
But building a stable and constant pipeline of potential attendee leads for B2B events can be difficult. Finding B2B event leads can be more complicated than other event leads given that many industries are insular, highly regulated, or hard to tap into.
So, how can you turbocharge your lead generation for B2B events so that you have a constant stream of prospective event attendees to cultivate? First, use your events to convert potential customers at the decision stage of the sales process. Make a case with current leads that the information and benefits they will receive at your event will help jumpstart that conversion process. That will help move them faster through the conversion cycle.
To find new leads, first understand how the decision-making process works, what potential customers’ pain points are, what features of your organization’s product or services are important to potential customers and how your event can address these issues. Strategize how your event can accelerate the decision-making process. By addressing both sales funnels (product AND event), you’ll optimize your resources and maximize your results.
Now that you’ve set your strategy, here are five tactical ideas to increase new lead generation for B2B events.
Incentivize Past Attendees
Hopefully, you have satisfied guests who have attended your events in the past and are now customers of your organization. If so, find ways to incentivize them to bring other prospects to your next event. Offer complimentary event tickets, a discount on services, or even a finder’s fee if their prospects convert. At the very least, ask them to write positive testimonials to use for marketing. Happy clients are your best brand ambassadors. Leverage them if you can.
Since many B2B events are very relationship-driven, deploying a local sales team to promote your event can really make a difference. Sales people located in or near the event city can make sales calls on businesses and organizations that might benefit from your event. They can personally tell the story of your event and create a connection that will build trust and engagement. This sales force can also search and find new event audiences that your organization has not yet tapped and build local media and government leader connections that could be valuable.
Webinar or Live Online Sneak Peek
Host an online recorded webinar or live video presentation that gives new prospects an inside look at your event. Host an online discussion with one of your speakers or vendors. Present some of the research or innovations that will be discussed at the event. Make sure to emphasize all of the benefits that prospects will gain by attending. End the sneak peek with a strong incentive to purchase tickets. Offer exclusive follow up content if tickets are purchased. Promote the online sneak peek via social media, your website, email, industry publications or blogs, and PR pushes.
Attendee Lists from Other Events
Do some research on competing or similar events to see if you can find an attendee list. These attendees may also be interested in attending your event. Business-related events will often post a list of companies represented at their event online, if not actual attendee names. Use that company list to find relevant leader names and email addresses through Google searches or government and industry databases. Once you have a good list of past attendees, reach out to these prospective leads to extend an invitation to your event.
Ticket Sales Incentives
If you have a list of prospective leads that you can contact via email, phone or direct mail, send them an incentive to buy tickets by offering exclusive content or products. This could be special whitepapers, ebooks, research papers, or videos of relevant industry content. It could also be a discount on your organization’s products or services or a free ticket to a VIP event. Or host a Flash Sale in which ticket prices are slashed for a limited time in order to build a sense of urgency to buy tickets now. Review our recent blog posts on additional ways to create urgency around ticket sales here.
Building your conference and meeting event lead pipeline can be challenging and time-consuming. But by highlighting the benefits of attending your event and addressing your prospects’ pain points, some very simple promotional tactics can become very effective sales funnel feeders. The goal is to keep your event sales funnel full and moving with a constant stream of viable leads who will not only attend your events but also purchase your product or service.