The event is here. You and your team have been planning for weeks/months and it finally launched. Online registration/booth scans surpassed your expectations. The actual attendees also are higher than average (you must have great marketing). The demos, speakers, and presenters are on point (you must have a great product). There is a great Q + A, and that means there should be plenty of opportunities to uncover in additional, more in depth follow up conversations.
But WHO is following up? What is the follow up strategy and who owns it?
Did marketing and sales leads tie off on who is doing what? Is everyone getting a thank you for attending/registering email? Are there any hot leads that immediately go to the attention of sales/account management?
The baton handoff between sales and marketing for events is critical.
Personal example that had a lasting impact: I had a former manager who would not let anyone leave our booth at trade shows until every scanned lead from that day was reviewed as a group and assigned for follow up. All the reps loathed this concept (hi…because happy hour), but as a marketer, I have never seen a more foolproof way to ensure all leads are assigned and followed up on appropriately.
How certain are you that your investment in the event – whether it is virtual or in person – is set up to bat one thousand for follow up and assignment to then increase its chances it does not fall into the abyss and instead enters the sales funnel or, at least, a drip campaign?
Here are 3 ideas/concepts from our experience that we have seen work.
- Keep it simple so timeliness is not an issue. The process for assignment and follow up should be straightforward and without convolution. Time kills all deals as they say, so lead assignment following an event should be immediate and without hoops to jump through. Example of a bad decision: having an executive go through and manually personally assign all registrants/leads (because they have the time). I once got assigned leads weeks after an expo. Thanks, Stephen.
- Over communicate to sales – that means all of sales (AEs, BDs, ISRs,) – so all parties are aware of what group is following up with what type of leads. Have meetings before the event. Send reminders both during the event and after about the process so expectations are clear.
- Outliers. Identify exceptions and have a workflow ready for prospects hawking an RFI/RFP or looking to buy in the next 30-90 days.
There is no magic formula, but simplicity should win out to ensure timely responses are sent. It is easy to go down rabbit holes and talk through personalizing the messaging to each attendee…but do not let perfect get in the way of good.
A buyer’s journey is more like a Picasso painting than a color by numbers. If you get caught up in all the things that you could be doing to stand out in someone’s inbox or set a trend, follow up can and will suffer. Make it easy for someone to engage and buy from your company!
If all the leads are in the system, assigned, and get their appropriate follow up correspondence, no one will be pointing the finger at marketing for a post event let down. Besides, it’s always easy to blame the sales department. You can only spoon feed them so much.
Exact Market. We get it and get it done.