November 04, 2020
By Anna Linthicum

Your leads are the measure of success for your event, so it is of the utmost importance that you aren’t wasting your time on unqualified attendees, an unenthusiastic sales team, and unengaged participants. In this fourth installment of the Behind the Scenes to Cvent CONNECT Virtual series, we will be discussing how to best score and engage qualified leads pre-, during, and post-event. Time is the enemy when it comes to capitalizing on an event’s leads, and by implementing these strategies you’ll make the most of the ticking clock.

Pre-Event

Before the event begins, you need to rally your entire company around the event goal. Get them excited about the event and maybe even invest in a little friendly competition. For Cvent CONNECT, we had each member of our sales team displayed on a real-time leaderboard. We created a contest to see which salesperson could drive the most registrations to our annual conference. To do this, we created unique reference links to track each registration to an individual salesperson.

Our sales teams could not get effectively energized without the proper equipment. Much like a marathon runner needs to hydrate before a big race, a sales team needs to be fueled with a first-class sales toolkit. Here are some of the materials we included in ours:

  • Email templates
  • A business case for “Why to Attend Cvent CONNECT”
  • Access to companywide communication channels designed specifically to answer questions about the event
  • 1:1 executive appointments
  • Event tasks from marketing

While a lot of the above seems targeted at the sales teams, it is important to make sure that your entire organization feels a sense of pride and camaraderie around your marquee event. All your teams should participate in your event in some fashion. Our marketing, sales, technology, and client services teams all had four hours of mandatory sessions to attend during our 2-day conference. Being able to watch our colleagues and technology perform beautifully at Cvent CONNECT gave everyone a renowned sense of optimism and confidence after months of stay-at-home Zoom fatigue. It is important to take a moment to remind your internal stakeholders that their hard work is truly paying off.

During Event

All your employees’ hard work leading up to the event culminates in the ROI that you can deliver to your organization and your sponsors. Sponsor ROI is a team game – your sales and marketing teams each play a role.

First, you must identify what data you want to capture for your sponsors. They are sponsoring your virtual event for the same reason that they would have sponsored your in-person event. They want exposure, leads, and, ultimately, conversions. Determine what each of these mean to your event, and brainstorm ways to accomplish these goals in a virtual environment. Below are some strategies we incorporated:

Pre-session advertising

Some of our sponsors elected to have a video or message play before a Cvent CONNECT session. Much like a traditional commercial, this ensured that many eyeballs were on the brand and its message.

Virtual booths

Our sponsor booths were a huge hit in terms of lead channels. Through our virtual booths, sponsors had an opportunity for live engagement with interested parties. Attendees to the booth could access content, browse solutions, and ultimately provide impressions for booth staff to bring back to their organization.

Appointments

If an attendee was really interested in getting to learn more about a specific sponsor, there was an option to schedule a one-on-one appointment. Sponsors would know that this person was highly engaged with their brand and could follow up properly with this qualified lead.

Sponsored sessions

We had a few of our sponsors host sessions themselves. This is a great way for sponsors to present thought leadership to your audience and to establish themselves as an educational resource in the industry. Sponsors can capture qualified leads through those who attended their sponsored sessions. Learn more about Virtual Event Sponsorship.

Panelists and subject matter experts

Some sponsors may elect to participate in a panel or as a guest speaker in an already established session. This cuts down on the workload for them, as they do not have to plan out the entire session, but still establishes great credibility for the brand in the industry.

Aside from sponsor ROI, we were also very interested in our own ROI. We were counting on our first-ever virtual conference to not only be an engaging user conference, but also a successful product launch. Since our event was now free and virtual, we knew that we would have a lot more registrants than usual. However, we were not expecting 10x the number of typical registrations.

To measure attendee value and engagement, we had to first define what it means to "attend" an event in this virtual environment. Does an attendee count as attended when they first log in? Do they have to be signed into the platform for a certain amount of time? Do they have to participate in at least one session? Once we established this definition, we were able to measure our attendees’ actions accordingly.

Secondly, we had to implement engagement scoring. We were able to assign different values to different attendee actions to best weigh our leads in terms of most qualified to least qualified. For example, if someone joined a session and asked a question, they would receive more points than an attendee who simply sat in on a session. An attendee who requested an appointment with a Cvent representative would receive more points than one who registered but never signed into the event. With an event bringing in 42,000+ attendees, it was very important for us to weigh our incoming leads accordingly.

Post-event

It’s time to engage qualified leads further and convert. This is much easier for your sales staff to accomplish when you include them in your event. By encouraging your sales team to join and participate in your event, they will not only learn more about your company and products, but they will be able to have much better conversations with prospects once it comes time to follow up post-event.

For your top priority qualified leads, don’t be afraid to invite your executive team to join in the follow-up call. It will not only impress, but it will let your prospects know that they are a high priority for your organization. 

Conclusion

Engagement definition, lead scoring, and total company involvement are all essential components to make sure that your event produces the most ROI for both your organization and your sponsors.

Q&A from the Webinar

What kind of data and reporting are you able to pass back to sponsors post-event to help prove ROI?

Since we have engagement data and insights into the attendee journey, we can see reporting on 1:1 appointments with sponsors, booth traffic, and interactions with the sessions. This can all go back to the sponsors so they can see the engagement they had as well as lead count.

How far in advance did you start rallying your internal teams to help drive registration?

This is an interesting question, since we originally planned for this event to be in-person in Las Vegas and had to quickly pivot to virtual, we started to rally our internal teams about three months before the event.

Did you see a decrease in sponsor visits compared to in-person events?

We actually saw an increase! Our sponsors got double the amount of leads at our virtual event compared to the numbers they see on average at our annual in-person event. We helped drive this by having dedicated networking blocks so there was nothing on the agenda competing with sponsor visits during these times. Also, we had more attendees and fewer sponsors which led to a great return for our sponsors.

In terms of package ideas for CONNECT Virtual, what was the most valuable to sponsors?

Check out the on-demand version of this webinar to hear the answer to this and more questions!

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Anna Linthicum

A recent graduate of Washington and Lee University, I am currently the Sales Development Representative for the Marketing Partnerships team here at Cvent.

My writing journey got its start with stories about my cousins and our incredible adventures together on family vacations. You can find me organizing my closet, doing Kayla Itsines workouts, or watching The Office for the umpteenth time.

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