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Preparing for Event Season (and Measuring your ROI)

It’s event season, are you ready for it? How do you prepare? And what do you need in order to measure event marketing ROI? 

Events are often the largest investment of the year for a marketing team, especially a small one. When you factor in the time spent strategizing, preparing, inviting and designing your presences, you’ve already invested a lot before you even show up. Once you add in T&E and a possible sponsorship, you can see how the cost can add up. 

With such a large investment of time and money, it becomes critical for teams to create a solid action plan before you get there on how you’ll make the most of the event and how you’ll track success. (If you missed our webinar on preparing for event season you can watch it on-demand here.)

Whether you are attending an upcoming Salesforce World Tour or planning ahead for summer events, now is the time to make sure your plans and your strategy are buttoned up. 

There are really two ways to show up for an event – as a sponsor or as an attendee looking to network. We have tips for both parties below.


Choosing the right event to attend or sponsor


Do your research on each event, which includes:

  • Understanding who will be at the event
  • Clarify what comes with sponsoring & who else is sponsoring, and
  • Know if the ICP is your audience

Based on your investigation of these three facts, plus considering your budget and ability to dedicate resources you can pick and choose the right events for you. 


Tips for sponsoring events and driving ROI


If you’ve found the perfect event and want to invest in sponsoring, you will want to ensure that:

  • Your team is ready before the event
  • Your message is crisp and 
  • You know what a successful event looks like (e.g., how will you track ROI). 

1 – Choose your dream events team. Who shows up and represents your brand matters. Make sure you bring people with high-energy who are friendly and knowledgeable in your solution. Identify the role that each person attending will be playing, including someone to demo, crowd pullers, and support staff. 

2 – Identify your goals. Outline why you are attending the event, like brand awareness, lead generation, or relationship building

3 – Prepare your team for success. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Take the time to prep your team on why you’re there, what you want to get out of it and how to best show up. These prep meetings might include perfecting your elevator pitch, solidifying your content strategy, and an agenda outline.

4 – Day of event activities. The day of an event will get crazy and be the longest and shortest day ever. Take time to ensure you make the most of what’s around you – not just what’s in your booth. 

5 – Event follow up. Event follow up should be prepared before you leave and executed shortly after you get back while notes and conversations are fresh. 


Tips for attending events you aren’t sponsoring 


The benefits for showing up to network at an event can be almost as impactful as sponsoring if you plan and prepare. Making the most of your time should include:

  • Booking meetings with customers, prospects and possible partners 
  • On-sight activities 
  • Partnering and participating in after-hour events 

1 – Know the agenda. Many event sessions feature customers and partners. Spend the time putting together your own schedule that highlights when and where your customers,  prospects, and partners are speaking.

2 – Set your ROI or metrics for success. Just because you aren’t sponsoring doesn’t mean that you have not invested heavily in the event in the sense of time, travel, entertainment and time out of the office. You should know which of your customers, partners, and prospects will be there. 

3 – Attend or sponsor after-hour events. Whether your event is a single day or a multi-day affair, things get busy. Many ISVs, sponsors and partners plan after hour events to capture those key individuals who are in town. 

4- Be social. Both literally and online – be social. Make sure your network knows you’re going before the event and that you’re there live.  

5 – Create a follow up plan. Without a list or scanned leads you have to get a little more creative in your follow up. Make sure you capture who you have scheduled time with as well as those you meet on the show floor or at events. 


How to measure your event ROI


Whether you are sponsoring or taking the time and investment to just attend, measuring and reporting back on ROI is key. These details help you identify repeat event strategies and justify additional budget for future events. 

  • Define your main KPIs – Brand awareness, leads, customer retention, face time with your PDM or PAM – these can all be KPIs you can track. 
  • Revenue oriented metrics – Leads, pipeline, opportunities, closed deals are just a few you can track. 
  • Align to your overall goal – Align your KPIs to your goals and find the statistics that help build your case for why you went
  • Track performance in your CRM – Don’t forget to track and monitor your investment. I suggest a campaign in your CRM. 
  • Influenced Pipe and ACV – Leads and opportunities might come in after the event, make sure you’re tracking when someone you spoke with enters your funnel so you can relate it back to that initial meeting on site. 

Events can be a lot of fun but are also a lot of work. Putting your strategy and plan in place ahead of time will make sure your team is prepared, that your money is well spent and that you have a follow up plan in place to make the most of those you meet in person. 

If you have questions for our team on how to make the most of your events strategy or your GTM action plan overall, please reach out. 

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