In today’s digital age, with an avalanche of webinars, virtual meetings, and online summits, one might be tempted to think that traditional in-person events have lost their luster. However, the tactile experience of face-to-face interactions remains an unparalleled medium, especially in the B2B landscape. Physical events provide unique opportunities for businesses to showcase their value, foster genuine relationships, and create lasting impressions.
But how can a company effectively leverage these events to generate leads and attract potential clients? This article will explore the art and science of using in-person events as a powerful lead-generation channel, providing insights on representing your company with finesse and cultivating meaningful client connections.
Key data and statistics:
- Networking opportunities: 95% of professionals believe face-to-face meetings are crucial for building long-term business relationships (Great Business Schools, 2020).
- Learning and professional development: 92% of attendees say they attend in-person events to gain industry-specific knowledge (EventMB, 2021).
- Lead generation: 80% of attendees at B2B events are potential leads for exhibitors (Exhibit Surveys Inc.).
- Direct sales opportunities: 67% of all attendees represent a new prospect and potential customer for exhibiting companies (Center for Exhibition Industry Research).
- Engagement and interaction: 81% of attendees say that interacting with exhibits and exhibitors is a major reason for attending trade shows (CEIR, 2019).
- Market inisight: 72% of decision-makers say attending in-person events helps them stay abreast of industry trends (Bizzabo, 2020).
- Brand discovery: 70% of users become regular customers of a brand after an experiential marketing event (EventTrack).
- Innovation exposure: 84% of executives say attending events helps them find innovative products and services necessary for their business (Harvard Business Review).
- Professional networking: 77% of executives have developed valuable relationships through attending in-person events (Forbes, 2019).
- Brand loyalty: Attending a brand’s event makes 98% of consumers feel more inclined to purchase (EventTrack).
- Job opportunities: 75% of professionals say attending in-person events helped them in their career advancement (LinkedIn).
- Learning retention: People are 18% more likely to have new, useful information remembered when attending in-person events versus online (Psychology Today).
- Meeting potential clients: 79% of US marketers generate sales using event marketing (Statista, 2021).
- Business deals: 54% of business leaders say they have made at least one business deal at an in-person event (Harvard Business Review).
- Attendee satisfaction: 91% of attendees report a more positive outlook on the company after attending their events (EventTrack).
These statistics collectively underscore the numerous advantages of attending in-person events, including networking, learning, sales opportunities, market insights, and professional growth. Including this stat block in your article will highlight the multifaceted value of in-person events, supporting your argument for their effectiveness in B2B contexts.
Key tools you need when attending in-person events
1. Event Apps:
● Whova: Provides event agendas, networking, interactive sessions, and attendee engagement features.
● Eventbrite: Widely used for discovering, registering, and promoting events.
● Attendify: Offers a personalized event experience with social networking features and real-time content sharing.
2. CRM Software:
● ActiveCampaign CRM: A comprehensive tool for tracking customer interactions, sales, and marketing activities.
● HubSpot CRM: Known for ease of use, integration with marketing tools, and free access tier.
● Pipedrive: Offers a wide range of features including sales automation, analytics, and multichannel communication.
3. Business Card Scanners:
● CamCard: Scans business cards to digital form and integrates with CRM systems.
● Adobe Scan: Provides scanning with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and cloud storage.
● ScanBiz: Offers business card scanning, CRM integration, and email signature capture.
4. Email Marketing Tools:
● ActiveCampaign: User-friendly for designing email campaigns with automation and analytics.
● Constant Contact: Offers email marketing tools with automation, surveys, and event marketing features.
Brevo: Includes email and SMS marketing, along with automation and CRM functionalities.
5. Note-Taking Apps:
● FuseBase (formerly Nimbus): Versatile for taking notes, organizing data, and syncing across devices.
● Notion: Combines notes, tasks, databases, and wikis for comprehensive project management.
6. Calendar Apps:
● Google Calendar: Popular for scheduling, sharing calendars, and event reminders.
● Microsoft Outlook Calendar: Offers comprehensive scheduling tools and integration with email.
● Apple Calendar: Ideal for Mac and iOS users, integrates with iCloud and other Apple apps.
7. Travel Planning Apps:
● TripIt: Aggregates travel plans into a comprehensive itinerary.
● Expedia: Useful for booking and managing flights, hotels, and car rentals.
● Skyscanner: Compares prices for flights, hotels, and car hire, offering extensive options.
8. Expense Tracking Apps:
● Expensify: Simplifies expense reports, receipt scanning, and company card reconciliation.
● Concur: Manages expenses and invoices, often used by larger organizations.
● Zoho Expense: Provides easy receipt tracking, expense reporting, and integration with Zoho’s suite of apps.
9. Professional Networking Apps:
● Bizzabo: Enhances networking opportunities at events with a focus on attendee experience.
● Meetup: Good for finding and organizing group meetings, particularly useful for local networking events.
● Shapr: A networking app designed like a dating app, for professional connections based on shared interests.
Three main things to know about events:
You can’t shake hands with a clenched fistIndira Gandhi
In-person events should be treated as a marketing channel. To define our actions throughout the event, I set three fundamental rules:
- It’s important to recognize that events are an outbound marketing channel, not an inbound one. This means that you should approach them differently. Your product or services may only sometimes align with the needs of your target audience, resulting in longer sales cycles, higher customer acquisition costs, and more time needed for conversion – just like with any other outbound channel. While many potential clients may attend in-person events, it’s important to remember that not all will immediately need your solution.
- Regarding in-person events, it’s important to remember that the goal is to build a relationship with potential clients rather than making an immediate sale. For a deal to happen, there must be a match between what you offer and the client’s needs. This kind of connection is rare at in-person events, so it’s better to focus on building and maintaining relationships until the client realizes they have a need for your service. It’s important to remember that it often takes multiple connections before someone becomes a client, which is the essence of the third rule.
- Attending in-person events is essential to focus on pitching your product or service instead of relying on chance networking and attending keynotes that can often be viewed online. In-person events provide an excellent opportunity to spread your message globally. It’s best to prioritize pitching your product or service before attending keynotes or after parties.
Pick the right conference.
Here are tips to follow before buying a ticket for any conference:
Make sure that who will be attending is your ICP
You may not need to attend expensive national in-person events if you are targeting small to mid-sized firms. Identify your target customers and go where they go.
Local, state, or national?
Ensuring that the conference’s scope aligns with your growth objectives is crucial. Remember that bigger doesn’t always mean better, especially if it comes with a hefty price tag.
Talk to other exhibitors to get insider information
Can you find out if the organizing host treats sponsors well? Do attendees have time to meet with exhibitors? Your exhibiting colleagues may have valuable information for you.
Watch out for hidden costs!
The cost of your exhibitor booth goes beyond the sticker price. Additional charges may include shipping, handling, and event entry fees.
Make sure you have enough product!
It’s crucial to have sufficient product inventory to make sales and generate revenue. Additionally, having enough staff at your booth is vital to ensure that all inquiries from potential customers are answered promptly.
Events are important because they allow for a more intimate and engaging experience with your audience which ultimately leaves a lasting impression Fabrice Orlando
Attending a conference can present various roles, such as being an attendee, exhibitor, or speaker. Regardless of your role, it’s essential to do more than show up and hope for new business opportunities to come your way. Careful planning is necessary to maximize your investment in the conference.
Before the event, taking essential steps to generate leads is crucial. Lead generation requires a strategic plan for pre-conference preparation, which helps you stay organized and improve your strategy for future events. Here are the main steps to follow for successful pre-conference preparation:
Set your objectives
What are your goals for attending the event?
Are you seeking to:
– Find potential customers?
– Introduce a new product?
– Build customer loyalty?
– Establish new relationships with suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders?
– Enhance your brand?
Your conference objectives should be concise statements with measurable targets to ensure you stay focused on your objectives. For instance, your conference goal might be to generate one qualified lead for every ten attendees.
You may also set a “breakeven” point: the amount of new leads required to recoup the event’s costs. By defining your goals, you can direct your energy where it matters most. Remember to align your conference objectives with your overall company strategy.
Identify who you want to meet.
Identifying potential connections in advance, regardless of your goals is advisable. It would help if you thought about the following when considering who to meet:
– A particular individual
– People in a specific role or organization
– A desired number of new acquaintances
– Someone with whom you can connect on a particular topic.
Review event details in advance.
To have a successful conference experience, being informed about the event details is essential. Here are some tips to help you navigate the conference with ease:
– Familiarize yourself with the venues: Find out where it’s being held and where specific talks, displays, or events will occur.
– Explore the surrounding areas: Discover nearby restaurants, cafés, and bars where other attendees might gather after the events. This will also give you options for continuing conversations with colleagues over a meal or a drink.
– Review the conference schedule: Plan ahead by knowing which panels, presentations, and events you want to attend. This will help you manage your timing and movement throughout the conference.
– Download relevant materials: Before the conference, make sure you know how to navigate any relevant apps or materials. This will ensure you’re prepared and ready to go on the day.
Establish a budget
Before attending a conference, it’s crucial to determine your budget. These events can quickly drain marketing funds, so knowing what you can afford is essential. This information will help you customize your exhibit and marketing materials accordingly.
Aside from creating a budget for travel expenses, you’ll need to assign someone to plan everyone’s airfares, accommodations, insurance, conference passes, and coordinate booth commitments and meetings. Here’s a checklist to help you get started:
• Book your booth space and ensure it’s designed according to conference instructions.
• Get conference passes for all attendees.
• Purchase branded merchandise such as T-shirts, pens, business cards, and brochures.
• Book flights and accommodations.
• Review your team’s expense policy and remind everyone of it.
• Ensure everyone has travel insurance and emergency contacts.
• Create a booth commitment schedule.
• Check if there’s a conference app and download it.
• Review the conference schedule and plan which events and speakers your team should attend.
Conduct thorough research and schedule appointments before your departure.
Don’t wait until the conference to start generating new leads. Most conference hosts will provide a list of attendees and their basic contact information before the event. However, some important details like phone numbers and emails may need to be included. You can outsource to a professional service provider or find the missing information independently (I can guide you through the process).
- Fiverr is a great place to find fast and inexpensive web-scrapers and list-builders.
Or use the tool as an Apollo to search on your own
- Depending on your outreach strategy, you should include things like a website, link to bio, or LinkedIn profile URL.
Automate email prospecting.
When writing emails that many people will see, choosing your words carefully is essential. One effective way to increase open rates is to include the name of the conference in the subject line. This strategy worked well for me, boosting my open rates from 35% to 68%.
To keep track of your outreach efforts, consider using a tool that allows you to monitor when and how you contact leads in your list. You can use a Google spreadsheet to track your progress or opt for a customer relationship management (CRM) system specifically designed for this purpose. I recommend – Pipedrive.
Lead Outreach process in details
How is the process arranged? It’s actually quite simple: through direct email and invitations to meet. Many companies and individuals proactively prepare for upcoming events by contacting relevant audiences and scheduling meetings. This is what the process typically entails.Obviously, multiplied by 500 or 1000 times:
Build your target audience profile.
I won’t spend much time on this as you probably already know how to do it. If not, there are many online resources available. For example, you can check out my recent article – Target Audience vs ICP vs Buyer Persona for B2B. Full Guide 2023.
Mine the prospects
This step is pretty simple. You need to identify the attendees of the conference. Check if a networking app is available for the event and use it. If not, search social media and event platforms to locate the attendees. Additionally, find out which companies are participating and focus on reaching out to individuals within those companies who may be interested in your cause.
Send them a message.
When we send out a template to someone, it usually looks something like this:
I’ve noticed both [ICP Company] and [Your Company] are attending [EVENTNAME] on [Event Date].
It would be great to connect during the event.
[Your Company] is a [About Your Company].
Our core clients are [About Your Client].
Please let me know if you have free time slots on [Event Date].
Or, if you are not visiting personally, who would be the appropriate person for me to talk to?
Keep going after one or two follow-ups. Persistence is key. Experiment with different channels such as email or social media if you engaged with the prospect on LinkedIn. I use Apollo, FindThatLead, or Hunter to automate my sales outreach.
Publicize your involvement. Remember your existing clients.
To grow your business, connecting with your current customers is essential before attending a conference. You can ask them if they know anyone attending and if they would be willing to introduce you. Remember to continue building those relationships, as other companies will vie for their business.
Inform your top customers that you’ll be attending the event, and send out a mailing to your customer database. Utilize your website to promote the event and invite people to visit your booth. Additionally, mention the event in any promotional material or press releases.
Prepare to participate.
When participating in a conference, keeping your organization’s role in mind is crucial. Here are some tips to consider while planning your participation.
- Prepare conversation topics in advance. Having general and topical knowledge about your industry can facilitate conversations. Asking open-ended questions can help gain insight into colleagues’ points of view and lead to unexpected revelations.
- Know how to introduce yourself. Knowing how to present yourself and your organization clearly and succinctly to others is essential—not just knowing who you want to speak to and why is vital.
- Engage with other attendees on social media and member apps before, during, and after events. Be specific about your identity to facilitate productive conversations. Remember to use event hashtags – browsing these and replying to fellow conferencegoers can create memorable interactions.
Train your team/ Hire a sales team.
Hiring external salespeople for booth duty at events is a reasonable idea for several causes. Firstly, they are trained professionals who are equipped to handle such events. Secondly, it lets you and your team focus on more important meetings and networking opportunities.
However, there are a couple of downsides to consider. Firstly, the salespeople may need to gain the technical knowledge to answer specific questions at the same level as you or your team members. Secondly, potential leads may prefer to speak directly with you, the Executive, rather than with salespeople.
Despite these cons, hiring salespeople for larger companies is common, and the benefits likely outweigh the drawbacks.
Pro Tip: Before you leave for the event, it is recommended that you and your team practice elevator pitches and mock client conversations for a day or two. Spend the first day exploring the conference and observing how other companies sell, which can help improve your own sales skills and lead to more successful closings.
Contact the event organizer before the event.
The most successful events are the ones that offer engagement and value to the audience, not just a sales pitchAnonymous
Contact your event organizer as early as possible, preferably at least two weeks before the conference begins. The sooner you reach out to them, the better. This will give you enough time to prepare adequately and ensure everything is perfect for your exhibition.
Prepare swag to gain attention.
Swag is essential to any event as it can help you gain and maintain attention. However, ensuring that your swag is not only a marketing tool but also relevant to your brand and audience is crucial. If you distribute pens with your brand logo at an event where most attendees are using laptops or tablets, it’s less likely that they would keep the pens as souvenirs. Instead, they might end up in the trash bin.
Partner with other businesses for a more significant impact
An event provides an excellent chance to establish connections with other companies and organizations that might be interested in collaborating. By attending the event, both companies can benefit from each other’s presence by developing solid relationships and increasing awareness about their brand among attendees who may not have known about them before interacting with them there.
Be prepared for any weather!
Face-to-face meetings build trust and relationships; education happens; deals are done Christine Shimasaki
It is crucial to be extra cautious when organizing outdoor events or trade shows, where large crowds will walk outside in all sorts of weather, including rain or snow. It is vital to ensure that all your employees know their responsibilities and be well-prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during such events.
Bonus! Packing list for conferences
To make sure you’re fully prepared for the conference, here’s a list of things to bring:
– Your phone, tablet, or laptop
– Chargers for your devices
– Plenty of business cards (rather have a special card for networking)
– Comfortable shoes
– A sweater or light jacket
– Any books you’d like signed by the speakers
– Breath mints
With these items, you’ll be fully equipped to get the most out of your next conference. Let me know if I miss something!
During the conference
The power of an in-person meeting is not the meeting itself, but in the personal connections that are developed and deepened as a resultMichael Massari
In the dynamic atmosphere of in-person events, every interaction holds the potential to make or break business opportunities. Successfully representing your company isn’t just about flashy booths or compelling presentations; it’s about the essence of genuine connections. Whether you’re at a large conference or an intimate seminar, your approach can be the differentiating factor in attracting clients.
In this section, we’ll explore the nuances of adequate representation and the art of converting casual conversations into potential business deals during in-person events. Dive in to master the subtleties of making the most of these golden opportunities.
Know your product and business. Be prepared
To ensure success at in-person events, it is crucial to be well-prepared for any questions that may come your way. Familiarize yourself with new developments and research topics that will be discussed at the event, and understand how your organization fits into the industry.
It’s also essential to ensure you have everything you need to network and provide information on your company. Your business card is a must-have item, as you’ll want to hand out as many as possible to potential contacts.
Keeping your booth simple and focused is best if you’re an exhibitor. Choose one main message that aligns with your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and reinforce it with all your materials. This will make it easier for potential clients to remember your message and your company.
Be professional at all times
It can be tempting to let your guard down and relax when attending a conference. However, it’s crucial to maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
– Ensure that someone is always present at your booth.
– Keep your booth neat and tidy. Avoid eating at the booth and ensure that personal items such as coffee cups are put away.
– Remember that you are always representing your company, even if you are taking a break, attending a party, or exploring the exhibit floor. Avoid saying or doing anything that could reflect poorly on your organization or offend anyone.
Pro Tip: If you’re nervous at an evening event, be mindful not to overindulge in food or wine, as it could undermine your hard work.
Attending conferences is a great way to network with others. It’s important to have a good supply of business cards with you and make sure you distribute them to as many people as possible. Take an interest in other booths and ask questions. You may be surprised by what you discover and the connections you make.
If possible, it’s recommended to stay at the conference hotel to make it easier to keep in touch with other attendees. It’s also a good idea to talk to as many people as possible, even those you don’t know yet. While spending time with your team during coffee breaks or other social events is tempting, try to mix it up and meet new people. This will help you expand your network and make the most of the conference.
Dress to impress
Making a good impression when communicating with potential clients or networking with industry professionals is essential. Business casual attire is usually appropriate for most conferences, but it’s always a good idea to check the conference website for any official dress codes. If you’re representing your company at a tradeshow, consider wearing clothing with your company’s name, logo, or brand colors, as it can help people remember you.
Be enthusiastic. Don’t be shy
As a representative of your organization, your main goal is to sell and showcase your company effectively. Therefore, keeping your energy levels high and motivating your colleagues is crucial. Waiting for someone to approach you can cause you to miss out on important connections, so if you see someone available to talk, take the opportunity to introduce yourself.
Remember to be friendly and approachable, as talking to someone who sounds scripted or unenthusiastic can be discouraging. A simple smile and an enthusiastic attitude can go a long way in making a positive impression on others. It will show if you’re passionate about your company, and others will be more likely to share your enthusiasm.
After most conferences or events, networking opportunities are set up. Companies often host cocktail parties after the event has ended for the day. Participating in as many of these events as possible is crucial because you never know who you might meet. Remember, you’re there to meet as many people as possible.
If you have a free night, try inviting potential or current clients out to dinner. Always remember to represent your company professionally, even at after-hours events, because you are still on the clock.
Create a piece of content.
My top tip for attending an event is to create something during the event. This strategy is especially useful for individuals working in sales and marketing. Approach the event as if you were a journalist covering it. Doing so will undoubtedly receive more value from the experience than if you were just a regular attendee.
1 – Record video interviews of speakers
While the camera on your phone might be decent, it’s still recommended to use a tripod, microphone, and proper lighting for better results. To conduct interviews, look for a quiet spot where you can ask speakers a few questions. The speakers lounge could be an ideal location for this purpose. This approach is an excellent way to network and is favored by many for this reason.
2 – Conduct a simple survey.
One way to collect data during an event is by creating a survey using Google Forms, consisting of three to five multiple-choice questions. You can then make the survey available on a tablet and encourage 50 attendees to fill it out. Once you have collected the data, you can use it to create an original research report.
3 – Livestream your commentary on social media
If you want to broadcast your event live using your laptop or phone, you can use Linkedin Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live. To make sure you reach the maximum audience, it’s recommended to schedule your broadcast in advance and promote the date and time when you’ll be on air. You can include a link and create a custom graphic to promote your event.
Ensure your badge (and name on it) is clearly visible.
It is essential to ensure that your badge or name tag is visible during conferences to aid identification, promote professionalism, and enable networking. Wear the badge at chest level using the provided lanyard or clip, ensuring it remains unobstructed and clean. This simple practice can significantly enhance your conference experience by making it easier for others to identify and approach you in a crowded event.
Sit in the front row and ask a question that is relevant to other attendees (During Q&A)
Attending conferences can be a great experience, and sitting in the front row can offer several advantages, such as better engagement, clear visibility, and increased opportunities for interaction and networking. It’s important to keep distractions at bay and show genuine enthusiasm for the event and its speakers. However, respecting others by arriving on time and leaving discreetly, if required, is equally important to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
During a session, if there is time for questions, try to be the first to raise your hand to ask. Remember that when you stand up to ask a question, you are speaking on behalf of everyone attending the session. You represent the entire audience.
If your question is too personal and only applies to you or your business, it may be best to save it and ask the speaker after the session. If you ask an excellent question, other attendees may approach you afterward and thank you. This is an opportunity to make a connection and potentially make new friends.
Skip some sessions entirely.
To make the most out of networking opportunities, staying out of the sessions and using the extra time to meet new people and make friends is recommended. If the sessions are recorded, you can always watch them later. You can plan ahead and get a virtual pass to access the recordings.
Interesting people such as organizers, sponsors, and speakers can usually be found outside the rooms during sessions. The atmosphere is typically quiet and relaxed, making it an excellent time for conversations or collaborations.
Get a book signed
If you want to meet a speaker who is also an author, there is an easy trick. Just bring a book and politely ask them to sign it. If you can find a time when there aren’t many people around, you may have an opportunity to start a conversation.
Offer to collaborate with the speaker.
If you’ve attended a session and found it insightful, go deeper on a topic or have a follow-up question. You may want to feature the speaker’s ideas on your site. Here’s how to pitch a quick collaboration.
To make it easy for them, you can simply approach the speaker after the session and ask if they would be open to a quick email interview. You can say something like, “I really enjoyed your session; it was great stuff! It got me thinking about writing an article on some of the topics you covered. Would you be open to participating in a quick email interview? I’d like to send you a few straightforward questions and include your answers in a post. It wouldn’t take up too much of your time. If this works for you, I’ll send over the questions next week. Does that sound good to you?”
Even busy speakers will often agree to this as they come to the event hoping for good things to happen. People love email interviews, and you may have just made their day!
Join others at lunch.
“Never eat alone.” It’s not just a book title. It’s also a great piece of advice. Lunchtime is an excellent opportunity to connect with people. Look for a table with enough space and politely ask if you can join. Alternatively, if you see someone else who is also looking for a place to sit, let’s both sit together at a table with two available seats.
Introduce yourself to the exhibitors.
Trade show booths can sometimes be home to hidden gems. Instead of being bombarded with sales pitches, you might be surprised to find that the people in the booth are glad to have someone to chat with. It’s important to note that you’re not just dealing with low-level salespeople, as you might have the chance to meet a founder or CEO.
If you do get pitched, it’s recommended that you listen attentively and try to help in any way that you can. This could mean sharing an idea, suggesting a connection, or providing feedback on their pitch. When you visit a booth at a conference, feel free to ask for any promotional items that they may have to offer. The staff is usually delighted to give them away.
The expo area is typically a conference’s most relaxed and informal part. Moreover, it is a great spot to gather with friends and other attendees.
Introduce yourself to the organizers.
Organizers of an event are usually easy to find and happy to offer help. Additionally, they appreciate feedback, and a few kind words can make their day. Event organizers can also provide valuable insights and introductions. When talking to them, you may come across various topics such as session recommendations, assistance in meeting a speaker, or tips on other matters.
For instance, you might hear them recommending a top-rated speaker or offering to ask a speaker if they have time to chat with you. They may also provide valuable tips such as recommending a restaurant, lending you a charger, watching your bag, or informing you about the process for applying to become a speaker next year. All they expect in return is honest feedback.
Take a group selfie.
Imagine you’re hanging out with a small group of acquaintances or new friends, and you want to create a memorable experience. Why not take a group selfie with everyone? You can easily initiate the process by taking out your phone and inviting everyone to join in. Feel free to include everyone in the selfie, even if someone offers to take the picture for you. That’s not the point, after all.
Once you’ve taken the photo, take a moment to ask if anyone is active on social media. If so, make sure to mention them when you share them with the event hashtag. This will make it easy to find and reconnect with them later on. They’ll be on your phone and in your social stream.
Don’t expect to acquire everything.
Conferences can be overwhelming, especially when there are many concurrent sessions. Even a single-track conference can be challenging to navigate. It’s impossible to meet everyone and absorb all the information. It’s crucial to be realistic and not spread yourself too thin. Don’t skip a good conversation to search for a better one or walk away from an exciting topic.
Of course, you’ll miss something, but it’s a big event, and it’s okay. Don’t be the person who spends the entire day searching for someone more extraordinary to talk to or a better place to be. Your attitude matters. Take a deep breath, relax, and focus on finding meaning and value right where you are.
Following up after a conference
When people go to an event, they invest more than their time; they invest their trustAnonymous
Once the conference is over, you and your team may feel tired and in need of some rest. However, it’s important to remember that the days immediately following the event are crucial for following up on leads. To ensure that you gain the rewards of your hard work at the conference, there are critical steps that you should take.
Prioritize your leads
Discuss the most promising leads as a team and develop a plan to follow up with key contacts. Record each step taken.
Explore strategic business opportunities
Discover new opportunities following the conference. Identify industry trends and challenges.
Evaluate the return on your investment
Utilize figures like these:
– Number of leads generated.
– Grow in contacts.
– Sales gained.
– Cost per contact/lead.
Evaluate your performance
Evaluating your performance and finding ways to improve after an event is essential. Here are some things you should consider:
– Did you set clear objectives and plan accordingly before the event?
– Was your booth set up properly?
– How effective were your marketing materials?
– Were the giveaways you offered well-received?
– Did you notice any successful tactics used by other attendees that you could implement at the next event?
Write a roundup
Organizing your thoughts after attending an event can be really helpful in getting more value from it. A great way to do this is by writing a nice roundup post. Remember to share it with the event organizers, who often reshare it with their audience. You should also share it with the people you met at the event.
If you have included a group selfie in the post, let the people in the picture know about it. Additionally, share your post on social media using the appropriate hashtag and post it in the LinkedIn group for the event or organization.
Give a presentation to your team.
Now that you’re back in the office and settled in, you can share with your colleagues the valuable knowledge you gained from the event you just attended. Start by organizing your notes into a concise presentation highlighting your top takeaways. If you could download the presenters’ slides, select the best ones, and combine them into a single deck.
Schedule a lunch meeting and present your findings if you find it difficult to find time. Encourage open discussion and be prepared to answer any questions. If you cannot provide an immediate answer, follow up by sending links to articles or videos related to the topic. Taking this initiative makes you more likely to receive budget approval for attending future conferences.
Consider the next year’s conference
Attending next year’s conference offers a renewed opportunity to tap into industry trends and innovations. It’s a chance to foster existing relationships and cultivate new, potentially lucrative connections. Every year brings fresh perspectives, speakers, and sessions, enhancing professional growth.
Feedback from past conferences can guide improved strategies for even better outcomes. Investing in next year’s event underscores a commitment to continuous learning and industry involvement.
BONUS! How to convince your boss to send you to a conference
Are you interested in attending a networking event or conference but need help convincing your boss to fund it? Attending a conference comes with various costs beyond just the registration fees. You will also need to consider other expenses such as transportation, accommodations, and time away from work, especially if the event is in-person.
As a result, your manager will expect you to provide convincing justifications for your attendance. Convincing any manager to let you attend a conference requires persuasion and clear communication about how the conference will help you perform your job better and solve a company’s problem.
Convincing your boss to send you to a conference to represent your company requires a combination of strategic planning and persuasive communication. Here are some steps you can take:
- Research and prepare: Start by researching the conference in detail. Identify the key speakers, workshops, and networking events that align with your company’s objectives.
- Build a business case: Present a clear rationale for why attending the conference will be beneficial. Highlight how specific sessions align with the company’s goals and how the insights gained can be applied to current or future projects.
- Estimate the ROI: Quantify the potential return on investment. For instance, if it’s a sales-focused event, estimate the number of leads you aim to generate or the potential business partnerships that could be formed.
- Plan for knowledge sharing: Propose a post-conference presentation or workshop where you’ll share the knowledge gained with your team. This ensures that the benefits of the conference extend beyond just your personal development.
- Consider the costs: Be transparent about the expenses, including ticket prices, travel, accommodation, and any miscellaneous costs. Look for early-bird discounts or group packages that might reduce the total cost.
- Address concerns proactively: Anticipate any reservations your boss might have. If they’re concerned about work you might miss while at the conference, propose a plan for how you’ll manage your responsibilities in your absence.
- Show past success: If you’ve attended conferences before and they’ve yielded positive results, bring this up. Demonstrating a track record of success can be a powerful persuader.
- Seek partial sponsorship: If the company is hesitant due to financial constraints, consider suggesting a partial sponsorship where you cover a portion of the costs.
- Highlight personal development: Emphasize that conferences are also about professional growth. By improving your skills and knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to contribute positively to the company.
- Follow-up: After the initial pitch, follow up with your boss. Offer to provide more information or answer any questions they might have.
Five main steps:
People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magicSeth Godin, on the experiential aspect of events.
- Before discussing the conference with your boss, thoroughly explore the agenda and speakers.
- You May also want to find out these key details:
– How long has the conference been running? (this will help you determine the level of quality you can expect.)
– Attendee and speaker demographics (this is especially important if the event revolves around diversity, equity, or inclusion)
– Dates and times (and whether they will conflict with any current responsibilities)
- Create an outline of your selections and briefly justify each choice. While justifying, be as specific as possible. Additionally, consider which speakers you would like to connect with and develop a list of five speakers who possess the most relevant knowledge you want to learn. Finally, create a few questions you would like to ask each of the five speakers during the networking session.
- You should explain to your boss as briefly as possible why the conference is unique and worth attending.
- A well-crafted request letter includes all the necessary information for your boss to make an informed decision.
– You should introduce yourself and state your top three reasons for attending.
– You should clearly state the benefits of the event for you, your organization, and relevant initiatives.
– Including a list of sessions to attend and people to network with, such as your top 5 speakers or prospects, would be helpful.
– Including an estimated cost breakdown in your request for travel expenses is essential.
This will help you negotiate with your boss to approve your travel. You can find ways to reduce the meal or lodging costs to make the travel more feasible for your boss.
Pro Tip: Simplify communication with busy CEOs and managers by keeping request letters under one page and including only the most critical information.
Remember, the key is to frame the conference not just as a personal development opportunity for you but as a strategic investment for the company. The potential for new clients, partnerships, and the latest industry knowledge can be invaluable for a B2B company.
In a world full of algorithms and bots, face-to-face interaction is the most impactful method of persuasionRichard Branson
In an increasingly digital world, the tangible, face-to-face interactions of in-person events stand out as irreplaceable opportunities for B2B companies. While technology continues to revolutionize how we conduct business, the human element remains at the core of genuine and lasting business relationships. The art of personal connection, when combined with strategic preparation and follow-up, can transform events into potent lead-generation channels.
As we’ve explored, representing your company effectively and cultivating meaningful relationships at these events can yield impressive dividends. In closing, while the business landscape continues to evolve, the value of personal touch in B2B engagements remains timeless and unparalleled.
Questions You May Have
Why are in-person events considered effective for B2B lead generation?
In-person events provide the opportunity for real-time engagement and personalized interactions, which can significantly enhance trust and rapport with potential clients. They offer a sensory-rich environment where businesses can showcase their offerings tangibly and create memorable experiences. For more on maximizing in-person interactions, consider exploring event apps like Whova and Eventbrite, which can enrich the attendee experience.
How can I efficiently manage the contacts I gain from in-person events?
Effective contact management post-event is crucial for capitalizing on your networking efforts. CRM software like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM helps you track interactions and follow up with leads systematically. Business card scanners like CamCard can also facilitate the digitization of contact information for smoother follow-up processes.
What role do social media platforms play in enhancing the in-person event experience?
Social media platforms can significantly extend the reach and impact of in-person events. They serve as tools for pre-event buzz, real-time engagement, and post-event follow-up. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are particularly valuable for fostering professional connections and conversations around B2B events.
Can you recommend any tools for scheduling and time management at in-person events?
How do travel and expense tracking apps improve the experience of attending in-person events?
Travel planning apps like TripIt streamline your travel itinerary, while expense tracking apps such as Expensify and Concur keep your finances in check, freeing you to focus on the event itself. These tools ensure that logistical aspects are handled efficiently, allowing for a smoother event experience.
What are some networking tools I can use before, during, and after an in-person event?
Networking tools like Bizzabo and Shapr can enhance your networking opportunities by connecting you with other event attendees and professionals. These apps allow you to establish and maintain valuable business relationships, and can be particularly useful in a B2B context where connections often translate into business opportunities.
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