Why organize events to generate leads? From connecting with tough leads to build authority, you should include events in your business development strategy.
As business developers, we are constantly looking for ways to generate more leads. From leads lists to cold outreach, we are on the forefront to spot new opportunities.
One of the most effective lead generation techniques I experienced is organizing events. I did a lot of networking and there is nothing better than meeting people personally and establish trust. That’s why, when you are the one organizing the event, it’s even more effective.
So, if events aren’t a part of your lead generation strategy, you’re missing out on an opportunity to accelerate your sales cycle and grow your business.
When I first started working with events, it was intended as a qualified lead generation strategy I was working at besides the traditional marketing, so it made sense that I was in charge of events as a business developer, for it is its responsibility to try new ways of generating leads.
These are some of the reasons why using events to generate leads is a very effective strategy.
The first important reason is that you can use events to have the press talking about you. You can align your company with strategic partners to redirect visitors to your website, and to stimulate contact form submissions
Moreover, it’s a chance for getting people to talk about your company, your mission and what your purpose is. In this way, you can generate more leads at the top of the funnel.
At events, there are always many visitors that are just curious or that are not the most qualified. However, also these leads can become very valuable if you nurture them over time.
By nurturing leads, you’ll make sure your leads will remember you and you can help them to find out more about your product or service, and eventually sell it.
This is one of my favorite topics on how I use events to generate qualified leads. We all have those prospects that are just stuck in our cold approach process, where our ice breakers techniques don’t work.
When you have an invitation for them, especially if you make it look like it’s somewhat special for them, they will lower their shields and barriers for you.
Obviously, if you have an exceptional meeting, they will be more open to getting back to talk to you again. After the event, you have an easier path to continue the conversation and pitch your company.
Often, very big leads are not easy to reach with a general cold outreach. Sometimes, you need to be more personal and organizing your own event can be a chance to see these leads.
For example, you can create new events concepts or an event on a very specific topic, so you can target hard to penetrate segments.
Obviously, you’ll need some way to convince your tough leads to join. For instance, you can hand over free invitations – be it as an attendee or speaker – so you can use that trigger of reciprocity that we all have.
To give you a practical example, until 2016 I never had relationships with any big retail chain. However, I just started working in a new company and that segment was highly strategic for us. So, I developed an exclusive event called Retail Trends aimed at gathering exceptional speakers and invite-only attendees.
This created such a hype in both guests and audience that I was able to create an authority in that field even though it was my very first event.
One of the top reasons people may not buy from you is because they are unsure if you deliver what you promise with your marketing promotions or your sales pitch. Organizing events can help you overcome this challenge.
When you are planning events to generate qualified leads, make sure your brand promise is well delivered during the program. In this way, your attendees will get a glimpse of what it feels like to do business with your company.
You can show your purpose, your values, your connections, and so forth. That’s why I generally prefer to have someone in my company to be the master of ceremonies (or host). So we can interact with the audience and can control the way our image is portrayed.
Another thing that I developed over the years is to insert in between the presentations what I call “interactions“. These interactions are well planned onstage sessions to interact with the crowd, promote our products and services and even control better the audience’s energy.
Note that, since I have years of experience with events, I can handle this task myself, but if you don’t, you may prefer to have a professional host.
Another important reason to organize events is that you can use them to build authority in the field. If you are holding an event about retail and have key people in the industry as speakers, then their authority is also passed on to you.
Something that is peculiar is that you also give the speakers authority if you invited them, which is a virtuous cycle. And you can take advantage of that.
For example, I currently work for a co-working space and we wanted to brand ourselves as the “makers”. In the beginning, in 2014, this word was barely used in our city. But then we started organizing events to present ourselves as “maker of makers”.
We invited people giving them the title of “makers” and we started repeating this concept at any event. Now, in 2019, we are well recognized as a coworking space and school for makers.
That is also one of my favorite parts: you can organize events to generate qualified leads in hundreds with a limited budget. I’ve organized events with as little as US$200.
Of course, we are talking about simple events: just a coffee break, badges, and a free venue. But it is still very doable, especially in the beginning, if you don’t have an event engine running in your company.
If you are planning an invite-only event, you can ramp even more the cost-benefit ratio up, in terms of qualified leads.
The bottom line is that when you organize events you are in complete control of your audience. You can be very targeted and invite only the most relevant people for you.
Because Business Developers usually have good market insights, it’s very strategic to put them in charge at least of event conception and be responsible for the final output of the event.
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