Five Best Practices for Generating Meetings at Hybrid Events
<< Case Studies & White Papers | May 28, 2021
Best practice ideas by Ravi Chalaka is the CMO and VP of Product Management at Jifflenow
Major live events, where marketing, product, and sales teams engage with hundreds or thousands of prospects and customers are where sales conversations get jump-started.
For 2021, hybrid events will be the norm as a majority of the event marketers believe that Hybrid events will rule the roost this year.
To drive ROI from your events budget this year, focus on booking more customer and prospect meetings in connection with your hybrid events. B2B meetings, whether they are in-person or virtual, are excellent drivers of sales pipeline and revenue because they enable your prospects to have more in-depth conversations about your products and services.
The pandemic has subtly changed the enterprise B2B sales cycle. Socially distanced customers and prospects are motivated to set up an informational meeting to determine whether your product or service meets their needs, but they don’t always want to contact a salesperson to set this up — many would rather request a meeting with the appropriate experts.
#1 Empower event attendees to book Inbound meetings
For event marketers, our new secret weapon is the inbound, attendee-initiated meeting. The trick here is to integrate contextual inbound meeting request links throughout your pre-event, during event, and post-event marketing programs. Unlike outbound efforts, inbound meeting requests are initiated by customers and prospects. This makes them an excellent indicator of purchase intent.
#2 Enable sales teams to pre-schedule meetings with customers and prospects
Sales teams typically reach out to key customers and prospects in advance of a live event to book face-to-face meetings with internal experts and product teams. This outbound, sales-initiated approach is valid for hybrid events as well, and the sales team can take advantage of the ubiquity of digital platforms to book even more virtual customer meetings.
#3 Pre-define customer engagement types
Customer meetings — in-person or virtual — include product demos, executive meetings, roundtable discussions, webinars, special sessions, meet the expert (MTE) briefings, and partner meetings. (Including your partners in this program helps them drive additional value and ROI from their sponsorship dollars.)
#4 Simplify workflows at every step of the process
Remember, it’s more than just volumes of meetings. High-engagement meetings with the right people within your organization is how you will convert prospects to pipeline. Look to activate all of your industry experts, technical experts, product managers, or pre-sales engineers who can influence the sale, and make them available to your information-hungry prospects.
Here’s a three-step process that many enterprises are already successfully employing:
- Make it easy to book a meeting by integrating a meeting request button into all your pre-event digital marketing campaigns. You should also integrate meeting request links within your virtual/hybrid event lobby and at key locations within the virtual event itself. Offer meeting request links in your post-event follow-up activities as well.
- Automate the booking/reservation process to methodically capture key data such as the prospect’s specific information request, objectives for the meeting, stage of evaluation, features and technical parameters that are important.
- Ask the prospect to select from a range of dates and times for the meeting (ideally, based on the real-time availability of your internal resources).
To further streamline and scale up this process, you can automate the mapping of internal experts and executives to specific topics, integrate all available calendars to facilitate match-up, and create rules for how meeting managers are involved to approve or manage each request.
#5 Create visibility into all meetings across all events
Visibility into what’s happening at each event meeting, an assessment of the meeting’s impact, and learnings on what worked and what didn’t are all crucial information for the company. It helps you make better decisions such as which experts and representatives should be attending meetings in consecutive years, what customer segments you should meet with at different events, and what themes and topics resonate best with your targets of topics.
Finally, Scale-up with a meeting automation platform
You can significantly increase the number of meetings booked with prospects and customers by adding a meeting automation platform (MAP) to your marketing tech stack. This automates the scheduling of outbound and inbound meeting requests; enables precise workflow management (gives meeting managers or the marketing ops team the ability to oversee all meeting requests and confirmations ensures essential sales information is captured and manages meeting logistics); and then delivers post-meeting analytics (provides dashboards for meetings and influenced revenue metrics, and manages surveys to understand performance and buyer intent). MAP provides every detail of your customer engagements such as the number of meetings scheduled, number of customers met, meeting leadership board, meetings by topic, meetings by executives, influenced revenue, and much more.
Keep in mind that collaboration is key. To drive maximum value from events, all marketing teams will need to put their heads together — event marketing, field marketing, demand gen, corporate marketing, and marketing ops. Make it a great year!
If you would like to know more about the meetings at events, click here to set up a one-on-one meeting with one of our experts.
Ravi Chalaka is the CMO and VP of Product Management at Jifflenow and a marketing and business development expert who creates and executes business strategies, generating demand and raising brand/product awareness in competitive markets. As VP of Marketing at both large and small technology companies, Ravi built strong teams and brands and enabled faster revenue growth for a wide range of solutions based on Big Data, SaaS, AI, and IoT software, HCI, SAN, NAS.