Editor’s note: This post is part of the 12th issue of our B2B Marketplace Newsletter, a resource for marketing and events professionals from leading technology and services providers. Go here to learn more and subscribe.
MRP, a Diamond sponsor at the 2017 SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange in Austin, Texas, helps clients achieve their revenue goals by combining predictive analytics with a full suite of account-based marketing (ABM) services to acquire new customers faster.
After TechX, we had a chance to speak with Betsy Hargus, vice president of corporate communications at MRP, about the organization’s strategies for event success.
As a corporate communications leader, what do you see as the hallmarks of a great event for you to sponsor?
The most important thing we look for is whether the event will attract the right types of people – either our clients or the people we want as clients. We also look for events focused on our markets – events that will cover where the market is going, trends for future, what we can expect and what the pundits are saying.
We want to participate in events run by thought leaders with a great reputation in the market. One reason we like participating in SiriusDecisions events is that you are well respected in the marketplace and are a company we’re proud to be associated with.
How do you prepare your team before going onsite for an event?
We do a lot of internal preparation before every event. At TechX, our CMO Jim Regan presented, so he went through his entire presentation with everyone who would be staffing the MRP booth. This way, they all understood what he would be saying and how we are all presenting our solutions. That was important for the team in the booth.
We set a schedule for booth duty and make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them – what our messaging is, when they need to be onsite, etc.
How do you get your reps excited and drive valuable interactions during booth duty?
Because we were a Diamond sponsor at TechX, we put a lot of resources into making it successful. We had a big booth with a great position in the hall, and we did lots of pre-promotion. Our reps were pumped to see the level of support that the event was getting. Sales is a tough job, so they really appreciate anything we can do to make it easier.
The reps were excited about everything we had done in preparation and were sure we would have great interactions, being exposed to so many valuable people in one spot.
What are some tips and tricks you use onsite to engage delegates?
I used to work for a company that designed exhibits for trade shows, so I’m very familiar with how to get people to the booth. But if your message is compelling enough, you don’t have to resort to using anything too gimmicky or out there. That’s why we took a lot of care in thinking about what our messaging was for the booth, so that visitors understood our value proposition (“predictive and ABM: better together”) immediately when they stopped by.
You can give away cute things and have raffles at your booth, but if you have a real solution and can articulate its benefits, that’s the best way to guarantee engagement.
How do you inspire sales to follow up post-event?
If we’ve had a great experience at an event, we don’t really need to do that much to inspire reps to follow up. I checked in often with our booth team at TechX, and they often commented on the high quality of the people they were speaking with. That quality of conversation was all the inspiration they needed. If booth staff can walk away from an event with a handful of people to follow up with, they’re happy.
The people who man our booth are 100 percent sales reps with quotas. It’s pretty typical to use salespeople in the booth, because they’re typically the best.
Sometimes it’s good to have a technical person, depending on the nature of the audience, so that someone can explain the product. But our product is not as technical as others; while there are technical aspects, having a salesperson who is well versed with the demo and product is fine for the necessary engagement and conversations.
How do you use events to accelerate deals already in the pipeline?
We do a couple of different things: If it’s an event that has a lot of visibility, we may invite some of our prospects and people who are further along in the sales process to attend so they can see our presentation and get a feel for what’s going on in the industry.
It’s also always interesting to see how we stack up against competition who may also be at the show. In some cases, it can be helpful to move a sale along.
The other thing we do is a lot of post-event followup, such as webcasts. Jim Regan offered a webcast of his TechX presentation after the event, for example. Other marketing outreach leverages things we have done at shows to continue to keep our prospects warm.
At TechX, we were very impressed with the quality of conversations. It was one of the first times I’ve seen the whole spectrum of event involvement – we were a high-level sponsor and had two speaking opportunities, so we spoke with people who came to booth and people who came to the presentations. In both settings, we saw so much engagement.