We all know the benefits of a live event. The depth of engagement and the quality of leads you can generate at roundtables and panels are invaluable. At virtual events, the same holds true and, in some ways, they hold the edge on live events due to the added convenience, accessibility and data potential gains.
For B2B marketers looking to help identify leads for their sales teams in these trying times, virtual events are essential for both short and long-term lead nurturing. But they can be a lot of work to put together yourself. Not only do you need to pull all the content together, but there’s an audience to find and delivery tools to manage, but you shouldn’t let that cause you to miss out on the vast array of benefits that stem from virtual events.
Established B2B event providers can help with the legwork, and often come with a ready-made audience of brands, executives and subject matter experts that you can tap into to generate positive engagements very quickly, accelerating the sales pipeline to boost conversions.
There’s more to hosting a virtual event than first meets the eye. It’s the marketing department that will be doing most of the work pre-event, but it’s sales who are going to have to follow up with the challenge to turn these leads into deals. Partnering up with an established virtual events provider can help here, too.
Here’s how you can leverage digital events to help sales close more deals:
Connect with your ideal customer
Use data and existing networks to identify and target companies that fit your ideal customer profile. This will enable you to attract the right decision makers and enterprise buyers with the power to pull the trigger on deals to your event. Finding the time to connect with peers around common problems is difficult, but virtual events can deliver those interactions, wherever you or your ideal customer are.
Find the right attendees
Vet your individual prospects prior to the event to ensure they’re engaged with your subject area, giving sales a heads-up on quality leads and the time to develop a post-event strategy to bring those leads to conversion. This will also enable you to tailor the content you deliver to your audience’s pain points and offer value and insight through your proposition. The beauty of virtual events is that they’re attended largely by senior executives on the lookout for new ideas and solutions to the daily business challenges their organizations face, so getting the right guests involved will boost your chances of highly qualified leads.
Deliver inspirational speakers
Take advantage of a vast pool of credible subject matter experts available to speak at or host your event. Bringing in expert third-party speakers and captivating presenters will boost brand credibility in the eyes of your audience and emphasize your thought leadership within your sector. B2B events are seen by business leaders as excellent forums for idea exchange and a chance to gain fresh insight into existing issues, so having a variety of speakers to discuss those issues will deliver the value your attendees are hoping for when they sign up to your virtual event.
Gather feedback for lead nurturing
Use data and analysis to follow up with attendees, and gain vital feedback on how the virtual event went. These can take the form of detailed qualification sessions in which you can discuss next steps and roll out the red carpet for your sales representatives to close deals. As with any form of marketing and lead nurturing, you want to know how your efforts have gone, whether they’ve worked or not and how you can adjust and adapt your approach. Virtual events are no different.
Create a post-event strategy
Gather further information on the overall project and hold a meeting with your sales team and collaborate on the next steps to take. Event providers are, naturally, experts at choosing the right post-event strategy, so you can come away with truly sales qualified leads. There’s nothing better for a sales rep than a prequalified, senior-level prospect with an existing engagement with your proposition, so give them every chance of success with a focused and collaborative follow-up plan.
Virtual events are the solution
A GDS and IFP survey of over 200 respondents found that 60% saw sponsored virtual events as being instrumental in driving highly qualified leads, while Gartner’s 2020 Benchmark study revealed that hosted virtual events are 2.3x more likely to have a conversion rate of more than 40% compared with traditional sales presentations.
Therefore, integrating a virtual event into your B2B sales strategy can deliver sales qualified leads and crucial pipeline revenue. With the continued disruption caused by COVID-19 around the world, these are challenging times for businesses, especially in the B2B sector. There’s added pressure on marketing leaders to generate leads and on sales leaders to bring in revenue to protect the bottom line. Virtual events offer a perfect opportunity to align these sales and marketing goals and enable your organization to thrive through the pandemic and beyond, and they’re a welcome break from wall-to-wall Zoom calls.