In a world of Covid-19, virtual events are the new norm and companies are changing gears and adapting virtual events into their strategies. However, here at vConferenceOnline, we have been helping brands with their virtual event strategies long before Covid-19 happened. Because of our experience, we love weighing in on how you can make the most out of virtual events and help you ensure that your virtual events are living up to the fullest potential.
One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is that they can power all stages of the sales funnel. From thought leadership to lead gen, virtual events are here to stay.
Traditionally, marketing was responsible for generating top of funnel leads and sales was tasked with converting those leads to sales. It was a very disjointed process. Over the past few years, we are pleased to have observed, marketing and sales are working more closely together and are making a more seamless buyer’s journey. Now that both parties are more involved in every stage, we see more brands gravitating to virtual events because these types of events appeal to every stage of the sales funnel. How cool is that!?
How Virtual Events Support Your Sales Team
Virtual events should be created from your buyer personas. Spend some time with them and work backward from your buyer personas to the type of event and topic of event that would best speak to these personas. This ensures that you’ll be boasting thought leadership to the right people and generating qualified leads.
This thought leadership, lead gen, lead nurturing and brand interaction powers all stages of the sales funnel for your team. Many of our clients report to us that virtual events are the best thing that has ever happened to their marketing and sales programs.
Promote Your Event to The Fullest Potential
In order for your event to power all stages of the sales funnel, you first need to spread awareness and promote your event. This is marketing’s job and sales will appreciate you for it. Because, afterall, your event can be awesome but you need attendees to make it a success. So a solid promotional strategy is in order!
Here are the strongest ways that we’ve seen brand’s promote their virtual events over the years and hopefully this can help your brand promote your event to its fullest potential:
- Email your database of customers and leads and invite them to your event
- Purchase email blasts from sources that are compiled of your target consumers
- Create sponsored social posts on LinkedIn (other sponsored channels don’t convert as much as LinkedIn so this is a smart use of your budget)
- Equip speakers to promote your event to their contacts by pre-writing messages for them to use on their social channels and in emails
- Purchase online newsletter spaces from thought leaders your buyer personas follow
- Share organically on your brand’s social channels a few times per week
- Work with industry influencers to promote your event
- Write guest blog posts for like minded blogs that talk about your virtual event
Top of Funnel
Virtual events pivot your brand as a thought leader in your industry. This is easily done with virtual events because your target consumers will admire the initiative and this builds brand trust.
Stay away from pushing people with sales demos and strategies of the like. This stage is all about thought leadership and brand awareness.
This part of the funnel is all about generating high quality leads. Once the event is over, you can look at your data and qualify the “sales ready” leads for your sales team. Meet with sales and come up with a game plan on how to best convert these leads into customers. It’s all about keeping the momentum going after your virtual event.
Bottom of Funnel
Virtual events help close deals. Syphon off the leads that are closest to closing and invite them to an intimate workshop where they can interact with your brand. Or, plan ahead and incentivise current consumers to speak at your conference and talk about their experience with your brand. Equip sales with presentations like these that are available on demand and can convert a lead into a sale.
Another strategy for bottom of the funnel is to have members of your sales team interact with attendees during the event. It’s smart to have a booth and let attendees come to you so as to not come across as pushy.
Setting Up an Efficient Drip Campaign
Because a lot of what you will be working with when it comes to your collaborations with sales, it’s crucial to set up an efficient email drip campaign for all of the event attendees. This will identify who is a lead and not only that, but who is a strong lead.
A good rule of thumb is to drip your attendees 4 thought leadership resources like blog posts and eBooks and then the 5th email can be a light sales pitch to uncover the strongest leads. Once this sequence has been achieved, sales will take over from there.
Virtual events serve many purposes, but the most common use case we see are events with B2B brands to generate leads and establish thought leadership. These types of events will power all stages of the sales funnel–unlike any other marketing tactic.
Work closely with sales to carve out an efficient customer journey and reach your target consumers. Create an efficient drip campaign and let sales take over once a lead is ready.
Have you powered your sales funnel with virtual events? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!