Buying signals at live events help get the whole story
B2B exhibitions are a big business: think of all the invitations to summits, showcases, and conferences sitting in your inbox right now. Chances are, you probably haven’t gone to half as many as you’d liked, but the ones you did attend were full of panels, happy hour networking, firesides, and the human interactions that so many of us are missing in the digital age where a retweet often serves as the new handshake.
And in order to give potential customers valuable experiences, many companies are spending big bucks. In a 2018 survey of B2B exhibitors conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the median amount spent per exhibition by respondents was $20,000. That’s a pretty big investment. But if the point of these exhibitions, beyond bringing a community of like-minded industry members together, is to close sales, many marketers are missing some pretty important buying signals at live events.
Here’s why paying more attention to those signals could mean not just better events, but bigger ROI.
This content was produced in collaboration with Cvent.
Relationships matter in a post-content economy
Speaking of that inbox, apart from the invitations to B2B events, how many other messages, pitches, promotions, and special offers would you say you get a day? According to Templafy, you probably got around 90, and that’s just at work.
With so many messages, not just in inboxes, but also on social media, on websites, and even in our physical mailboxes, most people have gotten pretty good at tuning them out. And in a world with so much content that it would be impossible to absorb it all, human interactions matter more than ever. That could be why 48% of exhibitors expected attendance at meetings and conferences to increase last year.
Your guests at live events are leaving digital breadcrumbs
Attending these events comes at significant cost to attendees, who typically travel about 500 miles, spend $1,000, and invest two-to-three days of their time, just looking for human, rather than digital, interactions. Yet once the event is over, most marketers really know very little about attendees apart from when they arrived and when they left.
Compare that to digital marketing, where we spend incredible amounts of money tracking engagement, conversions, bounce rate, etc., in order to get a clear picture of our customer. So why are we ignoring the real-life clues they’re leaving at events? These digital breadcrumbs are a marketers best bet for maintaining relationships (and closing sales) long after the event is over.
Make sure you’re picking them up
Picking up signals from attendees doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, collecting digital breadcrumbs is actually very similar to being a good host. Here are seven ways you can make attendees feel welcome while focusing on future relationships with potential buyers.
- Registration rorms: These act as an introduction to your buyer, providing names, company, titles, and mailing addresses.
- Check-in: A check-in is like a polite “How are you?” except you really want to know the answer. Learn more about your prospects by gathering information about their specific needs..
- Sessions attended: This is your chance for a deeper dive into more serious conversation. Just like a whitepaper download tells you what your prospects are interested in, the sessions they attend can give you an idea of what’s important to them.
- RFID tracking: The same way you’d check in with a new friend at a party to make sure they’re having a good time, RFID tracking helps you understand what attendees interests are and how you can keep them engaged.
- In-session questions: Good conversations are never one-sided. Analyze the questions that prospects ask within a mobile event app Q&A feature to gain deeper insights into their pains and aspirations.
- Surveys: As the event winds down, you want to make sure everyone got what they came for. Use surveys to gain explicit permission to contact prospects about the content or solutions that are relevant to them.
- Exhibitors hall: If a guest at your holiday party raved about the pâté, you’d send them the recipe the next day, right? Record the vendors and products your attendees explore so that you can deliver more value to sponsors and and prioritize your sales team’s follow-up.
Use those breadcrumbs to get the whole story
One of the best parts of any event is analyzing the action from multiple viewpoints. Putting together the data from all the digital breadcrumbs you collected over the course of your event is an important way to make sure you’re seeing the big picture.
According to the CEIR study, the majority of exhibitors feel that in order for the event to get credit, sales should close within 6 months. If you’re finding a lot of your guests ghosting after an exhibition closes, you could be missing important clues guests are leaving behind.
Download Cvent’s ebook, “The B2B Marketer’s Guide to Identifying Hot Leads at Live Events” for more information on how to turn digital breadcrumbs into meaningful customer relationships.
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