Field events give sales development reps a great chance to meet leads face-to-face and start building their pipe for the quarter. However, most reps wait until the event to get these leads. In theory, the reasoning behind this makes sense: You don’t really know who will be attending until the lead shows up to the booth or session that you are hosting.
That said, I think waiting is just a bad practice. It is the SDR’s job to research and drive traffic to booths and events. Relying on a marketing blast and hoping that the event pays off already puts you a couple of steps behind your competition. Like anything else in the SDR role, prep is key to being successful. Here are 3 ways I prep for events without an attendance list:
1. Social media is key to pre-event prospecting
We live in a world where every event has a hashtag, or at least a social page on Twitter or Linkedin. Search these hashtags and pages, and do it daily. See who is posting and commenting, and start hunting. If a prospect has invested the time to post, it shows there is an interest to at least connect.
Be vigilant and direct with your messaging. Don’t ask them to check out your “swag” or stop by at their convenience. Know the schedule of the event, know when there are breaks, and ask your prospects what lectures are interesting to them. Build on WHY they should come by – this is how you bring real value to a potential customer relationship.
2. Old lists are diamonds in the rough
Many companies have sponsored multiple events, so there is a footprint of who has stopped by your booth in the past. This is a great resource, because it could mean prospects on these lists are most likely familiar with your product, but could have forgotten about meeting you or someone on your team. That said, I have seen many reps do nothing more than take that list and then put it into an email blast.
This is yet another mistake. As we all know, careers change quickly. You should check to see if that prospect is still with the same company, and in the same position. If they moved up, personalize an email with a congrats on the new role, or ask if the promotion will allow them to attend the conference. When proofing the list, be aware of the story of why there was no sales cycle started after the last conference – it could be timing, fit, budget or interest.
3. Don’t wait until the last minute
Once you have a fully proofed list, start your campaign about 2 weeks before the event. Keep the touches relevant: Your messaging should be clear with times and locations. If they agree to a meeting, mark it on the calendar – nothing looks worse than overbooking and missing time with a potential prospect. Once an email is sent, I tend to follow up with a few calls (just a few here and there until they connect). If the email and calls don’t work, try reaching out on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Event season is an exciting time for SDRs – and the good news is, you don’t have to wait until day one to drive more prospects. Try out a few of these tactics before your event, whether they be through social media, email or calls, to personalize your prospects’ interactions with you pre-conference. Who knows? It could be just the thing to keep you and your business ahead of the pack.
Speaking of events, Dreamforce is just around the corner. If you’re attending, be sure to book a meeting with EverString at the event to see how our platform can help you take the pain out of prospecting.