How Event ROI Has Become A Central Focus For B2B Event Marketing Teams At Events and Tradeshows
In the last couple of years, B2B events have evolved into wider platforms for enterprises than before. At Oracle Openworld 2015, about 18 lines of business were represented included marketing, sales, finance, engineering, government, and HR. Events have transformed on a number of levels — from the physical layout of rooms to providing more personalized, segmented and targeted engagements. Organizations have increased their marketing spends to create these consumer-driven experiences and therefore, measuring event ROI has become all the more important. These days, we can see an increased interest in measuring revenue generated from events rather than just building brand awareness.
According to theState of B2B marketing 2015 report by Regalix Research, increase in revenue was the top marketing objective for CXOs last year. Also, there was a drop in priority for branding and lead generation activities. This can only amplify in 2016 with more companies channeling their marketing efforts into driving higher revenues and advancing sales pipelines at events.
On an average, companies spend almost 20% of their marketing budget on events. Although event teams measure success in different ways, very few really collect data and measure every step of the sales funnel all the way from prospecting to deal closure.
An Event Track Study found that a whopping 96% of consumers who participated in an event were more inclined to purchase a product they were interested in. Over half of consumers surveyed said they eventually purchased the product marketed at the event.
In a recent interview conducted by Jifflenow with Ryan Francis-Director of Field Marketing at Appirio, he mentions with regards to their attendance at Dreamforce 2015:
“It’s all great that we had these wonderful conversations, but if I can come back and prove that the conversations we had were valuable and tie it back to the event, then I can show those pipeline numbers and the fact that we did so well at the event.”
This indicates that companies have begun treating events as an opportunity to advance sales and close deals, rather than just building a brand image. Sales and Marketing teams in companies now pre-book senior executives, match right SMEs to prospect needs, and use data from their CRM to connect with customer meetings at conferences. This use of technology has created a huge shift in the events landscape by enabling companies to manage all their sales touch points from a single platform while reducing manual efforts and errors. It was a topic of keen interest at events this year – How the impact of sales meetings on event ROI can be made more measurable.
My Observations from 3 Big Events (CES, NRF, and HCEA 2016) This Year.
My experience at the three most important events so far in 2016 (CES,NRF,HCEA) left me with quite a few interesting thoughts on how my sales teams could maximize their potential at events. The focus this year will definitely be more on revenue generation. Events will be a great opportunity to meet customers and prospects face to face and help Sales drive revenue growth.
My conversations with event marketers from multiple Fortune 1000 companies revealed that for most of them, attributing revenue outcomes to events is a key challenge. They all agreed that the true value of events, much like any marketing campaign, lay in measuring “how we impacted the sales pipeline”. Both Marketing and Sales teams were interested in technologies that could provide them answers to questions such as: Should we expand at this event? Should we limit our presence at this event? How much revenue can be generated at the events? What kind of consumer engagements will enable more sales? What criteria can I set for my Sales reps to travel to events?
At HCEA Summit 2016, Michael Young and Michael Kelly spoke about the importance of customer/physician engagement at events that goes beyond just a booth visit or collecting lead information. They also made impassioned arguments in favor of using data and digital tools to reimagine event execution. (More on that my colleague and Head of Marketing at Jifflenow in his HCEA Summit blog).
Taking these insights into consideration, it seems pretty clear to me that events of the future will not be a brand-driven activity. Conferences and trade shows will become the favored hunting grounds of enterprise sales teams. Even customers will prefer to sit down and spend quality time having in-depth conversations, rather than just a fleeting booth visit and a brochure pickup. A win-win for both.
In the second part of this blog series, I will focus on actual sales best practices at trade shows and how Marketing can connect the dots to demonstrate higher event ROI based on sales meetings it enables.
For more information on the emerging Event Technology trends in 2016, you can read our in-depth report here:
Director of Sales, Jifflenow