It’s not that these events are inherently “bad,” — in fact, as you know, they are often critical to demand generation efforts — but they are expensive in more ways than one. They drain us of our budget (most B2B software companies spend between 5 and 10% of their marketing budget on events), time, and other resources that a lot of us might prefer to direct elsewhere. And the results we’re looking for can’t always be guaranteed.
Still, most marketers would agree that industry events are a “necessary evil,” something we can’t neglect when trying to forge our place in the market. They’re one of many channels we use to support sales initiatives, and despite the challenges they present, they do drive qualified pipeline growth.
Despite this demonstrable value, many marketers I work with run into issues getting their sales teams on board. They express that Sales doesn’t seem to care, or that it views industry events as a solely marketing-concerned initiative. As a result, there often exists a disconnect between Sales and Marketing that’s ultimately counterproductive for both teams.
If you’re looking to better support your Marketing counterparts when it comes to industry events (and you should be), here are three things to keep in mind:
1. Remember that Sales and Marketing are on the same team.
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised at how many sales and marketing teams work almost entirely separate from each other. In an ideal world, Sales and Marketing work in tandem, aligning on overarching goals and supporting each other to reach them.
If you feel disconnected from your company’s marketing team, consider placing standing alignment meetings on the calendar. These offer an opportunity to get caught up on what Marketing is already doing to drive sales, and to express what your team needs from Marketing in order to accelerate growth. These meetings are especially crucial around an event life cycle, as Sales often has a critical role to play in marketing events to the right audiences, and even in helping structure event content or flow.
2. Build events into your sales strategy.
Industry events are a great opportunity both to capture new leads and to nurture existing ones. An effective marketing leader goes into these events with a pre, onsite, and post-event plan, and sales leaders should do the same. Building events into your sales strategy might look like targeting prospects who are likely to be in attendance, setting up meetings or demos onsite, and/or leveraging registrant email lists for nurture campaigns.
Think of industry events as opportunities to amp up or expand your sales efforts. The more you and your team lean into and contribute to these events, the better results you’ll see.
3. Seek value beyond MQLs.
One reason why Sales might not feel as inclined to engage with marketing events is that they are looking for value only in terms of MQLs. While this metric is indeed important to measure, it’s not the only one you should be tracking. Consider the positive impact events can have on NRR, customer lifecycle, and more. When you broaden your idea of the value creation potential of events, you’ll be better equipped to leverage them in your sales efforts.
When done right, marketing events can significantly bolster a company’s sales initiatives. The key is for sales leaders to lean in and engage fully; Sales, Marketing, and the entire company will be better off for it in the end.