COVID-19 has meant face to face events are no longer going ahead. This presents a new reality for building sales pipeline. Agility here is key. Surviving a major setback requires change, and it needs to happen quickly. Of course, building a sales pipeline without meeting anyone face to face or leveraging the opportunity of events for lead generation is a big challenge, but, if you can redirect your resource and energy into creating a robust and effective digital sales and virtual events approach, it actually presents a huge opportunity to scale your pipeline more quickly, and gain huge efficiencies on your sales team’s time.
Taking pre planned cancelled events online in the wake of the global pandemic is becoming common practice. However, running an effective and lead rich virtual event is much more than uploading digital content to a hub. Defining outputs and building a strategy around them is critical to driving sales decision making. By removing travel time, there’s a great opportunity to get in touch with more people in a shorter time frame. A digital environment has the potential to create an incredibly lucrative situation for sales. How many other occasions could they speak to 20 prospects and 10 customers in a single day?
However, face to face events and conferences are a hot-bed of sales leads with cumulative touchpoints via live demos, post event drinks and knowledge sharing to nurture a sales lead towards conversion. So without the cumulative touchpoints you can create from a live event to speed up the buyer journey, how can you recreate the intensity of sales decision making through a virtual event?
Schedule time with clients and prospects to get feedback on what they want out of the event beforehand and build your content around that and the pain points of you most engaged contacts.
Build an agenda
Consider exactly what you and your target audience are going to miss out on in the absence of F2F events and build your agenda in response to that. Just churning out a webinar isn’t going to cut it. As a business you need to create opportunities for product demos, FAQs, brand awareness and data capture for ongoing nurture. When your clients and prospects go to events they’re looking for industry leading content, relationship building and product information. Your virtual event agenda needs to deliver all of the above.
Have polls, questions, get input throughout and use this feedback to shape the rest of the sessions and agenda.
Deepen Engagement with Customers and Prospects
As part of the events agenda, build in opportunities to create a deeper personal connection. Offer a limited number of one to one product clinics or sales surgeries or run a live AMA with an expert.
Time Limited Activity
Make certain content available for a limited time only. Preferably bottom of the funnel content so you create urgency around the content with the biggest indicator of buying intent. The other advantage of doing time limited activity is it can increase sales productivity by speeding up the process of speaking to multiple users in a short space of time.
Combine the opportunity to deliver slick online content with the art of storytelling. Use buyers pain points and build engaging and meaningful stories designed to create urgency in the mind of the buyer.
Hosting live, interactive product tours may even engage more people digitally than it would at an expo. Make it snappy, to the point and entertaining. Take live questions and redirect to an FAQ section at the end of the tour.
Alternative to a virtual event
Not everyone will have access to all singing, all dancing virtual events software but it doesn’t mean you can’t recreate the intensity of sales decision making. For example, if you’re planning to run a webinar, don’t just run a one off. Make a condensed series, day or week around the most compelling customer pain points and use the series to develop a rapport with your audience.
There’s a huge opportunity to scale sales pipelines if virtual events are delivered effectively with clear objectives in mind. A temporary loss of face to face doesn’t necessarily mean losing momentum on your sales pipeline, you just need to get creative, drive more value out of the tech stack you’ve got and keep an eye out for new tech you’re not already using.
WEBINAR: The Ledger Bennett strategy team have recorded a webinar on this exact subject. For full details and guidance on what to do when events get cancelled watch the webinar here.