Sales events are happening again, both in-person, virtually and as hybrid models. While they may look different than those held pre-2020, one thing hasn’t changed: Reps can amp up their experience by engaging in digital and social tools both before, during and after. While unique challenges exist, reps can make the most of these events with digital engagement.
Sales events are back…just different
In some capacity, in-person sales events are making their way back into the B2B world. They may look different, but they’re still vital to networking, learning and developing professionally. As Nick Kane writes for Janek Performance Group, “To answer the question frankly, are trade shows and in-person networking events still relevant post-COVID? The answer is a firm YES. Can we expect the same amount of business from the events as pre-COVID? Probably not, at least for the foreseeable future.”
Challenges do exist. Likely, sales events will still not have a large number of people physically attending, and there’s the possibility of an event being hybrid (a mix of both virtual and in-person attendees).
It’s up to reps to be proactive to get the most out of these events in spite of any challenges that arise. Extra Mile shares ways that attendees can do this using social and digital to engage before, during and after an event.
Pre-event actions to take: Announce yourself
Before a sales event takes place, identify which channels event hosts and attendees will be using. Likely, the event will have a hashtag, Facebook livestream or LinkedIn Event page. Make sure to follow any hashtags and register or join pages or groups.
Drum up interest and awareness of your attendance by creating your own posts about the event. Attract peers and prospects by posting on your own social network pages, as well as any personal blogs or websites. If you have a special role in the event, promote that as well. “As an exhibitor, communicate about contests you are holding or services you will provide at the event,” Extra Mile suggests. “As a speaker, you can share a preview of your presentation or the topic you will be talking about.”
Also, let current prospects and clients know that you'll be attending. This can spark dialogue, and if they're interested, encourage them to follow along on social media as you post.
Just like pre-2020 sales events, don't go into one without a plan. Setting goals ensures that you make the most of your time and maximize all the opportunities available. “Make a list of your networking goals,” Whova advises. “Goals can include 'introduce yourself to five new people' or 'trade emails with ten attendees,' but making a list will help you focus your efforts and help you know where and how to invest your time to further your personal career success and professional advancement.”
Don’t forget to do your homework
As the professionals at Whova, an event solutions provider, write, “Most event organizers grant access to their event guides and apps in advance of the start date for attendees to connect. Go through yours and organize potential networking targets in a thoughtful manner, prioritizing as appropriate for pre- and post-event outreach via social media, email, or phone.
Once you’ve found out where attendees will be interacting online, as well as who will be in attendance, it’s time to put that knowledge to use. Create calls to connect by reaching out to other attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and hosts. Let them know that you’re interested in connecting or excited about the topic they will be discussing. Also, prepare questions that you may have for any Q&A sessions.
The next steps
Check out Wednesday’s post to learn how to leverage digital and social during and after sales events. As these important channels come back to the sales world, you'll be prepared to optimize each and every one you attend.
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