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5 Ways to Align Sales and Marketing While Working an Event or Conference

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As Marketo put it, sales and marketing are two different planets orbiting the same sun.

Sales and marketing often have different goals, different understandings of roles and different objectives, making it quite difficult for unity between the two. At the same time, they are working toward the same overall business goal. It doesn’t make sense to have two different teams working toward the same goal with zero unity. Think how powerful and efficient they could be if they just worked together and aligned their efforts. This is why sales and marketing alignment is so important at events. Events are a space to grow your business and gain quality sales prospects. So why not harness those opportunities? Focusing on how sales and marketing can work together to benefit each other and achieve their goals is the key to success at any event.

1. Create a Common Goal

This is one of the most important ingredients in the secret sauce. The very first step to creating a common goal is to get your sales and marketing team on the same page. It is important for both teams to be transparent and hear from one another about what they are working on and their hopes for the event. From there, decide on a goal together. Creating a shared, common goal between sales and marketing will help set realistic expectations for both teams. It will help them act as a single unit. Although the tactics and strategies used to achieve these goals will differ, both sales and marketing will be working with the same end goal in mind.

Possible goal ideas:

  • Acquire actionable leads
  • Bring awareness of your organization to an underserved segment of your audience
  • Have meaningful conversations with people in or near your target customer profile
  • Generate in-person sales

2. Research the Event

As simple as it sounds, have both sales and marketing complete research before the event. Coming prepared is one of the best things your sales and marketing teams can do. This will save you a ton of time during the conference because you will have already prepared and planned for that specific event.

Here are potential research topics:

  • Attendees – Sales and marketing together need to create a target list of attendees at the event. To which people or companies should we send pre-event nurture campaigns?
  • Resources – What resources will be available for companies to use?
  • Logistics – What time is the event? What’s included in your booth/table? What display items do you need to bring or what do you need to order? Who will be attending from your company? What swag are you giving out? What additional resources are you handing out (one-sheeter, business cards, computer sign-up)?
  • Sponsorship – Is your company a sponsor? At what level? What other materials do you need to provide the event host for your sponsorship?

3. Decide on the Delivery Strategy

As a single unit, sales and marketing need to decide on the types of messages they want to deliver while at the event. It is important to talk this through so messaging comes off consistent across sales, marketing, social media, etc. Having different teams creating and delivering messages can create inconsistencies in language, causing confusion to both teams and potential leads. Marketing needs to be using the same verbiage as the sales team who will be interacting with people at the event. This will create a smoother experience for everyone.

Other ideas to consider:

  • How can marketing form campaigns around the overall message?
  • Does sales need materials to help deliver the message?
  • How can marketing supply sales with the materials they need?

4. Form a Game Plan

Before the event, form a game plan. This is where your research will come in handy so you can understand the event schedule, when you need to arrive and when you can leave. This is the time to plan who will be doing what. Determine who will be responsible for setup, who will be working the booth/table during specific times, and who will be doing teardown.

Communication is always key, even in marketing and sales relationships … right? Decide on systems and processes you will use to keep your teams organized. It is hard to have sales and marketing alignment if there isn’t regular communication between teams at the event. In your game plan, you should have decided what ways you are going to communicate between teams on different subject matters. Being transparent with your team and having consistent communication will help everyone in the long run by preventing communication gaps and easing event follow-up.

Questions to consider:

  • If you have a question, who should you contact?
  • When you generate a lead, how are you going to communicate this to the rest of the team? Are you going to use a spreadsheet, CRM system or lead management system?
  • How do you coordinate meetings, info sessions and other activities while at the event? Are you using a shared calendar with both teams?

Along with team communication, be sure to create a game plan for how to communicate effectively and efficiently with potential leads. Listed below are a couple pre-event and post-event communication strategies to consider.

Pre-Event Communication Strategies:

  • Send a couple of pre-event emails to your existing list of potential attendees (filter by relevant geo, industry, role, etc.)
  • If the event hosts provide a list, use that to send a pre-event message about your company’s participation

Post-Event Communication Strategies:

  • Gather contact information for everyone that engages and send a post-event email to them along with a relevant content asset or promotional offer as a thanks for stopping by.

5. Craft a Plan of Attack for Social Media

Social is just another way for your company to gain traffic and generate leads, which can help contribute to your shared sales and marketing goals. Before the event, decide who is going to be posting on the social channels for your company. Make sure whoever is posting for your company is aware of preparation that needs to be done prior to the event. This includes researching event hashtags, top presenters, important accounts to follow, etc.

The next step is to figure out how people are going to send this person content to post on the fly. Decide on a single way to send this person content so they don’t have to check their text messages, email, Skype and Slack all at the same time.

As a team, decide what type of content will be most valuable to post on social, keeping in mind any goals and campaigns your team has. During this stage of preparation, it is also important to look back on your delivery strategy to make sure your social content aligns with the messaging your sales and marketing teams have decided on. Using consistent language on social will ensure that messaging is the same across all consumer touch points.

When used correctly, social media can be a very powerful tool and can help you grow your business, so make sure to avoid these common social media marketing mistakes. Staying active on social media during events and conferences will help you to stay in the loop on activities going on at the event, gain additional interest from potential leads who are at the event and inform your audience who is not in attendance.

The Secret Sauce to Achieving Your Event Goals

Attending an event or conference can be very beneficial for your company when you put an emphasis on sales and marketing alignment. Focusing on how sales and marketing can work together to achieve their goals is the key to success at any event. Hopefully these tips help you to be prepared, productive and successful at the next event or conference your company attends.

For additional information on sales and marketing alignment, check out this blog, and for a list of the top marketing conferences in 2019, check out this link.

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