Looking at the year 2021 so far, we know that CES, the world’s largest consumer electronic show has gone all digital for January 2021, and others such as NRF 2021 have followed. Even smaller regional and field company events have switched to virtual and, based on increased expected attendance, many marketers are planning more and better virtual events for the next 12 months.
The switch to virtual has brought new challenges. Attendee engagement is by far the most important KPI for event marketers executing virtual events, yet event marketers agree that this is also one of the most challenging aspects of the medium. Audience fatigue is another known issue. Most event organizers have limited or no experience in managing virtual events, or the technologies needed to run a flawless virtual event compared to the impressive in-person events they are accustomed to.
So how do companies improve at virtual events in 2021? It seems likely that the pandemic will gradually fade in 2021, therefore we need a graduated response to event plans. The large in-person events that the world has been used to will forever change to hybrid — a combination of virtual and in-person. The good news is hybrid events will reach larger audiences than ever before. Attendees, corporate sponsors, event organizers, and technology companies are beginning to warm up to some of the unexpected benefits of virtual and will integrate it for increased participation.
Let’s look at some ways you can win at Virtual events in 2021 and accelerate your sales pipeline at these events:
1. Keep your plans fluid: In-person events have the specificity of fixed dates, fixed venues, fixed internal and external attendees, fixed sessions, and so on. Virtual events can be live, recorded, or semi-recorded, with extended dates for follow-up engagements, have live-stream or interactive sessions, extended customer or partner meetings over weeks or even months, attendees and staff from multiple time zones. You’ll have far more flexibility with this approach.
For driving more meetings that in turn drive more pipeline, leverage the Jifflenow Inbound Meeting Request Link and Page to run pre-event digital campaigns to promote inbound meeting requests from customers and prospects. The Inbound Meeting Request is a great way to enable customers and prospects to directly request meetings with experts and executives in the most seamless manner.
Also, make sure to equip Sales teams to schedule outbound meetings with customers and prospects directly from Salesforce.com or through the Jifflenow web app based on opportunity data, previous discussions, and more.
2. Focus on metrics that matter – MQMs and not just MQLs: Gathering leads by registering attendees or offering content for filling out contact information is a good start — these are marketing-qualified leads. But you need to go further and think about how you can drive marketing-qualified meetings. A meeting automation platform lets attendees request a wide array of follow-on meetings with executives or subject-matter experts that can be either automatically scheduled or processed through an approval process.
To learn more about planning for a virtual or hybrid event and drive sales pipeline from it, see a quick demo of how Jifflenow can help you achieve your goals from events.