Jane looked at me quizzically, “Are you saying that the follow-up of leads we produce at events is my responsibility?”
“Yes,” I said, “follow-up of the prospects produced by your department is one of your tasks. After all, you created the opportunity; shouldn’t you also be sure that the prospect is well served and not ignored until the salesperson picks up the gauntlet to finish the job?”
“But, we just manage the exhibit.” Jane said. “We schedule it, get everything there, set the stage and break it down; afterward it’s up to someone else to close the deal.”
“Is it?” I said. “We’re talking about follow-up, not deal closing.”
I asked if her department was involved in:
- Creation of the event as a “campaign” in the CRM system
- Preshow promotions to get traffic
- Preshow and on-site registrations (if a corporate event)
- The lead retrieval devices and the questions asked for the database to qualify leads
- Video presentations on the show floor
- Professional product stage presentations
- Training booth staff for lead acquisition
- Fulfillment of the information the prospects request
- Sending the “leads” to the proper salespeople via the CRM system
- Nurturing messages (emails, calls, etc.) from the marketing automation system
- Reports from the CRM system showing the campaign sales results (exhibit or event)?
Jane said yes to virtually all my questions. “Marketing operations,” she said, “takes care of fulfillment, lead distribution and even nurturing; but we sit in on those relevant meetings and have our say.”
Why it Matters
My point to Jane was that her events department isn’t a ‘Show Up and Throw Up’ department, with responsibility that ends with the lowering of the lights on the event’s last day. She is more involved in lead creation and follow-up than she realized.
Event managers have large budgets, with a large impact on revenue. How the entire event is managed includes more than setup and breakdown. Every event is a campaign that needs an ROI projection, and ROI can only come by creating more traffic/qualified leads and follow-up by the marketing department (events management) and the salespeople.
A few years ago, Jane’s department was called the “Exhibits Department,” but with the addition of a user’s conference and product road-shows, her group is now known as the Events Department.
There is an old saying, ‘No one loves you like you,’ and it’s true that no one loves your event like you. No one will care more about the results than you do, except the salespeople of course.
I saw a sign at an exhibitor show once that said, ‘It’s all about sales leads.’ From the acquisition, it starts with the best lead acquisition device you can find, the fastest follow-up, accurate distribution of leads, and nurturing messages to prospects that continue during the salesperson’s own follow-up.
In the end, Jane agreed she was already involved in more follow-up activities than she realized, but there was more she could do. She realized that her event ROI relies on follow-up, so asking if the leads are followed-up is her responsibly. Our conversation ended on an up-note as Jane realized that, regardless of her involvement in the hundreds of details to create events, the follow-up is also a part of her responsibility.