How to plan an event that generates real leads

Part 1: Create a collaborative environment between marketing and sales

We all know the primary goal of marketing events is to grow the business. That could be through positive new brand exposure, engaging new contacts, impacting opportunities with target accounts, or generating renewed interest with great content.  We primarily support marketers that are trying to drive leads from their events. So, why do we often find sales teams, who ultimately have to close these deals, falling outside of the event planning process? 

This post is the first of a 4 part series that will cover how to create an event where both marketing and sales have a clear picture of how to make an event, and the follow on sales cycle, successful. Today’s post will cover some steps you can take to create a collaborative environment between marketing and sales.

To create alignment between sales, marketing and marketing operations, pull them together to ensure they are aligned on the following prior to any event related marketing:

Event outcomes

What is the goal of this event? To generate demand? Training for new skills? Announcing a new initiative? Determining the desired outcomes as a team will help your event team create experiences targeting specific results. This also has the added benefit of creating metrics for success that can be measured and iterated over a few or many events.

Customer messaging

What strategy should we take with our content for this event? How can we include sales in the process? Asking these two questions allows sales teams to imprint their knowledge of customer’s wants and needs into the promotional material. It also removes any knowledge gaps marketing may have about the product being offered. Taking this step ensures the product offering is consistent on all channels and that the event experience will match the expectations of the attendee. When this happens, you maximize the chances the event will attract and satisfy the right attendees, resulting in stronger leads that are easier to close later. 

The ideal lead

What does sales consider to be a great lead? A bad one? Many organizations think they know a good lead when they see one, but a recent study from Salesforce states that Events and Tradeshow account for the worst lead conversions and lead sources. 

To combat this, work through a set of criteria (such as role, company size, interest shown, etc.) to understand what an ideal lead looks to the company. Then, develop several customer personas with the ideal lead in mind and design experience around adequately educating them and preparing them for sales follow-up.


How do we seamlessly hand off leads between marketing and sales during or after the event? Both teams need to work together to come up with a handoff plan. As a team, create a handful of lead qualifiers or survey questions to document in-event leads. The more information you can provide about the lead, the better. Have automation in place to ensure that leads are handed off in a timely manner and that sales is provided appropriate context about their interest. Remember to respond fast! According to a study by Lead Connect, 78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first. Aim to follow up within a day of engaging with attendees to continue the dialogue. 

If your marketing and sales teams are not already syncing before event marketing begins, this can be a quick win. Even just a few minutes for some of the team leads to make sure they are aligned can save a ton of time and ensure marketing dollars are spent as efficiently as possible throughout the life-cycle of the event. 

Be sure to look for the next part of this series “Defining the event content, strategy and best delivery means” soon and give us a call if you need more in-depth support!