SalesTech Star

How to get the Best ROI from B2B Events

By: Jonah Mandel, VP of Sales & Customer Success at Capchase

Attending B2B events can be expensive, especially for startups. But done right, they can also be a huge pipeline driver, a valuable branding tool, and even one of your most efficient acquisition channels.

The SaaS community is close-knit, and if you’re a part of it, it’s easier to sell into it. Real-life connections are one of the best-selling tools you have.

Here’s how to get the best ROI from events, whether you’re attending a conference or hosting an intimate prospect dinner.

Choose the events that matter

There are hundreds of SaaS industry events every year, and even more general tech and B2B conferences. Choosing the right events that fit your business and target demographic is key.

Before you commit to an event, do your research. Your team will need to dig deep on all the details: who’s attending, who’s speaking, and how your network and industry peers view the event.

There are a lot of considerations to juggle. For example, a conference with higher-quality prospects might cost more to attend. Finance teams often get sticker shock from conference fees, but remember: the cost of attendance is part of predicted CAC. It’s an investment.

Identify your goals

Goals help unify your team and serve as a benchmark that can help you track how events are serving you and impacting your pipeline over time.

Common goals can include numbers of leads, meetings with key decision–makers, learning about industry trends, or building relationships with potential partners or investors.

Locking in your goals lets you plan more efficiently moving forward. For example, if your goal is to build relationships and brand awareness with industry peers, hosting a happy hour during the conference is a great move. You can even find a partner brand to host with, and split the cost.

If your goal is purely customer acquisition, reverse-engineering your target by dividing the event cost by your average CAC is a good way to go.

Ultimately, the true value of the event depends on your goals, but will also likely include a hard-to-measure brand awareness lift.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Michael Walton, VP Product, Sales Hub, HubSpot

Prepare your team

Your booth branding and awesome swag can only go so far. Your team is your biggest asset at an event, so make sure they’re prepared to hit the ground running.

This is where clear goals come into play. With a strong list of key goals, your team members can focus on the unique ways they can help meet those goals. Team prep lets the sales team focus on selling while the events and marketing teams manage logistics and agendas.

A team briefing dinner the night before big events is a great way to get people excited, run over scripts, and review qualification processes. It’s also the best way to get everyone on the team familiar with your current pipeline so that every member can push prospects closer to closing. Remember, events aren’t just a way to bring in net-new ROI, they can also revive stale prospects.

Get creative

It’s hard to stand out in the B2B world. Happy hours and prospect dinners are great ways to connect with prospects one-on-one, but at large conferences, you’re competing with hundreds–or even thousands–of other brands.

So get creative to stand out!

  • Strong booth branding is essential. Make sure your tagline is clear, concise, and visible.
  • Present a fun booth activation that makes prospects stand in line so you have a chance to talk with them. This could be free swag, a contest, food…the list goes on.
  • Qualify your leads before you dedicate time to them. Ask questions to make sure they’re a good fit for your product or service.

Followup is key

A lot goes into planning to attend an event. Many companies fall short when it comes to post-event planning.

Big conferences have you competing with hundreds, or thousands, of other companies. Here’s how we recommend standing out:

  • Align with your RevOps team before the event to ensure that lead tracking, email sequences, dashboards are all in place
  • Have an internal understanding of who is responsible for checking the status of leads and any leakage in follow-ups. Every day counts.
  • Send a personalized email or connection request on LinkedIn to thank your prospects for their time, and to reiterate your interest in working together.

Maximize ROI from industry events

We hope these tips help you maximize your ROI from industry events and make the most of your time and investment. Even when the upfront costs seem high, remember: it’s all CAC. And the better you’re prepared, the higher the payoff will be.

So plan ahead, align your team, stand out, and finally, have fun!

Read More: Building a Winning Tech Stack for Sales and Marketing Collaboration