B-to-B Special Report: Increase the Odds of Seminar Success
Seminars long have been a staple for B-to-B marketers looking to generate leads for their sales people. Whether at hotels, over the Web or at alternative venues such as movie theaters, increasing attendance at events is becoming more difficult. Here are five ideas to boost your odds for seminar success:
1. Identify your goals upfront. When asked for their event attendance goals, many marketers will say “as many as possible.” While circumstances vary, a comfortable benchmark for attendance goals can range from 1 percent to 5 percent of your opportunity universe—more if you have compelling content and a prior relationship with your audience; less if your seminar content is perceived as undifferentiated from your competition. Other goals include the number of qualified leads determined from post-event lead qualification and, of course, ultimately quantifying the effect your event strategy has on new or incremental sales. Major caveat: In nearly all B-to-B environments, one event—or any one marketing touch for that matter—does not a sale make.
2. Have sales people define “qualified lead.” If your goal is lead generation for your sales people, they are your customers and their definition of “qualified” must be understood in terms of APNR:
• the prospect’s company attributes (SIC code, size, etc.),
• the person’s position (authority level),
• ascertaining declared or implied need (issues your product or service addresses), and
• relative readiness (some combination of interest, time frame and budget) to do something about it.
That said, I stipulate that since most business seminars are a marketing means to a sales end, your attendance goals should focus more on attributes and position with post-event follow-up by marketing and/or sales designed to develop need and readiness.
3. Tie seminar content to the prospect’s buying cycle. Ensure your seminar is relevant and appropriate for the buying stage each segment of your opportunity universe is in at any moment. This may mean developing different seminar content for prospects who are “kicking the tires” than for those who are in partner-selection mode.