When the pandemic hit earlier this year, the events space changed overnight. Physical events across the world—from Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit to the Olympics—were canceled, and companies rushed to provide online events instead.
Whether this is the beginning of a fundamental shift away from in-person events remains to be seen but, even if they do make a return, it’s unlikely to be before 2021.
With this sudden change, how can you run an online event that not only delights attendees, but also brings in meetings, leads, and revenue?
Is an online event the right answer for you?
Events are a key part of many companies’ lead-generation strategy, accounting for up to 40% of their leads. While some of the big names have been able to successfully generate leads by switching to virtual events though, that doesn’t mean you necessarily will. These are still early days, and the expected number and quality of leads from online events is yet to be established.
Before you jump on the virtual event bandwagon, it’s important to step back and assess your overall lead-generation strategy. Rather than essentially creating a new channel (virtual events), it might be more effective to divert the resources you’d normally use for in-person events into other channels you’ve already established, such as content marketing or digital ads.
Understand the differences between online and offline events
Assuming that you decide to go ahead with a virtual event, the first thing you need to appreciate is that it’s completely different from running an in-person event. If your plan is to “do the same, just online,” you can expect big problems. Rather, you need to come up with a plan that takes into account the complexities of a 100% digital event.
For example, one of the first considerations is the format of the event. Are you going to live-stream talks, or are you going to open up on-demand access to pre-recorded videos? Will you have one speaker at a time, or will you have a panel of speakers?
While you may not have to worry about hiring out a large venue, putting on an online event is still going to cost money, including technology (see below), promotion, and a team. How are you going to cover those costs? Are you going to charge for the event, or will you rely on sponsors?
Deliver what your attendees want
Why do people attend in-person events? For many, it’s a chance to hear from industry leaders, and maybe pick up a new strategy or two. However, peoples’ priorities have changed. Your event and your speakers need to focus on what your audience cares about right now.
Another reason people attend conferences is to rub shoulders with others in their industry. By building in opportunities to network, you’ll be creating value for your attendees.
If you’ve carried out in-person events before, work out how you can deliver that same experience online that matches your brand. By delivering what people love about in-person events, while also eliminating the downsides, you’ll have a truly standout event on your hands.
Focus on engagement
I hate to break it to you, but your event isn’t the only thing going on in your attendee’s lives. People are working from home, multi-tasking, and taking care of their kids. As online events become the new norm, the novelty factor will very soon wear off, if it hasn’t already.
Whatever format your event follows, you and your speakers need to actively engage with attendees throughout, or you run the risk of being just background noise.
When SaaStr put on their virtual event, they found speakers who featured Q&A sessions and used stories performed well, compared to those who “just read slides of data.” If people have the opportunity to ask questions, they’re more likely to stick around and pay attention as they wait for their answer.
Test your tech
Finally, consider the technology that will be powering your event. How professional do you want to be? Will speakers stream from a state-of-the-art studio or their living room? Will they be using professional broadcasting equipment or their iPhones?
While it’s great to make full use of the available technology to provide the best experience possible. At the same time, don’t make things unnecessarily complicated, especially if this is your first online event. The simpler the setup, the less that can go wrong.
Either way, you and all speakers should test everything before starting. Test the internet connection, the hardware, the software. Test the presentations, then the transitions. Test the slides and the music. As the saying goes, hope for the best but always prepare for the worst.
While events have been hit particularly hard this year, those who’ve been able to successfully pivot into digital events are enjoying the benefits, reaching a larger audience than ever. As the online event space matures and the bar is raised, you can create events that both produce a clear ROI and delight your participants.
Check out this B2B marketing leader’s playbook for getting +9,000 attendees at his virtual event.
LeadSift, a B2B Intent Data organization announces a strategic partnership with MetaData.io, the AI-fueled marketing operations platform featuring new ways to help B2B Marketers run digital campaigns without depending on IP Matching.
With less than 5% of your audience actively searching for your services or products during various phases of the buying cycle, it is essential for B2B Marketers to concentrate their intent on in-market buyers. LeadSift’s Intent Data stream helps B2B Marketers Identify Contacts and Accounts indicating intent signals by mining publicly accessible web sources.
“Knowing which Contacts and Accounts to engage with – based on Intent signals, is a massive advantage for B2B Marketers. To truly operationalize intent data, marketers need to reach buyers across multiple digital channels with personalized content as they go through the buying journey” – Tukan Das, CEO of LeadSift
The continuous new trend of working from home has represented an intriguing challenge for Digital Marketers that depend on technology advances mapping IP addresses from anonymous internet users to their businesses, but home IP addresses do not map to their corporate online profiles. This is making it more difficult to accurately execute on ABM campaigns, which is a top priority for B2B Marketers.
With LeadSift’s public web signals – advertisers and marketers are now able to prioritize their pipeline, and automatically contact them utilizing Metadata’s autonomous demand generation platform, all without depending on matching IP addresses.
“Utilizing plan signals from LeadSift, Metadata clients can now laser-focus on the purchasers from their objective record records utilizing identifiers like email address, which is a substantially more successful approach to target B2B experts as they telecommute all the more much of the time,” said Gil Allouche, CEO Metadata.io.
More About LeadSift
LeadSift is the most actionable B2B intent data provider on the market. Helping organizations identify and prioritize the prospects and accounts they should be targeting, relying on data from millions of Unstructured Public Web Documents to identify when prospects are showing an increased interest in competitors and relevant topics. The end output is a contact enriched with corporate details, contact information, and information on what they have been researching. Over 100 of the leading B2B SaaS, including Brainshark, Tipalti, Rubrik, Ceridian, InsightSquared use LeadSift to help optimize ad spend, marketing nurture campaigns, and sales outreach.
More About MetaData.io
Metadata is the autonomous demand platform that optimizes your social and digital ad spend to help you quickly create more quality demand and pipeline from your target accounts. Our patented AI and machine learning platform analyzes historical CRM data to identify who should be seeing your ads, then our multivariate testing engine tests hundreds of variations and optimizes to what delivers the best results most efficiently. The result? Quality pipeline from target accounts generated quickly.
At LeadSift – we are building a Sales Intelligence Platform to predict Buying Intent from mining Public Web documents, to help B2B organizations Identify and Reach their best Prospects at the Right Time. Over 100 of the leading B2B SaaS companies use LeadSift to help optimize Ad Spend, Marketing Nurture Campaigns, and Sales Outreach.
We are looking for a Customer Marketing Manager, to help our new and existing customers have the best onboarding experience and guide them to be successful with our data. You will also plan and execute on different Goto Market strategies to help LeadSift be the leader in our space. To be successful in this role, you need to have good knowledge of marketing fundamentals, familiarity with Marketing Automation tools and have run Paid Digital Media campaigns.
You’ll be part of a strong, hard working team in a startup environment, and learn hands-on about our industry and our customers. We love people who can set their own direction and are self-motivated, work hard and are passionate about what they create. See Level 5 team-mate
LeadSift is backed by some of the most prominent venture investors including OMERS Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Innovacorp, East Valley Ventures and a stellar group of angel investors.
Full Time / Halifax, NS / Starting Immediately
Work with Customer Success team to help existing customers have the best onboarding experience and be successful with using LeadSift
Develop compelling product and customer-centric content for prospective and existing customers including emails, blog posts, webinars, product videos, sales sheets
Work with our Marketing Agency to Plan and Execute Product/feature + New Partnership launches.
Work with our existing channel partners to create interesting and compelling narratives based on their feedback and stories
2+ years of marketing experience
Must have knowledge of Marketing Automation systems (Hubspot or similar) and have successfully run email marketing campaigns
Must have experience running Paid Media Campaigns (Facebook or LinkedIn)
Scrappy, Passionate and Entrepreneurial mindset and you love to get things done.
Articulate storyteller, must be able to both speak and write with passion and clarity
BONUS: Started an online business (<< Highlight this in your application)
BONUS++: Strong personal brand in Linkedin / Twitter
Start-up culture = being able to get your hands dirty with many things at once
Full health benefits from day one
15-days vacation + statutory/federal holidays + we also take the last week of the year off
Regular team lunches
Send your resumes at [email protected]. Along with your application, please include references to any open source contributions you’ve made or examples of side projects (i.e. Github, HackerNews, your own website)
“Sales is challenging right now” is a huge understatement. The economic landslide we find ourselves in has been earth-shattering for the sales industry. In fact, one survey conducted by Business 2 Community found that 74% of B2B Sales Reps say their sales opportunities have decreased since the Coronavirus outbreak. However, the news is not all negative. 26% of respondents report a jump in sales opportunities. What are they doing differently? How can you be in the percentage of sales teams that are thriving?
Strengthen your competitive position. Gain an edge over your competition. Be a source of information for buyers. That is one of the key pieces of advice emphasized by trusted advisor Gartner. How can you do that? Focus on investing in customer relationships with companies that are resilient during the economic downturn. LeadSift is helping sales teams do just that. We’ve used our technology to identify companies that are resilient during the current economic downturn, making them ideal prospects for your business.
What is Intent Data and How do We Use it?
Imagine being able to filter through all your leads and pick out ones you know are in need of your services and ready to buy. Intent data makes that scenario a reality. At LeadSift, our goal is to help B2B companies identify more relevant leads based on intent.
Intent data is gathered by looking at the online behavior of potential buyers. For example, it might be based on website visits and time spent on those websites, product reviews, online subscriptions to newsletters, attendance at webinars, or simply an increase in content consumption on a specific topic.
Why is it effective? Research from Gartner found that during the B2B buyer’s journey, the amount of time actually spent talking to a sales rep may only be 5% or 6% of the buyer’s journey. The rest of the time buyers are doing their own research. That means by the time the buyer engages with a salesperson, they are almost entirely through their journey. Intent data allows you to intercept buyers early in the journey, ensuring they don’t end up with one of your competitors.
Including intent data in your sales strategy is now more important than ever. As companies are forced to close their doors, delay projects or drastically cut staff, their priorities have shifted overnight. It’s possible that your list of hot leads has turned cold as ice overnight. Your traditional lead generation strategy is most likely completely irrelevant now. Unleashing the power of intent data allows you to generate new leads or better understand the shifting priorities of your current prospect list.
Identify Resilient Companies
Companies across industries are venturing into uncharted waters. While many have seen sales come to a standstill, others have experienced exponential growth. Overall, experts are predicting most major economies will lose at least 2.4% of the value of their gross domestic product over 2020. For sales teams, their efforts are futile if they continue targeting leads as they did pre-COVID. Streamlining your lead generation process to filter companies who are thriving during this economic downturn will put you in front of buyers who are ready to purchase.
Intent data is key to identifying companies that are resilient during the economic downturn. LeadSift curated a list of companies that meet that criteria by monitoring the following online behaviors and signals.
• Companies that are actively running marketing programs, including virtual conferences, webinars and paid media campaigns.
• Companies who are maintaining their content stream through blogs, whitepapers, e-books and other forms of content marketing.
• Companies who are hiring for new roles.
In order to provide top quality leads, our team looked at companies that showed these growth signals between March 26 and April 6. Our research yielded 17,000 accounts ranked globally that are potential prospects. Details, such as company name, industry, size and location are also provided. You can view the list here.
Use Intent Data to Enable Buyers
Gartner’s research found that the B2B buyer’s journey has been changing long before we had even heard of COVID-19. Months ago, they emphasized the importance of “buyer enablement.” Why do we need to enable buyers? Seventy-seven percent of buyers they surveyed said their last purchase was complex. The number of decision-makers, as well as the growing number of solutions available make buying a difficult process.
“The single biggest challenge of selling today is not selling, it is actually our customers’ struggle to buy,” said Gartner VP Brent Adamson. How does intent data solve this struggle? Intent data provides the road map you need to find out who those struggling buyers are. Sales teams must focus on providing buyers with information that is specifically designed to help them complete the buyer’s journey.
Gartner defines buyer enablement as “the provisioning of information to customers in a way that enables them to complete critical buying jobs.” Shift your focus from selling to enabling prospects that are ready to buy. Intent data tells you exactly who those buyers are. View yourself as simply another channel the buyer is using to consume information about solving their problem(s).
Social distancing. Flattening the curve. Stay-at-home orders. We’ve all had to get used to new terms and change. That includes changing the way we do business. Motivational speaker Ian Rose reminds us, “We are on a constant curve of continual development anyway throughout life.” Developing a resilience when it comes to change has the potential to be extremely rewarding. Changing the way you do business, connect with clients and identify prospects will take you through this difficult time, and help you learn more efficient ways to work going forward.
Is learning a more effective method of prospecting a valuable skill? Absolutely. View the new economic environment as a part of personal development. Learning new skills is a chance to take on additional responsibilities, improve your value to your sales team and open doors for future advancement.
• The most important thing for businesses is to extend the cash-runway. So as a marketer you have to get in battle mode and leave behind some of the long-term strategic initiatives and focus on short-term wins.
• Replace your in-person trade show/conference leads with leads from virtual events.
• Partner with other complementary companies (targeting a similar audience) in your space to be involved with your event. Leverage their network to drive attendance and increase reach.
• Continue to explore further content collaboration (webinars, blogs, etc.) with those companies.
• Shift focus from top-of-funnel marketing content away to more middle/bottom-of-funnel content to help your sales team in their outbound prospecting efforts.
• Be empathetic towards your sales team.
• Take part in daily sales standups to understand what they are hearing from the market and adapt quickly.
• Enable the field sales reps to better sell in this environment.
Step up your communication. From upping your Slack game, to checking-in with every member of your team asking them what they need to be set up properly.
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Being relaxed with not having a full day’s worth of work.
• Some days the energy will be low and that’s OK.
• Be flexible with hours of work, let them deal with personal/family issues first.
Being super transparent with the team about the key business metrics (runway, funding, etc.).
Their entire year was based on going to conferences.
• So they had to quickly adapt their marketing strategy pivot to attending and sponsoring Virtual Events being held by other companies.
• Also doubling down on Outbound Marketing and Sales campaigns.