At DataFox, we’re big fans of event-based sales prospecting.
Whether it’s a conference we’re attending, a meetup we're hosting, or a dinner we’re organizing, face-to-face time drives deals forward and strengthens our customer relationships.
Each event type represents a unique opportunity for our sales and marketing teams to touch prospects, competitors, and customers.
In this post, I’ll dive into our strategy and execution for getting the most out of conferences and meetups.
Our goal with prospecting into conferences is to educate and sell. We are strategic about creating compelling opportunities for prospects to meet with us at these events - whether we are sponsoring or simply attending.
Our prospecting is carried out by our outbound reps and marketing ops teams, and leans heavily on our conference intelligence product to tell us which companies will be there. Marketing is responsible for blanketed prospecting while the BDRs reach out to high-value prospects.
If we’re exhibiting, we’ll drive people to meetings at our booth in the weeks leading up to the conference. If we’re attending, we’ll invite people to cool coffee shops near the venue for 1-on-1 meetings. And if we’re hosting a happy hour or an executive meal, we’ll invite high-value prospects directly to these “invite-only” affairs.
Here’s a sample executive lunch email that’s had a ton of success for us:
For conferences, it’s worth noting that we only reach out to top-tier accounts that will be there. However, it can be tough to figure out which people are attending from those accounts - we get around this challenge in two different ways.
First, we reach out to contacts at the account who we’ve prospected or spoken with in the past. Second, we prospect into contacts at top-tier accounts who we’d love to have a conversation with. Worst case scenario, they don’t reply or “aren’t coming.”
One more pro tip is to have your reps send a follow up email to high-value prospects who they met at a conference that same evening. Include a selfie in the email so that they don’t forget your rep’s name and face when they follow up! Sounds silly, but it works.
Our goal with meetups is to build brand equity and thought leadership. We host a monthly Sales Operations Meetup here in SF, each one with a unique theme and hosted at a different partner company’s office. These meetups attract between 30-50 attendees, which is ideal for us.
Our tack for prospecting into meetups is applicable for both recurring and one-off events. Similar to conference prospecting, we have Marketing blanket local contacts in our SFDC who have “Sales Operations” job titles, and the BDRs reach out to high-value prospects.
We leverage panelists and themes to create a sense of excitement for the event, and the only pre-meetup touch points are always more “just FYI” than “want to come?” We never call people who have registered for an event, instead sticking with a light touch email.
The day of the meetup, we pull the list of everyone who has confirmed attendance (from Eventbrite), split the list among our BDRs, and have them reach out saying “thanks for registering” and asking whether or not they plan to attend so that we can greet them there.
If people confirm that they’re able to attend, great. If they can’t attend, we offer to send them a written recap of the event when our content marketing team publishes it the next day. It’s a win-win and a touch that guests often appreciate.
One thing to note is that we never inquire beforehand (or after) if attendees are interested in DataFox. And at the event, we don’t make any announcements about what DataFox does. We have someone from DataFox moderate the events, but there are no company plugs.
If you’re reading this and don’t currently invest any resources in events but would like to, I’d recommend huddling internally and conceiving a one-off type of event (be it a panel, an AMA, etc) that you think would add value to your prospects. Eventbrite makes this very easy.
To learn more about event-based prospecting with DataFox, check out our conference intelligence page.
Eric Martin is a member of the sales team at DataFox