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Sales and Marketing Alignment: What to Do Before, During and After Your B2B Event

September 22, 2021

Kishore Kothandaraman

It’s no secret that sales and marketing work better together. 

The organizational match-made-in-heaven has been proven to bring in better B2B sales productivity, higher ROI and improved top-line growth. And when sales and marketing combine forces for virtual events? The closed-won opportunities come rolling in.

What’s not to love? 💘

But as with all love stories, there’s an obstacle to contend with. Sales and marketing are traditionally lone wolves—and it requires serious work to take your teams from siloed to synchronized. 

Sales and Marketing Alignment: What to Do Before, During and After Your B2B Event

Here’s why a sales and marketing alignment is worth it:

But how do you combine two departments that work in such deeply nuanced ways? What are the most efficient ways to bring sales and marketing together? And how can they work together to bring in and convert quality leads into real revenue for the business?

In this article on creating a sales and marketing dream-team, we’ll answer these questions and go deeper on exactly what to do before, during and after the event to make your smarketing efforts 100% worth your while.

Here’s what we’ll cover

  • How to prep for the perfect sales and marketing alignment (Hint: You don’t want to skip this step)
  • Before the event: Communication is key
  • During the event: Gather data driven insights
  • After the event: Act fast to close the deal
  • How Terminus rolled out their best smarketing experience in 7 simple steps
  • Sales and marketing alignment = B2B events superpower

How to prep for the perfect sales and marketing alignment (Hint: You don’t want to skip this step)

To keep and confirm their seat at the revenue table, field marketers need to work with sales to set crystal clear goals, purpose and intentions. 

But before you press ‘Go’ on your next SKO or team strategy sesh, first you need to prep like you’ve never prepped before. Top tip: whatever you do, don’t skip this step.

Here are the questions field marketers should be looking to answer at the pre-event sales/ marketing meeting:

  • What are the exact metrics that will define success for this event? 
  • Exactly how many net new leads do you aim to be closed-won during/after the event?
  • Does the event tie back to a bigger deal acceleration program?
  • How will you measure your success in pulling deals forward?
  • How will you define the ROI?

Once you know what you need out of this meeting, it’s time to define your pre-event metrics. This is the customer data that can arm sales with key insights and help them build relationships before the event:

  • List of qualified attendees and their companies, job titles, geographies, etc.
  • Prospect stage of each attendee (lead, prospect, MQL, SQL or customer)
  • Percentage of each type of prospect attending the event
  • Percentage of customers attending the event
  • Number of VIP attendees coming to the event (e.g., important leads, customers, etc.)

Before the event: communication is key

All great field marketers know that communication makes the world go round—that’s why the first step to bridging the gap with sales is to connect on a human-to-human level. 

The bottom line is both departments have jobs to do, and those jobs don’t always align—so finding common goals should always be your first task. 

Once you have your goals ready (see the previous section), use this quick checklist to help get the conversation flowing from day one: 

  • Sit down with sales with the aim of finally closing those quality leads they’ve been after. 
  • Start the convo by talking about your shared goals. What do they/you want out of this event? How can you make that happen?
  • Take a close look at the attendee list. Who’s registered so far? Can you work together to get sales’ top priority contacts a seat at the VIP table? Which of those top priority contacts have already registered?
  • Follow up on what you’ve learned by sending personalized emails to top priority contacts. Let them know you’re excited about them attending, and book in time for meetings during the event.

Pre-event task roundup:

  • Use the checklist to solidify the marketing/sales relationship from day one. 
  • Find common goals that you can focus on throughout the event. 
  • Begin nurturing key contacts before the event. 

During the event: gather data-driven insights

It’s showtime! One upside of event marketing in the post-2020 world is that field marketers are better equipped to gather insights in real-time on lead engagement, intent, interests and more.

This crucial intel can be passed on to sales so they can instantly deliver personalized communication during the event. With the right tools, here’s what you can uncover:

  • Minute-by-minute attendance rates (including best sessions and drop off areas)
  • Real-time engagement (e.g. questions asked, polls taken, content downloaded during the event, etc.)
  • Number of private discussions with VIP attendees

The aim at this stage is to get as granular as possible into how your leads behave during the event. What questions are they actually asking in sessions? How do they respond to in-session polls? 

Use this engagement data to focus on relevant relationship building. Think: Links to personal break-out rooms for top priority contacts, so you can answer their questions and follow-up on their favourite topics.

As much as possible, make sure the sales team is involved and engaging with the event. 

Sales and Marketing Alignment: What to Do Before, During and After Your B2B Event

During the event task round-up:

  • Use smart virtual event tools to gather data insights in real-time.
  • Offer personal break-out room links to key contacts to up in-event engagement.
  • Involve the sales team as much as possible in a natural way (zero pitches allowed). 

After the event: act fast to close the deal

Here’s where rubber meets the road for modern field marketers. After an event, you can use the data you’ve collected to bring the brand experience full circle for attendees through personalized sales follow-ups. 🙌

Armed with smart event data tracking tools, field marketers can finally deliver a concrete answer to the $64,000 question: What happens after the event?

For Nicole, post-event success is all about acting fast. 

“Speed is important because leads are obviously the most engaged immediately following an event. Having clear metrics for expected follow-up from your SDRs or AE (within a certain amount of time following the event and minimum number of follow-ups) is crucial. Agreeing on these expectations early and often in the event prep will ensure your teams are well aligned to execute,” explains Nicole. 

She also makes sure all their event data goes straight to sales.

“Immediately following the event, we share a summary email of who attended, broken down by account status, spend tier, vertical, etc. plus a recording of the event (if possible). Information is power!” she adds.

Ottavio Dattolo, Account-Based Marketing Manager at Terminus seconds Nicoles “act fast” approach. For Ottavio, the true key to post-event success is for sales to make the effort with warmed-up priority contacts. 

Sales and Marketing Alignment: What to Do Before, During and After Your B2B Event

Post-event task roundup: 

  • Set your post-event actions way in advance so you can act fast on follow-up.
  • Immediately after your event, share a data summary email with the sales team.
  • Check in with sales to make sure they’ve continued the conversation with high-priority contacts.  

How Terminus rolled out their best smarketing experience in 7 simple steps :

Ottavio Dattolo is one of those unique marketers who’s spent time on both sides of the fence. 

As an ex-sales rep and Account-based Marketing Manager for B2B marketing powerhouse, Terminus, Ottavio is well-versed in bringing sales and marketing together. 

Here’s the complete walkthrough for how Ottavio uses the power of sales + marketing to bring closed-lost leads back into the fold: 

  1. “In our latest Closed Lost ABM Campaign that involves our Sales team, we identified 300 closed lost opportunities that we wanted to retarget for Q4 and generate new pipeline for Q1 2021.”
  1. “We broke this set of accounts into 2 tiers. Tier 1 has about 100 accounts (Highest Value) and Tier 2 has about 200 accounts.”
  1. “We then served ads and email signature banners to these accounts with themed messages related to all the platform enhancements we’ve made over the past year since we last had a conversation with them. This was an attempt to warm up accounts for sales.”
  1. “We partnered with sales to identify two contacts from each of their accounts that resided in their territory that they could send a direct mail bundle to via Sendoso. We wanted to support a local business that has felt the effects of COVID during these unprecedented times.”
  1. “The sales team was expected to add their newly identified contacts into a pre-made Outreach sequence that they would run their contacts through.”
  1. “We then sent out address verifications to ensure the packages would land in the right spot. Once the packages landed, our sales reps received an automated alert via Sendoso, and our reps jumped into action [to make sure their contact received their package and event invitation].”
  1. “After the event, sales continue the conversation with their selected contacts and nourish the new relationships they’ve formed.” 

Sales and marketing alignment = B2B events superpowers

Like Batman and Robin or peanut butter and chocolate, sales and marketing simple work better together. When you can successfully combine their unique strengths and apply those to your B2B events, you can get some seriously drool-worthy revenue results. 

Reaching that point takes time and effort but with the right tools and mindset, you and your sales team can become true partners in revenue marketing.

As Ottavio puts it, “Overall, I believe that event/field marketing and the sales/marketing alignment will continue to evolve. It's important to be different, take risks, and most of all, have fun! As we continue on this endless stay at home order, we need to continue to think of new ways that we can make our events exciting, engaging, and worthwhile.” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

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