How To Measure The Value Of A Handshake

Event Tech Brief

How To Measure The Value Of A Handshake



By Michelle Bruno

The most valuable and distinctive attribute of live events is the opportunity to meet with customers and prospects in person. If the buyer is standing in front of the seller, there’s no need for expensive market research or clever marketing campaigns to determine what the prospective customer wants and when he wants it. A salesperson can just ask him.

But orchestrating and leveraging the face-to-face meeting has been a painful process to automate. It requires a multi-step workflow: discover prospects and customers in attendance; meet with prospects and customers; and enter data into marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

Various types of software—from Excel spreadsheets, calendar invites, and email to networking and appointment-setting applications—have facilitated some of this work, but the flow has been historically disjointed. Data inevitably leaks from multiple silos. App ecosystems differ for every event and not every app integrates with or automates data transfer to marketing automation and CRM systems.

Making in-event meeting logistics more efficient 

Initially, SummitSync sought to address the problem of finding and meeting with prospects at events by introducing a universal networking application. The app, still in use, lets attendees discover, message, connect, and meet with prospects at over 55,000 conferences and events. It also transfers meeting details to the user’s corporate CRM automatically. 

Since the original version launched, however, the team behind it has had the opportunity “to spend a lot of time with companies, listening to their employees in both the marketing and sales departments, and learning about their needs at conferences and events,” says John Corrigan, CEO of SummitSync. They discovered that corporate marketers want the entire workflow, from discovery to pipeline, to be more efficient. 

SummitSync customers like using the app to discover and meet prospects at events. But they also want “to know who might be going to an event and understanding who is meeting with whom, determining where they’re physically meeting, managing space, and then connecting all of that to the CRM and marketing automation,” Corrigan explains.  

Adding metrics and data to meeting scheduling 

SummitSync’s new software-as-a-service event intelligence platform streamlines the discovery to pipeline process associated with live events. It allows marketers to learn which prospects will be attending (using data culled from a massive, hand-built database), identify the best prospects, schedule and manage a meeting, and track post-event opportunities. 

SummitSync consolidates “all of the information relative to meetings and team members at all events in one place,” Corrigan says. It calculates return on event (ROE) or how much it cost to host, sponsor, or exhibit in an event compared to the amount of opportunity created. It also tracks attribution, “where a handshake or a meeting took place and whether it contributed to a signed contract,” explains Kathryn Kosmides, director of marketing + growth at SummitSync.

In 2018, SummitSync’s event intelligence platform will also be able to draw upon its database of 250 million contacts (with 40 data points per individual) to fill in missing contact data. “If a salesperson doesn’t have all the information about a prospect, we can populate those fields automatically in Salesforce or in your marketing automation stack to enrich that interaction,” Corrigan says.

Giving corporate event marketers what they want

For so long, chief marketing officers have been in a tug of war between digital and event-marketing channels. Digital marketing is measurable, but not very personal. Event marketing is personal, but not very measurable. SummitSync settles the argument by “extending the marketing stack from its digital root to an offline component,” Corrigan says.

While SummitSync advocates for a universal—one platform for all events—approach with its networking app, it doubles down on that strategy with its event intelligence platform. In doing so, it joins lead-retrieval applications and a growing list of event-management platforms that work across a corporate event marketer’s portfolio to provide event-agnostic usability and measurement capabilities.

Corporate marketers reportedly invest about 21 percent of their budgets (300 billion dollars per year) in live events. They do so because, despite all of the tools and marketing platforms that connect buyers and sellers digitally, “human beings still want to sit in a room and talk to each other to do business, Corrigan says. SummitSync lets them have their digital cake and meetings too.



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