From The Cold to The Fold: One Way Corporate Event Marketers Can Earn The CMO's Respect

Event Tech Brief

From The Cold to The Fold: One Way Corporate Event Marketers Can Earn The CMO's Respect



By Michelle Bruno

There is a pain point of corporate event marketers that isn’t fully addressed by either lead-retrieval software or appointment-setting applications. Many marketers attempt to fill the gap with manual processes often involving Excel spreadsheets, but even those measures only treat the symptoms and not the pain. Cloud-based software that developers refer to as a sales advancement platform has emerged in this new, gray area. It ties the deal flow of the organization to the face-to-face meetings of events. It could be the ROI breakthrough that companies have been waiting for.

Lead retrieval falls short.

Lead-retrieval software is designed primarily to capture, qualify, and report on interactions with new prospects. But, what if a major reason for hosting a conference or exhibiting in a trade show isn’t to get more leads? What if you already know which companies are qualified or have prior relationships with many of the attendees as evidenced by your pipeline-packed CRM? Lead retrieval software does you absolutely no good when all your sales reps want to do is get in front of buyers to advance the sale.

Calendar sharing isn’t enough.

Appointment-setting software gets closer to solving this “last mile” pain that corporate event marketers feel. It can make the coordination of meetings between sales staff and pre-qualified buyers much easier to realize by giving both parties visibility into the others’ schedules. But, if putting people together in the same space at the same time is all the application can do, it doesn’t go far enough. What marketers want is a platform that allows the sales team to work from within the CRM to schedule in-person meetings with clients at events, tie meeting data to sales opportunities, and measure the value of events. Now they have one.

In-person meetings really matter.

“When companies go to a trade show, if their customers are there, they want to have a meeting with them to either talk about an existing opportunity or maybe new products or just have them meet with executives or take advantage of whoever else is at the show and can meet face to face,” explains Pamela Douglas, alliance manager at Silicon Valley-based Jifflenow. As she explains it, Jifflenow places the scheduled, in-person meetings that take place at events at the center of the event-marketing campaign. “More meetings lead to more sales,” she says.

Sales reps can love events now.

Besides making it easy for sales representatives to initiate sales meetings, Jifflenow also allows them to place a dollar value on the meeting, add multiple people to the invitation, negotiate time zones, create and view the meeting agenda, set objectives, prioritize meetings (the CEO can’t be everywhere) and run reports. “If [the sales rep] already has revenue associated with that client, she can track that in Jifflenow and do a pre-event report to show the pipeline. She can also do a post-event report to see whether the deal size increased or if he found new products to sell to that customer,” Douglas says.

Leads and sales are the goals.

Jifflenow doesn’t replace traditional lead tracking—prospecting is still critical. Rather, it can integrate with lead retrieval software and processes. For example, when a prospect enters an exhibit booth or approaches a product station at a conference, a “triage” specialist can qualify him with the lead retrieval app and then, using Jifflenow, arrange a meeting for him with the appropriate executive or see that a meeting has already been scheduled. “The event team wants to be able to say, ‘we collected 150 new leads and then we had 50 meetings with existing customers and moved these other ten deals forward,” Douglas says.

Pick a pack of meetings.

The business model for Jifflenow is based on the number of meetings a company buys. Companies can purchase meetings in packages of say 100. They receive volume discounts as the number of meetings increases. “It’s kind of like cell phone minutes,” Douglas explains. “You can have two phones and 700 minutes a month and split them up any way you want. We have unlimited events and unlimited users, and you pay as you go. If you run out of meetings, you can purchase more or get a bigger plan.”

Welcome to real ROI.

Sales advancement is a new category as far as Jifflenow is concerned. It can also be a key component of the new marketing darling, account-based marketing. The real breakthrough for corporate event marketers lies in Jifflenow’s ability to include events—all the events (even coffee dates and dinner meetings) in its portfolio—in the company’s end-to-end calculation of deal flow. By associating in-event meetings with deal size and results, event marketers can pinpoint the value of exhibiting in a specific trade show or hosting a specific conference. Amidst all the talk from event-technology companies about their ability to track event ROI, this could actually be the real deal.


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