Use these 5 event marketing tools to build relationships & increase revenue in the New Year.
I’m not a huge fan of hoping for the phone to ring, cold calling, or waiting at my desk for the next lead to walk through the front door. That seems to be a very passive sales strategy based more on luck than a proactive, intentional approach to generating leads, building relationships, and ultimately increasing revenue.
A proactive approach to your sales cycle is having an event marketing strategy that provides key opportunities throughout the year to connect with prospects and show appreciation to current clients. I might seem a little old-school, but more people say ‘yes’ through a handshake than with a phone call or email.
Here are five event marketing tools that foster relationships, shorten your sales cycle, and increase revenue in the New Year.
Tool 1: PARTNERSHIPS
A recent visit with the Utah Jazz reminded me of how effective partnerships are for an organization’s event marketing strategy. I was touring their AMAZING arena with a few clients and the team’s sales director to get a sense of available amenities and entertainment opportunities available through the Jazz.
There are many local entertainment options available through partnerships with sports teams, symphony orchestras, and other venues in your area. Though they involve some research, partnerships can provide valuable entertainment options to use throughout the year such as season tickets, suite packages, or other event opportunities that facilitate relationship building and even a closed sale or two.
A few partnerships that have been valuable to me in the past:
- A professional soccer partnership that included a suite package and on-field branding. This provided about 17 games where I could entertain up to 24 people almost weekly during the summer and fall with catering and beverages inside the suite for every game—definitely generated new relationships and increased revenue!
- A suite to host about 40 people during an Atlanta Braves game. By seeking out a high-value entertainment option, you can make a big splash with prospects and clients while providing a venue to build connections and generate genuine conversations among your team and clients or prospects.
- Summer Concert Series Sponsorship. I tend to fold my sponsorships into event marketing, where I can dovetail efforts and valuable marketing dollars into one solid strategy. One past partnership that I negotiated was a summer concert sponsorship that also provided great tickets to each concert.
The key here is to build opportunities—either monthly or seasonally—that provide your business development team with high-value events where they can connect with prospects and clients.
Tool 2: Corporate Summer Event
Here’s a little secret: Few people actually enjoy the annual client holiday party. I’ve been to so many year-end parties where companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to bring in clients who usually attend out of obligation and are usually quick to leave—either to get to the next party or home to wrap presents and enjoy family.
I’m a huge proponent of large corporate events, though. And moving your event to the summer months will be a popular move among those who attend. The weather is beautiful, making the summer a great time to throw a more casual but nicely done BBQ or pool party to connect with your clients and prospects.
Tool 3: Lunch and Learns
I wrote earlier that I’m not a fan of cold calling or waiting for a lead to walk through the front door. Instead, I’m a believer in establishing a sales goal and identifying key prospective and referral relationships that will achieve that goal.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales by $10 million in 2020, you would have a list of 10 to 20 prospects and clients to build relationships with throughout the year that will lead you to achieve your goal.
I genuinely want to get to know everyone on my list; especially to identify their pain points or a solution they need for their business. A great venue for having this conversation is a lunch-and-learn or breakfast meeting, where you connect your leadership team with a prospect or client and learn about their business.
The key here is to make the meeting more about them instead of you. Your marketing team should create some custom material for this meeting, but the focus here is to really listen to your client and prospect—and then brainstorm after the meeting solutions you might provide to them as a mechanism for additional conversation.
Tool 4: Small, Quarterly Events
By holding smaller, quarterly events, you can really showcase your team and make valuable connections throughout the year. Much like your partnerships, these should be high-value and nicely executed events.
Here are a few examples:
- Organize a ski bus at a local resort with a nice lunch or dinner
- Book a venue such as Top Golf or an indoor racetrack
- Purchase a suite at a popular concert
- Hold a March Madness happy hour, provide food and beverages during a game
- Send a small group out on a prestigious golf course
- Host a small seminar with a guest speaker
Also, these are opportunities to include any key referral relationships as a way of showing appreciation throughout the year.
Tool 5: Employee Event
I never underestimate the power of an employee event to break down any silos or barriers that exist between teams in an organization. By either starting or ending the year with a focus on your employees, you can show appreciation and build relationships from within that lead to shared opportunities.
Many internal referrals never happen simply because one team member doesn’t know or might not completely trust another team member with the relationship. Employee events truly help build camaraderie and trust among team members.
The Bottom Line:
Event marketing can really propel your sales and business development efforts throughout the year while providing some hallmark client and employee appreciation opportunities for your organization.
Competing on culture is perhaps the most effective and distinctive way to differentiate your company in a crowded marketplace. Events done consistently well throughout the year can truly showcase your team and culture to prospects, referral partners, and clients.
Phone calls and coffee meetings are always welcome, so if you’d like to discuss your 2020 event strategy or your overall marketing program, our contact us (801) 330-1192.