As sponsors and exhibitors come back to live events, growing spex (sponsorship & exhibitions) revenue has become an important focus for many B2B event organisers. Without strong growth of this important revenue stream, events businesses may find they don’t have the funds to invest well in the customer experience for event attendees. This in turn will compromise an event’s ability to maintain or gain a market leading position – something that will be very important as we move forward in to 2023 and beyond. So, how should B2B event organisers go about proactively growing their spex revenue? Consideration needs to be given to the following two realities: Spex sales people generally (and understandably!) prefer to focus on retaining and upselling returning clients, rather than trying to find new ones. And when it comes to targeting ‘new business’, spex sales people will often leave approaching potential new spex clients until it’s too late to bring them on board.. In a challenging economic environment, it may not be viable for event companies to hire more spex sales people so that ‘new business’ gets more sales focus. Therefore, the smart way to grow spex revenue may well be to do more spex marketing. Why is it important to invest in a dedicated SPEX marketing campaign – separate from your delegate marketing campaign? It is important to attract new sponsors so that an event can have a strong year-on year performance, and ideally grow in revenue and attendance. And to attract the new sponsors, spex marketing needs to: #1 Start earlier than delegate marketing, due to: A longer sales cycle, due to the significant investment that sponsors will be making in the event of both time and money. It is important to consider all of the stakeholders typically involved in a sponsor company, the preparation needed, and the cost – not only of the sponsorship fee but also all the other related costs of travel and accommodation of multiple attendees and shipping exhibition stands, materials etc. This longer sales cycle is especially important for new sponsors who will take longer to convince and get to commit.. The need for sponsors to commit early to get a good ROI from their sponsorship – so their branding, thought leadership and lead generation activities can be activated across a longer time period leading up to the event. This increases the value of the sponsorship and therefore should enable a higher average order value. A higher conversion rate needed and expected for ‘lead to sale’ for sponsors, due to the effort that needs to go into a more consultative sales process compared to delegate sales. #2 Focus messaging about a different value proposition than what is put forward for delegate marketing. #3 Focus on lead generation – rather than closing a sale online. #4 Include some lead nurturing activities specifically focused on further warming up and qualifying – before a spex sales person can call or speak to the lead. During the early phases of generating spex leads, marketing activity such as PPC, advocacy marketing and content marketing help to engage potential leads and “warm them up” to be ready to speak to a sales person. #5 Be measured differently – with KPIs focused on number of leads, conversion rates, average order values, and length of sales cycle. It will be difficult to grow event revenue and profit without attracting new sponsors and exhibitors. But, at the same time, it is important sales teams are very focused on retention and upsell of spex customers who are already familiar with the event and are already established clients. So investing in spex marketing, by using inhouse resources or an external agency, should be a high priority for any ambitious events business! Do you need help with growing your spex revenue? Team MPG can help you attract new sponsors and exhibitors with targeted lead generation marketing campaigns. We can also help you nurture existing opportunities to increase conversion rates, increase average order values, and shorten sales cycles. Please get in touch with Team MPG to see how we could help you.