Commercial marketing to grow sponsorship revenue: opportunities and challenges

At a recent Marketing Leaders dinner hosted by MPG, I had the privilege of chairing a great discussion about something that has become a big deal for many B2B media/events organisations: commercial marketing.

What do we mean by ‘commercial marketing’? This is a broad term we use to describe the marketing that supports the generation and growth of commercial revenue i.e. revenue from sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers. Sometimes these types of customers are called ‘clients’ or ‘partners’.

The type of marketing that applies here is very different to marketing we use to attract ‘audience’ i.e. conference delegates, exhibition visitors, magazine readers or website visitors. Marketing to attract new audience members tends to be more transactional, requiring a very high volume of activity executed across multiple channels simultaneously – some manual, some automated.

The methodology needed for commercial marketing, on the other hand, is very similar to what is needed for high-value subscription or membership product marketing, which is akin also to SaaS product marketing. The main difference between commercial marketing for events and the SaaS businesses is that events have a hard deadline. Therefore, commercial marketing to attract event sponsors is much more time-bound, with a great sense of urgency required in marketing processes and execution, as well as marketing messages.

Why do we believe commercial marketing has become so much more important recently? We believe there are three reasons:

  1. As we emerge from Covid, there is a huge amount of opportunity, with large numbers of sponsors looking to invest significant sums again in live events. When automation is applied to commercial marketing, this opportunity can be fully exploited via automated lead generation, lead nurturing, and lead management techniques that can be deployed at scale.
  2. Sponsors have fallen out of the habit of sponsoring the same event every year. In other words, they are less loyal. Event organisers therefore need to use commercial marketing to convince sponsors that their events are the best investments of sponsorship budgets – with strong messaging and well-executed campaigns -.
  3. Many event organisers are concerned that delegate revenues won’t reach pre-Covid levels. With many digital alternatives now on offer, and travel becoming more expensive, delegates may be more price-sensitive than they were. So, sponsors need to make up the shortfall. (It remains to be seen if delegate revenues will recover well or not – the jury is still out on that one, and we expect it will be for some time to come.).

The above is based on MPG’s perspective from working with a variety of event organisers globally – mostly focused on conference-style events for senior executives. To get the perspective of these companies more directly, here are the ‘key takeaways’ from the Marketing Leaders discussion about commercial marketing:

 

Opportunities:

  • In the short-to-medium term, conference organisers are expecting sponsorship revenues to recover and grow much faster than delegate revenues.
  • ABM techniques can be used to great effect when targeting specific companies, to attract them as sponsors for events.
  • When approached at ‘brand level’ (i.e. sponsorship opportunities promoted across a range of products in a portfolio), commercial marketing can work very well in terms of economies of scale and synergies.
  • Commercial marketing tactics can be built into existing delegate customer journeys e.g. by adding a tick box to ‘agenda downloads’ for the downloader to indicate if they are interested in sponsorship.
  • Applying automation to commercial marketing can deliver great results. Automation should be built into lead generation, lead nurturing, lead management, and lead scoring – all to help the sponsorship sales people be more efficient by giving them better quality, warmer leads.
  • Building a dedicated, benefit-led messaging strategy for commercial marketing can significantly improve results. Strong collaboration between the sales people and marketers is essential to develop the most compelling and impactful messaging.
  • Building data-led performance reports for commercial marketing gives all stakeholders strong visibility of how investment in commercial marketing grows sponsorship revenue, increases conversion rates from lead to sale, increases average order value, and reduces length of sales cycles (i.e. making sponsorship sales more efficient).
  • Having a strong marketing and sales alignment – through commercial marketing and sponsorship sales working closely together towards the same goal – can turbo-charge revenue growth from sponsors.

 

Challenges:

  • Senior executives, including sales leaders, are often not aware of, or have limited knowledge of, the concept and workings of commercial marketing.
  • Sales people can often be quite skeptical about the value of marketing, and sometimes don’t pay attention to the leads generated by marketing – preferring to rather leverage existing relationships or source their own leads.
  • It is very difficult for marketers to work on both delegate marketing and commercial marketing as they are two very different types of marketing, with different methodologies and cadences. Also, marketers who are experienced in delegate marketing are typically not trained in, or able to do, commercial marketing very well. It may be necessary to separate out delegate marketing and commercial marketing, in terms of the allocation of marketing skills and resources.
  • Marketing databases are not set up well for commercial marketing campaigns. Often the data is missing from the database, so email campaigns to attract new sponsors to events are difficult to deploy.
  • A substandard marketing tech stack can stand in the way of effective commercial marketing, as automation is not possible and data doesn’t flow in the way it needs to for marketing and sales processes to be aligned, efficient and effective.
  • In order to build marketing performance reports, data has to be managed well. All sales people need to be logging in the CRM when leads are followed up and closed. This does not always happen, which means that it is not possible to accurately track, analyse, and report on the performance of commercial marketing or sponsorship sales.

Clearly there is a lot of opportunity to grow revenue fast via sponsors – as long as the right amount of attention and investment is given to building and maintaining commercial marketing capabilities. It is important to bear in mind that not all of these capabilities need be built inhouse – some external expertise and resources can be plugged into an events business to deliver great results in a scalable and repeatable manner.

As with all marketing initiatives, having a strong strategy and operational plan in place is essential for success – with good execution absolutely critical. It’s easy to talk about commercial marketing over a networking dinner, but it is quite another thing to do it well!

Topics:

B2B Community Marketing:
MPG’s Strategic Approach

Strategy-led organisations will usually have a chosen set of models or frameworks to guide their thinking and execution. For those of us focused on marketing strategy, MPG has created some straightforward frameworks to contextualise the marketing that goes in to engaging, monetising and scaling B2B communities – specifically for B2B media brands and event organisers.

And here they are!

 

MPG’s Engage, Monetise, Scale Model

Engage is the first and most important step. This is where marketing works its magic by identifying, attracting and keeping the attention of the most relevant people to your community. There are many channels and techniques for achieving this, but the end goal is always to grow your engaged community, as well as the level of that engagement.

Monetisation relies on engagement to be effective – or even possible at all. You cannot progress to this stage until you have a sufficiently good quality, engaged audience.

The engage phase is essential for identifying what your community members most value and are therefore willing to pay for. Knowing what your audience finds most valuable creates opportunities to monetise existing and future content, events, research and other solutions you deliver for your community – via payments by the readers/audience/participants.

Another key way to monetise your community could be via sponsorship – depending on your business strategy and model. This relies on having an engaged community of the right size and profile so that your sponsors can hit their mark when paying to advertise via your channels.

Scale is the final stage of the model. As with monetisation, the preceding phases are important to consider first. You only want to scale an audience you’re confident you understand and can engage with, and you want to be scaling a monetisation model that you believe has sustainable, long-term potential.

Once you have these in place, you can begin investing in the processes, automations and resources that will increase your profit margin.

Hyperscale is an extension of scale and occurs when your scaling efforts reach a point of exponential growth. At this point, your community model becomes effectively self-sustaining in its growth. The more effectively the prior three steps are implemented, the more likely it is that ‘hyperscale’ will kick in.

 

MPG’s Community Development Model

This model provides a simple method of categorising your community members by both their level of engagement, and their monetary value to you and your sponsors. You can use it to understand how your community is spread across these levels, with your objective being to move as many people as far up the levels as possible.

To make full use of this framework, overlay other segmentation such as company type, job function and seniority – to get a full picture of your community.

Level 1 – Lurkers: consumers of free content (blogs, social media) via website and social channels. At this stage, you do not have the user’s data.

Level 2 – Contacts: known contacts in your database. This allows you to track engagement more accurately and also target with email and other direct marketing comms to increase engagement.

Level 3 – Freemium: committed contacts in a free capacity – e.g. signing up to a free newsletter or attending a webinar. Again, your goal here is to increase levels of engagement. And here you want to start paying close attention to what they are consuming, and value the most, in the free content you are pushing out. 

Level 4 – Transactionals: paying customers who have made one-off, relatively low value purchases e.g. a training course or a report. You really want to pay close attention now to what content people are willing to pay for – and how much. 

Level 5 – Loyalists: paying customers who make larger purchases of renewing products. This is the group you want to focus on growing fastest, retaining and upselling. This relies on marketing and sales automation and integration. 

Level 6 – Leaders: enterprise-level customers who make purchases for whole teams/departments/businesses to access renewing products. The nirvana of B2B media! If you’ve cracked this level, you’re well in to scale, with hyperscale on the horizon…

 

Where Does Sponsorship Fit In?

This model demonstrates a simple concept: sponsors are likely to be willing to pay more to reach your more engaged community members (assuming they are of the right profile).

Viewing sponsorship opportunities via this model will also allow you to consider the different companies that will likely be interested in each audience. A SaaS tool provider may be more interested in reaching a high volume of your community to generate awareness and leads – so levels 3, 4 and 5 in your community (e.g via newsletters adverts or sponsored webinars or reports) may be their best ‘hunting grounds’. An advisory firm on the other hand may value more the intimate conversations in smaller groups with level 6 Leaders – where round-table-style events (online or offline) seem to have an evergreen attraction. 

You ideally want to grow every level to ensure a healthy, growing community and sustain a steady and growing volume of relevant audience members. This is the best way to guarantee strong YOY growth of sponsorship revenue.

Patience and Time

The great Leo Tolstoy famously wrote “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

2021 – or certainly the first part of the year – will most certainly require an awful lot of patience from companies and individuals as we wait for the pandemic to ease off (which we are confident it will!). And this may take longer than we hope or expect. But now is not the time to lose hope or sit back and wait. Now is the time to get stuck into your community marketing strategy. Don’t wait any longer – but also be patient. Play the long game. Focus on community quality and engagement first and foremost – even if it means you lose money in the short term. Try out different monetisation models and work out what your community is willing to pay for and what you can profitably deliver. When summer eventually arrives (literally or figuratively!), if you’ve done a good job of engaging your community at a time when they probably need you most – you will be in a great place to benefit from more profitable monetisation, with scale just around the corner!

 


Get trained on community marketing strategies and tactics

As part of the MPG Academy Masterclass programmes, we run a dedicated B2B Community Marketing Masterclass. This course covers everything from what a community is, how to apply strategic frameworks to your marketing, as well as the tactical channel-specific approaches you should take.

FIND OUT MORE

Toby DanielsI cannot recommend MPG highly enough. Their commitment and unique expertise in data-driven, digital and integrated marketing has been very valuable to Social Media Week. They’ve been instrumental in helping us build our brand and community online and offline, and their product marketing performance has also been very strong. We’re delighted MPG has been on our team!

Toby Daniels, Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media (Social Media Week, acquired by Adweek)

Topics:

10 tips for growing revenue from sponsors and clients

Digitised events are here to stay. For all the challenges this year has brought event organisers, virtual events do provide some unique opportunities in terms of sponsorship revenue generation in the coming months. Sponsorships that are overall lower in cost for sponsors, coupled with global audiences, have expanded many events’ potential sponsor pools significantly. The challenge now is working out how best to capitalise on this opportunity to achieve strong event sponsorship revenues going forward.

In our recent webinar, Marketing to Grow Revenue from Sponsors and Clients: MPG’s Top 10 Tips, I outlined the 10 simple marketing moves event organisers should make to maximise the generation, nurturing and conversion of sponsorship leads.

GET WEBINAR REPLAY & INSIGHTS


Here is a summary of the top 10 tips shared, to hear and read more – including attendee poll responses and our Q&A answers – access the full content package.

Tip 1 – Know your market of potential sponsors

Analyse your target market of potential sponsors. As we enter a season of digital events, re-consider who that market is. The potential pool of sponsors may now be more global and may contain a larger pool of smaller companies.

Tip 2 – Set KPIs for lead generation, conversion rate and value of conversions

You need to know what you’re aiming to achieve. Create specific and measurable indicators of success, such as a number of sponsor leads generated or the average yield from converted leads.

Tip 3 – Measure and analyse results regularly to improve

Put in place a marketing measurement dashboard before any activity starts – to measure the performance of different marketing channels and tactics used. Review the full dashboard on a weekly basis to understand where improvements can be made.

Tip 4 – Grow your database so you can reach more potential sponsors

If you want to reach more potential sponsors, you need more potential sponsors in your database. Conduct data research either in-house or via a 3rd party to grow your database quickly in a short space of time (ensuring you comply with data protection and direct marketing regulations, depending on country). You can also grow your database daily and compliantly by having lead generation forms on your website and doing inbound marketing to push potential sponsors to these forms.

Tip 5 – Manage and nurture leads well to achieve a strong conversion rate

Your job doesn’t end when someone fills in a form on your website to become a lead. Properly managing your leads means continuing to engage with them and move them down the funnel, warming them up via targeting comms and making sure they don’t get forgotten!

Tip 6 – Define the USP & benefits of your sponsorship value proposition

Articulate your event’s unique selling point and key benefits for potential sponsors. Why should a company choose to sponsor your event rather than a competitor’s event, or choose a different channel for investing their marketing budget? What justifies the investment they will make?

Tip 7 – Make sure you have a ‘become a sponsor’ page on your event website

Your website is your most important marketing channel – both to attract your core audience and potential sponsors. You need a ‘become a sponsor’ page on your website and dedicated ‘enquire about sponsorship’ lead generation forms, plus ideally also a downloadable piece of collateral like a sponsorship brochure (behind a lead generation form).

Tip 8 – Run dedicated email campaigns to attract new sponsors

Still the champion of outbound B2B; email can be used in several ways to effectively engage, nurture and convert potential sponsors. Create autoresponders that are triggered by web form completions to provide an instant opportunity for interested potential sponsors to further engage.

Schedule in dedicated sponsorship campaigns that outline your USP and key benefits for sponsors and encourage them to visit your website complete forms.

You can also feed in sponsorship messaging to your delegate emails – perhaps by including a dedicated sponsorship banner ad. Many B2B communities have a degree of cross-over between the buy and sell side, so there’s no harm in pitching your sponsorship opportunities to your potential delegates.

Tip 9 – Use social media to attract sponsors

As with your website, weaving in sponsorship messaging to your social media will provide extra opportunities to reach interested parties. These posts should be focused on pushing potential sponsors to relevant information on the website (ideally on a dedicated ‘become a sponsor’ page).

Your salespeople should also be constantly connecting with potential sponsors on LinkedIn, so make sure they share the relevant, sponsorship specific posts with their network.

Tip 10 – Make interested potential sponsors get in touch to find out more

While marketing can play an influential role in generating more sponsorship interest (leads) – as well as keeping them ‘warm’ (nurtured) – it’s your sales teams who are ultimately responsible for selling the opportunity and closing the deal. Marketing must not steal sales’ thunder by giving too much away, or having potential sponsors make up their mind before a salesperson has even had a chance to speak to them.

Key examples of this are package pricing details. A ‘value based’ sales process, rather than price-based, should result in higher average order values.


Want to know more?

Commercial Marketing Masterclass – get practical training on using marketing to convert new clients or retain and upsell existing clients

Send your team to a masterclass in commercial acquisition, nurturing and conversion, delivered by MPG’s team of expert marketing practitioners. In this interactive session you will learn how to:

    • Analyse your commercial opportunity
    • Create a commercial marketing strategy
    • Execute impactful commercial marketing communications
    • Measure ROI & improve your lead generation performance – to drive a stronger sales performance and grow revenue

FIND OUT MORE


Get a team of B2B commercial marketing experts on your side

From comprehensive marketing strategies to campaign management and delivery, MPG is a full-service consultancy and agency with a strong track record in helping B2B organisations grow their commercial revenue.

To find out more about our work and how we can support you, get in touch:

FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOU

Topics:

The Marketing Mix | Summer Newsletter

Newsletter • Summer 2020

Virtual Event Marketing • Website Optimisation Guide • Marketing Training

The pace is intense.

In our last newsletter we shared the story of MPG’s work with Social Media Week – a remarkable eight week pivot to create and successfully deliver #SMWONE. The pioneering spirit and ability to think fast, act fast and deliver a great, innovative virtual event experience inspired many. We thank Toby Daniels and Brian Leddy for their vision and leadership in a very challenging time.

Since #SMWONE’s successful delivery, the MPG team of marketing strategists, martech specialists, data specialists and digital marketers have been working with Toby and Brian on the launch of their new SMW+ live and on-demand streaming service. This rapid product and marketing strategy development to deliver a digital subscriptions service for SMW’s community has once again been an exciting and inspiring journey. And the important work of strong execution and ongoing improvements to the approach for ongoing improvements to outcomes is only just beginning!

More MPG clients and community members have been moving rapidly through ‘test and learn’ cycles. The analytics and data collected over the past months on how professionals are engaging with digital offerings – and the marketing of these – has surfaced some interesting benchmarks. We shared some of our key learnings in our latest webinar.

MPG’s Summer newsletter focuses on four important areas that present great opportunity for every organisation focused on growing, engaging and monetizing their communities:

  1. Attracting new sponsors for digital content packages, including virtual events
  2. Attracting a great, engaged audience to your virtual events
  3. Ensuring you have the best combination of ‘must have’ marketing knowledge and skills to successfully take to market your digital events, subscriptions and memberships
  4. Optimising your website to do a great job at engaging and serving your community, while also delivering conversions to customers and revenue

So, take a break from your desk, step out into the August sunshine – and have a good read!

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER


INSIGHTS

Helen Coetzee | 16/07/2020

How to use marketing to get new sponsors for your digital events

Growing digital revenue by sourcing new sponsors is a great opportunity for many organisations. Marketing has a key role to play here in generating marketing qualified leads for your sponsorship team. Our recent blog gives you a step-by-step approach to acquiring new sponsors via marketing. Read more here >

Helen Coetzee | 19/06/2020

Creating a robust, sustainable marketing function: a strategic, hybrid approach

In these financially stressed times, the question should not be ‘should we use internal or outsourced marketing’, but rather ‘what does the most effective and cost-efficient marketing function look like for us?’. Read more here >

READ MORE INSIGHTS


VIRTUAL B2B EVENTS WEBINAR

Marketing Virtual B2B Events: 9 Key Success Factors

Marketing Virtual B2B Events: 9 Key Success Factors

In our latest webinar, which took place on Thursday 6th August, MPG’s Founder & CEO, Helen Coetzee, uncovered the ‘secrets of success’ in developing the right marketing approach to attract the audience of the size and profile you need to your virtual B2B events.

You can now download the comprehensive content package including:

  • Presentation slides – including additional detail on 9 success factors
  • Full webinar video replay
  • All Q&A responses
  • All poll results

ACCESS CONTENT PACKAGE

 


SPOTLIGHT

How to optimise your website

How to optimise your website

Your website has always been your most important marketing channel. As the end destination that all other marketing activity pushes to, the hub for your content and the place where your target audience converts to leads or registrants; getting your website right can mean the difference between success and failure.

But how can you improve your website, generate more traffic and, most importantly, get more leads and revenue?

  1. Know your user: As with all marketing, the key to success is understanding your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of a new visitor to your website. Does the site load quickly and look professional at first impression? Is it immediately clear who you are and what you do? Are there obvious and compelling CTAs that will pull them further into the site? A user will be considering all these points within seconds of landing, and if they encounter any friction with their journey they may leave, so first impressions really matter.
  2. Create great website content: Once you’ve hooked them, it’s time for your website content to do the heavy lifting. Write copy that communicates the value of your product, focusing on benefit-led copy. How does your offering address a particular challenge your target audience faces? Avoid focusing too much on the ‘what’ and instead focus on the ‘why’.
  3. Understand the rules of design: Design is crucial, and not just because it makes your website look attractive; it’s fundamental to the quality of the user experience. Avoid overly-cluttered pages. Use size, position and colours to emphasise important elements and create a structure. Visitors won’t read line-by-line, they’ll skim read to the parts they’re interested in. Keep it simple!
  4. Create a seamless journey: Effective navigation is what ties it all together. You are taking your visitors on a journey, so make sure you never leave them at a dead end. Link content together naturally, provide CTAs to related pages and push them to a lead gen form or booking page when you think they may convert. Users visit your website to achieve a goal, whether that’s to find out more information, submit an enquiry or make a purchase – make it easy for them to move through your content and present them with things they can’t help but click. The smoother the experience, the more conversions you’ll get.

These are just some of the points you should have in mind when upgrading an existing website or creating a new one.

The MPG team has been designing and building high impact websites for 6+ years. To find out how we can build a great website for you, get in touch.

MPG Newsletter Summer 2020
MPG Newsletter Summer 2020


VOICES

“MPG delivered a great series of tailored marketing workshops for the team at China-Britain Business Council. This training helped us formulate our membership growth strategy and gave us some very useful, practical guidance on improving our digital marketing and sales tactics.”

Claire Urry, Executive Director, China-Britain Business Council

CBBC


The world is presenting every organisation with significant challenges and great opportunities in our quest to innovate and transform to become more resilient and sustainable. The global economy is relying on each of us playing our part. As dramatic as that may sound – it’s true!

The MPG team is grateful to be working with the fantastic people that make up our community. We sincerely hope to help you find the best way to push forward – with strength and confidence!

Topics:

How to use marketing to get new sponsors for your digital events

As companies finalise their 2020 H2 digital event schedules and begin planning for 2021 – a year which will undoubtedly also feature a significant digital element – the question of how best to generate sponsorship revenue via this new format now takes centre stage.

Within this issue lies several challenges. First, existing sponsors will generally be reluctant to pay the same to sponsor a virtual event as an in-person one, and secondly, some will simply not want to sponsor a digital event at all.

Event organisers now face a pressing challenge to find a large number of new sponsors for their virtual and hybrid events – in a narrow space of time.

Fortunately, the online nature of digital events has inherent benefits. The lack of physical venue means a potentially global market of sponsors, and the reduced cost of sponsoring such an event (no physical collateral, travel, accommodation or out of office expenses) opens the floor to many smaller companies.

The desire is there too. Potential sponsors have also been affected by Covid and must generate sufficient leads via their own marketing to ensure their business can survive in these challenged times. They’re on the lookout for promising new opportunities; digital events’ focused content, engaged audiences and relatively low cost for good reach and a large number of relevant leads may just be the answer.

This short-term revenue challenge for events relying on sponsorship therefore doubles as an opportunity to invest in long-term event and brand growth. Event organisers can grasp the chance to expand globally, diversify their sponsorship base and put their event firmly on the path to growth.

So, what is the best approach to attracting companies from this now larger market? And how can it be done quickly?


Generate marketing qualified leads to help your salespeople acquire new sponsors

Sponsorship sales teams have traditionally focused on – and are generally most skilled at – the retention and upsell of existing clients. They will recognise the significant opportunity to find new sponsors in a larger potential client pool, but they will need help in efficiently and rapidly surfacing this new revenue.

This is where smart and effective marketing becomes the key to unlocking the potential of digital event sponsorship. Your marketing function should not only be focused on attracting event attendees, they should also be reaching out to, engaging and converting potential clients into relevant and qualified leads via targeted, personalised and data-driven marketing campaigns.

Here’s a tried and tested process for your marketers to follow to generate great sponsorship sales leads and bring in new revenue:

Step 1: Define your target market of potential sponsoring companies and key decision-makers within these companies

Use demographic profiling, considering company type, size, sector and location, as well as the job function and seniority of the individuals within these companies responsible for marketing budgets. Consider how the reduced price point may make sponsoring your event feasible for smaller companies and how a more global audience may attract sponsors from a more global market. Create a map of this new market to understand its size and composition.

Step 2: Create routes to market

Once you know who you’re targeting, you need to reach them with relevant marketing messages. First, analyse your existing database to understand how many contacts you can already reach within your target market. Identify key gaps and fill these with targeted database research, then get started on your outbound and inbound marketing activity to attract the right people to your event website.

Make sure the benefits of sponsoring are well presented on your website, alongside (ideally multiple) lead generation forms, such as sales brochure downloads, enquiry submissions and ‘send me event updates’ requests. This is an essential first step, as your website is the end destination where most prospects will convert to a lead.

Create integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns, incorporating email, PPC and social media, to reach out and push relevant people to your site. Make sure your messaging is informed by persona analysis and includes at least one clear USP with some compelling benefits.

Also, consider using account-based marketing if you are confident on who the ‘top 20’ (or more) companies are that should be sponsoring your event. Feed them personalised comms specific to their organisations, and where possible reach out to decision makers on a 1-to-1 basis with highly relevant and compelling messaging to elicit a response. Once key contacts are engaged via this kind of marketing it will be easier for salespeople to approach and convert them.

Step 3: Use marketing to nurture leads – to ‘warm them up’ (or keep them warm!) for the sales team

Don’t focus only on acquisition of leads. A key part of winning new sponsors is nurturing these leads and effectively growing engagement so they become even hotter leads, eager to start a conversation with one of your salespeople. To do this, build in automations such as triggered emails when forms are completed on the website (e.g. a sales brochure download) directing them to more relevant content. Your sales team won’t be able to reach every lead quickly, so automated emails can be used to keep them ‘warm’. Remarketing via Google and social channels can also be used to share relevant content and product messaging with individuals who are already engaged. Don’t let them go cold!

Step 4: Measure, measure, measure

Every campaign is a learning opportunity, but only if you measure the impact. Make sure you understand who is completing the lead generation forms and what type of lead is most likely to convert to a sale. Also, measure and analyse the average order value and length of sales cycle achieved via various lead types – sales KPIs can be improved with intelligence-led marketing.

Some marketing channels and activity types will work better than others. Make sure you focus on what works best for your audience and event.

Consider how much visibility you have of the marketing and sales funnel. Do you know how leads are coming in at the top (where they first engage)? How are they engaging near the middle? How many are dropping off when hitting the sales team at the bottom of the funnel? What does the conversion look like for each stage? Understanding these points will help you plug any gaps and improve overall performance of both marketing and sales functions.

It’s important to note that not all of the leads you generate will convert within the first few months, but there is a long ‘sell-by-date’ on sponsorship leads and you may be able to convert them for a future event (with all the hard work of identifying them and collecting their data already done!). Keep their info safe and retain them in your communications, it will pay dividends in the longer term.


Wrapping up

Employing these steps effectively will not only secure the revenue for your next digital event, but also provide you with a solid foundation for growth in years to come. Your audience will have expanded geographically, your event will be attracting new and exciting sponsors and – most importantly – you’ll have battle-ready marketing and sales teams with the know-how on generating new sponsorship revenue; whether that’s for digital or in-person events.

As we’ve mentioned frequently over the past 4-5 months; we believe the companies that invest proactively in marketing now will be the winners in 2021 and beyond. There are many opportunities in digital events, you just need a good strategy to grab hold of them.

Topics:

How to find new sponsors & exhibitors with smart marketing

How to get new sponsors & exhibitors to invest in your event

Sponsors and exhibitors are essential to the profitability of an event, but too often sales teams rely on the same few clients that return year-after-year, neglecting the opportunities available in ‘new business’.

Why acquiring new sponsors and exhibitors really matters

Events need a variety of partners to work. Attendees expect to see new companies each time they return. Part of the value proposition of a successful event is that the event presents new and innovative suppliers and vendors in the sector. Mixing up old and new faces also protects your event long term; even the most reliable clients can change their marketing objectives and end their commercial relationship with your event, putting a key source of revenue in jeopardy.

Why sales teams neglect new business

Sales teams’ natural process doesn’t usually focus on sourcing and nurturing new business – especially for an established event. Most go first to their tried and trusted contacts to renew their contracts and secure quick wins. It’s often only when the event looks like it might miss its targets, that the urgency arises to reach out to new prospects. But by then it can be too late to source, nurture and convert clients before the event happens. This can be compounded by sales teams lacking an established process to generate new sponsorship leads.

How a sales lead generation process can deliver a 500%+ ROI

What is the solution to the ‘new business’ challenge and this often missed opportunity? You need to invest in good ground-work and forward planning in sponsor and exhibitor lead generation.