So, I have attended a of ton in-person events, but this is my first large-scale virtual event experience.
Admittedly, these are relatively uncharted waters. There is not a lot on this topic. I did some research, spoke with some people, and here are some nifty tips and insights I’ve compiled to help us get the most out of this year’s virtual SiriusDecisions Summit.
Ready? Let’s tackle this together.
Get your technology straightened out
It’s no secret that virtual events can still be pretty expensive. The last thing you need is for your VPN to crash or your dog to eat your Ethernet cord.
Make sure you get the most out of your investment by testing your technology, and having a contingency plan in place if anything goes awry. This could mean:
- Buying an extra Ethernet cord
- Having a backup device to login to the event
- Investing in a mobile hotspot
Also, I’m no tech expert, but make sure your browser and plug-ins and software are all up-to-date and compatible with the technology the event will be using.
Build out your profile
Your profile is your virtual representation of yourself. What do you want it to say about you? How do you want to be perceived by prospects and customers?
Personally, I want to be perceived as a thought leader and industry expert who is there to help business leaders solve their biggest challenges.
Do your pre-event research
Before the event begins, it’s important to have a good grasp on the list of attendees. Know which companies will be there, and also become familiar with the sponsors, keynote speakers, and case study presenters. (I am actually one of them! Learn more about our case study with Micro Focus here)
For most major events, the company list is typically available weeks in advance, but once the event begins, each attendee is then listed. This is the perfect time to tag contacts in your target accounts and reach out letting them know you’re attending the event and would like to connect.
Use the research you’ve gathered to prioritize your time and map out an event schedule. For this year’s virtual summit, make sure to include some 1:1s and some time to rub virtual elbows with the best and brightest in B2B!
Use your time wisely
The virtual event needs your (mostly) undivided attention. No half measures.
I cannot stress this enough: you will need to block out time on your calendar so you can be fully immersed in the event experience.
When we’re on virtual meetings, it can be easy to multi-task and get distracted. During the event, turn off your notifications, grab a notebook, and get ready to learn!
One of the best parts of attending events is the networking, and virtual events are no different! There are lots of ways to connect: virtual happy hours, conference hashtags, live chats, and slack channels are just a few.
**Shameless plug: If you want to connect with me at the SiriusDecisions Virtual Summit, schedule a 1:1 or join the live chat in our virtual booth.
Don’t go for the hard sell
Much to the dismay of the people who sell fifteen dollar bottles of water on the corner outside scorching in-person events, there will be no quick-and-easy sales at the Summit.
Heading to any event with the sole intention of selling your complex B2B solution will most likely result in disappointment. Remember, especially during this economic climate, people are not there to spend money. Focus on knowledge sharing, building relationships, and learning more about the situations people are facing.
As much as we want to continue “business as usual”, for most companies, that’s just not even a remote possibility right now. Be sensitive to the situations people are facing by listening to their challenges with empathy and understanding. After all, no one is going to solve world hunger in fifteen minutes.
The best way to build your fan base and find potential prospects is to align the conversations you have to the event concept. This year, the SiriusDecisions concept is “feel the energy.” So, I’m centering my conversations on helping prospects understand how Televerde is doing exactly this in the demand generation space.
Connect with people
I mean, really connect. Don’t just ask people how they’re doing. In light of recent world events, a simple “how are you?” could either force someone into an existential crisis or force someone to lie through their teeth and say that they’re “good, thanks.”
Now, more than ever, we need to figure out better questions to ask! The current crisis can serve as a shared subject, which in turn can help us be more empathetic and genuine in our interactions (which has always been the sweet spot for the sales person). Instead of “How are you?” here are a few questions I’ve asked over the past couple months:
- A lot of the business leaders we work with are starting to look beyond the pandemic, trying to focus on filling the pipeline gap, is this something you’re dealing with at (company)?
- How have you adjusted your sales and marketing strategies and priorities?
- What type of impact are you feeling at (company)?
Ready to #Feeltheenergy?
While the circumstances forcing events online might be temporary, the trend of digital events likely isn’t. Do what you can to embrace this transition, and jump head-first into 2020 virtual event season.
And while you’re attending the #SDSUMMIT, don’t forget to drop by the Televerde booth to say hello! Remember to ask for Alicia.