How to engage your sales teams for events

Attending (customer) events is a given for many sales teams. Helping them set up, however, is often viewed as “marketing’s job, not theirs”. 

The problem is that sales’ input and cooperation is needed to really nail that top tier attendance they desire. In other words, you’ll have to convince them that participating in your event communication is very much in their own best interest. So to get the most ROI from your event, a well-oiled collaboration between marketing and sales is an absolute must. But how can you engage your sales colleagues to comply with your requests?

The solution is straightforward and challenging at the same time: Increase their involvement while minimising the extra workload at the same time.  Below you find some of our top tips to get your sales teams on board throughout the whole process:

1. Involvement from the very beginning

Whether you’re organising an event yourself or you’re looking for suitable ones to use as a business opportunity platform, involve your sales team from the start. The biggest mistake you can make is knocking on sales’ door only halfway through the preparation because you didn’t “need” them yet, up until that point. Asking questions and requesting input might seem counterintuitive since you’re trying to disturb them as little as possible, but you have to treat them as associates, not assets.

Decide on what is the purpose of the event, together. What kind of event would be best suitable? What do we want to get out of it? Which customers or prospects would make ideal guests, and why? etc.

Being on the same page from the start is crucial to stay aligned throughout the entire process. You’ll be able to avoid a bunch of “but why” questions and little annoyances if your sales team knows what’s up.

2. During the invitation process

Keeping your sales team in the loop is mostly done through meetings or emails. You’ll run into the limits of those mediums fairly early as you prepare because the next step is inviting guests, which means managing quite a bit of administration collectively with your sales team. It’s easy enough to compile a list together, but as time goes on, keeping it up to date and accessible is where struggles emerge. If you have organised events before, you’ll know all too well that keeping the paperwork tight is thé best way to save both time and frustration.   

Below you’ll find a wishlist of functionalities that many marketing departments desired after experiencing the administration frustration the first time around:

  • Sales team members have to be able to add new opportunities (clients, prospects …) themselves without having to update lists in various places or notify the marketing team. And when they do, marketing should know.
  • As soon as a new guest has been added, that guest has to receive the right communication automatically.
  • Your sales team should not worry much about copywriting and layout. It is provided for them. 
  • Additional changes to the guestlist (declines, extra person, catering preferences, etc.) should take a split second to adjust.
  • When a person declines, have people next in line that will be invited automatically, so your seats keep filling.
  • The ability to set and keep track of availabilities or quotas per salesperson, because sooner or later the sales manager will request a status update to make sure everyone is doing their part.
  • Able to provide transparency at all times when your teams are working at different locations.

The InviteDesk app is a good example of how technology can help.  This short video illustrates some of the features.  (article continues below the video)

3. Right before things kick off

“When are we sending out the final reminder email?”  –“What’s the dress code again?” – “Can I still add this prospect to the guest list?” – “What time will guests arrive exactly?”

All-to familiar last-minute questions as your event draws near. You’ll probably have the information at the ready in a Google or Word doc, sent out by mail numerous times. Yet it always gets lost somehow. The easiest solution is to appoint one, and only one dedicated go-to source of information. This source needs to be reliable, user-friendly and continuously accessible to guarantee a seamless buy-in from everyone involved.

The last days before an event are hectic enough as is, so you’ll want to avoid as many unnecessary time-consuming questions as possible.

4. During the event

Setting up an event with top tier guests, only to find out your sales team is huddled together in a corner drinking champagne, is a huge waste of effort and budget. Sure, events have to be fun for everyone, but they are meant to create business opportunities first and foremost. So brief them clearly  what’s expected of them at the event.

Your priority at the event should be a smooth registration process for all guests. It’s the first touchpoint on site so make it an efficient and pleasant one. Also, having an easily accessible list that is updated on the fly will allow your sales team to be aware of who has arrived at what time. They are looking to welcome certain top-tier guests personally so relaying the arrival immediately is a must.

5. The follow-up after the event

The end of the event doesn’t mean the end of your marketing and sales efforts. You’ll still want to contact the attendees for various reasons: A big thank you for joining, sending out an after-movie, or already enthuse them for the next event. Or have sales reach out to the new contacts they made with that exclusive offer that they wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Whatever the reason may be, sales will be involved again. You should have an impeccable attendee list at their disposal to base your follow-up strategy on. Once again, it all comes down to involving the sales department thoroughly while making their life as easy as possible.

The last, but perhaps most important result of checking all of the previous boxes, is you’ll be able to measure the success of your event AND relay it to your sales team. A hassle-free (automatic) import or update of their contacts in your CRM or ERP software is a must, not a luxury. Showing the fruits of their labour is the best way to get them on board for the next event, and the next, and the next …

We know how much money and time can get lost in these supposedly “little details.” And if you have ever been in charge of event management, odds are you know it as well and how frustrating it can be. That’s why we pride ourselves with InviteDesk being a very user-friendly tool that is quickly accepted in any kind of organisation. So please, reach out whenever you feel you need a dependable and proven platform to tackle these issues head-on.

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