By Kathryn Kosmides
Hubspot describes its annual Inbound conference as a gathering of individuals who are “passionate about doing business in a more human way.” We believe in that quest strongly here at SummitSync, as it is our mission to help sales and marketing teams drive impactful, one-to-one meetings at conferences and trade shows. In our view, when individuals with aligned interests come together, good things tend to happen, which is why we’re excited for this year’s Hubspot Inbound.
Over 22,000 attendees representing 100 countries will gather in Boston September 4–7 to share human business experiences at Hubspot Inbound, with 72% of attendees in marketing and 70% representing B2B companies. With that in mind, here are our 6 tips for B2B marketers to get the most out of this unique event.
1. Register Early and Get on the App
Even if your main goal at Inbound is not to meet potential new partners, users, or clients, it is still important to understand the opportunity for your team at the event.
Buying a pass early and downloading the event app will allow you to:
- Update your profile with a headshot, description, and bio so you can attract the right kind of people when reaching out before the show.
- Create your own attendee list of people you want to meet and begin crafting an outreach strategy.
- Schedule the sessions you want to attend before they’re full.
Bottom line: advanced preparation and careful planning will serve you and your team well at the event, especially when it comes to reach-out and scheduling meetings.
2. Secure an Attendee List
At Inbound, your team’s key metric might not be to drive a sales cycle, but shaking the right hands and connecting with nurtured or already identified leads should still be a top priority.
Other than using the event app to create an ad hoc attendee list, advanced planning and sustained effort should be devoted towards understanding which potential or known prospects will be at Inbound. Without an attendee list, it will be extremely difficult for your sales and marketing team to form a targeted pre-show strategy.
SummitSync’s meeting automation platform can be useful in this setting. Our predicted lists of attendees are tailored to you and your organization’s needs, ensuring that you’re facilitating the most relevant handshakes and scheduling the right meetings.
Regardless of how your team chooses to gather attendee information, once you have it, be sure to cross-check it against your CRM for potential matches. These should be your Tier A prospects that you spend significant time and energy trying to connect with during the event.
3. Develop a Strategy and Execute it Flawlessly
Whether you’re flying solo at Inbound or the whole revenue team is on deck, it’s imperative to identify your overarching ROI goals as well as your team’s individual goals for the event.
Developing a plan of attack requires coordination. Make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned before, during, and after the event. It is crucial to have everyone on the same page to ensure success. This is particularly important for the success of your pre-show outreach efforts. Useful pre-show tactics include:
- Personalized Outreach Emails: This event is mostly comprised of B2B marketers. If one of your team members owns an account and they’re attending the event, reach out with a personalized, thoughtful email asking to connect. This could be simply asking to shake one another’s hand or meeting at the morning coffee reception.
- Don’t Forget About the Phone: In our text and email centric universe, don’t forget the power of vocal connection! Especially if you’re reaching out closer to the event, people’s inboxes tend to explode. Cancel out that noise by actually picking up the phone and calling the person.
- Use Social Media: Understand your target prospects by carefully analyzing what they are posting on social media, and be sure to engage with them online, both on the company and individual level. Don’t forget about LinkedIn! As we discuss in a recent blog post, professionals have recently shifted to LinkedIn to engage with companies, promote their own events, and secure meetings at annual conferences and trade shows.
- Consider Paid Advertising: It can be useful to run ads on Facebook or LinkedIn to reach out to lower tier prospects. Make sure your ads have a call to action: scheduling a meeting with your team at the event or attending the cocktail reception you’re hosting.
A key component of any strategy is laying out concrete goals for the team and documenting them thoroughly. Goals for your team might look like:
- In order to attend the event, each team member must have at least 10 meetings scheduled.
- Marketing needs to generate a drip campaign with at least 400 subscribers.
- Ensure at least 300 confirmed guests for your networking event.
As long as your team understands what success looks like and each member takes ownership for their role in ensuring that success, you will be in good shape for Inbound 2018.
4. Team Up With Partners
The B2B nature of this conference provides an excellent opportunity for partners to come together and host an event. This could be a networking cocktail reception or morning coffee gathering. Regardless, a partnered event is a great way to use both group’s networks and teams to drive handshakes and see how your two systems integrate.
More and more teams are organizing partner events, and we believe it’s one of the smartest moves marketers can make in their pre-show strategy. Not only does it increase your footprint and provide an excellent forum for expanding your team’s reach, but it also helps alleviate the financial burden of hosting a solo event.
5. Use Community Spaces and Social Programming
Don’t retreat to your phone during breaks and down time. The goal of this conference is to lay out big picture ideas, overarching trends, and point the way forward for the B2B marketing community. Don’t lose sight of the macro tilt of this event! Engage with fellow B2B marketers about ideas and trends. The conference’s strong and diverse speaker line-up and breakout session leaders will provide a wealth of powerful discussion material, so be sure to engage over new ideas with new faces!
Hubspot Inbound is also known for their Instagram-worthy backdrops and more, so get ready to be bold and connect with others!
6. Post-Event Follow-Up
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean that your work is done. Be sure to reach out promptly after the event, thanking people for visiting or meeting with you and continuing the conversation.
But don’t immediately start selling! Engage in a lead nurturing campaign and gradually cultivate your conference prospects. An email strategy is a great way to share content and track your team’s progress.
Failing to follow-up in a timely and thoughtful way represents a huge missed opportunity for your team, so start planning this now! The chaos of traveling back home and decompressing after the event is not an excuse for a delayed or absent follow-up campaign.
How will you create success for your team at Hubspot Inbound 2018?
You can look forward to a fantastic opportunity to engage with fellow B2B marketers at Inbound 2018. Make the most of this opportunity with a well-defined, informed, and compelling strategy before, during, and after the show. Ensure that your team members have clear-cut goals and understand what success looks like at the event. A little preparation will go a long way in ensuring a positive experience for you and your team.