By Kathryn Kosmides
Is your team ready for one of the most anticipated partnership events of the year?
Microsoft Inspire 2018 is coming to Las Vegas July 15–18, and there is serious opportunity awaiting for your team—if you’re prepared to take it.
For the first time ever Microsoft Inspire and Microsoft Ready are located in the same place, making this the perfect event to connect and collaborate with other partners and increase your profitability through thousands of new market opportunities.
With 13,000 attendees and 214 sponsors and exhibitors attending Microsoft Inspire 2018, you need a bulletproof strategy to stand out. Make the most out of your Microsoft Inspire 2018 experience, drive real revenue and hit your marketing goals with these six quick tips.
1. Get an Attendee List
How is your attendee list looking?
If you have a slim roster with only sponsors to work from, developing a targeted pre-show strategy will prove difficult. Before you get your team around the table, obtain a thorough attendee list. If you have a sponsorship package you may be able to request at least a partial list from Microsoft. Our current predicted list of attendees at SummitSync is sitting at 8,000 attendees complete with contact information! If you’re interested in learning more about our predicted lists of attendees, you can take a look at our product page.
2. Understand the Audience
On the surface, Microsoft Inspire 2018 is an event for Microsoft partners. Market research shows an association with Microsoft is far from specific when it comes to prospect persona characteristics. Take advantage of the attendee prospectus (you can find the download under the EXPO HALL dropdown). Some key points from the download include:
- Attendees are 39% in sales, 17% in IT, and 10% in marketing.
- Common industries include services, hosted services, and ISVs.
- Most companies (76%) have less than 500 employees.
Understanding the range and depth of your Microsoft Inspire 2018 prospect pool will inform how you shape your whole strategy. Let’s say the majority of your prospects are in sales. Your team might decide to push pre-show reach out strategies to acquire more one-on-one meetings. You might also use the attendee list to refine your booth design to focus more on product demos than quick conversations. However you choose to use it, dig deep to create original, custom connection strategies for your prospects.
3. Develop an Informed Pre-Show Strategy
Investing in pre-show marketing is proven to increase potential revenue opportunity during and after the show. Study participants who report revenue growth are over two times more likely to report they are satisfied with their pre-show marketing results than those who are revenue stagnant.
Those pre-show marketing efforts begin with the attendee list. Compare the attendee list to your CRM and cross-check for potential matches. These should be your Tier A prospects that you spend a lot of time positioning yourself to shake their hand during the event.
Once you’ve narrowed down your personal target list of attendees, define tactics for your Microsoft Inspire pre-show reach out strategy. Steal a page from our pre-show marketing strategy with a few of our go-to tactics:
- Personalized Sales Reach Email. If your team member owns the account and will be attending the event themselves, have them reach out with a thoughtful, personal email. Pro tip: Ask to shake their hand while you’re both there. Suggesting personal contact will help you secure more staying power in their memory (though we do highly recommend confirmation emails).
- Pick up the Phone. People call less often nowadays, which can work in your favor as the event draws closer. If you’re reaching out to someone a week or two before the event, there’s a strong chance you will be lost in their noisy inbox. Soar above that noise by actually picking up the phone and calling them directly.
- Search Social Media. Spend time researching what your target prospects (both companies and individuals) are posting on social media. Interact with them and provide value so they see your worth as a connection.
- Paid Advertising. Save paid advertising for lower tier prospects so you can focus your valuable human-to-human time on top tier prospects. You can also use paid advertising to schedule a meeting with your team during the event. Simply upload a list of your targets to LinkedIn or Facebook and run ads that way.
No matter how complex your strategy gets, make it a priority to document your entire pre-show strategy. This will assist your post-show review and strategies for the next event.
4. Set Clear Goals for Your Team
It’s impossible to know whether your efforts were successful if you don’t define success upfront. As a sponsor or exhibitor, your goal is to generate revenue. Keep your team focused on the plan for success (and away from the distraction of celebration and sessions. Those activities should be seen as bonuses). Outline and reiterate clear, unambiguous goals for pre-show, during, and post-event results. Then create smaller goals in the form of checkpoints to keep the team motivated such as:
- Schedule 30 meetings before the event
- Ensure at least 80% of scheduled meetings show up
- Generate 10 new conversations every day of the event
- Follow-up with 100% of leads within 7 days post event
5. Use the Area Lounges, Networking Events, and Community Hub
While you don’t have to like networking, it is to your benefit to network smart. First and foremost, go where your prospects are going.
Microsoft Inspire 2018 is bringing back their area lounges to meet and collaborate with others. While it will be tempting to hang around your own area lounge, plant yourself where your prospects are likely to go. Instead of guessing if someone is your target audience, you’ll have a good chance if they’re sitting in a specific lounge area. Feel free to use this tactic for any flavor of networking opportunity (a party, a lounge, a concert, you name it).
6. Attend Your Prospect’s Sessions
The chase doesn’t stop with social settings. Often times when the trade show floor slows down, the savvy sales teams will head into sessions they believe their prospects will attend. They casually strike up conversation in line, with their neighbor, and upon leaving. If done correctly, this can be a fruitful opportunity for teams. Map your routes ahead of time using the full list of Microsoft Inspire Sessions.
Are You Ready to Drive Results from Microsoft Inspire?
In our recent survey with Demand Metric, 82% of B2B marketers reported that they think in-person meetings are important in helping move prospects through the buyer’s journey faster or more successfully.
As a sponsor of Microsoft Inspire 2018, you can look forward to astronomical opportunity to meet your prospects and leads if you craft a strategy around your vision of success, set crystal clear goals, and focus on understanding where your prospects will be during the show.