It's time you think beyond chasing just the decision-makers.
By Liz Lemarchand, MediaDev
Event season is (finally) over and it’s time to analyze what worked well and what didn’t. Who attended? Who didn’t and why? What follow-up is needed to transform prospects into qualified sales leads? What nurturing needs to be done moving forward to continue the dialogue that’s begun?
Event planning is a nerve-racking business (I know, I used to do it!). It can be very stressful before, during and after an event you’ve organized takes place. Preparing contact lists, booking speakers, finalizing content, making reservations at the right location … it takes so much work to pull off and it isn’t always easy to know what’s the best messaging to use to attract people to attend. But one of the big pitfalls I’ve seen is that many companies are so intent on attracting decision-makers, they forget about the power of influencers.
When I say an influencer, I’m not talking about today’s social media celebrities, “YouTubers” or bloggers (although maybe that’s what you’re after depending on what industry you’re in), but about the people within a business that have the power to recommend decisions on software acquisition projects to higher-ups within the company. They are the people that may not manage a budget, but who certainly can make a good case if they are convinced your solution is the right fit for their organization. A lot of the time, they may also be key users of the system, so their opinions matter. Influencer marketing in the IT/tech B2B space may not be as glamorous as it is in B2C marketing when you are engaging with people who have social media celebrity status, but it can help nonetheless.
Here are three reasons why you should invite influencers to your next event:
1. Influencers make events more accessible
It’s true that some events require exclusivity or VIP status. C-level decision-makers need to feel like you’ve rolled out the red carpet for them because it’s not often that they can take time out of their busy schedules to attend an event (and sometimes they cancel at the last minute without even letting you know!). Organizing events for influencers make them less formal, and that’s when the best discussions can be had. Creating events where you have time to socialize with influencers can also give you valuable information about the company you are targeting; influencers are more likely to open up and speak about pain points, challenges and frustrations than are decision-makers. This can help you get your foot in the door a lot easier and faster when it comes time to speak to the final authority in the decision-making process.
2. Influencers are more likely to come
As mentioned above, high-level decision-makers are busy and have emergency situations that just “come up” at the last minute, impeding them to attend the day of. Many have every intention of coming, but then just pure and simply can’t. With influencers, this is less likely to happen. They may need authorization to attend, so once they get it, they’re not going to miss out.
3. Influencers will spread information around
As the name implies, influencers influence. That means that after the event is over, they are more likely to speak to their work colleagues and friends about what they learned. Of course, you are still going to need to “wow” them with content, but once you have, you can be sure that they’ll spread the word. Have a call-to-action planned with influencers to help you move up hierarchical levels within the organization — can they help introduce you to the right decision-makers or arrange a joint meeting? Having them help point you in the right direction or set the stage for a meeting with a key decision-maker is going to make the sale easier and hopefully faster.
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