Between Training Labs and Academies, we host over 20 events every year. And this doesn’t even include the events we pull off on the road. At this point, we’re talking 30-35 events a year. But, then again, we don’t just host events; we also attend events. Automation Nation. ASCII. Robin Robins. Dental Integrators. We go to them all.
And when we’re attending an industry event, we’re just like you. For example, the most recent event we attended was IT Nation. During this event, we had very specific goals – to acquire new leads, network with vendors, and listen to real-world problems from MSPs. When your MSP attends or sponsors an event, the goals are one and the same. You’re there to pump up your lead list, to find better ways to operate, and to hear what your target market is struggling with. It’s simple really.
However, all of this can easily be convoluted.
It’s not uncommon to take goals like these and twist them into something they’re not. It’s also not uncommon to develop these goals and then attend an event and completely lose focus on why you’re even there to begin with. So to avoid all of that, we have a few tips for you.
Know your strategy.
When you go to an event, what are you going to focus on? Managed services? Network security? IT consulting? A lunch and learn you have coming up? A webinar you have planned? Whatever it is, make sure you and everyone else attending on behalf of your MSP knows exactly what it is.
Sometimes even we overcomplicate things. We have so many different things going on at CharTec, that we want to pitch everything and anything to anyone who walks past us. But this is a mistake. Narrow down your pitch to one or two core things and run with it.
For example, if we tried to explain and pitch a Training Lab, an Academy, a membership, and a webinar to everyone we spoke to at an event, we wouldn’t even make it through the explanation. No one would even give us the opportunity to pitch anything because they’d be bogged down by so many details. Target your efforts so you can acquire better, hotter leads.
Once you do have a strategy down, you need to physically walk through it before you get to the event – think of it as an informal rehearsal. And try your best to do this a few weeks before the event. This way, if you walk through your event strategy and it seems silly or too complicated, you actually have time to come up with something new.
Keep things organized.
Say you are going to pitch two things at your event. How are you going to organize these leads at the event? Are you going to have one fish bowl where all cards go and you simply write notes on the back of each one? Or are you going to have three fish bowls? One for one solution, one for another, and one for anyone who passes by and hands you a business card?
You need to think through all of these scenarios. It might not seem like a big deal now or while you’re at the event, but imagine what will happen once you find yourself back at the office. You’ll have all of these cards and all of this contact information but you won’t know who wants what and why. This will make it extremely difficult to target your marketing collateral or sales calls. And as a result, everyone will end up getting the same thing and you’ll be highly ineffective with any follow-up strategy you might have.
And if this happens, then all that money and time you invested into the event will be wasted.
Don’t overthink it.
An event is an event is an event, and it’s important to remember why industry events even exist to begin with. To learn and to network. This being said, don’t go overboard and strategize a strategy for the strategy.
Avoid becoming bogged down by collateral, themes, and tiny details. Remain fluid. Talk to people. And make real connections.