It’s no secret that Intronis MSP Solutions loves events. Whether it’s exhibiting at an industry tradeshow or hosting an intimate dinner gathering for customers, we can’t resist the temptation to engage in some face time with our channel partners. And, from what we hear, our partners enjoy these opportunities, too!
This is why we can’t advocate enough for the inclusion of events in your MSP marketing plan. Not only do events give your customers and prospects a chance to meet your team and get their questions answered, but there are also a number of benefits related to business growth.
After 1:1 account management, events are the next best thing for fostering relationships. When done right, they can help you:
- Uncover new leads
- Speed up the sales cycle
- Engage more closely with customers
- Connect prospects with happy customers
- Capture valuable feedback about your service offering, your customer’s needs and interests, and more
Set yourself up for success
There’s no denying that it takes some TLC to execute a strong events strategy, especially if you’re thinking of hosting your own events. So, to help with some of the heavy lifting, we’ve put together a quick set of to-dos to help you get started. These are just some of what we covered in the recent Partner Success webinar on event marketing, exclusively open to MSP Partners. (Partners – a recording is available here in the Partner Toolkit!)
- Identify your goals. Before doing anything else, decide what you want to get out of the event, and what you want your attendees to get out of it. Do you want to establish yourself as an expert in a particular topic and train your customers on that topic with a lunch and learn, or are you more interested in networking and connecting your prospects with your happy customers at a cocktail reception? Once you know what you want, you can figure out how to achieve it.
- Identify a budget. Find out how how much you can set aside for your event. You can host an effective, enjoyable event on a surprisingly small budget, so don’t be intimidated by this step. If you have the funds, go ahead and host a private dinner at a swanky restaurant – if money’s tight, why not try hosting a webinar?
- Set a timeline. We recommend giving yourself at least six to eight weeks to book your venue, amply promote the event, and prepare. You can do it in less, but this will give you enough time to get everything done without rushing or stressing.
- Select a venue. The two most important things to remember when selecting space are 1) the space needs to lend itself to the goals of your event and 2) a packed room is better than one that feels empty. Also, there is value in hosting attendees at your office if you have the space for it.
- Formulate an agenda. Promoting your agenda in advance will build enthusiasm and help drive registrations. If you have a guest speaker, be sure to highlight them! A best practice is to make your event as fun and interactive as possible.
- Mobilize your team. Make sure you have the right team in place and that they all know what their responsibilities are leading up to and on the day of the event. For example, you might want to put a person (or people) on the phones to call and invite customers to the event, and delegate building a presentation to another person, and packing up necessary materials to another.
- Rock your event. Following an organized checklist, you will get it all done as a team. Make sure not to forget the little details like having a check-in sheet and and making sure all of your materials are there on site. Get there early and be ready to chat up those customers and prospects!
- Don’t forget your follow-up. Don’t let the event fall flat by not wrapping it up nicely. Give them something to walk away with, such as swag or collateral handouts, or even a prize that you raffle off onsite. Be sure to include a post-event survey to identify what attendees liked and didn’t like, so you can do more of what works next time.
Additional resources for MSP Partners
To help get our Partners up and running quickly, we have published “event in a box” materials within the Partner Toolkit. In particular, we just made available a template that can be used during a prospect- and customer-facing event focused on “Best Practices for Disaster Recovery for SMBs.” It includes an invitation template, a presentation you can re-brand, an event preparation checklist, and some re-brandable collateral to hand out onsite.
What do you think? Are there any other tips you’d add based on your experience? Are there any questions we can help answer? Feel free to chime in using the Comments section below.