Now that you’ve settled on the title, topic and date of your virtual event, it’s time to rally the sales team to go out and sell sponsorships. We provide six tips on how to approach the selling process.
1. Target wisely.
As with any sales effort, categorize your accounts based on forecasted interest in your program. Don’t assume that your entire prospect or customer base will be interested in the virtual event sponsorship. Instead, prioritize the accounts – this way, you’re making the most of your sales team’s time. Have Marketing work on the less qualified groups via email (or other online) campaigns.
2. Package strategically.
If your virtual event is a digital extension of a physical event (i.e. you’re creating a hybrid event), think about how best to structure your overall sponsorship packages. For instance, if this is your first time doing a virtual extension, then lower the barrier to entry (for the virtual sponsorship) – by showing demonstrable results from your first event, you’ll be in a better position for your next one.
3. Overpromote past results.
The single biggest sales objection is going to be “cold feet” – prospects are unsure of what results they should expect – and, whether the results you promise them will come true. For a first time event, point your prospects to events in related industries, to show them how exhibitors prospered there. If you’ve achieved success in your own events, author case studies with your exhibitors and make them a part of your current event’s sales colleteral. “The proof is in the pudding,” so make sure you make extra pudding (and that it tastes good).
4. Mix it up.
Many sponsorship packages I’ve seen include just 1 or 2 options (e.g. Gold and Silver). For the prospect with cold feet, neither option may be suitable. Especially with your very first event, go out with an assorted menu that includes the full-blown options, but also provides a la carte items, such as signage/branding sponsorships, presentation sponsorships or even a sponsorship of your Help Center. Once you determine “what works,” you can adjust your menu for subsequent events.
5. “Show and tell” with your marketing assets.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. Capture videos and screencasts from your past events and use them as marketing assets for your next event. Nothing can put sales objections to rest better than a screen capture of the last event, showing exhibitors exactly what your event provides. And related to overpromoting past results, create video testimonials with past exhibitors, in which they speak about the results they achieved by sposoring your event.
6. Guarantee success.
Yes, lead guarantees are expected in most sponsorship packages. We urge you to go well beyond lead guarantees, and commit to exhibitors that you’ll work hand in hand with them to guarantee mutual success. You make this happen with a consultative team who not only educates exhibitors on the technology, but provides them with tips and insights based on what’s worked (or not worked) in past events. If you establish yourself as a trusted partner during the sales process, then a lifetime of goodness (or close to it) may ensue.
Best of luck with your upcoming event. Let us know how it went in the comments section below – or, share with us some useful tips that have worked well for you!
(Article reprinted with permission from Casting Calls: Our Thoughts on Webcasting, Webinars and More, the InXpo company blog.)