When, where, and why you should be looking to convert prospects into long-term customers through event tickets
Typically, before entering a purchase decision, the economic buyer of a deal is persuaded by virtue of the “brochure approach”. You know… the piece of marketing material that shows two people shaking hands, big smiles on their faces, revealing how all the wants and needs of their organization will come to fruition by simply signing the bottom line.
In the sports world, it sounds something like this:
“If you want to close more deals and move more product, sign here and claim your 10-year lease on this luxury suite!!”
Sports hospitality purchases play into this stereotype in a big way. Sports are unique due to their propensity to drive fandom – not just amongst the blue-collar folks you see in the bleachers but in the C-suites as well. As a result, suites and other premium sports hospitality purchases are largely made as an emotional decision – and the brochure approach is simply used to justify the decision.
BUT there is still value to be unlocked. Fandom is an affinity that can easily be attributed to an organization through hospitality executed behind proper strategy and attention to detail. It takes real effort to make good on the promise of a brochure approach; but when accomplished, converting prospects into long-term customers is one of the greatest benefits to these emotional purchases.
Here are some tricks of the trade to ensure your organization is properly utilizing hospitality to drive pipeline development.
The CRM Sync
Most hospitality SaaS systems out there, be it Cvent for general hospitality needs or TicketManager for live event requests, have included CRM syncs with their products. This is a crucial step that ensures you are accurately assessing and assigning leads to the correct hospitality touch points.
Best.Day.Ever. has implemented a series of two-way syncs that allow our clients and event hosts to understand each guest that participates in our gaming software through the context of their pipeline. It also allows for pertinent action items that are identified during an event to be seamlessly logged into the same platforms that those responsible are already using. This is a huge component that truly helps drive forward the value of reporting.
Clean Reporting with Speed
If you are a frequent reader of the Best.Day.Ever. Blog, you know our theory on the period of diminishing returns (to brief up, click here).
In this world of “what have you done for me lately”, it is important that organizations convert on the goodwill developed through their events as soon as possible. It is therefore important that a road-map of action items be created to clearly illustrate what needs to be done to make that a reality.
Best.Day.Ever. accomplishes this through our Who, Why, What report. It is provided to our clients within 24 hours of each event, and with an all–fact–no–fiction approach, details: (1) Who was at an event, (2) Why they were at the event within the context of our clients’ CRM, and (3) What new information was discovered or next steps discussed to advance the relationship.
At the end of the day, this is about sales. And let’s kid no one… Sales is difficult. There is a certain level of accountability required to continue pushing the relationship towards new business that your organization’s sales reps need to be held to. There needs to be top-level buy in for this, or else you will see a lot of events where friends hang out with friends, but zero business is conducted.
Accountability is another benefit of accurate reporting with speed. It allows managers and sales reps alike to perform in unison for the greater good. Seek top-level buy-in on this workflow and ensure that it is maintained across the value chain so that the action items become marching orders that ultimately lead to transparent pipeline development.
Your organization launches a new product, has marketing material going live in new markets, or your sales team is simply targeting a given sector where they’ve found success. In event hospitality, timing is everything.
One of Best.Day.Ever.’s favorite ways to determine the value of timing is to track events attended against various products, sales reps, and CRM opportunity stages. We A/B test to see how timing impacts a given sales opportunity differently than similar opportunities.
For example, say your organization has four CRM stages for a prospect: Open, Qualified, Contracting, and Closed-Won. The fun part is dividing up your events – and even further customizing them – into categories trying to move each guest from one stage to another. Then, watch the progress…
You can evaluate the conversion rates of companies hosted from one CRM stage to the next across a given index and compare them to a control group. Then you analyze and discover insights from that data provided around your hospitality efforts. Those insights will in turn optimize the timing of future events to drive effectiveness against the KPIs that are meaningful to your organization.
A freebie? Invitation lead time is crucial depending on the level of invitee. Most C-suite executives have their schedules booked out three to four months in advance, Directors typically one to two months, and general mid-level points of contact can free up one-to-two weeks in advance. Best.Day.Ever. defaults to a 45-day invitation lead time in most cases, which is obviously subject to change based on the client and the event.
Internal Integration with Sales
It is very important to integrate your event opportunities into the internal conversations of your sales group and proactively offer them to specific situations. By taking part of your organization’s regular sales meetings, you will begin to recognize not just the prospects for which your company is targeting and the means of which they are marketing to them – but the people that make up those prospect companies.
Additionally and beyond the CRM sync noted in step 1, meeting in-person with those responsible for lead generation and prospecting will give you a new perspective for how they execute their roles and how hospitality can augment their effectiveness.
Lastly, having access to the CRM system and proactively reviewing for new entries at the top of the funnel provides context of the entire pipeline. Some great uses of events that are otherwise low-demand and hard to fill are with these top of the funnel prospects, generally non-decision makers but influencers nonetheless that earning positive favor with can help advance a deal through to execution. Time spent during these early prospect events can be used to learn more about the prospect’s business situation, which stakeholders would be involved on a deal, and the timeline should such a partnership ensue.
Ego and sports have always been closely related. Therefore, the brochure approach will continue to be an effective tool for premium hospitality and suite sales. Some teams and franchises should be lauded for their efforts in going beyond the sale and working to enable their clients to unlock the value of their products.
BUT regardless of the seller, every buying organization can utilize these events to drive new business with a little elbow grease and the tips above.
Interested in using Best.Day.Ever. to drive prospect conversions for your organization? Contact us today.