As most ABM-ers know, events can be a powerful way to engage the C-level executives you’re targeting. But it’s not a simple matter of “if you build it, they will come.” If you want your prospects to show up to your event — and to be glad they did — you’ve got to approach the process of planning and executing events strategically.
At Boardroom Insiders, we work with lots of ABM managers and C-level marketers looking to design effective executive event strategies. In the process, we’ve learned best practices that have helped marketers create successful, high-value executive events that, in turn, help their sales pros close bigger deals, faster.
Pro Tip #1: Collect (accurate) information
We talk about the importance of doing your homework all the time when we talk about effective C-level sales and marketing, and with good reason: When you’re trying to gain access to the C-suite, information makes all the difference. Accurate, insightful executive intelligence can tell you what’s top of mind for your prospects now and in the future. It can help you understand what type of event could add value. And it can help guide you toward an event strategy with a high probability of success.
For example, if you’re targeting CIOs and your research tells you artificial intelligence is a top priority for most of the executives on your list, your event strategy could center around education. You could invite an expert in AI to be the keynote speaker during a webinar or luncheon. And you could compile relevant, AI-related research as takeaway materials for everyone who attends.
That may not be directly related to your product or service, and it may not produce a sale immediately. But it will build trust and relationships that will yield value over time — for both you and your prospect.
Pro Tip #2: Segment your audience
Let’s face it: Executives like to feel special. So as you design your executive event strategy, steer away from events intended to attract the masses. Instead, use your research (see Pro Tip #1 above) to hone in on groups of executives with specific interests. If a subset of your target audience lives in the same part of the country, consider hosting an event specifically for that group of executives. If you know several of your prospects share a common interest — whitewater rafting, for example — consider hosting an intimate weekend retreat specifically for those executives.
Yes, you will reach a smaller audience, but you will be able to offer high-value interactions with greater potential for long-term relationship-building. And you’ll ensure greater participation because your event will be highly targeted — which your executives will appreciate.
Pro Tip #3: Get personal
Executive events don’t always have to focus on work. As we mentioned in Pro Tip #2, executive events can be based around hobbies or common interests, rather than simply around business priorities or networking. We worked with one client who used our BI PRO platform to conduct an in-depth analysis of what his target executives had in common. The results showed a large number of executives in the group were interested in cricket. That information inspired our client to reshape his executive event strategy and instead host an engagement focused on cricket.
The result was a resounding success, with high levels of participation and executive engagement. It generated business by focusing on something other than business.
Pro Tip #4: Think outside the box
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many ABM-ers and executive event strategists to throw out everything they once knew to be true and think again. The result has been some innovative, out-of-the-box thinking that has proven highly effective. For instance, one client struggling to find a way to engage in the new normal decided to capitalize on the fact that executives were now home with their families and looking for new activities. He decided to invite a celebrity chef to participate in a virtual cooking class. Using our BI PRO platform, he found the prospects on his list who were interested in cooking and invited them to attend, along with their families. (And, it should be said, our client is not a B2B software company not focused on food.) The initiative was a success and prompted our client to explore other ways to engage executives in matters unrelated to their work and outside the traditional realm of in-person activities.
Are you looking to revamp your executive event strategy? Schedule a demo to find out how Boardroom Insiders can provide you with the insight you need to make the most of your next executive event!