The shift to virtual events has impacted everyone in B2B marketing. In-person events offered face-to-face opportunities to meet and greet, to showcase products and to network. Things are certainly very different when they now, increasingly, happen via a virtual events platform.
Yet field marketers and event managers must commit to virtual events just as much as the in-person equivalents. After all, you still need to show-and-tell, find and nurture new leads. The good news is that even though you can’t shake new prospects by the hand in person, you can still get a good grip on them via the virtual world.
Integrate your virtual events platform
What’s more, virtual events offer many benefits over in-person events. And there plenty of great tips to help you make your virtual event a success. Here I’m going to look at why you should integrate your virtual event platform into your marketing technology stack. You’ll find that most of the market-leading virtual event platforms offer pre-built integrations into common Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs). Once your internal event manager and marketing operations team have aligned on this, you’ll firmly be in the driving seat.
Automate your processes
Once done, automation really is the name of the game. Your end-to-end-process can be now all be managed from your MAP: invitations, registrations, reminders, follow-ups and more. No surprise then, that this is exactly what we’ve done at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. Working with our marketing operations team, we connected our own NTT Virtual Events platform to our Eloqua account. The integration – just a few hours work – saves our marketing team endless amounts of manual effort. And of course, all relevant activity now automatically shows up in Eloqua in real time.
Connecting the two means direct flows of information. You can segment your data and send those all-important invitations directly from your MAP. Likewise, you can capture resulting registrations from your MAP landing pages and pass those registrations seamlessly back to your virtual events platform.
Use the data to personalize your follow-ups
This bi-directional connection also means easy follow-ups, post-event. No delays in uploading data from badge scanners or Excel files. No need to gather anecdotal feedback from sales. You’ve got instant access to all manner of useful information. You can see which sessions were attended by which attendees. Or how long they spent in each session. You can also review answers given to polls or open-ended questions. With this data now directly in your MAP, you can create personalised follow-up messages. These can go way beyond just ‘thank you for attending’ or ‘sorry, we missed you’ workflows and provide meaningful, timely and personalised messages and nurture pathways. What’s more, you can build these – and turn these on – before the event even occurs, meaning you can follow-up with attendees without any delay once your event is over.
Integrate your virtual events platform with your CRM
Many virtual events platforms also offer integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. However – from hard-earned experience – getting support for this could be a trickier affair, especially if you need to call on some additional resource from your IT team! Have no fear though, you can simply use your existing MAP to CRM integration to create the leads and pass additional data to sales. This can be done at point of registration or once someone has attended your live or on-demand event. As before, the information will flow directly from your virtual events platform, without any need for manual intervention on your part.
More time to create the best attendee experience
Automating your event communications and lead-management processes in this way is just one of the ways you can make the most of data captured in virtual events. It also means that your organization can spend more time on planning and creating the best end-to-end attendee experience.
Already an integration Rockstar? Looking for ways to amplify your reach and drive more registrations? Read Part Two on how you can use martech to maximize your virtual event success.