It is day number 465,364 of thriving in a virtual world — okay, maybe it's more like 60 but boy does it feel much longer, especially for field marketers.
Here at Clari, our team had spent many hours, meetings, and due diligence driving sales and marketing alignment crafting amazing recipes for our 2020 plan. We were going to host 32 in-person executive level events and had all the ingredients chopped and ready to go. The water was boiling, our plates were ready to be served, we could smell the sweet scent of new and influenced pipeline. Then came COVID, scattering all of our ingredients across the kitchen floor.
Our first test was an in-person wine tasting event that had been scheduled for March 26 in Seattle.
It had a full registration list and we were so excited. However, we saw the mounting concerns and critical changes happening in the events landscape. Right and left, conferences started to be postponed or cancelled.
It was time to make the tough call — the right, safe thing to do was cancel our event. But as we prepared our communications for those attending, we had a thought:
“We already have a full registration list, we have the technology in place to meet virtually, all we need is some wine! We don’t need to cancel, we need to pivot.”
We kept our — now digital — list to the 30 people already registered, in order to capture that same level of intimacy and engagement that would have come from our in-person gathering. We had refreshments delivered to everyone’s homes, and the event was an absolute hit!
Here’s our recipe for a successful virtual event:
Zoom + home-delivered refreshments + people confined to their homes = 1 great discussion
Field Marketing is Not Dead; It’s Transformed
While some wrote off field marketing as dead, we saw this as an opportunity to become even more aligned with our revenue team. We decided to take on the virtual world by storm and double down with the same type of format we experimented with in Seattle. All we needed was to rewrite our field marketing playbook.
Despite uncertainty, we set high targets for ourselves, planning to double our influenced pipeline goals. Even though we now had less budget, we could reach more people virtually than with our in-person events. We also decided we’d use this time to build upon our revenue community and triple the number of unique attendees we drive to our events.
Communication + Alignment = Fast Pivot
In the span of 3-4 days, we met with our leaders to review revenue goals and ensure sales and marketing alignment. We came out with an entirely new program that consisted of small, virtual group discussions called our ‘Masters of Revenue Roundtables’.
It was more than just a plan, it was a strategy everyone in the company could rally behind.
Go for Engagement! Digital Isn’t a Webinar-Only Frontier
The main goal of our digital events was to capture that human-to-human connection, even while socially distant. We already had webinars planned for the quarter, so we wanted something different. Here’s what we did (and what you can do too):
- Keep it intimate. Limit the number of attendees per roundtable to 25 to facilitate an environment that enables open and free-flowing discussions.
- Ditch the Powerpoint. Instead of sharing a deck, we encouraged everyone to have their Zoom video on for the face-to-face interaction.
- Make it timely. Make sure that the content shared is relevant to today’s top challenges, specifically around the uncertainty COVID has created.
- Tap your subject matter experts. The cherry on top: Our fearless leadership team hosted all discussions. Who better to lead Masters of Revenue discussions than from than our actual Clari Masters? And it was a great opportunity for attendees to ask their hardest questions to seasoned executives.
Set Metrics, Tie Effort to Revenue
We can all agree that during times of uncertainty, every dollar is scrutinized. So we had to make sure that not only the event execution was flawless, but also that we could measure our success against our pipeline goals.
Using our first round of events as a test, we established a baseline to measure the metrics we care about and develop a guide for future events. Some of the metrics we’re looking at are;
- Influenced and net new pipeline. The ultimate goal of any field marketing campaign is to drive more pipeline for our sales team.
- Number of unique attendees. The number of attendees would tell us whether our discussion topics and marketing resonated with the audience of today.
- Make up of ABM target account attendees. This would signal to us and the sales team who among our target accounts were actively engaged with us.
- Content enablement. The number of blogs, social posts, and videos we are able to spin off of these events as value-add content. When life gives you lemons, make more content lemonade!
Adding the Finishing Touches
Going back to our recipe for a great virtual event: You can have a dish come out as tasty as something Gordon Ramsay would whip up, but if your delivery and presentation is subpar, don’t expect any 5-star Yelp reviews.
This same logic applies to the way we serve up those hot leads from our events to our revenue teams. For B2B field marketing strategies to become successful programs, marketers need to enable sales teams to follow up seamlessly. With our roundtables, we:
- Make sure that when the event is over, our revenue teams have follow-up templates ready to go so they can engage attendees.
- Update the campaign statuses in Salesforce right away for maximum visibility.
- Send an event recap with some event highlights and takeaways that includes a clear CTA, the follow up we are doing, and who should personally follow up.
All of this helps us drive sales and marketing alignment.
Mixing It All Together
Our Masters of Revenue Roundtable series has been extremely successful during our pilot period. We hosted eight roundtables in April and will continue to produce these in May and beyond.
Next up we’ll be testing a few new formats like workshops and larger thought-leadership webinars. We plan to not only change the way people view virtual events, but the way they see successful Field Marketing and its ever-changing impactful role. So stay tuned!