Victor Kippes (@vkippes) wrote a guest posting on the Experient blog titled “Fishing for Qualified Leads: Which Strategies Yield the Biggest Catch“. Victor covers lead capture at events and conferences – he outlines the “fishing pole” strategy (being selective in which leads you engage with) and the “fishing net” strategy (cast the net wide and engage with any and all leads).
I commented to Victor on Twitter that I prefer to use the fishing pole strategy. I prefer to work with a small set of highly qualified leads, versus a large (and perhaps unmanageable) pile of leads. The large pile results in more work for me, as I need to then separate the wheat from the chaff. If I stick to a fishing pole strategy from the start, then I make the best use of my (and my fellow exhibitors) time at the event.
Now, let’s consider the virtual event.
Virtual Events: Get to Know Your Guests
When exhibiting at a virtual event, I like to stick to the fishing pole strategy. Build your booth well and allow visitors to enter, browse around and engage with your content. Give them a gentle welcome (as you might in a physical event), but then let them approach you. Ah, but wait. In a virtual event, I can review the profile of each visitor!
I can click on the profile image of any booth visitor and see their first name, last name, title, company and other attributes that the virtual event organizer chooses to “expose”. I’ve just upgraded my fishing pole, as I now know where to cast my line. I know that I don’t need to spend much time talking to the university student, but I should zone in on the CIO who just entered.
Rather than bombard the CIO with private chat invitations, I’d review his actions (e.g. how many times did he visit and which documents did he view) and let your colleagues know that he visited. This way, your entire team is on alert should anyone have a subsequent interaction with the CIO.
Virtual Events: Activate your Sonar Fish Finder
Next, activate your sonar fish finder – you know, those “GPS for fishes” devices that tell you where the fish are swimming? In a virtual event, this is the Search (or Advanced Search) feature – something that’s highly underutilized by exhibitors. Search for companies on your target list and see whether any attendees (from those companies) appear in the search results.
Next, determine whether those attendees are online (right now!) or offline. Introduce yourself to a particularly “attractive” lead by sending your vCard. This may be a more subtle step than immediately inviting leads to a private chat. Some virtual event platforms provide an Advanced Search, which allows you to search by attendee vs. exhibitor, online vs. offline, attendees vs. booths. In addition, you may be able to search against certain registration attributes (e.g. seniority, title, country, etc.).
The end result is that you more precisely target the leads at the virtual event, making your team more efficient in the use of their time and energy. The more time your team spends engaged with your lead “targets”, the more leads you’ll qualify and hand over to Sales.
Exhibiting at events, whether physical or virtual, requires a strategy and plan going into the event. For virtual events, exhibitors should leverage the information and tools that the virtual platforms provide. If done right, you’ll be sure to reel in plenty of big catches.