Everyone loves a bit of Return On Investment. Proven results, a nice list of ingredients in, and a lovely cake out! Life (and sales) is of course far more complicated than that. Lots and lots of ingredients go into making a deal. Content marketing has traditionally been unsurprisingly the domain of the marketing department. However, sales and marketing are colliding and merging like never before especially when it comes to content and social; and let's face it, sales often out muscle marketing when it comes to the budgeting crunch because sales can more easily 'prove' ROI. Therefore the more sales you can put in your marketing the better.

Like many of you, I have always done both sales and marketing and I wanted to share how going to an event (sales but organised by marketing usually) together with content marketing (marketing) followed up by calls and meetings (sales) worked for me earlier this year.

I went to 'GDPR - Everything you ever wanted to ask' hosted by the PM Forum back in July. I am interested in GDPR - kind of. More importantly, those I sell to are really interested in GDPR.  Those speaking and those attending were all people I was keen to influence.  From attending this event and more importantly writing a post about it we have so far closed three deals. This is how:

  • I wrote the post referenced below. This was very deliberate. I had a number of targets in the room and I knew this content would be of interest (otherwise they would not have been in the room).
  • I wrote the introduction to this post the night before the event.  
  • At the event I sat at the back and typed what I learnt - in this case about GDPR.  I simply wrote what the experts at the front were saying. When they said something I thought was clever - I wrote it down bullet point style.
  • Literally, as the speakers finished speaking I finished my post.
  • I then shared it on social ensuring I name-checked the speakers and organisers.  When I say social I mean LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • I also sent the post directly to the speakers and organisers  on the tool ISTATOY (I saw this and thought of you) with a personal message.
  • After the event, I had a look at the delegate list and ensured I sent the post to all the people that I either met or would have liked to meet.  This was far better than sending the traditional 'lovely to meet you - how's about you buy what I am selling' email.
  • I followed up with calls to those I sent the post.  What was nice is that due to the tech on ISTATOY, I knew who had clicked on the post I sent.  This proved to be a real advantage during my follow up.

As one of my now clients said, she liked the way I engaged with her after the event focusing on her interests in GDPR rather than my interest is selling my service.  This is 101 sales obviously but sometime hard to do.

What was telling after the event is that I was contacted via LinkedIn by someone asking my advice about GDPR.  This was an obvious lead to those who spoke at the event (and paid for the hospitality) but it came to me not them because I was the one with an online presence!  (I sent the lead on :)

Events are expensive to attend.  It is not the cost of the ticket and travel but the opportunity cost of not 'billing' that really adds up.  I calculated the other day with a law firm that 2 partners being out of the office for 4 days trip overseas to a conference would cost tens of thousands of pounds.  If the plan when attending or speaking at an event is to 'turn up' you might want to have a bit of rethink and look at how creating some content could really leverage your investment.  

It does not happen every time I try but I certainly know the exact ROI on that one post I wrote!