Exclusive and intimate events have become a standard tactic in any good account-based strategy.
Often, they’re the center point of ABM campaigns because of their ability to elicit a response, engage multiple stakeholders, and shorten sales cycles.
As account-based marketing scales though, so should the tactics that make it so effective. But, scaling intimate events is kind of an oxymoron. How do you scale something that needs to be so high-touch to be effective?
At Splash, we’ve seen some great examples of how companies are effectively scaling the types of smaller, high-touch events that are often essential to ABM.
Playbooks by Event Type
Our clients that are running ABM events at scale often have a few event types they commonly use to engage either multiple stakeholders at a single account or very senior stakeholders in similar roles across multiple accounts. Most frequently, we see them turning to ultra high-end dinners, swanky cocktail parties, and curated experiences in their ABM plays.
Once they find the types of events that best engage their target audiences, we work with them to create step-by-step interactive and automated playbooks that ensure the same exact process is used across every single event of that type. Every detail is baked into the playbook, including reminders to the host to coordinate with the sales team on the invitees; order a car service to pick-up individual guests, and confirm the perfect seating arrangement. Additionally, the cadence of automated and personalized reminders to the registrants is part of the playbook so not a single detail or communication is ever missed.
With a little up-front work mapping out your effective ABM event process, you can save hours per event by automating much of the process while also ensuring the same success you’ve had in the past.
Enable the Sales Team
There’s no denying that events require manpower – even when the best playbook and process is in place. To truly scale events as part of ABM, we’re starting to see clients who are confident with their ABM event playbook using it to enable their selling organization to initiate their own events. For a lot of marketers, that’s nirvana – taking some of the load off their team and putting it onto their undoubtedly much larger selling organization. But, many can’t imagine their team (never mind their sales team), getting a tight enough process in place with the right kind of parental controls to effectively scale sales-initiated events. It is possible though.
It starts with working with sales leadership to tightly define the types of events you’ll allow your sales team to initiate and how much of the process they’ll own and what marketing will retain (tip: smaller dinner or cocktail events with less than 20 attendees or so are often an easy starting place).
Next, you’ll set up a super-intuitive request system that sales will input their event details into. Depending on your relationship with (or confidence in) your sales team, you can decide if that request automatically populates a predetermined event landing page and email they can immediately send out, or if you’ll require a wait step that kicks off an approval request to marketing before a landing page and email is returned to sales.
After the event has been created, you’ll want your ABM event playbook running in the background – reminding you or the sales person who initiated the event to follow the remaining steps necessary to make the event a success. Easy, right?
Develop a Streamlined and Integrated Process
The key to scaling events with your ABM strategy is really defining a thoughtful process that reduces manual effort and the number of steps (and people!) required to host the events. As you scale ABM events, that usually requires a dedicated event marketing technology that integrates with your existing systems and automates and standardizes much of the process.
You can certainly launch successful ABM events with your existing marketing stack, but when it’s time to scale – and to enable other teams or team members to help you scale – cumbersome, disconnected processes will almost always get in the way.