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Event marketing | 29 November 2018

20 Sales Acceleration Event Ideas

Maria Waida

Nurture leads, generate pipeline and close deals with these sales acceleration event ideas. Featuring examples from leading brands like SAP, Radius, Slack, Content Marketing Institute and more.

Sales acceleration events allow businesses to tackle various segments of their sales pipeline in order to convert more prospects faster and with greater efficiency. Progress can be assessed, monitored, and analyzed with the help of top quality event software.

Any great sales event strategy will include characteristics like the examples included in this list. Each one has something to teach marketers about finding new sales opportunities, learning how to target accounts, or raising their event ROI with a focus on closing more accounts.

No matter what your goals are, here are some inspirational corporate event ideas for your next sales acceleration.

What is a sales acceleration event?

Sales acceleration events are any planned experience that involves prospects, customers, and vendors. They’re a common event type in most B2B event marketing strategies.

Goals for this event type include collecting leads, nurturing contacts, building sales pipeline, providing value to prospects, and ultimately closing deals. Although there are plenty of examples of smaller, more intimate events (such as VIP dinners) you can also find larger examples like the lead generating exhibitions like those found at trade shows and user conferences.

Sales acceleration events are one part of a multi-touch event marketing plan. They often engage prospects across multiple channels.

Why sales acceleration events are valuable?

Face-to-face interaction with prospects are a worthwhile investment at any stage of the sales funnel. Whether you choose to have prospects meet customers, leadership from your team or both at the same time, sales acceleration events help you close deals more quickly with personal interaction. There’s simply no substitute for experiential marketing.

You’ll also find that sales acceleration events play a crucial element in most successful ABM event strategies. Giving prospects access to their future specific points of contact helps to personalize the exchange and allows them to form stronger connections with the product and brand as a whole.

Sales Acceleration Event Ideas

1. Have late stage funnel prospects meet happy clients.

Radius hosts a small-scale sales acceleration dinner for loyal clients and hand-selected prospects. In addition to a beautiful meal, potential customers enjoyed the company of VIPs who shared their experiences with the product. They key to making any sales acceleration dinner stand out is your guest list.

Follow in the footsteps of this example by making sure to curate your invites with help from account-based event marketing best practices to only include fun and interesting people whose needs and interests align with one another.

Radius - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Radius

2. Provide educational opportunities for attendees.

The SAP Omnichannel Master Class roadshow places a high value on teaching attendees more about the industry and their own businesses over pitching. Their overall goal with this event was to provide advanced education on subjects like sales, marketing and customer retention. Putting themselves in this light further secured their place as thought leaders in this sector and made the decision for attendees to invest in their products in the future a no brainer.

SAP - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: SAP Hybris

3. Invite current users to be guest speakers.

There are a lot of user conferences out there, but AWS re:Invent is unique in that they dared to present a new type of guest speaker: their customer. This bold and creative choice made for an even more enjoyable conference experience. Not only did the company display their own confidence in their products by taking this risk, they also allowed real users explain how they use AWS in their own unique ways.

Amazon - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: AWS re:Invent

4. Create an exclusive experience that compliments an industry-wide event.

At the INBOUND Marketing conference, Bizzabo invited 70 VIP prospects and customers on a sunset cruise of the Charles River after the first day of the event. Activities like this elevate the overall conference experience for guests and creates lasting memories for everyone involved. In doing so, Bizzabo was able to make a strong impression without distracting from the main event. Exclusive experiences also have a way of creating buzz of their own as word of mouth travels fast for the remainder of the conference.

Bizzabo - Sales Acceleration Event

5. Choose event venues in areas where there is proven demand for your product or solution.

With their Global Event Series, Hubspot recognizes the power of generating leads and helping them through the sales cycle through live events. They make sure that every event has a clear goal established at the outset. They then build a strategy and make choices while cross-referencing those goals along the way. From their own research and user feedback, Hubspot filters their event venue options through with these points in mind. Details like these help craft a truly thoughtful sales acceleration experience for attendees.

HubSpot - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Hubspot

6. Take a high level perspective.

Brightcove’s PLAY Studio stands out from the crowd by taking a big picture view of the their industry and thinking about the challenges that everyone – not just Brightcove users – are currently facing. Through filming their hands-on practitioner sessions, they’re able to share this educational content as part of their pre-event strategy as well. From social media video sharing to exclusive email list subscription downloadable replays, Brightcove showcases their event value before, during, and after every sales acceleration experience.

Brightcove - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Brightcove

7. Choose a strong theme and incorporate it throughout the event.

Content Marketing Association’s Publisher Conference chooses a theme and sees it through 100%. From their email color schemes to their breakout sessions, CMI explored and brought a sense of play to their entire sales acceleration experience. They also hyper focused the efforts of every department to make sure the theme made sense for their initiatives as well.

 Content Marketing World - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Content Marketing Institute

8. Host a virtual event.

This one’s a little meta. The InsideSales Sales Acceleration Summit made it possible for prospects and users all over the world to experience their event by hosting a digital conference. Without the obstacle of physical travel, InsideSales created a series of quality on-demand sessions. Virtual guests could enjoy the event live or afterwards with replays. They also used a live Q&A and exclusive speaker sessions that could only be watched at their scheduled times in order to attract more visitors.

 Inside Sales - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: InsideSales

9. Make membership exclusive.

WordPress’s Monthly Groups are held nationwide but attendance is limited to those who request to join. Memberships are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and only those deemed a good fit are accepted. During the events themselves issues concerning the operation, development, and scaling of big, high-traffic WordPress websites are discussed with inside tips and tricks from experts. The combination of high value experiences and limited availability makes for a highly coveted sales acceleration event.

Wordpress - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: WordPress

10. Teach practical soft skills.

Slack’s Frontiers Conference celebrates the well rounded customer by using their live event to invest in their users’ continued professional growth. Since their product relies on facilitating teamwork, Slack’s event focuses on teaching users how to be better collaborators and team leaders. Their aim is to provide concrete ideas that attendees can apply to all aspects of their work. Doing this shows users that Slack is truly dedicated to putting them first.

Slack - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Slack

11. Provide sneak-peek product previews.

Although Apple famously hosts a regular product preview, Contex’s VIP event makes the experience just as exciting and innovative for their users through their own revolutionary releases. Instead of simply launching a new, more powerful version of an older product through an email campaign, Contex invited an exclusive list of users to come demo it with them in Las Vegas. Experiential events like this one add excitement to what could otherwise be an overlooked announcement.

Contex - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Contex

12. Discuss and evaluate industry trends alongside experts.

Paylocity’s Elevate Conference is another brand focusing on issues affecting the industry at large outside of their client bubble. They gather the best and brightest minds in the HR world together to analyze trends and make recommendations. Because their goal is to “elevate human resources across the backroom and into the boardroom” (hence their event name), this format really works to support their grander vision. When your sales acceleration event aligns with your company mission, attendees notice and appreciate the difference it makes.

Paylocity - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Paylocity

13. Offer free on-brand entertainment.

Iron Mountain’s Free Concert Series is a much sought-after affair from employees and customers alike. Just like the name says, Iron Mountain literally hosts big name artists for a free outdoor concert. Most of the guests include musical performances by artists their prospects enjoy. Even if you can’t afford to hire top talent, creating a free event centered around something that’s purely for fun helps customers get to know (and trust) your brand even more.

 Iron Mountain - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Johnson City Press

14. Switch up traditional event formatting.

Amobee’s Videonomics takes the general summit model and flips it. Normally held on weekends, Videonomics takes place Sunday through Tuesday and instead of just showcasing expert speakers, Amobee facilitates group wide discussions so prospects and users can learn from each other’s experiences. These kinds of memorable networking experiences add value without any extra effort for event planners. They also host the event in a luxurious venue that is conveniently located where most of their clients live.

Amobee - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Amobee

15. Host hands-on classes.

Hilti’s Decking Symposium offers an experience you won’t find anywhere else: build your own metal roof deck using actual industry tools. Instead of simply demonstrating the product, they put the tools in the hands of real customers (with expert safety supervision, of course) and helped them make something they could use or take home. Even if your product isn’t physical there are plenty of practical and interesting hands-on activities related to your industry that you can produce at your event.

 Hilti - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: SEAMass

16. Offer facility tours.

Shaw Industries hosts sales accelerations events around touring their impressive manufacturing facilities. In addition to explaining the product creation process, they also have the opportunity to showcase exactly why they outperform their customers in this creative take on traditional pitching. They also feature a guest speaker who provides extra history and industry background to round out the experience.

Shaw - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Shaw Industries

17. Dig deeper than ever before.

Highspot’s Elevate gives their users a more in-depth experience with their product than ever before. Not only do prospects get a chance to speak with current users, Highspot clients get a comprehensive tutorial for how sales enablement integrates with tools in their tech stack, a valuable lesson for anyone in their industry. Their focus on actionable takeaways makes the event stand out amongst other summits like it.

Highspot - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Highspot

18. Have attendees build your agenda.

DocuSign’s Momentum 2018 looks to crowdsourcing for new ideas on how to book and schedule their programming at this annual event. They have four main tracks (business acceleration, product power, partner sessions, and developer reverb) that past and future attendees can give their input on. Through surveys, polls, and open forums, DocuSign guarantees their attendees’ satisfaction by simply asking them what it is they want.

Docusign - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: DocuSign

19. Give out awards.

UniFirst’s Annual Founders Day Celebration is a sweet and sentimental event celebrating the life of their founder as well as the outstanding individuals who make their company so great today. Although they concentrate on employee awards, event planners can easily add best client categories too and allow them to join in the fun.

UniFirst - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: UniFirst

20. Focus on skills attendees use every day.

Ricoh’s INTERACT 2018 continues to find new ways clients can leverage their investment in their products while also providing new additions and features tailored to their direct feedback. Their entire event revolves around solving common issues their customers face at work and providing solutions. This event strategy is the reason why they’ve quadrupled their attendance this past year.

Ricoh - Sales Acceleration Event

Source: Ricoh

Key Takeaways: Your Sales Acceleration Events

Along with these event marketing examples, consider these main ways to increase or maintain sales velocity:

  • Focus less on the product and more on the event itself. Your prospects came to enjoy themselves, not sit through yet another sales presentation. Play the long game by giving them an experience they truly desire.
  • Make events special. Whether it’s unveiling new products or hand-selecting guests, be sure to make the experience truly unique for those involved. It will be more memorable for everyone that way.
  • Establish thought leader status. Awards, classes, and thoughtful round-tables are all examples of ways to show, not tell, your prospects that you truly are an innovator within your niche.

No matter what type or format you choose for your sales acceleration event, just remember that it’s all about providing value and bringing people together.

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