In-person events provide excellent opportunities for companies to meet people up close. This strategy is even more effective when you’re offering real value like a seminar or training session.
This was what the Callbox Singapore team had in mind with its recent event.
In late March, the Callbox team hosted an in-person workshop titled “Sales Prospecting Masterclass for Information Communications Technology.” The event was developed for sales and marketing leaders from Singapore’s B2B tech sector. The workshop aimed to teach attendees how to build and maintain a robust sales prospecting process.
The three-hour event took place at Found8 and was attended by marketing and sales professionals in various ICT verticals. The audience consisted mostly of mid to senior managers from SMBs and enterprise-level businesses.
Two of Callbox’s top B2B sales experts, Rebecca Matias (Director of Sales & Marketing) and Sharifah Aljunied (Director of Business Development), presented the training material. They were joined by a few of Callbox’s outbound sales reps and account managers who also fielded questions from attendees.
Overall, the workshop reached both its goals of thought leadership and community building, as well as achieved all its key event objectives. This made the event another milestone for the team.
Callbox held a similar event exactly 10 years earlier. In January 2009, the Callbox team gave a series of workshops in Singapore and Malaysia called “Global Marketing Strategies for the IT Industry” together with Google.
That event helped Callbox establish its reputation and deepen its network in Southeast Asia’s B2B technology space, plus it brought in long-term APAC clients that still work with the company today.
About The Topic
We chose the topic of tech sales prospecting since there was a clear need for today’s B2B tech sector to revisit how they approach this crucial activity. The way that customers make tech purchases continues to change, leaving many organizations struggling to keep up.
That’s because Most tech vendors aren’t really selling the way their customers are buying. Fixing this means having a prospecting program that’s more aligned with the changing purchase process.
While there’s no shortage of resources and materials that tackle modern sales prospecting, it’s not easy to find content that ties everything together in a single, coherent discussion.
That’s what we wanted to do with the workshop. We wanted to provide an in-depth, complete walkthrough of a fully functioning sales prospecting program.
Event Goals and Strategy
We planned the event with two main goals in mind:
- To share Callbox’s own experience and knowledge about tech sales prospecting
- To connect with a community of marketers and sales professionals in Singapore’s ICT industry
To make sure we achieved both of these outcomes, we relied on Callbox’s end-to-end, multi-channel event marketing approach—similar to what we offer our event marketing clients.
With this strategy, we combined phone, email, social media, and online channels to maximize conversions at each stage of the event life cycle. We’ll go into more detail about how we used this approach throughout the rest of this wrap-up.
The Callbox team had eight weeks to prepare for the workshop. We spent much of this time planning and carrying out pre-event marketing activities. This included building the attendee list, crafting campaign materials, and doing the pre-event cadence.
We set the objectives for the pre-show phase based on our previous experience with similar in-person events.
- Generate a total of 90 to 100 registrations
- Maintain at least a 50% RSVP rate (a total of 45 to 50 confirmed attendees)
The pre-event campaign centered on attracting signups and RSVPs using a mix of different outbound and inbound marketing tactics. Some of the key campaign activities during this portion of the event were:
We developed the training material specifically for middle to senior-level sales and marketing personas. Our ideal attendee profile consisted of:
- Job title: Marketing managers, marketing directors, sales managers, sales directors, VP of marketing/sales, managing directors, CEOs
- Industry: ICT
- Business size: SMBs and enterprises
- Location: Singapore (prioritized companies within a 2-mile radius from event venue)
We targeted potential attendees from every stage of the sales funnel, including top-of-funnel prospects, SQLs already in our pipeline, and Callbox clients (both current and previous).
Event Page and Content Marketing Efforts
Our pre-show inbound strategy was mostly made up of online and content marketing initiatives that generated awareness, facilitated registrations, and maximized attendance:
- Initial landing page on the Callbox site that served as starting point for registration
- Main landing page on Eventbright that acted as the workshop’s online hub and where attendees can finish the signup process
- A number of previous and new blog posts published on the Callbox site with CTAs pointing to the event landing pages
- Two press releases that announced and updated key details about the event
Sales Prospecting Masterclass for ICT Landing Page
Emails played a key role in achieving our pre-event objectives. We segmented our target attendee list according to contacts’ stage in the sales funnel (cold prospects, MQLs, SQLs, current clients, and past clients). We then tailored our messaging based on these groups.
Each segment received a series of email touches based on the following cadence (although this varied from segment to segment):
- An initial email blast announcing the workshop went out six weeks before the event.
- A more targeted follow-up email was sent to recipients who hadn’t signed up three days after the initial email.
- A more personalized re-engagement email was sent to recipients who opened but did not respond to the initial send-out.
The team also leveraged LinkedIn outreach to drive event awareness and connect with potential attendees. This gave us a whole new layer of touches to boost pre-event results, since LinkedIn complements email outreach really well, based on our experience.
We developed the LinkedIn strategy to closely align with our email activities. We set aside two touch points immediately after the first email send-out. These LinkedIn touches were:
- LinkedIn Invites sent to contacts on the attendee list who hadn’t opened the initial emails
- InMails containing the event invitation
Phone Outreach (Call-to-Invite)
During the last three weeks of the pre-show phase, the team started contacting event attendees via phone. With potential attendees already warmed up by the email and LinkedIn touches, they were more receptive to live one-on-one conversations. Phone outreach also helped us connect with unresponsive contacts at this stage of the pre-event process.
This was how we laid out the phone outreach cadence:
- All contacts were called up three weeks before the workshop. Depending on the segment and the contact’s previous responses, the calls were made to encourage registrations, assist in the signup process, and provide updates.
- Confirmation calls were made one week prior to the event date.
This free resource includes sample IT/software buyer personas, plus actual telemarketing scripts tailored for each key buyer role.
We also used some paid promotional channels during the pre-event stage. These included Display Ads and Facebook Promoted Posts.
Once all the pre-show outreach activities were completed, we noted the following results:
- 104 total registrations
- 57 confirmed attendees
- 55% RSVP rate
We were able to reach our target number of signups earlier, that we stopped accepting registrations more than one week before the event. We also exceeded our target number of confirmed attendees a few days prior to the workshop.
Live at the Workshop
When the big day finally came, the team was ready for the training session. Behind the scenes, we carried out on-event marketing activities. These ensured that the actual program generated the results we set during planning.
In terms of event marketing objectives for the actual workshop, we aimed for a turnout rate of at least 50%. In addition to delivering the training session as planned, we also wanted to maximize the opportunities for attendees to network and interact with everyone at the venue.
The Sales Prospecting Masterclass proceeded as scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aside from the workshop itself, there were a number of other key event marketing activities that helped contribute to the event’s success. Here are a few highlights.
Engagement and Promotion During the Event
The team had a number of social media activities lined up to help generate buzz for the event. These activities encouraged the event team and employees back at the office to post and share updates about the workshop on social media.
The Actual Program
The workshop was divided into two main sections. The training session was scheduled for the first two hours, while the Q&A and networking sessions were done in the remaining hour.
We recorded a total of 33 check-ins at the event and attained a turnout rate of 58%. We were also able to address various questions from the audience during the Q&A session. Lastly, the event gave both the team and attendees ample opportunities to network.
In the two weeks that followed the workshop, the team carried out the post-show cadence. This phase of the event cycle also saw solid results.
Although this event was primarily a thought leadership effort, we also set some lead generation objectives as part of our targets.
- Convert 75% of top-of-funnel and MQL attendees into SQLs
- Reach a net promoter score (NPS) of at least +30
The post-event cadence consisted of email and phone touches tailored based on the pre-show segments.
We sent out a short email survey to all attendees on the first Wednesday after the event. The email asked recipients to rate the workshop as well as capture their comments and suggestions.
Nurture and Follow-up Activities
The team implemented a two-week post-event follow-up cadence that targeted the 33 attendees. Although we initially planned out a follow-up sequence, we made sure to readapt the nurture paths according to how the contacts responded.
With each touch point, we asked probing questions and tracked actions to help us gauge how ready a contact is to advance to the next stages of the conversion funnel.
Our post-event efforts produced the following:
- 21 new SQLs
- 84% MQL to SQL conversion rate
- 2 deals closed
- +33 NPS
With these KPIs, we were able to reach our post-event objectives. We attributed the very high lead conversion rate partly to the highly-targeted attendee list we compiled.
We were also able to turn two of the event attendees to new clients, which further added to our post-show success.
In terms of thought leadership, the team decided to use NPS as proxy to gauge how the event was successful in that area.
Results from the email survey showed that 67% of attendees would recommend the event. This group exceeded the other ratings by a 33-point margin. As one prominent feedback from the survey noted:
“I think the speakers were very frank and generous in sharing their experiences which helps us relate. Makes me appreciate the service.”
The survey also helped us learn possible topics to cover in our upcoming events:
- Account-based marketing (ABM)
- Email marketing
- Lead nurturing
Overall, the team thinks the Sales Prospecting Masterclass is a resounding success. The event handily exceeded objectives at each stage and, more importantly, it achieved everything that we had set out to do.
The event shows that planning and preparation really play a huge part in driving results. It also demonstrates how end-to-end event promotion can impact success.