The Secret to Successful SDR Event Follow-up

Even during this pandemic, events can be a great way to find warm, in-market leads looking for solutions like yours. But there’s a caveat. You need to have a team and process in place to capitalize on these new opportunities in order to take advantage of the platform. So what should that process look like? And who should handle these leads?

The answer to the latter question is simple. Your SDRs should handle event generated leads (you are on though, so maybe you already knew that). They are equipped with the right mindset and skills to develop sustainable rapport that will bridge the gap between pre- and post-event communication. The more complex question to tackle – the process – needs more exploration. So let’s dive into the three phases of audience acquisition and see what we find.

Before the Event

This is the most overlooked part of the process. For many orgs, marketing handles pre-event promotion and sales development handles post-event activities. In reality, driving attendance to an event should have two sides, the marketing side and the sales dev side. Let’s leave the marketing up to the marketers and focus on how SDRs should be helping drive attendance.

There are a few ways SDRs can increase attendance, and it starts with the list that’s already in front of them. If a prospect isn’t ready to take a meeting but still wants some info sent their way (the classic brush off), it’s a perfect opportunity for an SDR to bring up, and then register them for the webinar (with their permission, of course). The prospect doesn’t even have to do anything! Once the SDR has the go ahead they can register them on their end, giving time back to the prospect while maintaining interest in your offering/content.

The other method, if you really want to drive event traffic, is to get your SDRs a list of potential attendees (something like past event registrants/attendees typically does well) and have them reach out specifically about the event. With no additional qualification required and a much softer ask of the prospect, these types of “leads” typically come in at a much higher volume than your average handover process.

By using your SDRs to drive traffic prior to the event you’re ensuring two things. 1) The event will hit its attendance/engagement goals and 2) there will be more people to follow up with afterward, and those people will be much warmer leads because they already have some rapport built.

During the Event

Sit back, relax! Let the content marketing team do what they do best. As long as they put out good content, the prospects will maintain or increase their interest just by attending.

To note: For events that involve prospects and sales reps meeting in a 1-on-1 environment – like those tradeshows we all used to love attending way back when – communication between SDRs and the team manning (and womaning?) the booth needs to be as smooth as possible. If you plan to man your booth with SDRs then you have nothing to worry about. If you plan to have AEs handle booth duties make sure they sync up with the SDR team prior to the event to get a rundown of all the interested parties and what they value as potential customers. 

After the Event

Here comes the fun part. Get that attendee list to see who actually showed and get to calling! Make sure that the SDR who registered the attendee is the same one that follows up. Not only is that a best practice for maintaining rapport, but doing otherwise can reflect poorly on your organization’s organization and communication, and nobody wants to leave that kind of impression. If AEs were involved during the event, make sure they sync up with the SDRs to review which attendees they’ll be taking and which will be pushed back to the SDRs for further follow-up and qualification. From here, your SDRs can treat pre-event outbound leads as inbound leads that already have a soft introduction. Talk about an upgrade. 

Don’t forget, timing is extremely important for this last step. If the event was exclusive to your org, they should be following up immediately. The longer it takes to follow up, the colder the leads will get. Conversely, if they attended an event where yours is just one product among many, giving prospects a couple of days to organize their overall thoughts isn’t a bad idea. Feel free to send an email or make a call the next day, but understand that the prospect likely has a pile of collateral matching the number of follow up emails in his or her inbox. By following up consistently over the course of the next few weeks you increase the odds of standing out from the crowd of follow-up outreach as other SDRs following up move back into their regular prospecting cadence.

SDRs are almost always tasked with event follow-up because they’re well equipped to handle it. Even still, many organizations continue to fail at taking full advantage by not adopting a dedicated process that defines how prospects should be treated both after and before an event. By having a system that utilizes your SDRs on both sides of an event with proper communication, you’ll find much more success.