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Eight Effective Strategies for Planning a Successful B2B Event 

Most B2B companies face a dual challenge: excelling in their core products or services while also generating new leads and converting them into loyal customers. With countless marketing tactics to choose from, building and executing a marketing strategy can feel overwhelming and time consuming. It can be difficult to determine what will work best to maximize the budget and achieve substantial returns on investment. 

So how can you make the most of your budget and get better results? Organizing a B2B event can be a powerful marketing tactic to build rapport, nurture relationships and enhance credibility. However, achieving that goal requires careful execution and genuine effort in every detail.  

From planning B2B events in the past, we’ve learned the most important steps to take to ensure a successful function. And we’re not gatekeeping this information! Straight from our lived experience, we’re sharing eight actionable and tangible strategies to level up your next B2B event. 

What is a B2B event? 

The purpose of a B2B event is to help a business facilitate conversations with key stakeholders. In some cases, the goal of these connections is to foster relationships with new prospects. In others, it may be to show appreciation to your current customers to keep those connections strong.  

Your business may want to participate in various types of events, depending on your specific industry and focus. For example: 

  • Sponsoring a large-scale conference can help you connect with many industry professionals at once and offer the perfect structure to showcase your expertise in a workshop or presentation.  
  • Participating in a trade show can give you a platform to demonstrate your services or products directly to a targeted audience looking for your industry-specific solutions.  
  • In-person thought leadership or networking events offer the right setting to share valuable information, discuss potential collaborations and build long-term business relationships.  
  • Hosting a virtual webinar lets you reach a wider audience, eliminate the need for significant physical resources, establish thought leadership in your industry, and capture valuable leads for your sales funnel and future marketing efforts. 

Why should B2B companies prioritize event marketing? 

A B2B company’s niche focus is its superpower. When you offer a specific and highly valuable service that other businesses need, you can capitalize on that demand and build enduring partnerships with loyal customers. 

However, that specialization can make promoting your offerings more complicated. Becoming your customer typically involves extensive deliberation for a prospect’s organization, leading to a lengthy sales process. Take an IT Managed Services Provider (MSP) for example: it’s a significant decision for a prospective client to switch their IT infrastructure and support. Successfully landing such a client requires more than just getting them to click on an advertisement on a whim. 

This is why there’s a huge difference between B2C and B2B marketing. For most B2B companies, traditional marketing methods like paid media need to be highly targeted and integrated with other strategies to be effective. Platforms like LinkedIn and Google Ads can be useful but must be part of a broader, well-coordinated approach. 

Most importantly, B2B companies often see the best success when they connect with potential customers through word of mouth and in-person interactions. That’s why events can be so effective in the B2B space. An event: 

  • Increases Brand Visibility: Boosts your company’s presence and recognition within your industry. 
  • Facilitates Face-to-Face Communication: Allows your team to build rapport with potential clients and demonstrate your expertise more effectively. 
  • Targets the Right Audience: Attendees are present with the intention of addressing their business needs, making them more receptive to sales conversations. 
  • Encourages Referrals: Even if attendees aren’t currently in the market for your services, successfully showcasing your capabilities can lead to new leads through their network. 
  • Showcases Customer Success Stories: Featuring clients and their success stories highlights your company’s impact and builds credibility with potential clients. 

Strategies for a Successful Event 

Now that you understand the benefits of a B2B event, it’s time to start taking action to experience those positive outcomes yourself. Follow these steps to get started:  

  1. Develop your event plan 4-6 months before the event date. 

Develop your event plan ideally six months before the event date to ensure thorough preparation. Here’s how early planning benefits you: 

  • Negotiate Contracts: Securing contracts with vendors and resources like the venue, catering, and AV equipment becomes easier. 
  • Mitigate Risks: Starting early reduces the risk of last-minute disruptions. 
  • Ensure Accurate Marketing: Establishing key event details in advance allows for precise, consistent, and (most importantly) compelling marketing campaigns. 
  • Craft a Meaningful Agenda: Source the right employees for thought leadership and integrate their expertise into your marketing strategy to attract your target audience. 
  • Prepare Compelling Content: Allow ample time for your employees and other presenters to create and practice their presentations, ensuring a smooth and effective delivery that aligns with your event goals. We can’t stress the importance of this point enough! Not taking the time to do this puts you at risk of looking unprepared and can misrepresent your brand. 

Solidifying your event plan four to six months in advance sets a strong foundation for a successful and impactful event. 

For a more detailed list of important event planning items, download our checklist here.  

  1. Create an event playbook 

Having a structured framework for your event ensures efficient and organized planning. An event playbook serves as a centralized repository for all event-related information. To create an effective playbook, consider these key details: 

  • A strong theme and focus for your event  
  • Your event’s target audience, goals, and desired outcomes  
  • The call-to-action you will promote at the event  
  • The roles and responsibilities of team members, sponsors, partners, etc. 

This information helps align every decision with your goals, avoids wasting resources, and ensures you stay within budget. 

  1. Leverage your entire team to promote it – not just your marketing people! 

To make events successful, the entire organization must recognize their importance and take responsibility for boosting attendance. Relying solely on the marketing team isn’t enough. While email, social media, and other digital marketing campaigns are crucial for registrations, leveraging human connections is equally important. 

Everyone in your organization, from sales to service specialists, should actively discuss the event and personally invite their regular contacts. B2B companies, like IT MSPs, have a unique advantage since they frequently interact with clients. 

For example, your sales team can invite clients or connections with whom they have strong relationships, while your leaders reach out to industry peers. Help desk support staff can naturally bring up the event during conversations, ensuring it aligns with the client’s context. There are endless opportunities for promotion if the team is equipped with the right information and guidance on whom to invite. 

Additionally, incorporating event graphics into everyone’s email signatures can serve as a constant, subtle reminder to all recipients, further boosting awareness and interest. 

  1. Oversell your event to ensure a more populated room on event day 

Even if people buy tickets intending to attend, not everyone will show up on the actual day: expect to typically lose 25-50% of the people who registered! There are many reasons why: travel complications or other logistical issues, unexpected emergencies, last-minute obligations, illness, and more.  

To maximize attendance and ensure your audience is lively, we recommend that you (carefully!) aim to exceed your capacity by at least 25% when driving registrations. At a recent event we planned, our venue could hold 80 attendees. In the end, 106 people registered and 78 people (including some staff) showed up – so we had a much fuller room than we would have if we’d simply stopped at 80. 

It will take trial and error to figure out what works for your company specifically, and you’ll need to look at data such as: 

  • Historical attendance rates at past events 
  • Cancellation patterns 
  • The reliability of the RSVPs 
  • Are people receiving calendar invites so they have the time blocked off and a visual reminder of the event?  
  • Your location details: how big is the city? What is the typical weather at that time of year? What is the traffic typically like? 

To maximize your event’s impact, anticipate these factors and strategically oversell to ensure a vibrant, engaged audience. 

  1. Consider your liability  

To ensure your event runs smoothly and benefits your bottom line, it’s crucial to mitigate any risks that could disrupt the day and negatively impact your attendees’ experience. Failing to do so can result in financial loss, legal complications, and reputational damage. 

Secure appropriate insurance coverage, obtain all necessary permits, and ensure that your event space and activities comply with local safety regulations and health standards. 

And if you plan on serving alcohol at your event, it would be wise to provide people with a method for finding a safe ride home. Otherwise, you could also face a lawsuit like in the recent case against a New York State bar. It’s as simple as supplying Uber vouchers or taxi chits! 

  1. Plan an exciting attraction to draw people to attend your event 

Piquing a potential attendee’s interest to get them to register is easier when you feature a compelling attraction like a prize or fun activity with interactive elements – like the recent Pinterest conference where a life-size Pinterest board offered attendees an immersive experience

These event centerpieces not only attract attendees but also keep them engaged. Continuing our example of an IT MSP, we’ve seen success from hosting a live demo of someone trying to hack a device to showcase a cybersecurity product’s effectiveness. Another time, we showcased a high-quality, smash-tested, and waterproof laptop that included a demonstration where staff poured water on it and then used it to see that promise in action. We’ve also seen companies do live cybersecurity checks where they ask for volunteers and check their network – one actually caught a hacking attempt live at one of their events and closed a client that way! 

Besides attracting people to your event, this type of activity can also extend the event’s longevity. It creates a memorable experience that leaves an impression, which will make it easier for you to achieve your event goals and promote future events. 

  1. Hire a professional photographer and videographer 

Documenting your event extends its impact long after attendees have gone home, maximizing your investment and boosting future promotions. Recorded sessions from webinars or in-person workshops can serve as evergreen assets on your website, helping to generate leads over time. 

Photos and videos from any event type can be powerful tools for nurturing potential clients. They serve as visual reminders of the valuable experience when you follow up and can be used to generate buzz for future events, showcasing positive experiences to boost attendance. 

Importantly, don’t rely on a staff member to capture these moments. They need to focus on presenting, supporting the event, or mingling with attendees. Also, staff members might not produce high-quality content if they aren’t trained for this task. Investing in a professional photographer or videographer ensures you get top-notch materials that showcase your event’s professionalism and value. 

  1. Follow up  

Your work doesn’t end when the event does! Post-event follow-up is crucial for transforming connections made into tangible results. 

Schedule follow-up conversations during the event to ensure continuity. Encourage your sales team to take notes on their interactions throughout the day, and even connect with people on LinkedIn in real time. This allows them to conduct personalized outreach, which is often more effective than a mass email to the entire registration list. Personalized connections help ensure leads take the desired action, whether booking a consultation, requesting a product demo, or making a purchase. 

To facilitate this, don’t burden your sales team with too many responsibilities on the event day. Learn from our past mistake: involving the sales team in a presentation meant they couldn’t engage with attendees when it mattered most. Instead, keep your sales team and leadership team free to have meaningful conversations with clients and prospects, maximizing your event’s impact. 

Plan a successful B2B event with Clash Creative  

Promoting a B2B event requires meticulous planning, from creating an event plan and playbook to preparing compelling content and marketing materials. Without the right expertise, many businesses struggle with outreach, leading to lower visibility among the right audience. This often results in fewer attendees and missed opportunities for meaningful business outcomes. 

At Clash Creative, we provide comprehensive marketing services to support you every step of the way in promoting your B2B events. 

Contact us today to schedule a call and discover how we can help you attract the right audience and ensure your event’s success. 

Copywriter at Clash Creative | + posts

Copywriter at Clash Creative

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