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How to Drive Lead Generation from Events: The Pardot Way (Part 2)

Ryan Johnston, Demand Generation Manager at Pardot, shares his insight on driving leads from events — specifically, Dreamforce 2013 — in his new blog series. Please read part 1 of this post to learn how Pardot approached lead generation and management leading up to and during the actual event.

Lead Follow-Up

When it comes to event follow-ups, marketing automation and lead nurturing are some of the most powerful tools at your disposal. At Pardot, we use both of these tools to help cater our follow-ups to the specific needs and interests of the leads we meet at events. Let’s take a closer look at how we were able to use nurturing at one recent event: Dreamforce.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, our goal was to use marketing automation to create follow-up messaging that catered to each type of lead at Dreamforce. These techniques can be used in any post-event follow up strategy for a large event with multiple types of prospect interactions.

Here were the follow-up plans for the two main types of leads we saw at the Dreamforce conference: session and booth leads.

Session Leads

After running some math on potential attendees at our eight sessions, it became clear that if we filled each session and scanned every attendee, a majority of our leads probably would have attended at least one of our sessions. This gave us a lot of added insight into our leads — they had attended a session and expressed interest in a certain topic. There were two main strategies for these session leads:

Send Follow-up Slides Immediately

When planning our sessions, we learned two important things: session slides would be available on Chatter, and most attendees don’t receive immediate follow-up from a session. Seeing this as a chance to do something differently, we planned to import session scans as quickly as possible and fire off the slides via email. This meant:

  • Creating a draft for each follow-up email before the conference began

  • Importing the leads from the scanners right after the session

  • Sending the pre-written emails to the appropriate lists

Create a Nurture Track for Each Session

As marketers, we loved that we knew something extra about our session attendees. Seeing an opportunity for customized messaging, we stretched ourselves quite a bit and decided that each session would have its own nurture track. We decided to:

  • Create emails for eight nurture tracks, one for each Pardot session

  • Create a custom content kit of relevant pieces for the first email in each track (complete with a white paper, infographic, SlideShare, and collection of blog articles)

  • Have the first drip email be templated and the rest come from the lead owner

  • Build the drip logic with a limited timeframe for the end of 2013

    • The initial email was sent before Thanksgiving

    • The next two went out in early December and focused on valuable engagement

    • The final email was a light touch before the holiday break

See the banner from one of our nurturing campaigns below:

Booth Leads

With four different booth locations, we had a great presence spread throughout the conference. While we wouldn’t know a booth lead’s specific interest, there was value in knowing the lead stopped by and possibly got entered into a hot lead form. For leads that weren’t identified as “hot” on the spot, we developed the following plan.

Create Nurture Tracks for Marketing and Sales

As with the sessions, we wanted to create lead nurturing tracks for our booth visitors. The initial thought was to create a track for each booth, but we decided that we wanted to focus on something that told us more about the prospect than just which booth(s) was visited. We decided to:

  • Create emails for two drips based on job function: marketing/general and sales

    • Marketers would receive content like our CMO Toolkit, while sales reps would receive content like our CSO Toolkit

  • Create a custom microsite for the first email in each track, Marketing Automation for the Customer Company, which demonstrated our product and tied in with corporate messaging

  • Build the drip logic with the same limited timeframe mentioned above


At the end of the day, all of the work put into Dreamforce was to help us achieve our ROI goal. We felt that our efforts had been successful, but these days, companies can and need to be able to prove their claims. Using the reporting capabilities of both Pardot and Salesforce, we were able to get a comprehensive view of Dreamforce performance. For executive review of Pardot’s efforts, we built a dashboard to measure the following metrics:

  • New Leads by Status: keeps tabs on sales follow-up

  • Pipe in the Room (funnel): shows the opportunities that already existed in the system and attended Dreamforce

  • Opportunities from New Leads: opportunities from new leads that attended Dreamforce

  • Opportunities from Existing Leads: opportunities from leads already in the database that also attended Dreamforce

  • Total Spend vs Influenced ACV: compares our investment in the conference with the ACV of deals influenced

  • Influenced Opportunity Funnel: shows the stages of influenced opportunities from Dreamforce

  • Total Closed Won Accounts: shows the number and value of deals won

With Dreamforce 2013 officially behind us, it’s time to sit back and relax, refreshing the dashboard every once in a while — or, not. We’re excited to start planning for Dreamforce 2014 and going even bigger next time! I hope you enjoyed reading this exhaustive breakdown of our lead generation plan and would love to hear your thoughts. What worked for your company? What didn’t?

If you’re interested in more information on how marketing automation can be used at events, take a look at our “Leveraging Marketing Automation at Trade Shows” white paper.

Trade SHow White Paper