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How to Drive Lead Generation from Events: The Pardot Way

Ryan Johnston, Demand Generation Manager at Pardot, shares his insight on driving leads from events — specifically, Dreamforce 2013 — in his new blog series.

For many companies, a key conference or event has the power to put tens of thousands of ideal prospects in the same location and in the mood to make purchasing decisions. There’s no denying that making a splash at these events can reap great returns, but what will you do with all of the scans that a capella group got you with their renditions of 90s hip-hop jams at the happy hour you sponsored? Since events often require a large budget investment, meeting your ROI goals for a major event requires a post-event plan that’s just as detailed and comprehensive as your on-site plan.

For Pardot, a long-time Salesforce partner and now a part of the Salesforce family, Dreamforce has always been an important event. Our goal was to take advantage of every opportunity Dreamforce presented and to use our own marketing automation tool to execute on a scale we never had before. The results were some of the best we’ve had for any lead generation activity, and we feel that the tactics we used can be applied to any event, so I am here to share them with you.

Here’s what we did:

Lead Generation

The first step to making sure you get a positive ROI from an event is acquiring data from qualified leads. Our events team set us on the right path by creating as many opportunities as possible for us to engage and scan high-quality leads using a combination of standard demo stations, speaking sessions, and fun engagements like a party and a social media component.

Knowing these various lead sources helped us plan for how the leads would be distributed and what the follow-up process would look like. Each source represented a different level of engagement and interest, so they would receive different types of follow-up messaging.

We also created a way to quickly recognize the hottest leads that we engaged with. We built a landing page that would be available on all devices for the reps to use on the show floor. Leads that flowed through this form would be created and assigned in Pardot and Salesforce in real time, with a follow-up task for the rep. This allowed us to begin engaging with leads as soon as possible to keep them interested.

Lead Management

Generating the leads is only half the battle, because a lead is only as good as the new business it brings in. We anticipated that there would be four types of scans we would get: new lead and new company, new lead at a company in our database, existing lead at a company in our database, and new/existing contact at a current client. We wanted to cater our follow-up to the type of lead and their level of engagement. Leads that only engaged at one touchpoint would be considered a lower level of interest and would be nurtured after the event. Leads that had multiple points of engagement were considered hotter leads and sent to sales for follow-up.

We wanted to make sure that our sales reps could quickly understand how each lead had interacted with us at the event. Reps could review all of the campaigns associated with the lead to get this information. To help them even further, we populated columns on all of the import files with the lead’s activity and mapped them to the Pardot Notes field. A quick scan of this field would tell the rep something like:

  • Dreamforce 2013 – Visited Pardot Booth

  • Dreamforce 2013 – Session – 7 Tips Lead Nurturing

  • Dreamforce 2013 – Session – Accelerate Pipeline

Scoring and grading models were set up to handle all of the Dreamforce leads to help further identify which leads were hot and qualified. The information from our lead scanners took care of most of the grading profile. As for scoring, point values were assigned for each point of engagement — for example, 50 points for a booth visit and 100 points for attending a session.

Want to learn more about how we developed follow-up content for our Dreamforce leads? Stay tuned for part two of our series next week!

Learn more about using automation at events in our free white paper. Click on the banner below!

To learn more about post event lead follow-up, check out part 2 of this series here.

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