The efficiency of the top of funnel lead acquisition and qualification steps are largely determined by the effectiveness of marketing at driving high-quality leads. The bottom of the funnel closing process is largely a function of the negotiation and contracting process, some of which is beyond the control of your marketing and sales teams.
It is in the mid-funnel where the length of the sales cycle can be significantly extended or dramatically shortened, depending on the sales nurture and education process employed. Mid-funnel nurture methods may include in-person meetings, product demonstrations, distribution of educational content, case studies and sales events just to name a few. No matter what the technique, the goal is to move the opportunity through to a purchase outcome.
However, of all these techniques, there is strong evidence and rationale for well-executed events being the single most effective way to accelerate the mid-funnel, and therefore the overall sales funnel. The advantages of events for mid-funnel nurture are many:
1) Instead of doing one-to-one meetings with clients, as a salesperson you can present to multiple clients at once, a significant efficiency gain.
2) Because events require a commitment of time and effort to attend, they benefit from commitment bias, where event attendees become more likely to buy into the message being presented because of the investment they made to receive that message.
3) Events provide a forum for prospects to meet and hear from existing customers, providing tangible, credible social proof for your product or service.
4) Because events are in-person, the salesperson can build personal connections with their prospects, helping to strengthen trust and rapport which may ease the passage of a deal.
5) Well executed events can provide a positive, delightful, and fun experience for prospects. Those events create positive, memorable associations with your brand and a desire to have more such experiences in the future.
This isn’t just theoretical. A recent analysis of funnel data from four Splash clients across 10 sales focused events shows that leads and current opportunities who attend an event are more likely to close, and close faster, than leads and opportunities who do not attend.
Our analysis looked at how leads and opportunities attending each respective event progressed through the sales funnel in the 90 day period after each event, compared to leads and opportunities who did not attend an event
Among those who attended, the number of days to close averaged 49 days. However, those who did not attend averaged 65 days to close. In other words, event attendance reduced the sales cycle by 25%.