Attending an annual trade or industry event as an exhibitor or a sponsor used to be a given. The Justification was always warranted – you were there to meet your customers, to meet prospects and push them further along the sales process or if you had to: “we need to be there as all of our competitors are.”
As a Marketing / Sales Manager you’d need to wade through the many conference sales calls, identify which event would be targeting the right audience and which would help drive some of the initiatives that you had planned for that quarter.
The sales manager would normally consult with marketing and say that they found it invaluable in talking to customers and potential customers, while marketing could use it as an avenue to develop the brand, release new products lines, take surveys, competitions and increase sales.
Nowadays, with several quantifiable proven marketing channels available – going to industry events is no longer a given. There have always been different things pulling on the marketing dollar – and a good marketer will be more strategic than ever in putting money into events. The main question that will always be raised is: What’s the return on our investment (ROI)? How did it stack last year?
This is where Dynamics 365 can help. With the use of the Power Platform and PowerApps, it's now easier than ever to create an app that would register people at your stand, place them into a draw, add them to your CRM sales list (if they are new) or add new information to their already created account in CRM, view information about them, surface information about them instantly, associate them to a sales manager and kick off workflows to send out emails. The opportunities are really only limited by your marketers’ creativity. This can all be done without any code, no developers needed.
You can even create an app that would take a picture of a business card and scrape the text and add that person into CRM. All this information is discoverable – and measurable. If that person you chatted to at the event, then decides to order your product 7 months later – you can attribute that sale (at least partially) to being at the event.
As soon as you bring the data into CRM, you have options and you can measure and follow up on that information. Associate the leads to a salesperson to follow up on, or kick off a marketing automation flow to ensure they are placed in the sales pipeline and nurture program.
If this all sounds good to you – have a look into PowerApps + Dynamics 365 – it's the best combination of creativity and accuracy of data. It will help you in proving the ROI of the next event you go to.