Track 301: Host a Learning Event About the Power of Salesforce Sales Cloud

A learning event is simple in theory: You invite prospects to come hear a sales presentation. You give them food, drink, and an informative presentation in exchange for their time and interest. Simple as this sounds, proper execution requires a lot of planning. Track 301 will walk you through the three stages of your event: how to prepare and plan to set yourself up for success, how to make certain that your event runs smoothly, and how to follow up after your event so you make the most of the leads you generate.

Why a learning event is a great way to establish connections 

Face-to-face meetings with potential customers allow for deeper, higher quality connections and stronger long-term customer relationships.

A good learning event will serve three main purposes:

1. Drive new customer acquisition

2. Deepen existing customer relationships

3. Establish your company as a trusted Salesforce partner and thought leader in the field

What To Do Before Your Event

Set clear objectives: When you begin to plan your event, it’s important that you focus on two main objectives: First, raising awareness about your Salesforce Reseller practice, and second, lead generation.

Define clear metrics: Measuring awareness and lead generation is essential. You should set up and establish tracking tools and protocols before the event. Specific metrics to look at in measuring success include registrations, attendees, leads generated, conversations generated, opportunities created, closed deals from the event.

Assemble your team: While it’s possible to put on a learning event like this without any help, having a team makes the whole process run more smoothly. Ideally, you’ll assemble a team to help with the following event logistics:

Content and talk track. A great presentation and story are the most important part of your event!
Consistent branding. Throughout your event, you’ll want to be sure that the design of all materials align—decks, banners, printed materials, etc.
Credible, compelling speaker. This can be you, of course, but it doesn’t have to be. You can MC the event and introduce a speaker. The presenter must be an engaging, outgoing public speaker. TIP: Invite a happy customer to speak about their experience! It’s always better to have a customer pitch your value, rather than hearing it from a sales rep.
Event coordinator. Again, this can be you, but doesn’t have to be. There’s a lot of logistics to take care of: booking, catering, setup and breakdown, audio/visual, etc. A dedicated even coordinator is a great idea—if budget allows.

Budgeting: Throwing an event costs money, and smart spending is key. You’ll want to establish a budget early, and plan funds for materials, gifts, venue, food and drink, and audio/visual support. You can use a combination of marketing funds and Salesforce MDF money. Salesforce will match spending up to a certain point. Ask your CAM if you have questions on submission guidelines or timelines.

Event Planning: Proper planning ensures success! Begin planning your event at least several months in advance./s/301-1.png?v=1

Location: The right location is essential for a successful event. You may want to hold your event
in a hotel conference room, an event space, a restaurant or bar, or a conference room/open
space in your office.

You want a space that is large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably, but small
enough to make the room feel full. This will ensure attendees can view the presentation easily
and interact comfortably. The room should have good acoustics and be large enough to
accommodate audio/visual equipment, flip charts, and other necessary items.

The location should be easy to find, and there should be a variety of transportation options:
easy/free parking, proximity to metro stations, etc.

TIP: A location can be a big draw and help boost attendance. Get creative and search for places
that add value. A spot with an amazing city view. A spot that has been generating media buzz.
Office location of one of your biggest, most well-known customers that attendees might be
excited to see.

You can use MDF money to rent a location.

Timing: Learning events should be conveniently timed to maximize attendance. Common timeframes: Breakfast, lunch, happy hour, or even dinner. You can try multiple timings/types of event over the course of several events to find out which works best. You’ll want to be sure that there aren’t any conflicts that would prevent guests from attending. For example, avoid Fridays at the end of a work week, community events, and local holidays.

Food and Beverage: Unless you’re hosting the event at a restaurant, you’ll have to decide who will cater the event. You’ll want food that is approachable to the widest range of appetites. Set
time in your agenda for attendees to eat plated items (to avoid noise during presentation) or plan pre-boxed meals that are easy to grab and help get things moving faster. You can use MDF
money to help pay for food.

Supplies: Be certain that all your supplies are taken care of in advance.
• Audio/visual equipment—including projecter and screen, computer connection cables, slide advancer, back-up laptop, multiple copies of your presentation
• Flip charts, whiteboards, and other non-digital presentation aides
• Printed materials like one-sheeters, handouts, and surveys

Schedule: Guide attendees through a structured, flexible agenda. You’ll want to have a schedule/s/301-2.png?v=1
in place for everything that needs to happen on the day of your event; from setup, to guest
arrival, to departure and breakdown.

Additionally, you’ll want to have a clear schedule in place for the event itself, down to the
minute! Keep in mind the following points:

• Build in time at the beginning for people to arrive, get food, and mingle
• Be sure that you have enough time for your pitch as well as Q&A
• For an hour long event, a good target looks something like this:
- 10 minutes of greeting, guests get food and drink
- 40 minutes of presenting
- 10 minutes of Q&A
• As the event kicks off, take a deep breath, relax, and accept the fact that events never go exactly according to plan.

Here is a Event Day Checklist to help be sure that you have everything in order on the big day.

Timeline and Checklist: It can be hard to keep track of everything as you prepare for your event. You’ll want to have a timeline for planning and a checklist in place to make certain you don’t miss anything important. Here is a Learning Event Timeline and Checklist for the whole planning process.

Audience development: Use your database to drive attendance. Consider targeting specific industries, verticals, geographies, and titles to attract the best attendees. If your list doesn’t have
enough contacts, consider using MDF money to purchase a list of prospective attendees. Reaching out to a large pool of possible attendees is key, as most contacts will not respond to the
invite. On top of that, a general rule of thumb for attendance is a 50% drop-off from registration list to actual attendees. So recruit double your target in order to meet your goals.

Invites and reminders: Turn that audience list into a guest list by spreading the word! Here is an example of a five-touch pre-event communications plan:

Touch 1: Email Invitation - See example Email Invitation/s/301-3.png?v=1
Touch 2: Direct Mailer Invitation OR Email Invitation #2 - See example Co-brandable Postcard Invite
Touch 3: Phone - Event Confirmation
• Call to confirm attendance
• Communicate any event day details
• Answer any questions/concerns
Touch 4A: Email Reminder—Your Scheduled Event is Tomorrow/This week (current registrants) See example Email Reminder
Touch 4B: Email Reminder—Last Chance to Register for Event Tomorrow/This week (non registrants) See example Email Invitation
Touch 5: Email Reminder—Details for Today’s/Tomorrow’s Event
• Send day of event (or day before)
• Include time and date, parking information, meeting place, Google map location, details on what to look for
• See example Day Before Reminder Email
Bonus Touch: Social Media
• Social Media is a great way to get potential guests interested in your event.
• Beginning a few weeks out from the event date, post about your upcoming learning event in all your channels.
• Focus your efforts on the networks that you have the most traction.
• The Facebook Events feature is a great way to organize your guest list.

This five-touch pre-event communications plan is spelled out in detail in the Learning Event Timeline and Checklist.

What To Do During Your Event

Reminder: Download the Day-of Checklistto make certain you have everything in order for the big day.

Event Fundamentals

Before your guests arrive: Be sure that everything is in its right place: The food is ready, there are enough seats for your attendees, and the materials are organized. Test the A/V equipment.

Good signage: Make certain that everybody knows where to go. Details should be included in your Day Before Reminder Email, and proper signage can also help point attendees in the right direction.

Greet everyone: Make everyone feel welcome! People like to do business with people they like and this your business’ first impression. Depending on numbers, if possible, you want to shake every hand and make the personal acquaintance of everybody who attends your event.

Track attendance: Make sure you track everyone who actually shows up! This will help you customize your follow-up, and also rate the interest of your registration list. Have a way to track contact information for “drop-ins”—people who did not initially register for your event. This happens often, and drop-ins tend to be attendees with a higher level of interest in what you are offering.

Capture additional qualifying data with a survey: A great way to capture additional information about your attendees is through a survey. You can create a hard copy Chair Drop Example or a create a survey link and send it out during the event. TIP: Encourage attendees to fill out survey and return in order to be entered to win a prize. Another simple option is to have attendees drop business cards in a bowl and draw for a prize from those.

Create lasting impact with take-home materials and gifts: For take-home materials, we recommend a one sheeter about your Salesforce Reseller practice and a few case studies. See example Learning Event One-Sheeter Template

Gifts like pens, t-shirts, and coffee mugs get people excited about your products. You can purchase these items at Salesforcestore.com using MDF money.

Presenting Salesforce Material

Practice, practice, practice: You’ll want to know your content front to back—and be sure your/s/301-4.png?v=1
speaker knows it as well. Remember, if you’re not a compelling public speaker, there’s nothing
wrong with hosting the event and passing the mic to somebody else for the presentation. This is
your opportunity to make sure people know everything you want them to know about your
Salesforce practice.

Be friendly: Be personable and informative. Your attendees should be excited to be there,
having a good time, and learning something.

Delivering the presentation: Consider delivering a presentation that loosely follows this
• Quick evolution of your business
• Opportunity for sales organizations
• What is Salesforce and CRM?
• How your Reseller practice adds value
• Sales Cloud overview
• Customer success stories

Here is a Salesforce First Call Deck that you can use as a guide in creating your Event Presentation Deck.

Tell an interesting story! This deck is only a guideline. Most important: tell a great story. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other Resellers out there. What makes you unique?

Use the framework of a story: An intriguing title, a key thesis, main characters, logical flow of points, supporting details, and a memorable call to action. Build drama to keep attention.

Show your solution offering: Screenshots and demos allow attendees to experience Salesforce Sales Cloud at a high level—and will make them want to learn more about how Sales Cloud can address their particular pain points. At the end of your presentation, your attendees should have a clear idea of the power of Salesforce Sales Cloud and how you can help them leverage that power.

What To Do After Your Event

The follow-up is the most critical component to a successful event.

Document leads: Compile all the contact information you gathered from new prospects. Note which leads are cold, warm, and hot.

Nurture leads, say thank you, make an offer: Begin with a follow-up email to everybody who attended. Thank them for their participation and make an offer; a personal demo, access to an e-book or white paper, an invitation to your next event or demo. Provide unique detail and personalization to individual leads wherever possible.

TIP:Share a thought leadership white paper generated from the returned survey results and insights gathered.

See Learning Event Follow-Up Email Template Then, follow up via phone. The phone call should aim to set up a free live demo of Salesforce products that could be of use for the lead.

Track metrics and objectives: Remember the goals and objectives? Now you have to track numbers and deals to make certain you’re hitting your marks.

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