Regardless of whether it’s pre-show planning, mid-show chaos, or post-show follow-ups, let’s be honest: managing a successful corporate event is stressful from start to finish. And in a now-virtual world, there’s a new set of challenges for event planners to overcome. According to Markletic, B2B event marketers say audience engagement is the largest challenge when it comes to virtual events, followed by interaction.

To make it harder, event managers don’t know who’s attending until the day of. Without knowing who the attendees are beforehand, you can’t get your brand in front of them, schedule meetings, or invite them to sessions. That’s where the value of ZoomInfo’s Enhance feature comes in. Enhance searches ZoomInfo’s database for additional or missing contact or company information. If we receive a pre-event attendee list that only includes title and company, Enhance pulls in first names, last names, emails, phone numbers, and more. 

Danny Daly, event manager at ZoomInfo, overcame the transition from in-person to virtual event planning and management using our tool to: 

  • Identify attendee lists
  • Reach out to potential virtual visitors
  • Follow up with additional registration and attendee lists after an event

In fact, ZoomInfo’s entire events program improved from 120 percent to 300 percent ROI over six months by using the company’s own data to manage pre- and post-event activities. This is what we did—and with the right tools—how you can do it, too.

The Beginning: Pre-Show Planning With ZoomInfo

If you want to achieve high ROI from your event, you need to drive traffic to your virtual booth and sponsored sessions. Easier said than done, right? Event organizers rarely provide a complete list of attendees with full contact details, so knowing who to market your virtual booth to is made nearly impossible.

Luckily for us, we have a wealth of data at our fingertips. Using ZoomInfo’s platform, Daly was able to:

Establish an accurate attendee database 

“In my past life, attaining the right list of attendees was the biggest, most time-consuming challenge,” says Daly. “There were events for which I didn’t have many—if any—names to work with within my database. Nonetheless, I needed to know who was still at a company of interest, build the list, and then match who from those accounts were most likely to attend the show.”

When planning for a virtual event, Daly uses ZoomInfo’s platform to quickly generate an enriched database of potential attendees to target. Here’s what he does:

  • Finds past and present attendees. Event managers don’t often get access to full attendee lists, but rather a list of companies that are attending. By leveraging ZoomInfo’s OrgCharts, which shows reporting structures at companies, Daly searches for contacts within those companies who fit the profile of an attendee. Because B2B event sponsors have historically been good ideal customer profile (ICP) fits for ZoomInfo, Daly reviews prior and current sponsors, as well as similar companies. He runs those company lists against typical job titles seen at an event to get a strong indication of who is coming. Plus, if a company sponsors an event, it’s likely their competitors will attend, too.
  • Uses information from the prospectus to broaden reach. Using the ZoomInfo platform in conjunction with the event’s sponsorship prospectus, Daly runs searches against targeted job titles to gain a more detailed view of expected or targeted attendees who would benefit from attending that specific event. Additionally, ZoomInfo provides access to companies that use certain technologies. For example, the Dreamforce conference attracts Salesforce administrators, business analysts, and sales operations professionals—and with ZoomInfo, you can search for those roles in specific industries at specific companies to promote your sponsorship.  
  • Leverages previous years’ leads to find new attendees. If an event manager’s company sponsored an event in a prior year, they likely have a list of attendees on file. Daly runs those lists through ZoomInfo Enrich to obtain an updated list of leads and get a better idea of what companies are attending an upcoming show. Daly can also see who the sales team contacted in the past and whether the reps were successful.

Once Daly completes these steps, he enriches the database to identify and expand on his ICP and narrow it down further to find people at target companies who are likely to attend the event.

Enrich lists to schedule meetings and attract virtual visitors 

As an event manager, you’ve probably obtained a list of attending companies and thought, “What the heck am I going to do with this?” With ZoomInfo’s Enhance feature, Daly found the most relevant people from those companies, making it easier to:

  • Pre-schedule meetings with the right prospects for reps attending the event
  • Drive traffic to the virtual event, sessions, and expo hall
  • Send e-gifts to high-value prospects and customers

Develop a strategy for targeted, personalized outreach 

Knowing which companies are attending isn’t enough. Reps can’t schedule a meeting with a company; they need to reach people. With that in mind, a key point of event pre-planning is to target segmented attendee lists with relevant messaging and content. 

“Using ZoomInfo, I can quickly pull a list of VPs and directors of sales and marketing at the companies attending the event and send them a personalized message,” says Daly.

Such a message could emphasize a business challenge that is bringing the VPs and directors to the event, allowing you to promote your company’s product, features, and how you will help those directors and VPs be more successful. 

Daly can also layer segmented attendee lists onto other company attributes—like technographic data—within the ZoomInfo platform to get even more granular.

“At last year’s Dreamforce, for example, I targeted companies that used Salesforce and Marketo,” says Daly. “I also needed companies with at least 100 salespeople and those that had a funding event in the last 30 days, so I included those filters as well.’’

Using ZoomInfo’s ongoing approach to data accuracy, it’s easy to send highly targeted messages to prospects and personas of focus, streamlining a fluid account-based marketing (ABM) strategy for enhanced personalization.

The Middle: Mid-Show Management With ZoomInfo

During a typical show, the event manager is in charge of much more than making sure the gathering runs smoothly. For example, Daly must plug attendee information into the CRM and engage with attendees on social media to keep the momentum going. Using the ZoomInfo platform, however, alleviates the challenge of dispersed tasks and data sets. Here’s what it can do:

Ensure the virtual booth is set up properly 

ZoomInfo empowers Daly to better organize real-time sales and event outreach at the booth. With an accurate, fully appended list of potential attendees, he and the sales reps can better position their product.

“Knowing exactly what companies are attending allows me to append the specific technologies each uses, see if they’ve received funding in the last year, identify who the VPs of sales and marketing are, and so on,” says Daly. “This is the list I hand over to sales working the floor. Access to this type of deep intelligence prepares them for the right conversations at the booth. It’s invaluable.”

Develop a data-based strategy to interact with virtual booth visitors 

With ZoomInfo’s database, Daly quickly and easily matches and appends necessary contacts with those he engaged with during the virtual event. For example, an attendee might stop by our virtual booth, ask a question, and move on to the next sponsor’s booth before he had a chance to respond. With ZoomInfo’s data, Daly searches for that contact and finds their email address or phone number to send a personalized message and answer their question.

Validate attendees and visitors for accuracy 

Upon receiving event leads, Daly can crosscheck with ZoomInfo data on the spot and pass valuable, hard-to-find contact details on those prospects over to his sales reps. Doing so informs sales of essential information such as the technographic details of their companies, pertinent account funding, and the size of the sales teams.

The Aftermath: Fine-Tuning a Post-Show Database With ZoomInfo

After an event, most event managers end up with a messy list of so-called “leads” that are too often inaccurate.

With access to ZoomInfo’s enriched database of lead lists, attendee lists, and registration lists, Daly is ahead of his counterparts. Instead of spending days cleaning and organizing his post-show database, he uses ZoomInfo to:

Segment attendees according to the right personas 

With access to the right people from the right companies in the database, Daly builds subsets of lists for sales and marketing to utilize in their strategizes, match campaigns to opportunities, and grow attribution.

Reach out to additional contacts 

Despite best efforts at follow-up, not all booth visitors will engage with post-show emails and content. Typically, 30 to 50 percent of these people don’t respond, but event managers should not give up if the prospect is likely to have an interest in their product. Instead, reach out to other decision-makers within the same company. A tool like ZoomInfo’s OrgCharts can help identify supervisors and peers for quick, accurate outreach.

The Results: Data Strengthens Event Channel Leads

Ultimately, Daly’s hard work—combined with the data and features in the ZoomInfo platform—helped him:

  • Alleviate event planning pressure
  • Improve the accuracy of attendee databases
  • Increase traffic to the virtual event
  • Ease efforts to follow up with leads after the event

As a result, the company’s event channel increased ROI from 120 percent to 300 percent over six months.“Using ZoomInfo, I am better able to organize my entire events strategy—from start to finishwith an accurate, continuously enhanced database that allows me to reach out to the right leads before an event and follow up with the right leads immediately after,” says Daly.

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