Think back to the last professional event you attended: it was probably a blur of panels, product booths, and cocktail mixers with a few free lunches thrown in. But as you moved through that event, everything that interested you, from sessions to networking events gave off important signals about who you were and what you were looking for from your experience.

However, many organizations are completely missing those signals. In fact, according to a recent survey by Cvent, 75% of event professionals feel their organization is missing out on building and using full attendee prospect profiles that integrate a wider range of attendee data.

Recently, ClickZ and CVent hosted a webinar called “How to Capture Event Attendee Buying Signals and Transform Them Into Sales Pipeline in 24 Hours or Less.” Here are a few tips from the experts on capturing and using event attendee data:

Capture digital breadcrumbs

Marketers spend so much time (and money) focusing on their customers’ online behaviors, measuring every click, like, and purchase, but many of us are missing similar signals at our live events. Every action attendees take, from registration to stopping by a booth, has the potential to provide your sales team with valuable information. Collecting these “digital breadcrumbs” can give you a full picture of your attendees, according to Myllisa Patterson, senior director of marketing for Cvent:

“All these signals generate tons of data,” Patterson says. “That’s not to say you need to capture all of these signals, but if you do there are such powerful insights here. Just like capturing clicks and time on page helps you understand your customer, live event data helps you see the path that your event attendees take.”

Make registration forms count

There are some pretty standard questions everyone asks on their (Read more...) forms, like job title and company size, but those forms also provide an important opportunity for getting to know your attendees before they even arrive:

“If someone has decided to attend an event it’s a great opportunity to capture that complete profile,” Patterson says. “It’s so important to understand what people are trying to get out of the experience, and you should start at registration. Custom questions are a great way to create custom profiles.”

If you’re looking to drive new leads, Patterson says the most important questions to focus on is what attendees are looking to glean from their time at the event:

“For lead prioritization, ask why they want to attend,” Patterson says. “The answer will provide information about how to create the best experience for them at the event but will also let you know how to follow-up.”

Make sure you know what attendees are responding to

Any good host wants to know exactly what their guests are enjoying (along with what they might not be enjoying). That same attention to detail is important at events as well. Building experiences that offer opportunity for feedback can help gauge attendees’ interests for follow-ups:

“Creating interactivity within the context of the event captures data,” Patterson says. “I love live Q&A because it lets everybody ask questions, even people who don’t want to stand up. The questions attendees ask provide insights into how well your content is doing, especially things you may have missed. You can see patterns of interest and add new information to the presentation next time. But audience questions also provide insight for sales teams around what they might include when they follow-up.”

Make that data matter in your follow-ups

As you use digital breadcrumbs to better understand your event attendees, having a quick system for assimilating data, such as a tool that integrates data into a marketing automation system and then adopting  personalized approach to follow-ups can help ensure no one slips through the cracks, according Stefani Hass, senior manager of demand generation for Cvent:

“Data only as good as the sales team’s ability to receive it quickly,” Hass says. “I’m sure we’re all familiar with going to an event and then having to wait days and weeks to get that data and then those leads are already stale.”

And when it comes to follow-ups, personalization is key:

“Following up with attendees needs to be very personalized. Use information from sessions they attended,” Hass says. “For hot leads, you might want to ask them to set up an appointment with sales.”

For more information about how to turn attendee data from your live event into sales, listen to the full webinar here.

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