How To Create A Successful Virtual Event for Sales Professionals (+ Ideas to Put into Practice)
2021 is just around the corner – and for many – the start of a new fiscal year and fresh sales goals. With events still in virtual formats for the near future, many organizations are planning virtual conferences, trainings, and summits to help sales professionals refine skills and ramp up for success.
Hosting a successful sales conference is no easy feat in typical times, requiring months of planning. And a virtual format requires the same, if not more, effort. Without traditional face-to-face opportunities, planners have to get creative to keep the sales team engaged virtually.
A successful virtual sales event requires a focus on three must-haves: content, networking opportunities, and feedback. Here’s a look at how to incorporate these must-haves into a virtual sales event – along with practical ideas to put into practice.
Like any other event, start by defining what you want attendees to do differently as a result of the virtual sales event. This goal should be top of mind throughout the entire planning process.
Develop the agenda and supporting content to add value and drive the change you’re looking for. That’s what makes a great sales event regardless of whether it’s in-person or virtual.
Choose a motivational sales theme
A well thought out and integrated theme ties everything together.
Make the venue interesting
Many sales conferences and summits occur in appealing destinations. But just because the sales event is virtual doesn’t mean the “venue” – the virtual event platform – should be overlooked. The venue experience sets the stage for what’s to come. Give careful attention to selecting a platform experience to support your goals and set the tone for a good experience.
Consider an immersive experience platform to host your virtual sales event. For example, exVo by Allseated offers over 150 known properties that can serve as a beautiful backdrop for your event, with options to build custom virtual environments too.
Kick-off with a past success recap
With most of the past year being a challenge, start the content on a high note by reviewing accomplishments – or how they overcame challenges to gain a big win.
Bring in new voices
Without travel limitations, there is a whole new roster of speakers, industry experts, and even customers who can play a more prominent role in your content.
For example, host a virtual panel session of the best and brightest minds in your industry to analyze trends and make recommendations about the road ahead for your sales team. Or, invite top customers to join and share insights into their challenges, explaining how they’ve benefited from using your company’s solutions.
Assess the event’s timeline.
While most in-person events span two to three days, attention spans for virtual are much shorter. Shorten up sessions, allow ample time for breaks, and remember many are still juggling other responsibilities at home.
Banish boring breakout sessions
Give virtual attendees options to choose breakout sessions based on what they feel will most boost their success. Maybe they feel behind on a new product or service. Or perhaps they are incredibly passionate about a specific solution and want a deep dive. Either way, build the conference content with sessions covering diverse topics, including sales productivity, marketing, and customer retention.
Add in interactivity
One popular concept for virtual sales events is to host breakout role-play sessions. Top-sellers share their sales pitch or conversations with small groups, with discussions, Q&A, and role-plays for the other team members to have an opportunity to hone their skills.
2. Networking Opportunities
One sales event perk is that sales professionals can see colleagues they may not interact with very often. And that’s why building and fostering camaraderie through networking opportunities is so important.
That same logic applies to virtual events too. Nothing has changed about the need for networking except for the format. Foster collaboration and networking by incorporating the following:
Facilitate “birds of a feather” sessions
Encourage sharing and learning from each other’s experiences with birds of a feather sessions. Invite those with similar roles, experience levels, or other like characteristics to participate in small group sessions. These memorable networking experiences add tremendous value without much extra effort from event planners.
Encourage participants to ‘cross-pollinate’
Every participant should feel welcome and have opportunities to connect with colleagues – or executives – that they usually don’t interact with. Be strategic about groupings in team activities and sessions to encourage participants from different regions and experience levels to interact and work together.
Go live with video networking
Q&A and chat are one way for virtual event attendees to network with each other. But video feeds are far more engaging. Look for a virtual platform, like exVo, that allows virtual attendees to engage, explore, and connect through live video networking.
Host a virtual celebration experience
Awards nights and ceremonies are often culminating events to an in-person sales summit. Close the event on a high note by hosting a virtual celebration experience. Send a special box to attendees for unboxing in a celebratory moment at the end of the event. Popular celebration experiences include learning how to serve up a signature cocktail from a well-known mixologist or a virtual cooking lesson from a celebrity chef.
Feedback is essential to understand if an event achieved the intended goal – and it’s even more so for virtual events.
Beyond assessing what worked, what could be improved, and attendees’ perception of the virtual event, there are numerous other opportunities to gather valuable feedback and insights. For example:
- Use polls and open forums during the event to gauge real-time reactions – and make adjustments on the fly if needed
- Ask attendees to complete a post-event survey to assess learning and retention
- Pose common sales objections to the virtual group, creating a crowdsourced list of how they address and solve those questions
- Invite executives to host an AMA (“ask me anything”) session, giving attendees time to pose specific questions, share feedback on upcoming initiatives and learn directly from experienced voices
When planned with content, networking, and feedback in mind, a virtual sales conference can motivate, educate, and leave attendees ready to take on whatever 2021 brings.
Interested in learning more about using exVo to take your next virtual sales summit or event to the next level? Sign up for a demo!