Leveraging the Power of IT Events in the New Year
It’s the beginning of a new year – and new opportunities to grow your business. However, growing your business doesn’t necessarily mean just seeing numbers rise. It also involves deepening the knowledge of your industry, learning new business-leading practices and connecting with your peers.
That’s where IT events, specifically peer groups, come into play. By attending these industry get-togethers, you can connect with like-minded individuals who have similar goals and face common challenges. Let’s take a deeper look at how you can leverage events to grow your organization systematically.
The Benefits of Event Networking
Event networking offers you (and your company) numerous advantages. You have the unique opportunity to converse with other professionals and develop deep, meaningful partnerships that could lead to further business opportunities.
Different IT events will also provide you with their own sets of opportunities. For instance, in peer groups, you can connect with people who speak your language and face your struggles. They can share a fresh perspective on your industry, motivate you and keep you up to date with current trends.
On the other hand, broader events like IT conferences can introduce you to individuals and groups from different backgrounds and positions than yourself. You can discover new ways to approach the way you perform business. Meeting those newer to the industry is just as beneficial as getting to know seasoned experts. Everyone has something to teach you – and you have knowledge you can impart, too.
Your IT Event Options
Chamber of Commerce Events: These events usually include monthly luncheons or happy hours and attract department heads, C-level officers and business owners.
Industry Organization Networking Events: Hosted by local or regional chapters of professional companies, these events run monthly or quarterly and specialize by industry.
Charity Fundraisers: Here, you can meet others while contributing to a good cause. This also aligns your brand with a charitable organization and strong values.
No matter what type of event you attend, there are best practices to put into place to ensure you get the most out of the experience.
Leveraging In-Person Events
It’s important to come to a networking event prepared. Otherwise, you miss out on the chance to best represent your organization. Moreover, it’s also imperative to know how to best follow up with a prospect you meet to turn them into a potential lead.
The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for an event is to research who is attending. Hosts of events may share their event marketing plan if you ask, giving you a chance to look up attendees through LinkedIn or their company websites. Alternatively, you can use social media to see who has confirmed their attendance and do some digging on social media platforms.
Either way, getting to know your peers beforehand can make you more confident in approaching them and gives you a head start in understanding their pain points. Be sure to come prepared with your elevator pitch, too. Lastly, have your business card ready so you can easily exchange information with those you meet after chatting.
#2: In Attendance
It’s important to initiate conversations. Everyone there is in the same position – they want to expand their outreach and connect with people as well. Ensure your conversations have value by asking questions, listening and offering your thoughts and advice where you feel they have merit.
However, don’t feel you have to drag on a conversation to be polite. Where you feel a conversation has dwindled, thank the individual for their time and move on to the next prospect. The goal is to have meaningful interactions with as many people as possible. This is how you set appointments, convert leads and grow your organization.
After you’ve attended an event, it’s time to take the initiative and follow up. Be sure to contact prospects within 24 hours of meeting them so you’re still fresh in their mind. You can do so through a personalized email that recalls your interaction and offers a chance to get in touch again. Give them options with a few suggested meeting times and a link to your calendar for booking a meeting.
The Power of Digital Connections
If you’re excited about the idea of connecting with others but are afraid you don’t have the availability to attend in-person events, there are still options out there for you. For instance, you can participate in virtual events that provide you with just as much opportunity to get conversions.
For example, social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are filled with business professionals looking to meet each other, share ideas and get answers to their questions. You can seek out groups dedicated to your specific industry and join in on conversations. A digital connection can lead to an in-person connection down the line and a conversion for your organization.
Alternatively, companies like Marketopia offer digital peer group chats through communication platforms, including Microsoft Teams. Here, you can chat directly with peers at any time, meeting those with a vast range of experience, expertise and personalities. You can discuss various aspects of business, including something as broad as sales or as specific as B2B event marketing. Either way, it’s the perfect chance to have knowledge on the go.
Getting Started with the GROW Community
There’s no denying the power attending IT events has on the success of one’s business. Connecting through peer groups, conferences and networking events allows you to broaden your horizons and foster deeper relationships with those who can help elevate your company.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider Marketopia’s GROW community. As part of our community, you’ll have access to quarterly peer groups that bring together over 200 qualified IT and technology professionals and business owners who want to develop their sales and marketing strategies.
Moreover, you can also take advantage of monthly live training courses facilitated by growth experts to enhance your sales practices further.