The Best Event that Never Was

The Best Event that Never Was

By Matt Scully

The Marketing & Development Fund (MDF) Program is a great tool successful MSPs use to capture more business. With ROIs above 500%, one can see why many of our MSPs utilize this program. However, it is not all about the available funds, it is about following a cadence and making sure you are putting the correct foot forward to build up your sales pipeline and execute your sales goals.

I have presented at a number of MDF events. They include Top Golf, Lunch and Learns, Breakfasts, Star Wars, etc. Some events are good and some not so good but there is one MDF event that stands out and I call it: The Best Event that Never Was. Here it goes:

The venue was beautiful. There were fresh cut flowers on each table, awesome swag on a table that didn’t interfere with the waiters. However: I did notice there was no registration table nor a registration list capturing who and who did not attend.

Back to the venue, it literally reminded me of a shindig that the Great Gatsby would raise a martini up in. The waitstaff dressed in tuxedos that actually fit them. The hors-d'œuvres of Beef Wellington, bite sizes of Filet Mignon and Lobster spoons. Sinatra was playing in the background and you can see this venue has dined a lot more important people than today’s Guest speaker, me.

Guests arrived. They were escorted to their table of eight, poured ice-cold water and on each table was a loaf of hot, steaming bread and recently whipped cold butter. Lunch was served and the food was out of this world.

The event started as the President of the Company gave his opening remarks. They were great, very welcoming and gave a brief history of his company. He then thanked his staff for all their hard work in putting all 32 of us in this five-star room. 

I am on now. I mean to say it like: I am ON now because I so was. People loved my dad jokes. I can always tell how engaged an audience is and they were tapped in. I spoke on the need for our solution and then on how our solution can save businesses. I can feel the engagement from the audience.

Up next to the stage is a representative from the FBI. He was polished, told fascinating stories, and made the audience feel like they are “in the know” of the world’s most serious cyber threats..

In closing, the President of the MSP gave his closing remarks and thanked the audience for their time. All attendees left with a packet of information, a small party favor and with a handshake by the MSP, myself and the FBI guy. It was a great event. The planning, logistics, attendees, food, content and every detail was covered 


The Follow-Up.

The most important part of any event is the follow-up. You put together an All-Star afternoon with the top-shelf food and decor and it doesn’t matter if you forget why you were there. You bought the winning lottery ticket and never cashed it in.

So what happened? I actually know because I ran into the MSP who held the event at an industry show later that year.

Me: How did that show we did last March turn out?

Him: Great, the event was great, thanks for your help in making it successful.

Me: Awesome, how many new clients did you sign up from it?

Him: I am not sure, I am sure we got one or two…….(I later checked with his Datto rep and there wasn’t even a quote from the event)

The problem is that no one followed up with the attendees. The breakdown was as follows:

MSP’s Marketing Department - just overly concerned about impressing the MSP President.

Account Manager - concerned about schmoozing her existing clients and paid zero attention to prospects

Salesman - Greeted the prospects but never talked to them after the event. Thought the Account Manager was going to do that.

So here is the missing play from scoring the touchdown:

  • Identify a follow-up plan before the actual event
  • Have a Call to Action in the Presentation (some may call that a Show Special)
  • After the event, follow up with each attendee and create an opportunity campaign
  • Salesperson follows up with the prospects, and Account Managers follow up with existing clients
  • Work with your vendors and support staff ensuring you have given the buyer everything they need to make a sound decision
  • Identify the reasons you won and the reasons you lost

It is very important to note that your vendors are here to help you. Engage them and ask them what needs to happen to create a successful event! If they are not helping you, then disengage them. They are not a very good vendor. Simply put, the channel buying power is heavily in your favor.

To close, I would rather speak at an event in the back of a pickup truck serving Twinkies if it gives you a better chance of closing future business. These events are special for many reasons but the main reason is that you have a report card and there is only one way to get an A.

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