Earning B2B Speakerships for Startups
Our business development team often works hand in hand with our intelligence unit to analyze a range of communications pain points that are felt by B2B startups and their marketing teams. To take the pulse appropriately, we garner data across every sales call as to what challenges innovators are facing and attempt to analyze this data across times, seasons, events, and even stages of company development.
One of the most pressing complaints we hear, is that startups see immense value from conference speakerships and panels, yet often have to pay high sponsorship fees to garner them. Sponsorship packages with speaking spots can easily start in the mid thousands and only go up from there for large, credible events. We have placed speakers at hundreds of events globally on an earned basis and with this, have some tips and secrets as to how to save your marketing budget, earn your speakership and successfully pitch event organizers.
If You Build the Asset, They Will Come:
A deep relationship with event organizers will always be the quickest and easiest path to garnering a participant spot on a desired panel, but all great relationships must start somewhere. The fact of the matter is that unless you have deep pockets, you are going to have to pitch. Event pitching is much like pitching the media, with the exception that differing assets are utilized as your ammunition.
Abstracts and Bios: Your first step to garnering B2B speakerships is the creation of diverse and compelling abstracts and bios. Abstracts are your detailed topical and biographical hook for pitching event organizers. Their core is to detail the expertise of the speaker and select an incredibly compelling topic or industry challenge that the speaker will address. All too many startups try to pitch the novelty of their company or product to garner a speakership, but this is a deadly mistake. Events get booked by exceptional topics and exceptional leaders that can address challenges or potential in their industry. A great abstract, coupled with a bio that can showcase industry expertise…is a force to be reckoned with.
Larger brands, whether they be B2B or B2C, are always going to be in demand as speakers and attendees. They draw the biggest crowds, have built-in marketing channels and come with higher levels of credibility than the most well funded of startups. If your team has any integration with a larger brand, whether it is a partner relationship, a client or even one of your own vendors, it can be very simple to present the notion of a conference co-presentation. Dream up a topic with your brand partner, garner their buy-in and approach conferences with a stellar pitch about the session, leading of course, with the brand’s appearance. (Bonus points if you can get your brand partner to co-market the session).
Use Data as a Sales-Point:
Audiences in today’s B2B landscape are compelled by novel data that can be brought to the trade show table and most startups are sitting on mountains of it without realizing it. The rule of thumb is that anything audiences are compelled by, is event-worth material. This means it is time to explore the data you have at your fingertips and figure out a way to interweave it with your event pitch. Whether it is noticing a trend across your buyers, or data generated directly from a platform of your own, the data is the story, not your company. Present an event pitch by highlighting a pressing new trend, issue or potential your data has showcased and you can offer to share it for the first time as a speaker.
Leverage Your PR Firm:
We may be biased, but if your communications agency is not garnering event speakerships for you and utilizing their skills to develop powerful event collateral and pitch their organizer relationships, they should not be involved with B2B publicity. It can take a lot to push your firm to go the extra mile, but great speaking positions lead to great thought leadership and great thought leadership leads to great press. The bottom line, it is in your and your firm’s best interest to pitch events like it was their job. Because it absolutely is.
Or if you want to fast track things…Give us a buzz. We can have you speaking in front of targeted audiences consistently across events, regions and sectors. Heck, we’ll even make sure the media is covering you each and and every time as well.