The Latest from the ABM Experts
July 13, 2016
#FlipMyFunnel Austin – 5 Keys to a Successful ABM Event
Written by Nikki Nixon
“I flipped my first funnel in Austin!”
This is what I said to Nikki Nixon, our Director of #FlipMyFunnel before she started laughing uncontrollably. Our giggle fit was due to the long 17-hour work day running #FlipMyFunnel Austin (and lack of sleep the night before) making this funnel-flipping moment so funny for us.
We’re moving so fast with our #FlipMyFunnel events, having completed five events since we launched in 2015, with our 1st birthday bash coming up in Boston (more details on that later).
Looking back over the last couple months, I’m amazed that we were able to execute so many successful events in such a short amount of time. The #FlipMyFunnel Austin conference was my first, and I enjoyed being part of it from the very beginning. I handled everything from scouting out the perfect venue to shipping everything back after the event. It definitely felt like my “baby.”
When planning for #FlipMyFunnel Austin, I wanted to look at this event from an account-based marketing perspective.
Taking a true account-based approach meant that I was practicing the use of the new customer-centric sales model. To me, everybody that walks into a #FlipMyFunnel conference is a customer. One key component of ABM is turning customers into advocates, so it became my personal goal to turn them into “funnel flipping advocates.”
Here are five tactics we used to make the #FlipMyFunnel Austin Conference a success:
1. Pick the Right Venue
I feel confident in saying that the JW Marriott was the perfect location for the #FlipMyFunnel Festival Conference in Austin. Countless attendees expressed their love for the hotel. Everything from the décor to the location was spot on.
When looking for the right venue, I focus on three key elements:
The JW Marriott has a very large conference space that could easily accommodate our growing audience. The general session room, the breakout session rooms, and the sponsored expo area were all on the same floor, making it easy to access all the event areas.
I wanted to make sure the venue was relatively close to the airport but not so close that it’s loud and busy. The JW Marriott is about eight miles from the airport, just a quick 15-minute drive. Not only that, but the hotel is close to different restaurants, bars, and shops that could accommodate any guests’ needs.
The “Wow” Factor
I love seeing attendees’ jaws drop! One of the main reasons I choose the JW is because you truly feel the “wow” when you step foot on the premises. The architecture, the art, and the modern décor are aesthetically appealing and auspicious. We couldn’t have picked a better ambience for the event.
2. Treat Your Customers Like VIPs
I truly feel honored when people take time out of their day to come flip funnels. Everyone’s time is precious, and in return for them giving the #FlipMyFunnel movement a chance, I want to make sure that they are treated like VIPs all day, “errday.”
Here are the three factors that help me achieve this.
Keep ‘Em Fed
Food, food and more food is one of the most important things about a conference. Food definitely puts you in a good mood, and this is why we take extra time to make sure our guests can get something to eat at any point in the day. Breakfast included a lot of different pastries and fruit. For the morning snacks, we had different healthy granola bars to keep the energy alive. Lunch was all about Austin, so we served dishes like Frito pie, mac and cheese with broccoli, and salad out of food trucks. One important thing to note is that we always include vegetarian options for our non-meat eating friends.
The afternoon snack included five different types of freshly baked delicious cookies, and the cocktail hour after the keynote featured hors d’oeuvres such as chicken fondita, grilled cheese, spring rolls, and mini burgers.
Get Up & Moving
It is so important to keep your guests entertained throughout the day. Our founder, Sangram Vajre, did a great job of this with his keynote speech when he asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves to the people sitting around them. Then he asked everyone to communicate why they were there and what they wanted to get out of the #FlipMyFunnel Conference. People really got into this, and it helped keep the keynote fun and easygoing rather than formal and stuffy.
It is so important to keep your crowd engaged throughout the day. One way we accomplished this was by set up Q&A microphones in every room. It was wonderful to see guests engaging with their favorite speakers and sponsors that they wanted to learn more from. Having the ability to ask speakers questions makes the experience much more personal and valuable.
3. Create Incredible Content
Content is one of the most important parts of a conference. It can literally make or break the event. This is why we worked hard to make sure to include thought leaders that have been actively working in the ABM mindset that we believe in. Here are the three factors that we focused on while building out the agenda:
Sangram did a great job kickstarting the event with a silly video and an engaging presentation. Julia Stead, the Demand Generation Manager at Invoca, was the “co-keynote speaker. Her presentations are always engaging and lively, making the keynote introduction a huge success. Other speakers like Craig Rosenberg, Jon Miller, Joe Chernov, and Keenan also took the stage and knocked the socks of the audience.
The lack of women in technology has been an issue in the tech world for a long time, but fortunately, there are so many talented people working to correct this. This is why we hosted a Women in Tech panel with Katharine Mobley, Katie Rogers, Tonni Bennett, and Emily Wingrove, who did an incredible job explaining their journeys as women in tech. This was a super powerful panel session that engaged the crowd and sparked some interesting discussions.
It’s important to have a mix of sponsored and unsponsored breakout sessions. This keeps the audience engaged and gives them a variety of topics to choose from. For example, Tony Yang from Mintigo, a predictive company, had a completely packed room and a standing ovation because guests were interested in learning more about how they can use predictive marketing to solve their painpoints.
4. Partner with Sponsors
Sponsors are what makes the #FlipMyFunnel world go ’round!
Without our sponsors, we would not have the funds to create such an impactful event and continue building the account-based marketing community. The sponsor area was extra special with a fun picnic area and food truck theme.
5. Announce New Product Developments
This #FlipMyFunnel Conference was extra special due to the official introduction of the nonprofit, vendor-neutral Account-Based Marketing University. This online experience will teach you the ins and outs of how to use ABM, and you’ll get an official certificate when you complete the course.
#FlipMyFunnel Austin was so great! Now, I can not wait for August 11th to experience my second #FlipMyFunnel conference in Boston. It will also be the first #FlipMyFunnel Birthday Bash! Click the image below for more funnel-flipping details.