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How to make in person events effective

Our marketing team has a bunch of money to spend (shocking) and want to allocate a good chunk towards hosting prospect dinners and small gatherings.


I have done a fair amount of in person sales at this point but have not hosted a dinner/Happy Hour with more than 1 prospect. For those that have hosted these types of events in the past, what has worked well and what should I avoid/


If this has been addressed prior, my bad for posting, I searched and couldn't find anything very relevant

πŸ‘‘ Sales Strategy
πŸ“ˆ Closing
☁️ Software Tech
11
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+12
King of the Coors Knights
Try to invite similar accounts with similar use cases, but make sure none compete with each other. Pick an environment that’s not too noisy so you can engage with them all. Big events can work well (sports games, concerts, etc) - you just need to tell them to get to your suite an hour before so you have time to talk before it gets loud.

My personal favorites are suites at sports games, but renting a bar works too.Β 
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Thankfully my company operate in the restaurant vertical so the use cases are often similar, we are thinking of inviting a couple smaller restaurant groups, some mid size (10-30 locations) and 1 or 2 enterprise level groups to avoid the competition, so thank you for confirming that thought.Β 

The hour early tip is money, thank you!Β 

Venue wise we are thinking of hosting at one of our current clients to build further credibility
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+12
King of the Coors Knights
Works, BUT don’t invite others in the same area then. (Example - I doubt a McDonalds IT guy would enjoy an event at a Burger King)
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Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Nothing beats a patio networking cocktail hour this time of year.

And everyone and their dog is doing golf outings.Β 
ColdCallFartBoy
Celebrated Contributor
+9
Business Development Representative
I whole-heartedly agree Incognito
msp_sales
Opinionated
+4
Full Cycle Sales
I love mixing one part referral partners, one part happy clients, and one part mid funnel clients. I’ve closed more deals from that kind of event than anything.
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Love this, great feedback. Do you have an event or venue preference where you have seen the most success?
msp_sales
Opinionated
+4
Full Cycle Sales
I’ve done this at nice restaurants, parks with catering, or even at a winery tasting room. I have some wineries as clients so that makes it even easier. It’s less about where you are or what you’re doing, but the people you bring. People that would bring the value.
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GDO
Politicker
+7
BDM
Make sure the invitees know each other or have similar needs. During dinners, invite a similar happy client to have a presentation.Β 
spicyrecruiter
Contributor
+1
Recruiter
Ball out for your top prospects- hire a private chef w/ wine pairings. Schmooz 'em
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