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DemandGenLogoRed“We recently held an educational event with David Stelzl as our keynote speaker to explain the 7 Essential Mindsets of securing critical data.  The event was held at the right time, with the right people, and at the right place and was a great success!  We had 74 people in attendance which represented 31 actual companies.  Of those, 65% signed up for a Risk Assessment that night and an additional 5 companies wanted project work done.  Since then, we’ve had two of 31 companies actually call us for help with security issues.  Both have engaged for project work.  They definitely would not have called without us doing the event.”

This quote (above), written by Nate Freeman of Network People in Largo, FL, appears on the comments page of my blog – events work, but only when done with conversion in mind.

This morning I had the privilege of meeting with various resellers from the US to talk about demand generation and exactly what it is that differentiates success from an expensive lunch meeting.  I covered the seven steps presented in my most recent book, Event Marketing, 7 Steps to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns.  One of those steps, and the one asked about this morning, involves using the right speakers – without the right speaker, you’ll just end up with an expensive lunch.

On a recent call with a reseller on the west coast, we were discussing the agenda with a proposed vendor partner/sponsor – a partner willing to support the event with JMF.  On the call he said, “If we are going to fund this, we want a speaking slot.”  The reseller on the call deferred to me, asking me what I thought I of this.  What happened next is the important part…

I simply said, “It doesn’t really matter to me who speaks – in fact, I don’t even have to speak at this event.  The only thing that matters is conversion.  Will more people move from the Attendee box to the Doing-something-about-it box if you speak or I speak?  At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this event is conversion between these two boxes.”  It would be rare for someone to actually buy a product or service right there at the event, however , converting them to some sort of assessment or strategy session is not that hard given the right message and the right people group.  In fact, the length of the meeting, the location, the food…every decision we make should be based on maximizing conversion. Nothing else matters.

When the vendor heard these words it finally made sense – he had never thought of it quite like this.  From there we stopped worrying about who was doing what from an ego standpoint and started talking strategy – what will bring in the right audience and what will yield the highest conversion rate?

You can find more great tips in my ebook – or wait for the recording link on this webinar to be announced.

© 2013, David Stelzl


Thanks to NetGain, Cisco, HP, and VMWare for sponsoring yesterday’s business leader event in Cincinnati.  We had over 40 business leaders for this educational event…

Eye Opening, Compelling, and Scary…

Eye opening, compelling, and scary.  These are the comments I heard after sharing some of the growing threats I see coming our way in the coming year.  Our material on cyber crime trends was well received and much-needed by many of the executives I spoke with during the seminar. Small businesses are being affected by security breaches every day, yet many are unaware of what is really going on inside their servers and mobile devices…According to the Wall Street Journal, most business leaders (over 75%) believe they are fine, yet Visa tells us that 90% of their business fraud cases are SMB related!

Individual Conversations

I spoke with one CEO of a Cincinnati based law firm after my session.  His business deals with highly sensitive legal information – the kind of information that, “Can’t get out!”  He was concerned that, while his company uses passwords and firewalls, he has no way to monitor who is accessing what, or to see if systems are being compromised, or to know if internal people are emailing sensitive information in an insecure way.  We talked about the cost of implementing technology that does this type of monitoring – “It’s out of reach for the small business.” he said.  This is led into a discussion on the value of using a managed solution through a third party provider…

In another conversation, I spoke with a man running a healthcare company.  He was concerned that his staff didn’t really understand how to assess their current security posture.  This is the case with most small business. They don’t have the tools or the expertise to do this in house.  Here again is an opportunity to engage an outside provider of assessment services, which NetGain, our hosting company has, to help ensure their applications are unaffected by today’s malware threats.

In the afternoon we heard from representatives of Cisco Systems and VMWare, as well as Microsoft, sharing how their companies are working to provide more secure products to protect these companies from growing threats in the coming year.  NetGain concluded the meeting by offering to meet with these businesses one-on-one to review their security needs, something every business should be doing on a regular basis.

© 2012, David Stelzl

Here is it…

I have set up my sign-up pages for two important events based on my new eBook, Event Marketing, 7 Secrets to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events.

First – The Pre-Event Webinar

There is a FREE pre-event at the end of September.  There’s not cost, so all you have to do is sign up and show up.  Seated is limited.  These free webinars always fill up quickly so don’t wait.  I will be covering some very important concepts that will either make or break your future marketing events.  My commitment is to give you as much as I can in the one hour we have together.  This is one of my favorite topics, because I hate cold calling. There is nothing worse than making call after call to someone I don’t know, and who doesn’t know me, with nothing more than an introduction to my company.  The events I am talking about have allowed me to put dozens of new prospects in front of my clients every month over the past several years – eliminating the need for call calling… Find out how we are doing it right here:

Sept 25th at 3 PM ET:  (remember, this is just the Pre-Event Workshop)

Attend the Workshop (3 – 2 Hour Sessions)

The full workshop is coming in October.  You’ll get a 30% savings if you use the coupon code “EARLY” before Sept 28th…but either way, I have priced this workshop for just about anyone.  My goal is to give you the keys to making event marketing easy, predictable, and profitable.  I’d like to see more JMF money headed your way as your events demonstrate success far above average.  Regardless of how large or small your firm is, this type of marketing will grow your business more than just about any other campaign – as long as you follow a simple formula.  Join me for this three-day workshop, get the new eBook as part of it, and I will also give you my Data@Risk book for free if you are one of the first 10 to sign up.  Here is a link with more details and a place to sign up…

© 2012, David Stelzl

My Next Workshop

I mentioned last week that I was in the final stages of editing my new ebook, Event Marketing: 7 Steps to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events…I have also been working on a companion course which I am looking to schedule the week of Oct 8th (Online). As a special bonus, I will be doing a complementary session sometime at the end of this month.  Why am I doing this?

The Problem With Lunch & Learns

Resellers have been doing Lunch & Learns for years – I am sure you have done  at least one of these.  If you’ve been in this industry very long, you have probably been to dozens.  I know there is some benefit to getting your name out, inviting your clients, and hopefully attracting a few more as prospects.  It can’t hurt.   I see road shows covering several cities, with 100 – 150 people attending across the program, and I think, “This could be good.”  But then I ask the big question – “What was your conversion rate?”  At this point I have disconnected with the person I am talking to – “What is a conversion rate?”

Conversion rate refers to the number of attendees that were not buying; who are now suddenly buying, just because they went to your event.  Are you getting back as much as you should be?  This workshop is geared to one kind of person – the marketing or sales professional who wants to maximize the potential marketing power of every JMF (Joint Marketing Funds) dollar that comes their way!  If you are getting some business, you can get more.  If you don’t see much at all from your events, I can drastically change that. Here are a few of the topics I will be covering:

  1. Re-engineering the event – a look at how to measure and maximize conversion rates.
  2. Effective event planning – writing the marcom, raising money, and every detail affecting the outcome.
  3. Marketing your event – who to reach, how to reach them, and even what to say by mail and phone.
  4. Topics & Speakers that work.
  5. Creating your conversion offer – exactly what to offer your audience in order to take them to the next step.
  6. Conducting the Event – I’ll give you every step you need, including the schedule to follow.  It’s a formula that works every time.
  7. The Follow Up Plan – exactly how to follow up, and how to multiply the number of deals that come out of a single event.

If you are trying to build a bigger territory, trying to reach higher level people in your accounts, and trying to shorten sales cycles, this workshop is for you.  I am working on the logistics this week and will be announcing them shortly.  Make sure you are subscribed to my blog and twitter – dstelzl – to receive updates on the complementary session and early discount sign-up.  I know there is a better way to sell – cold calling is dead in my opinion, and wasting a lot of people’s time.

As part of this you will receive the book I am just now finishing, and if you can’t make every session, I will be recording it for you!

© 2012, David Stelzl


One of the most effective ways for resellers and channel partners to market  demand generation events is by video. Using  a video like the one below, resellers can contact those who have not responded in the past,  giving them a taste of what they missed – it can also be used as a follow up for those who don’t attend as a way to gain a meeting to review the event.  This clip was filmed following a luncheon for business executives in the mid-Atlantic region, where over 50 business leaders met to learn about the growing threats of cybercrime, receiving critical information on how to help prevent further attacks on their data.  Close to 90% of these attendees received complementary assessments to pin point major threats in their current data environment.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

I was talking with one of my clients this morning about Demand Generation follow-up.  After inviting and presenting to over 40 potential buyers – executives who have both risk and liability, he is in the process of calling them to schedule next steps.  A quarter of the way through his list and so far, everyone he has called has agreed he should come in to review their security…why is it so hard to get sponsorship for these events with this kind of results?  A few tips on funding…

1. First, my client is doing something most don’t do – that is, following up immediately.  In his case there were multiple solution providers involved. The sponsor made the mistake of assuming they needed more attendees.  In this event, my client invited most of the attendees and his results would have been even greater for the the sponsor if he had been there alone.  You must convince your sponsor that the number of attendees is less important than the number and quality of attendees who agree to a follow up assessment.  This is where impact and likelihood will be demonstrated!  This is where the deal will close.

2. Sponsors are not seeing the ROI on these events.  Why?  Two reasons; if there is a strong response, solution providers may not be keeping the sponsor informed.  But more likely, the hosting solution provider is not inviting the right people to the event.  More often than not, sales invite their IT level clients and the sponsor is invited to be the speaker.  This does not make for an effective event in most cases.  In the above case, we did reach out to Asset Owners – making the follow up meetings much more likely to produce business.

3. The presentation, or presentations are not geared to driving business.  That’s right, the presentation must be crafted to drive people to buy.  Purely informational presentations are generally technical in nature and do not lead to emotional response.  On the other hand, product pitches are often hour-long commercials geared to technical audiences with no money.  Interesting, informative, but not built to drive new sales.  The above meeting was focused on cybercrime trends – my client will follow up with details on why security strategies are failing, showing his prospects how to make sure they don’t have unwanted intruders hiding in the bowels of their network.

How do you get funding?  It’s a bit like getting angel investors to fund a new venture…JMF used to be there, just waiting for you to announce a date.  Those days are over.   Both large a small companies have to justify the use of JMF;  here is how to approach it:

Use a letter:

  1. Have a plan; dates, venue, speaker, target audience (which should be buyers), a current hot topic (like a security briefing), and a great speaker with a message that will both attract high level attendees and drive toward the need for follow up.
  2. Choose your sponsor list – select and prioritize your vendor partners who seem most likely to contribute or Invest in this opportunity.  Think of this as an opportunity – one that will land your sponsor a strong return on investment.
  3. Agree to work on this as if you have angel money – meaning you really do intend for there to be a return on investment, and you are committed to there being one.
  4. Send a personal letter to each sponsor – with some customization to each, sharing your plan, your expected outcome, and how it will contribute to their sales incrementally.  If you are not aware of your local channel manager’s quotas, you should be.  Sell this program as a way of helping them hit their numbers.
  5. Offer them sponsorship levels.  For different investment levels, offer different levels of involvement.  This might include an opportunity to say something, have a table, have logos displayed, etc.  Like a trade show, different sponsors will pay for different levels of advertising.
  6. Agree to keep them informed as to your progress.  Share with them something from past events to let them know you understand your program and demonstrate you have a track record of success.
  7. Follow up with a phone call to review and sell them on the idea.
  8. Like sales – don’t take no for an answer…

Not every company you resell for will sponsor you.  There are some vendors who are focused on driving higher level business and invest only in their top producers (you may of may not be one of them).  Some are focused on small and medium markets, others on enterprise business  (where do you fit and is this a good partnership to be in?).  Going through this process should clarify who will sponsor you in the future.  If they say no, find out why.  Is there a performance issue on your part from past events or sales?  Make sure you understand who is going to sponsor you in the future, who is helping you grow your business, and who is truly interested in helping you serve the market you work in.  These are the companies you want to wrap your services and intellectual capital around going forward.  If they claim there is no JMF – remember, its like any sale; budget doesn’t really matter when the ROI likelihood is strong.

© 2011, David Stelzl


The Right Audience

April 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

Yesterday I wrote about speakers and who should speak to your customers and prospects in a demand generation event…What about the right Audience…

A few years ago, I was scheduled to speak in Chicago at an executive breakfast.  I flew all night from southern California to make this event, almost got stuck in Philadelphia  (I was re-routed) due to storms (which would have caused me to miss the event), but finally made it in at 3 AM that morning.  When on the ground I learned that they had lost my luggage.  I finally made it to my hotel by 4 AM, checked in, took at three-hour nap, and arrived at the breakfast.  The room was full, however I had not been able to get the attention of the sales manager in weeks and had no idea who I was speaking to.  Remember, the speaker must be able to connect with the audience, which requires some understanding of who I am speaking to.
Through some questions, and a raising of hands I learned that I did not have an executive audience at all.  These were IT managers.  They seemed to appreciate my insights, however at the end of the meeting we had planned to sign people up for risk assessments.  Generally we get about 75% of the group to sign up, but in this case almost no one signed up.  This is typical for a technical audience;  they have no liability, therefore they have no urgency.  When technical people do agree to an assessment, it is usually because they want to learn – they are looking for security experience to add to their resume.  Follow up calls were made, but in the end the results were poor.  Why?  Wrong audience.

There are four types of people you want at your next marketing event:

Decision Makers. This is obvious; you want people who can spend money.  Depending on the market you call on, this could be anyone from the president of an SMB company to a vice president in a fortune 1000.  CIOs are also great candidates in most mid to upper accounts, but in the SMB space you just need the president or owner.

Asset Owners.  Presidents are asset owners, but not the only ones.  Asset Owner simply means someone who has ownership and responsibility over key business assets – in this case, data.  These people oversee and make money with assets.  And while most decision makers are asset owners, there are many more who fall into this category.  Anyone who oversees a profit center would fall into this group in most cases. Especially if their division or group is a profitable one. A great example would be the manager over Investment Banking or Card Services at a bank.  If these people see a need and push for it, they often get it.

Customers.   I always start my invite process with customers in good standing.  Having a bunch of prospects sitting with the CEO or President of a company that really likes you never hurts.  It also helps to use their name when inviting new people.

Prospects.  This may be obvious but I am amazed at how many demand generation events are customer only!  This is the perfect time to reach out to new people, especially those at a higher level.  Every sales person knows how difficult it is to land a meeting with a new executive level prospect, but how much easier to invite them to a well organized event with a speaker that promises to be good.

What about technical people?  Most executives don’t want to attend something that is technical, however, expect a few to sneak in, and if you have some customers that are big buyers, and your primary contacts are technical, it doesn’t hurt to invite them.  I would not invite technical prospects to this event.  They will only try to derail the meeting with technical questions, and will not benefit from anything presented on the business level.  It’s a wasted seat in my opinion.

The great ending to my Chicago event was that after the meeting, I headed back to the Airport (without my still-lost-luggage), only to find that all flights were cancelled.  I made a trip down to luggage and there was my suitcase. No one had called me; it was just sitting there in the corner.  I grabbed it and headed back to the Marriott.