Martech for events: SummitSync, Conversica mix meeting automation + conversational AI
"Together SummitSync and Conversica solve a critical problem marketers face in maximizing their trade show ROI," says Conversica VP. What does this partnership show us about the future of martech for events?
Meeting automation platform SummitSync has announced a partnership with Conversica, a leading developer of conversational AI assistants for businesses. The partnership is focused on using technology to automate lead engagement and follow-up specifically for event marketers who leverage conferences and trade shows in the B2B space to meet with prospects and clients.
ClickZ spoke with Al Torres, SummitSync’s president and co-founder, to learn more about their technology and get his thoughts on the impact of this new partnership with Conversica.
Martech for events
SummitSync was launched just under four years ago with the premise that, in the B2B world, going to trade shows and conferences is a valuable way to meet people face to face.
“We asked the question, how can you use software to drive more of offline relationships?” Torres explained. “Meetings aren’t necessarily held in person anymore, so how do you use software to drive in-person meetings? We found that there was often a disconnect between sales and marketing teams. Sales teams are focused on closing the deal. Marketing teams are focused on proving that a given event adds value. Trying to put these two things together was always very cumbersome.”
SummitSync was built to help businesses increase the number of meetings they conduct at various events and provide concrete tracking to help determine if an event drove revenue.
“Most events are focused on driving interactions with clients and prospects,” says Torres, “because in the B2B world, when you’re spending $100,000 or more on software, you want to know who you’re working with.”
Using software to facilitate in-person meetings
PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) recently reported that about 23% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated to event marketing, which is a separate line item from other types of marketing.
“For many of our clients, that number can be as high as 40%,” Torres says. “It’s probably the most difficult tactic to track in terms of an attribution model. With offline meetings and events, you can track KPI’s around leads, but tracking revenue or value six months after an event is a difficult and manual process and you’re probably losing a lot of data long the way.”
SummitSync’s partnership with Conversica focuses on leveraging conversational AI assistants to help increase the number of meetings that occur at a show by using the software to identify and engage with prospects.
“Companies use their sales teams to drive meetings at events and marketing teams to alert people about their presence at a show,” explains Torres. “We wanted to use technology to streamline this process so that businesses could increase the number of meetings that are happening at a given event.”
Match for event marketing
In early testing with Conversica, Summitsync saw a 3-5x increase in the number of meetings booked when using AI assistants, a tool that works 24/7 to engage with prospects and clients in order to book the meeting.
“Conversica’s AI Assistant does the actual outreach in an automated fashion,” Torres explained. “AI augments the sales development function without replacing the salesperson.”
The steps look something like this:
Conversica identifies and reaches out to prospects and clients to set up the meeting.
SummitSync assists with the logistics of meeting set up: booking the meeting, redirecting people to different resources at the event, and communicating critical information to sales (e.g., who am I meeting with, what should I be asking, etc.)
Post event, SummitSync moves the meeting data into a CRM tool like Salesforce for appropriate attribution.
Conversica comes back into play to do an automated follow-up.
The PWC study revealed that about 87% of event meetings are not followed up on, a staggering number. Most of the time, these leads get dropped.
SummitSync’s partnership with Conversica is about increasing the overall value of a company’s investment in an event and making sure that leads don’t fall off after the event.
Andrew McCraith, Conversica’s VP of Business and Corporate Development, puts it like this:
“Together SummitSync and Conversica solve a critical problem marketers face in maximizing their trade show ROI. SummitSync’s Meeting Automation Platform does the heavy lifting to identify targets to invite and the autonomous Event AI Assistant powered by Conversica works persistently yet politely to engage with those contacts to drive attendance and book meetings onsite for salespeople. By tracking those meetings and providing post-event follow-up, our customers further maximize the benefits generated and attributed to the event. Ultimately, vendors are able to ensure attendees have progressed on their customer journey and come away from an event knowing their time was well spent.”
Looking toward the future of martech for events
SummitSync currently has no direct competitors who are focused on improving event marketing performance.
“There are companies in the conversational marketing space such as Drift, Intercom and HubSpot,” says Torres. “These are marketing and outreach automation tools that help filter through the noise from an outreach perspective. From the meeting software and sales enablement side, our only competitor is Jifflenow. In the event space, you have companies like Cvent that focus on booking meetings. But there’s no solution that combines all three functionalities and is focused on improving event outcomes.”
SummitSync currently works predominantly with tech companies focused on four B2B verticals—IT/Security, Media & Marketing, Finance, and Healthcare.
Torres clarified that SummitSync is not trying to replace the HubSpots and Marketos of the world. They have integrations with these companies as well as Eloqua from the marketing automation side of things. From a CRM perspective, they’re still evaluating which CRMs to focus on next.
“We have a standalone version today that some of our clients use, but we’re looking into integration with other CRMs like Sugar and MS Dynamics.”
One of the things that Torres highlighted is the value of SummitSync’s integration with Salesforce. Integration typically happens in less than 24 hours and can often take less than an hour. They put a lot of time and effort to make this integration as seamless as possible and are focused on maintaining this level of customer success across any future integrations.
Global events marketing is a trillion-dollar market. And data shows that the number of events are increasing and that attendance at shows is increasing too. Per Torres:
“In the B2B space as a whole, this is one of the differentiators. Getting in front of people is one of the key components in the B2B world that actually closes the deal. You need to be there. Events are a perfect way to get in front of multiple prospects and clients all at one time.”