During a lagging economy, creating lead generation for clients is more critical than ever. Speaking programs are an effective way for clients to come face-to-face with potential customers, as well build thought leadership.
Sandra Fathi, president of Affect Strategies, says speaking panels or programs are particularly useful for small and mid-sized companies in the b-to-b space.
“[Public speaking opportunities are effective] because these are the executives that we represent that are not the headliners,” she says. “They aren't being called for keynotes, so you can use the thought leadership platform instead for lead generation in its truest sense.”
Public speaking programs are also a good way to put CEOs of mid- and small-sized companies in the same room with prospective clients. While media relations are sometimes a long-lead process, such opportunities can also result in a boon for the sales process, Fathi adds.
“In a speaking program, executives are meeting face-to-face with prospects,” she notes. “It's like a sales meeting on steroids because rather than speaking with one person, they can be speaking with hundreds.”
Sabrina Horn, founder and president of the Horn Group, notes that a more traditional function of such thought leadership is that it creates other business opportunities.
“Anytime you're speaking to the outside world, everyone who is there is either interested in the topic or interested in you because of your credibility,” she says. “You can really move the needle forward by addressing an audience like that.”
Horn suggests that another option for successful speaking events is featuring both clients and top agency executives in the same programs.
“It's not rocket science – it's just about getting the right people into the right seats,” she says.
Speaking programs help small and mid-size clients with sales generation, if the audience consists of prospective clients
Lead generation from speaking programs can be more immediate than through traditional PR
Agency-led speaking programs can raise visibility of CEOs and their companies