Speaking on stage: Thought leadership = lead generation

This week we’re starting a rundown of the top 6 (and 2 worst) B2B marketing strategies for generating sales leads. When we’ve covered all eight strategies we’ll reveal which have proven to be the best in order of effectiveness and which ones, well, haven’t. 

We’ve helped our clients including Nasdaq and IBM build partnerships with companies like Apple, Disney, Gap, eBay, Deloitte, Ford, Google and countless other big names. We’ve gotten an unparalleled grasp on how lead generation is done as a result. 

Today, we’re going to be looking at the pros and cons of speaking on stage, but over the course of the next couple of weeks, we’re also going to be looking at:

  • Events and conferences
  • Referrals
  • Webinars
  • Telemarketing
  • Email
  • General content marketing

Conferences and marketing events are a great way to generate leads and make connections. If you can become a speaker yourself or field a speaker from your organization, it amplifies those benefits many times over. Every company should have someone speak on stage at least a couple of times a year.

For one thing, it can raise your organization’s profile and establish or maintain its position as a thought leader in whatever industry you happen to be in. You’ve got a captive audience in your target market and if they’re paid to attend , they’re probably in a buying mentality. If your message resonates you can easily get a ton of leads. 

The people who approach you for a conversation after a speech are like gold dust for lead generation. You can often get meetings booked in there and then. Otherwise, grab business cards, emails, names, handshakes, friendships – they can all turn into a sale later.

Trade journalists often attend conferences, so that can be a great way to amplify your message as well. 

Being a speaker at a conference also mitigates one of the major disadvantages of conferences – the cost. Booths and attendance fees are expensive, but being a speaker, you get the VIP treatment and, naturally, no attendance fee.  

As someone who’s done it, if you do get to speak at an event, the best piece of advice I can give is – remember you’re there to serve the audience, not your own ego. A lot of young speakers do it to raise their profile. If you’re standing in front of a room full of execs, you can do yourself more harm than good. Remember, the purpose is to establish yourself as an authority in a vertical and to establish a client base – that’s it. 

Even if you get to the coveted position of speaker, there’s still catches involved for lead generation though. First and foremost in the short term, with the global situation as it is, speaking at events isn’t even possible. They’re all cancelled.

When things do go back to normal, there are more problems still. The marketing benefits of speaking at events can only be scaled to a certain point. The number of events relevant to your industry over the course of a year is more or less fixed and there’s a lot of competition for getting on that stage. 

If you can afford it, find more economical measures that can scale. You will get lead generation and you can create thought leadership through those methods as well, especially email marketing. Check out or blog on the benefits of email for executive B2B lead generation if you have the time.