Deciding to attend a trade show is a big decision for any company. There are many factors to take into consideration when nailing down which show is ultimately the best. Once you have committed to attend, the work to maximize your return on investment has only begun. After understanding all of the advantages and disadvantages trade shows offer, it’s best to strategize and prepare in advance to make it worthwhile.
There are many details of show attendance that should be thought out to ensure nothing is forgotten. A few details include: who is attending, booth location, what is your focus, how will you drive traffic, what materials will you bring and how will you market your presence. Right now, we are going to focus on marketing your trade show presence. Pre-show marketing is a critical component of attending a trade show and will set the tone of your success. The fact that you get to see your prospects face-to-face is already giving you a leg up, so if you can pull out all the stops to gain high booth traffic, why wouldn’t you?
You will most likely have access to an attendee and exhibitor registration list. It’s best to get your hands on this list as soon as possible. You may have to source additional information to execute your marketing efforts (if that’s allowed of course). Additionally, you should scour the list to identify any highly qualified prospects you are dying to connect with, let them be your number one focus and any additional connects are a total bonus.
We recommend planning out a series of emails with various topics and subject lines as well as staggered deployment dates. Ultimately, your goal is to raise awareness about who you are and why they should come talk to you. To capture their attention you must hone in on your targets and identify key pain points you are solving for. The more focused you are on the problems you solve for these particular targets, the more likely they are to have their ears perked up. Take a friendly, welcoming approach, keeping in mind you’ll see them face-to-face at the show.
As your email series are sent out keep a close eye on your data. Tracking activity and engagement of your prospects will give you loads of information. A prospect who is consistently opening and engaging with your emails should be flagged for additional follow-up such as a phone call. Don’t forget to send a reminder email the night before the show to those who have agreed to stop by.
Reaching out to trade show attendees over the phone will continue to enhance awareness about your company’s presence at the show. Have a script handy, but it keep it short and sweet by simply inviting them to stop by your booth. It’s important to have a well crafted script for conversations as well as voicemails.
Of course it’s less effort to send a sequence of emails, but putting in the time to make phone calls will allow you to connect with your prospects in a different way - personal touch. Not everyone who is attending the show will be dedicated enough to execute an outbound call campaign which can work to your advantage. According to trade show and event marketing firm Exhibit Systems, an average of only 10-15% of trade show exhibitors invest in pre-show marketing efforts.
If you have a large list, you may find it beneficial to prioritize your list, making it a little more approachable. Additionally there may be people on the list that aren’t an ideal prospect for you or you may already be talking to them and would like to approach them differently.
In a digital savvy world, direct mail is not the most popular marketing tools these days, but trade shows are the perfect time to utilize a direct mail campaign. In most cases, mail gets handed to many people and you have an opportunity to catch someone’s attention along the way. Be strategic in your design of the piece to really capture their eye in a simple way. In our opinion, putting your invite in an envelope would be a way of money and effort. You can simply send a fun postcard that is bright and playful. Think of all the mail you get day in and day out. What would stop you in your tracks? That’s the type of thinking that will set you apart from the rest!
A fun idea to encourage a meet up is by offering an incentive on your direct mail piece. Try something like “bring this postcard to booth 123 to receive a $5 Starbucks gift card” or “bring this postcard to booth 456 for a chance to win a pair of Apple Airpods. Try to leave room in your trade show budget for these types of luxuries. If you are at the right trade show, it will pay off in the end. Keep in mind you don’t have give away hundreds of dollars of freebees to stand out, you just need to be creative. Double check that your mailing has all of the important details about your company: Name, booth number, website, email phone and social media handles if you plan on being active.
Not everyone exhibiting at the show will put effort into pre show marketing so use this to your advantage. Demand your company and product to be known by attendees. The more marketing tools you are able to execute on, the better. Using multiple strategies gives you a greater chance of standing out and connecting with your prospects. When putting your marketing plan together try to keep your message dialed in and consistent. It is the perfect time to be creative and try new things. Make pre-show marketing a priority!
Because trade shows are such an investment, determining your ROI is very important but can be challenging. Establishing measurable and quantifiable goals prior to the show will help determine your pre, during and post show strategies and how to properly execute. The ROI calculator featured in our Trade Shows Aren’t Just about the Shows white paper may be a good starting point for your team.
Stay tuned for during show and post show strategies.
Getting ahold of your intended prospect can sometimes be a challenge. Occasionally there is a gatekeeper standing in your way. This is generally an associate or assistant that sits between you and the person you are trying to connect with. Often times gatekeepers are more prevalent in large businesses than small ones where the owner is generally present.
A sales person feels armed with their thought out pitch and well-identified contact list, but the gatekeepers could be keeping you from ever getting in contact with the decision maker. The gatekeepers job is to make sure the calls going through to individuals are appropriate. Since decision makers are busy, the gatekeeper can often be cautious to which calls go through. As you work to get ahold of your intended prospect, don’t look at the gatekeeper as a roadblock, but instead as a tool to use at your advantage.
Here are five tips to help you navigate your way around the gatekeeper while also gaining valuable information from them.
1. Connect with the gatekeeper
Just as you have researched the decision maker, it’s also important to gather a couple key details about the gatekeeper. With the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn and a company’s website, it only takes a few minutes to learn a few facts about who you are talking to. This will give you instant leverage by connecting with the gatekeeper on a personal level.
Remember, the gatekeeper is a wealth of knowledge, but in order to gain information, you’ll need to build rapport. Since they are the gateway to the decision maker, they are scanning many calls a day. You are going to have to find a way to stand out. Be kind and friendly. This will probably be a change from the usual conversations and in turn, yield better results.
2. Have a Script
Just as you will have a script in hand for the decision maker, also have one documented for the gatekeeper. This should be short and sweet. No more than 30 seconds. It should sound natural and be something you can customize as you go.
There’s nothing worse than sounding like you are reading off of a piece of paper. A gatekeeper will be able to spot a rehearsed script from a mile away, but you’ll still want to have your message planned out to keep you on track. Many times sales reps can get caught up on the details and deliver more information than needed off the bat. Remember, the purpose of this call is only to get you through to the decision maker.
3. Know who you are asking for
When calling the gatekeeper, know who you are asking for. The best way to do this is by sounding like you’ve been there before. By doing so, though, don’t lie. Even if it gets you past the gatekeeper, it’s going to start the entire conversation on a bad note.
Continue to use the gatekeeper as tool. The person you originally thought was the best to get in contact with, might actually not be. There could be someone else within the company who would be better suited for your presentation. The gatekeeper will be able to guide you in the right direction if you work the conversation to your advantage. You could start with a discovery question such as, “If (blank) isn’t available, is there anyone else I could get in contact with that is in charge of (blank)?”
Then if that doesn’t get you anywhere, you could try asking a couple of your qualifying questions such as:What’s the purchase approval process like?
How have decisions like this been made previously?
Who else is involved in this process?
They may not know the answers to these questions depending on who the gatekeeper is, but it could help guide you in the right direction if you were at a standstill.
4. Save your presentation/pitch
Save your pitch for the actual person you are trying to get a hold of – not the gatekeeper. Remember, the gatekeeper does not usually have buying power or the ability to say yes. Don’t waste their time and yours by diving into unnecessary details about your product or service. Instead your goal is to schedule a follow-up call or appointment to talk to the decision maker.
Again, the gatekeeper works closely with those that hold the power to make decisions. Use them to your advantage. Ask questions and start conversations that lead you to find out more information such as an email address, your prospect’s schedule or a better time to call.
5. Be genuine
The most important thing to remember when it comes to the gatekeeper is they should be looked at as an ally. Don’t dismiss them, but instead treat them with respect. This will give you the best chance of getting through to the decision maker.
Don’t forget, the gatekeeper holds an immense amount of power when it comes to who gets through to the decision maker and who doesn’t. Trying to intimidate them or diminish their worth will only earn you a negative reputation within that company. Appreciate their role within the company and they’ll show consideration to your needs in return.
To learn our top tips to construct your script, target your message, refine delivery and evaluate success, download our New Year, New Pitch whitepaper!
Lead generation is vital for sales success, but handling lead generation internally can be costly and time-consuming. Outsourcing is often the best option for companies, but many people have misconceptions about outsourced lead generation services. In this blog, we’ll examine seven common misconceptions associated with outsourced lead generation services and explain why each is untrue.
Generating consistent, fresh leads is critical for any sales organization, yet is one of the toughest parts of the sales process. While many companies execute lead generation effectively internally, others run into challenges, making it smarter to outsource lead generation. This blog explores the challenges of internal lead generation, as well as when it makes most sense to outsource lead generation to an experienced vendor.
A successful sales process relies heavily on a clean, up-to-date prospect database. Yet, 75% of B2B companies have problems with their prospect list. Bad data can be extremely costly, wasting significant time, impeding sales, and often chasing away your best salespeople. Research shows that pursuing bad prospect data can cost sales organizations $32,000 every year.
In this blog, we’ll examine the most common prospect database mistakes and how to fix them to maintain a healthy, accurate database that will drive sales.
Cold calling isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary evil to keep your sales pipeline healthy, by feeding it with new opportunities—which leads to more sales. This blog will share 4 cold calling tips to make calling as productive and successful as possible.
Cold calling isn’t any salesperson’s favorite activity, but it is a crucial part of the sales process, bringing leads into the funnel. When salespeople aren’t seeing the cold calling success they want or expect, they often believe that it just isn’t an effective use of their time.
However, in most cases, it comes down to the numbers. Salespeople struggling with their cold call results need to look at their actual activity: number of dials, connections, appointments, etc. In this blog, we’ll dig deeper into the essential metrics that are the backbone of cold calling success.