A small, energetic team planned the company’s trade show booth for months.
They worked with an excellent booth designer. They honed their product demonstration scripts.
Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved. The booth was located at a high-traffic spot on the exhibition floor and was busy every day.
After a week of nonstop activity, the team got on the plane home, exhausted but happy. They had mounted a successful show.
Or had they?
- When the team got home, salespeople complained that no leads came from the show.
- Executives questioned the high cost of the show and wanted to be shown the ROI.
- Buyers were disappointed that the promised follow-up never materialized.
The Problem? Booth Activities Are Disconnected from Sales Activities
What caused these undesirable results? Although many people visited the booth and swiped their card, the activity in the booth was never connected to the company’s sales activities.
To fix this problem, let’s think about how this company’s trade show event could be linked to its sales activities and how the results of the trade show booth could be different.
The potential customers who entered their booth are at various stages of the buyer’s journey. We’ll define three category of buyers for this company:
- People who are unlikely to ever be a customer but who may still have interest in the company and its industry knowledge. These people will be invited to subscribe to the company’s email offerings.
- People who fit the profile of a potential customer and are at the early stages of the buying cycle. Once staff in the booth have qualified these visitors, they’ll invite them to a Discovery Call.
- People who fit the profile of a potential customer and are further on their journey. Since these buyers are in the evaluation and selection phase, they’ll be invited to a product demonstration at some future date when a sales rep can give them full attention.
The Purpose of the Booth Is to Qualify Visitors
Of course, when people enter the booth, the staff don’t know how to categorize them yet. Everyone who enters is simply an Inbound Lead. Through conversation with visitors, the staff qualify the Inbound Leads so that they know how to communicate with visitors after they leave the booth.
To successfully and consistently qualify visitors to the booth, Andy Wilson at Logikcull recommends the development of some standard work practices. He has a list of suggestions. They are a good place to start.
The Company Creates Value for Buyers When It Follows Up After the Trade Show
After people leave the booth, the company could then follow up accordingly.
It could send everyone an email immediately after the show and thank them for visiting the booth. It could then add them to its email list for future mailings (using a double opt-in to make it easy for those who don’t wish to subscribe). People who remain Inbound Leads get no further treatment.
For the people who express interest in a discovery call or a demo the company can refer to Sales Development Reps to follow up and schedule an appointment.
When the trade show booth is connected to sales activities, the undesirable results go away. Sales Reps receive leads for potential customers at different stages of the buying cycle. The company can show a clear ROI on its investment in the booth. And buyers will be pleased when they receive the follow up they anticipate.