Trade shows are coming back. 🤟
And according to FORBES, B2B companies who don't exhibit at trade shows will fall behind.
But most organizations today don't have the capabilities to plan easily and measure the success of their trade shows properly. They can't measure the ROI and have weak data to evaluate if their trade show attendance was a success or not.
Furthermore, it's hard to compare different trade shows with each other and measure if these trade shows impacted a potential sale.
In addition, most organizations rely on a manual process to plan, and organize events as well as schedule meetings and track and measure the success of trade shows.
First, the advantages of trade shows:
Human2Human connections ⚡️
Even if we go more into a remote and hybrid world. Sales is always connected with trust. And there is no better way to build up trust fast than meeting face2face and meeting in-person... which most trade shows offer.
Possibility to easily meet new people 🤝
You can be sure, that people attending a certain trade show are most likely in your buyer's group. At least if you have selected the trade show wisely and focused on your ideal customer profile.
Chance to do a deep qualification 🧙🏼♂️
Trade show visitors are interested to get educated, learning about new industry trends and your solution.
Furthermore, trade show visitors are willing to open up and speak about their current challenges and pains.
It's way easier to build up trust in person than remotely. And so you can qualify potential buyers faster, easier, and in more detail as when doing remote calls only. I'm not saying remote calls don't work, but out of the experience, you can easier connect to people when meeting them face2face.
Perfect for B2B enterprise sales 🤟
Especially when selling B2B enterprise software or services, trade shows are a great way to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time. For B2B enterprise software, trade shows are also a great way to explain the benefits and features of your product in 1:1 meetings.
Build urgency for your sales team ⏱
Attending a trade show makes it obvious how your company is doing in terms of sales.
How many meetings do you have pre-scheduled?
Who have the most meetings pre-scheduled?
Which companies are we going to meet at the trade show?
How many meeting requests did we get inbound vs. outbound?
Easy gamification possibilities for trade shows.
Business and Fun 🤣
Trade shows are the perfect way to combine business with fun. People in a good state and a good mood are more likely to buy. Furthermore, they are out of their normal business. They are visiting a trade show to get informed and entertained. For every company exhibiting at a trade show, this is a great possibility to create unique experiences for their prospects and customers.
Second, the disadvantages of trade shows:
Costs and Planning 🎓
Compared to other marketing activities trade shows seem to be expensive. But this is also mainly due to the inability to track trade shows and the lead generation out of trade shows appropriately.
In addition, great planning is necessary for trade shows. And especially planning in advance.
ROI measurement and tracking📈
Measuring the result of a trade show can be quite hard. It's a challenge to measure all touching points, gather all the meetings and meeting notes from your whole team to upload this data again into your CRM. A lot of manual effort is necessary and most companies just don't do it because it's too hard and takes too much time.
The problem is, the return on investment is not measured properly. At the very first view, it seems like trade shows are expensive, but is this really true? Most companies can't answer these questions today due to limitations and measuring the ROI and tracking the outcomes of trade shows.
Tool Requirements of Trade Shows and Events
The requirements of a CRM when mainly used for trade shows are completely different compared to a CRM which is used for your daily business. Sometimes the activities which are happening during a quarter, are happening at a trade show in a couple of days.
The most important part of a trade show is measuring its success. If you can't measure the return on investment, you can't decide if your organization should be there next year again.
Furthermore, you can't see if the money - and usually it's a lot - you spend was worth it and if the trade show paid off. When using customer relationship management software specifically for trade shows, make sure you can easily track the ROI.
Track every meeting and every outcome of a meeting from sales directly towards a marketing campaign to make sure you can calculate the ROI. Every meeting scheduled for a trade show should be automatically tagged to the trade show campaign. Having sales teams using different systems and calendars, can be quite a challenge for revenue operations.
Make sure the tracking possibilities are in place already a long time before the show so the sales team knows how they can track their efforts.
Meeting scheduling 📅
When scheduling meetings, make sure it's easy for your sales team. No one wants to log meetings separately into the CRM and do work twice. A system that schedules meetings automatically assigns demo stations and checks when other participants are available is key.
Meeting tracking and note-taking 📒
At trade shows meeting new people is easy. But, it's hard to keep track of all the great conversations easily. It's even harder, to follow up after the trade show if you haven't documented your meeting in all detail.
Instead of using different systems, it's the simplest way to have everything for trade show meetings in once place. After the show or immediately, all this information should for sure sync over to your normal CRM like Salesforce.
Process planning ⚙️
At trade shows, you have to align your whole team in a very fast time on a process. If you are not planning how you are going to do trade shows, you are going to fail. At trade shows, there are multiple teams and stakeholders involved. That makes it a requirement to plan the process and have a centralized place to track all the responsibilities.
As there are usually different people involved with trade shows, it's literally the same process every time, but different people are involved.
Alignment between marketing and sales 🤝
Make sure your marketing and sales team is aligned. Nothing will generate more costs and will decrease the revenue when marketing and sales aren't aligned.
Using one single place to align on processes, responsibilities, expectations, collaterals, action items, schedules, and outcomes is critical. It's even more critical when your salesforce is globally distributed and you work remotely and in different time zones.
Information such as invite texts, marketing graphics, time schedules, lead lists from previous years, task assignments should be captured in one place and ideally for every single trade show so your team can repeat it over and over again.
Furthermore, both, marketing and sales know exactly where to look for all information around trade shows.
Plan your trade show the right way and make sure you track the outcome. Align your marketing and sales team and provide a centralized place where everyone knows what's going on.
Not having a system in place where you can plan, manage and track everything will not make you successful.
RM software like Salesforce, Hubspot or Pipedrive have only limited possibilities to organize, manage and track your trade show success.
Try Kickscale for free, the only platform you need to make your trade shows a success.
Easily plan your trade show and manage all tasks (= Marketing)
Schedule and track all meetings happening (= Sales)
Measure the ROI before, during and after the event (= Operations and Revenue Leadership)
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