Exhibitions: The importance of your post show activity
Exhibitions are an important, albeit expensive part of a company’s marketing budget. But in early stage prospecting when the competition is so high, exhibitions can give you the edge that nothing else can: the freedom of meeting prospects face to face and presenting a solution to their problem.
Although exhibitions can be the start of optimum relationships and business opportunities, most marketers are still missing out on the best that exhibitions can offer. Despite the expense and effort that goes into exhibiting, many people fail to follow up their leads correctly and ultimately, miss out on getting the best results from each show.
What to do BEFORE the exhibition
Working out your budget for an exhibition can be the most daunting thing. How much you spend on the space, the design and building of the stand, the team you take with you (including transport, food and accommodation) and any additional costs – renting of scanners/apps, literature and other attractions on your stand, can all add up. But you shouldn’t let this put you off. Executed well, you will undoubtedly see a good return on your investment.
Planning your exhibition thoroughly will give you a bigger opportunity for success, so make sure you make the most out of the time you have leading up to the event by inviting your key prospects to meet with you and letting people know you are going to be at the event and where your stand is. Who you chose to have as part of your sales team, can have a significant effect on your exhibition performance. Try switching the teams up, different people work better in different situations and a refreshed team for different days of the show can keep morale and motivation at a high.
How to keep on track DURING the exhibition
The main focus during an exhibition is how you capture your leads. This can be as simple as grabbing someone’s business card or scribbling down someone’s name and company. However, most exhibitions will provide scanners or mobile apps for a small cost, that capture details through visitor badges. This will store the details of your leads and will allow you to transfer information effortlessly back into the office.
The most important thing about capturing leads it to keep it simple. Exhibitions can be busy and although you may spend half an hour with one prospect, another may only have 5 minutes to spare. Ensure to capture your prospects details efficiently with no delays.
Arguably the most important time, AFTER the exhibition
Most people take the precious time after exhibitions for granted. When the excitement from the event cools down, some marketers wait for their prospects to contact them, when it should be the other way around. Since you have worked hard to capture the data from your prospects and have it neatly in one place, following up shouldn’t be a problem.
Only 20% of exhibitors follow up their leads effectively and only 40 % of those leads are followed up.
When calling prospects, it is important to reference the key topics of the conversation had at the exhibition. The call should be a follow up where you continue where you left off at the exhibition, not establishing new grounds. Research their business, and read up on the notes from the event. This will impress your prospects, making them more inclined to offer you their time to discuss any opportunities further. The number of leads you have captured in comparison to your budget will enable you to work out an initial cost per lead. For example, if your budget was £5000 and you captured 100 leads, your CPL (cost per lead) would be £50. It’s worth having someone in your team who is proficient on the phone who can dedicate to this activity. Alternatively, if it works better for you, give each member of you exhibition team responsibility of follow up on their own leads and make sure you track their status. This will ensure none of the leads are overlooked – If you do not have the in-house capacity for this, you could outsource work to an agency.
Top tips for successful post show activity
Once the dust has settled and all of the leads have been followed up, you can then establish the quality of the leads collected. This can be done but analysing what prospects you have built positive relationships with, which may be utilized in the future and those who have already converted into new business. Don’t worry if the sales do not happen immediately after the exhibition, some prospects will take longer to nurture. While your prospects may not need your services right now, once the relationship has been built, they will most likely keep you in mind later down the line when an opportunity arises.
Whether you have exhibited before or are just looking to attend as a visitor, attending more events will benefit your business in the future. Exhibitions are an excellent platform for building brand awareness and building a pipeline of new business opportunities.