For years now tradeshows have been a top B2B sales and marketing tool. Tradeshows are industry-specific exhibitions designed to showcase new products or services, and innovations in the industry. (Entrepreneur.com). There are thousands of tradeshows hosted every year, in locations all around the world, ranging in size, scale, and theme.
In a survey, 92% of tradeshow visitors stated that they attend tradeshows to “see what’s new in the industry”, with the majority of attendees visiting one show per year (SageWorld, 2015).
Tradeshows are a top sales tool because they’re an excellent way to connect with current customers and to reach out to potential buyers, helping organizations to grow their businesses. An overwhelming majority of exhibitors, 99%, see the unique value in utilizing B2B tradeshows as a marketing channel (TSNN, 2013).
Tradeshow audiences continue to grow year over year offering a unique opportunity for lead generation (Statista, 2016). Today’s blog will examine how exhibitors can adapt their tradeshow sales and marketing strategies to improve lead generation, capturing, and nurturing!
In the past, the main objective for exhibitors was pushing sales during the show, bombarding potential buyers with brochures and pushy sales representatives, but the rise of digital sales and marketing techniques, as well as empowered buyers, means that this objective has changed. Now, the three most common tradeshow objectives are building brand awareness, lead generation, and customer relationship building.
- 80% participate to raise awareness for their company and brand
- 72% participate to get leads from new buyers and prospects
- 70% participate to strengthen relationships or partnerships
- (SageWorld, 2015).
The Unique Benefits of Tradeshow Lead Generation
Tradeshows offer the opportunity to meet more prospective buyers face to face in one day than most sales teams could meet in an entire year (Expostars). Plus, they have the added benefit of a significantly lower cost-per-interaction, coming in at only $142, compared to the costly $259 for a traditional in-person sales meeting (TSNN, 2013).
Tradeshows are an excellent source for lead generation because...
- 46% of tradeshow attendees report being upper management or executive staff (Skyline, 2013)
- 49% of visitors stated they had the intention to purchase (Statista, 2016)
- 81% of attendees have the power to recommend or make purchase decisions (ExhibitorOnline).
For a first hand look inside the world’s largest construction tradeshow, check out our blog from last week Team WHUT’s Highlights from ConExpo – CON/AGG 2017.
How to Improve Lead Capture at Tradeshows
A recent trend that is improving tradeshow lead generation is lead capture technology. “After attracting interest and incentivizing lead capture, you need a method to collect, store, and retrieve leads information to your sales team” (Business2Community, 2016). Organizations are investing in various tech for lead capture and data collection, such as barcode or QR scanners, business card scanner apps, and Google Forms.
QR or Barcode scanners – These devices are often available for rent through the tradeshow services, they are a great option for collecting basic contact information, full name, title, company, contact details, from an attendee’s tradeshow badge (Business2Community, 2016).
Business card scanners and apps – These scanners offer a quick solution for gathering potential lead information. You can scan valuable contact information from business cards directly on your cellphone or tablet. The best apps integrate directly into your email, CRM, or phone contact list, allowing you to avoid the hassle of carrying around stacks of business cards and manually entering their data (Top Ten Reviews, 2017).
Google Forms – An easy way to collect lead data is to allow your tradeshow visitors to fill out one of these customizable online forms. Since these forms are customizable you can gather more in-depth information than the basic contact details. For example, you can add specific qualifiers such as intention to purchase, interested products, and more (Business2Community, 2016).
However, despite the rise in tradeshow audiences and the advancements in lead capture technology many companies are still failing to commit to the most essential step of the lead cycle!
The Big Problem with Tradeshow Lead Generation
On average 51% of tradeshow attendees request that a sales professional visit their company after the show, and 76% of executives ask for a price quote while attending a show (Allegra, 2016). However, up to 90% of attendees are NOT contacted in the 12 months following a show!
This highlights the biggest problem with tradeshow lead generation – no follow-up! You can work as hard as possible, and spend thousands of dollars on your tradeshow lead generation and capture but all of that effort is for nothing if you fail to nurture and follow-up with those leads after the show.
With audiences and purchase intentions on the rise tradeshow exhibitors are missing huge opportunities for delivering valuable customer interactions and sales by refusing to nurture and follow-up on their leads.
If you’re struggling to train and motivate your sales teams check out our article Spring Training: Revitalize Your Sales Training Strategy, featuring coaching tips and advice on how to improve sales team efficiency and productivity.
Master the Tradeshow Follow-Up with the Help of Sales Enablement
Once you’ve collected all of your customer data and information using your lead generation strategies and lead capture technology make sure that you follow-up with those leads!
Sales enablement has proven itself to be an essential tool for mastering the art of tradeshow lead nurturing. Sales enablement (SE) is a digital sales content management solution that provides sales teams with the right content, knowledge, and skills for every buyer interaction.
A sales enablement platform hosts all of your digital sales content in one convenient location, providing your sales teams with mobile access to their spec sheets, pricing guides, product brochures, and more.
Simply integrate a SE solution with your CRM tool or contact list, and you’re ready to follow-up and engage with your tradeshow leads. Best-in-class SE solutions will pull contact data directly from your CRM and then filter your content library to show assets targeted for that lead.
For example, if you capture Mike Smith’s contact data and lead status at a tradeshow, as well as any additional notes such as his interest in purchasing drilling equipment. You can then select Mike as a contact in from your sales enablement tool and it will filter your library to show the best assets for Mike. Additionally, all content that is then shown or shared with Mike is recorded and written back into your CRM system, ensuring that you have a 360-degree view of your customer history.
Additionally, Marketing can create and import custom tradeshow follow-up email templates so that when sales professionals share content or reach out to a lead after a show the messaging is branded appropriately.
For example, take a look at this great follow-up email we received from JLG Industries after visiting their booth at ConExpo 2017. It is branded with the company’s colours and images; it contains a clear message relating to the convention, as well as a call-to-action (in this case a survey rather than a content share).
If you would like more information on the core components and benefits of a sales enablement tool please check out our Beginner’s Guide to Sales Enablement.
Conquer Your Next Tradeshow!
Tradeshows require a huge investment of time and resources from both marketing and sales. Make sure that you and your team maximize your tradeshow ROI by following-up on all of your leads and nurturing them with the best sales content.
Book a personalized demo with one of our trained sales professionals today to learn more about how a sales enablement tool can help you to conquer your next tradeshow.