6 Trade Show Pain Points and the Road to Revenue
Before the end of Q4, businesses have, no doubt, prepared budgets and revenue projections for the upcoming year. One of the largest spending considerations is trade shows, conferences and similar events. Like any other marketing expenditure, the biggest question a business should ask is: How much revenue will be generated as a direct result of the trade show investments?
In order to accurately answer this question, we need to have a detailed roadmap from trade show to revenue. One of the best ways to design and execute a trade show strategy that delivers definitive results is to understand the pain points of trade show planning. Below is a list of some of the most common pain points along with suggestions to overcome them. (Shout out to our ghost writer, a B2B technology and global marketing executive, who contributed this list!)
1. No clear objectives or executive buy-in. Which trade shows is the business attending, and why? Bring stakeholders together early on and often to define the objectives, and get sign off on objectives before any planning is done. Designate a company executive as an internal sponsor to support marketing and sales activities around these objectives and make sure everyone is motivated to be a part of the event.
2. Lack of time. You can't succeed without time to create a clear strategy and plan, which can take three to twenty-four months, depending on the event. Doing things last minute can impact your booth placement, doesn't allow for adequate promotions before the event and can cause logistical nightmares onsite for staff. Missing critical deadlines can increase the cost of show services (ex. internet, electrical, carpet, rental furniture, lead scanners) by 20-30%, so having a project plan is essential. Designate someone with project management experience to build and manage the project plan and provide regular status updates to stakeholders.
3. Disconnect between marketing and sales. These teams should be working hand-in hand with the objectives, messaging, and outreach. Make sure to select the right staff, who have a combination of industry-related and event-planning experience, to represent your company. Adequate training for the event is crucial to a successful outcome! Everyone should know the USPs (Unique Selling Points) and have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
4. Restricting creative freedom. Marketing and sales teams need to have a working environment that encourages new ideas and is non-judgmental. They must be free to be experimental, try new concepts and see what works. Help them get out of the office, and have some fun to generate ideas. Often, the best ideas can come from the people and moments where you least expect it.
5. Not enough budget to cover the costs of a booth and additional activities. If you are going to invest in a tradeshow, then do it right. If you don’t have the budget, consider opting out of doing a booth but still send in your best networkers. There are a lot of opportunities to still have a presence at a trade show without having a booth, so consider that when securing sponsorships.
6. Disorganized and weak lead follow-up. Your team’s job for a trade show is to generate qualified, targeted leads from marketing and attendance efforts. Lead generation should be a seamless hand off to sales, and they should be ready to follow up with leads immediately after the show concludes. Use synched CRM, Workflow Rules and Marketing Automation technology to document, track, follow-up and report on trade show lead generation.
If you really want to experience the best possible return on your trade show investment, then make sure you have clear objectives, carve out ample planning time, align marketing and sales teams to work together, exercise creative freedoms and consider alternatives to the standard booth. Most importantly, utilize technology for the most efficient road to revenue after the trade show.
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