Trade shows are still a tried and true area of investment for B2B marketers, according to the most recent MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. B2B marketers are showing that there is a need to invest in traditional tactics, as they continue to invest in website design, management and optimization, and e-mail marketing, digital tactics that survey respondents value highly. Naturally, as we embrace digital, face-to-face interactions become that much more valuable.
Meeting someone face to face and shaking their hand and engaging in conversation cannot be met with a digital replacement. The name of the game in trade show marketing and B2B marketing is all about building and nurturing relationships.
Optimize face to face interactions
You can learn a lot about your customers, prospects competitors at trade shows. Trade shows and exhibitions are a great way to have many face-to-face meetings in one location in a very short time.
We are in the business of optimizing your trade show exhibit environment so that you can have those conversations and meetings. We understand that the challenge for staffing the booth and having a strategy for those face-to-face interactions is key. Your trade show booth staff should have a strategy for managing future follow-up with conversations that happen in your trade show booth, especially since so many people who will be doing the following up won’t be the ones who spoke to the customer or prospect at the event.
Direct some of your trade show investment to a better means of ensuring the conversation continues after the event? For example:
1. QR codes are included now on most trade show name badges. When scanned, these QR codes detail prospects’ names, titles and contact information. Why not scan these codes with a smartphone or an iPad and populate the data into your CRM. This eliminates data entry errors that inevitably happen when you scan business cards manually.
2. Associate this contact information with a simple form that your sales professionals can access from a smartphone or an iPad. Things you might include are
- A few key motivations that relate to your solutions.
- One or two qualifying questions, such as the size of the account
- A short free-form text field the rep can use to write a note
Invest in allowing your tradeshow booth staff and sales professionals to work smarter using technology.
A small technology investment (relatively small) will help your sales and event professionals work smarter. They’ll instantly capture your potential custom intention and why they might want to buy your product, and you then will be able to follow up with a very relevant conversation. Sales professionals can then subsequently focus on the issues that are most important to prospects, even if it’s a two weeks or a month after the trade show is over.