7 Simple Ways to Improve Trade Show ROI

7 Simple Ways to Improve Trade Show ROI

I’ve been in sales and sales management long enough to remember the days of showing up at a trade show with a display, some brochures, and a fishbowl to collect some leads. If times were good, you’d pay the king’s ransom to the company that rhymes with “Tree-man” for a small patch of carpet, so you don’t wreck your feet.


But times have changed, budgets have shifted, and ROI is a must. So how do you get it?

1) Pre-work:

Showing up and hoping that people happen upon your booth is no longer an option. You must do all you can ahead of time to book meetings. Use all the tools to do this. Phone, email, LinkedIn and Twitter are great to connect and set up meetings. You must grind it out ahead of time.

2) Material:

Sure, passing out tchotchke is nice, but if someone stops by, has some serious interest, and needs something to share with co-workers, what are you going to give them? A digital piece sent to their email as they are walking away from your booth is perfect. Because that breakout session they have to get to? It might suck, and the email app on their phone is a great cure for that boredom. Boom, there’s your email with the material you just showed them. And it's so easy to forward to people back at the home office!

3) Lead Qualification and Collection:

You have to come home with leads, and some of those leads have to close. So how are you going to do this?

Shameless plug alert: Lead Capture is a tool for this and other things, check it out:

Whatever you use, make sure you can qualify a lead, scan a badge or a business card, and have real-time access to it. Why real-time? (see #4)

4) Be Creative:

It’s a 3-day show. On day 1 you collect a lot of great leads, wouldn’t it be great if they came back on day 2?

Try this:

Have some kind of event at your booth on day 2. Maybe your CEO is going to talk about the future of your industry, or you’re doing a live drawing, or you’re doing a demo of a new feature that’s coming out soon, just make sure it’s appealing to people who have an interest in you.

At the end of day 1, pull those leads into a marketing automation system (cough, cough, Lead Capture integrates with Marketing Automation, and leads can be sent there in real-time). Or pull your leads into Excel, mail merge into Outlook, and send all those people an email thanking them for stopping by and inviting them to your special event. Brevity is key here. Short, simple, intriguing.

5) Be Present:

I’ve blogged about mindfulness before here. When you’re talking to someone, be present in that moment, ask questions, connect on a human level.

A couple of other things to do to be present:

- Stay sober: This can be a tough one, you’re traveling, you’re with your fun co-workers, maybe some of your customers are out there, and you’re in a fun city. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a good time and enjoy some beverages, but DO NOT show up hung-over stinking of booze the next day.

- Workout: Get up a bit earlier and grab a run. I love running in a new city in the morning. It’s a great way to explore a new place. Or instead of hitting the happy right after the trade show floor closes, head to the hotel and grab a quick workout, and meet up with your crew later.

- Take breaks: You and your co-workers should make sure you are each getting some time away from the booth.

6) Follow-up:

Now you have to ensure every lead is followed up on. Either they go into a marketing automation system for nurturing, or put directly in the hands of a sales rep. If it’s sales-ready, think about adding them into a follow-up cadence. Tools like Salesloft are ideal for this kind of thing.

7) Have Fun:

People like to work with fun people, so smile and enjoy yourself!

Considering a Move Towards Sales Enablement?


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