When businesses make the decision of joining a trade show, conference, exhibition, or any other live event to promote their brand, the goal is to generate the best return on investment possible. And for companies, that means driving as many sales as they can from the show floor, to their store.
At last year’s P3 Pet Trade Show (inaugural edition) in Chicago, more than 190 companies in the pet and pet service industry came together to exchange information on new products and meet with new and existing supplies. The upcoming Global Pet Expo (March 22 to 27) is an even larger event that draws thousands of retailers and attendees.
Besides the clear educational and networking value of these kinds of events, they’re also a huge opportunity to bring qualified leads into retailers’ stores. As an event organizer, your job is to help your exhibitors drive sales, which in turn will improve your event brand.
1. Facilitate Turning Event Orders into Deliveries
Your trade show should have a follow-up protocol for retrieving hot leads, promising prospects, and attendees who are just a step away from converting into customers. You can help retailers by offering a lead retrieval system that uses card readers, portable scanners, and lead retrieval apps, which your exhibitors can use to capture and store leads on a CRM system.
You can go the extra mile by offering a lead capture system that also qualifies in-booth leads and defines a clear set of follow-up protocols for each lead. Above all, any lead capture tech you use should fit seamlessly into the sales processes of your retailers, rather than get in the way.
In the pet trade show industry, the Pacific Veterinary Conference(PacVet) is an event where pet industry retailers display products and services. But where PacVet shines is in how it helps facilitate sales by offering on-site lead retrieval services to capture leads accurately.
2. Leverage Integrated Data During Your Show
It’s not enough to just collect leads indiscriminately, because that just involves getting a bunch of names and contact info from people. What you need to do is help exhibitors gather specific information from qualified leads—attendees who are genuinely interested in their products and services—that their sales teams can use to close transactions.
Focus on helping your exhibitors gather the following vital info from leads:
· Lead interest levels (hot, warm, cold)
· Length of purchasing cycle
· Purchasing responsibility (decision maker, influencer, recommender)
Matchmaking software will prove invaluable in this area, as it allows you to create pre-determined matches based on a retailer’s products/services and an attendee’s interests and event goals (are they looking to purchase, browse, or compare prices?). The earlier you start collecting exhibitor and attendee data, the easier it will be to facilitate matchmaking and data-rich leads.
You can download our matchmaking guide to learn more about encouraging networking at your events.
3. Empower Sales Teams with Event Data
Aside from leads, you should also provide exhibitor sales teams with other important event key performance indicators (KPIs), such as social media reach, news coverage, audience numbers, and total sales numbers among others. This data allows retailers to quantify their performance and outline whether their investment in your event is yielding measurable returns.
Critical at-event KPIs to track include:
· On-floor sales
· Leads captured
· Seminar attendance
· Participant feedback
· Social media activity
Giving sales teams this information will make it easier to generate qualified leads and have the most meaningful conversations with prospects.
4. Tracking sales data Pre-show, at-show and year-to-year
Tracking sales KPIs will be the most reliable way to determine whether your trade show is actually generating revenue for your exhibitors. But don’t just track at-show sales alone, you should also cross-reference this information with pre-show sales and after-show sales. In particular, you want to track the number of new customers your exhibitors generate after the event.
Comparisons of results will help you determine whether your trade show is helping participants reach their ROI goals, which in turn, will be critical in establishing your trade show brand and setting goals at your next event.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, the above techniques involve using hard data to measure sales performance before, during, and after your event. While the reasons for these strategies seem obvious, many trade show organizers underestimate the value of event metrics for quantifying results. Regardless of how you go about measuring your events’ sales performance, it’s important that your team and your exhibitors can agree on what to measure well ahead of the actual event.
Written by Tabitha Naylor
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