How to Increase B2B Trade Show ROI
Trade shows are a critical component of any B2B sales and marketing plan, but they are also an enormous investment in terms of both time and finances. Understanding how to measure success is crucial before you commit your limited resources.
Most B2B brands will attend anywhere from five to ten trade shows annually in an effort to gain new customers, says Tom Davis, Supporting Member Sales & Marketing Manager for Snowsports Industries America (SIA). SIA hosts an annual members-only trade show for suppliers of consumer snow sports.
We asked Davis to share his thoughts on how B2B brands can not only their trade show ROI, but also how to measure the outcomes beyond leads gathered at the show itself.
It’s great when brands can take orders right from the show floor, but increasing the ROI on your trade show expenses happens when you manage the post-show experience using data gathered at your booth.
One of the most fundamental metrics you can gather is how many people not only entered your booth, but also allowed you to scan their badges. Most shows will provide a scanner for a small fee or even for free, but Davis says he is continually surprised by how many vendors pass up this opportunity.
That scanner, he adds, is one of the methods by which brands can collect data for post-show marketing plans. No matter how you collect it, once the show has ended, leverage that data to launch your post-show marketing.
Tip: With a wholesale eCommerce solution, brands can quickly capture prospective customer details and share digital catalogs and meeting recaps immediately. Post show, reps & managers have a clear action list and can easily turn product discussions into draft or confirmed orders.
Email campaigns or post-show advertising can help drive leads, but one of the most-overlooked methods of driving revenue is possibly the most simple¬—picking up the phone.
“In-bound marketing is great, and technology is so huge that people just want to send an email,” says Davis, “but I tell people to give retailers a few days to digest and decompress. Then just give them a call.”
Creating personal relationships with prospective buyers is Trade Show 101. However, don’t forget to forge a connection with your tradeshow representative, as well. One of the most critical, measurable outcomes of any show is obtaining a list of buyers who are in attendance.
Tip: With a wholesale eCommerce solution, reps can send buyers who didn’t make it to their booth a login plus a curated selection of products for possible purchase. This makes any follow up phone calls more productive and keeps everyone focused.
Another great way to get in front of your target audience is to join the seminar track at the shows you plan to attend. “You’d be surprised at how many people attend those sessions,” says Davis. “You position yourself as a thought leader, and you’re putting your brand in front of prospects like the senior vice president of sales.”
Tradeshows will always be about how many orders are taken, when it comes down to the bottom line. However, those orders can continue to come in once the booth is broken down and you’re back in your office.
“The ‘hot lead’ mindset is of course the typical mindset,” says Davis. “After the show, take that momentum and mindset and use it to increase your ROI even more.”
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