Trade shows are a great opportunity to generate new business opportunities and make new customers. However, in order to make our presence in this type of event more profitable, we should perform an adequate contact management that enables us to increase the return on investment.
As pointed out by Foro Marketing, “trade shows are living business operation markets. They bring together, live and in person, the best source of information for the sector, and they are also an opinion and trend exchange hub.” Which is why we should optimally and profitably take advantage of all the resources that it offers us, in order to foster our development and the accomplishment of our goals.
In this article we bring you a few guidelines to improve the obtainment and management of new contacts and cash in on trade shows.
How to increase profitability at a trade show
It is important to keep in mind that trade show participants prepare for months, but they last very few days. As a result, we should leave nothing to chance, and prepare for each and every stage. This way, we will see how our investment is rewarded and profits increase.
Before starting with the preparation, or even before choosing to attend one show or the other, we should determine the objectives of our presence. Do we want to increase sales? Capture new customers? Gain loyalty? Make contacts? There may be many reasons, which is why we need to clearly define our goals and find out whether we will be able to meet them during this event.
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Once the event that, at first glance, may accomplish our goals, we should start with the preparations. During this process, we need to be thorough, since it may determine our success or failure. According to the Expansión newspaper, companies need to keep in mind a set of aspects that will help increase profits:
- The budget: this variable includes all items – from the cost of the stand, its design and construction (materials, transport, etc.), to promotion costs for the products and other marketing actions that encourage sales at the point of sales and the capture of new customers.
- Stand design: you need to inform the company in charge of designing the stand about the message, image and goals of our company when participating in the fair. Furthermore, the stand’s message should be clear and direct – it should make a statement. A good starting point is choosing a specific product or service and focus on it as a means to allure.
- Staff: the time taken to close a sale at a fair is not the same as that of a normal workday, which is why it would be preferable to select the members of our team that are more straightforward. In addition, special training may be required for that event. If we decide to outsource the sales personnel at a trade show, we should be careful and train the staff in order to align it with company goals, and design a working plan.
- Marketing actions: attending a fair and having an alluring stand is not enough to get customers. We need to perform an adequate customer management y promotional actions, a task that should have started months before the event. To this end, in addition to specific promotional material, we should send out personalized invitations to major or prospective customers, schedule interviews, and offer information about our presence in advance through our website and social networks.
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- Event follow-up: this is the most important after the show. We should follow-up on contacts in order to maintain quality leads and be able to guide them through the purchasing cycle until we succeed in landing a business opportunity.
- Result analysis and opportunity detection: management personnel should estimate accomplished goals and, whenever possible, quantify them. This stage will also be useful to detect opportunities and things to be improved, if the data collected has been properly compiled and the necessary reports have been made.
Contact and data management to improve results
As we have previously mentioned, a proper contact management is decisive both for achieving success during the trade show and, in particular, to generate new business opportunities in the future.
What can we do to improve the management of contacts at a trade show?
Plan and determine the contact management strategy in advance
When planning the contact management strategy, we should pay attention to the way in which business contacts are obtained, the way in which they are weighed, and to the follow-up processes.
Collect data digitally
Having a digital tool that lets us collect all possible data onsite will help us record all useful information, as well as add notes and comments about the contact and attach any document that may be useful for an adequate follow-up. With a sales management tool such as inaCátalog, you will automatically have the contact in digital format, sorted and with a lot of key information for the post-fair relationship with this prospective customer.
Perform an adequate business follow-up with a CRM
Having an application that, in addition to collecting data, includes a CRM that stores and manages all information of interest of generated contacts will make it easier to turn contacts into sales.
Offer quick responses
You should be able to respond to user questions and requirements quickly and effectively to increase the chances of success. By using personalized catalogs and a real-time stock control you will be able to address your contacts’ questions and meet their needs.
Nourish your contacts
Whether you have turned the contact into a customer or you see that he may become a future lead, you should nourish the relationship with that person and be present whenever he may require your products or services. To this end, as previously stated, it is paramount to have all the updated information and history for each user, in order to guide him through the sales cycle and determine the best time to close a deal and gain his loyalty.
Sales technology for trade shows
The management of contacts during the trade show and their subsequent follow-up are two variables closely linked variables that will help us increase the profitability of our presence at a fair.
In order to improve these processes you should have an adequate sales tools that is not only tailored to your sales force’s day to day, but also to an event of this type.
In this regard, inaCátalog is designed for every business situation, combining interactive, custom-tailored catalogs with a mobile CRM and a full reporting system that allows you to adequately control both customers and sales agents’ activities. All of this while working on or offline, with the latest technology and an eye-catching look for the customer that is also intuitive for the salesperson.