Offline and online must come together
Sector fairs are still today a great opportunity to present products, network, understand competitor strategies, learn market news.
At the same time, digital has become an essential element to optimize processes and create new opportunities.
What must be understood and implemented is the development of an internal digital competence such that there is no distinction between offline and online but where the two elements are complementary.
The digital must therefore also enter the sector fair in presence. Let’s see how.
Acquire customers through the trade fair
As we know, sector fairs have an important cost and often companies do not know how to measure the actual return on investment and do not have a real strategy of acquiring contacts, finding themselves at the end of the fair with many expenses and few results.
The key objective of the show should include a clear strategy on how to get sales staff to meet visitors.
First you need to design a goal-oriented, data-driven plan in advance by setting clear key performance indicators (KPIs) to justify the attendance fees and attach the desired numbers.
Asking the right questions will help the company set KPIs correctly, such as:
- How many contacts do you need to acquire?
- How many sales will they have to generate?
- How many qualified contacts are needed to reach the revenue targets?
But how do you manage a fair digitally? we can identify three main moments: Before, during and after.
Before the fair
Your goal should be to promote the event to your database by encouraging people to visit your booth.
Most visitors already know which stands to visit. Two useful actions you can do are: communicate your presence at the fair to your database of contacts and start advertising campaigns to inform a target audience of the possibility of meeting you and viewing your products or services directly at the fair.
Through communication actions you can therefore intrigue your audience, remind them of appointments and show your competence by sending valuable content.
In the emails you can also invite people to make a direct appointment with you, giving your availability for 1to1 comparisons directly at the fair.
Before the fair also create a landing page with a contact form that you will need to collect the visitor data, the landing will have to be connected to your CRM to allow you to track the behavior of people over time. Here a world really opens up because from the CRM you can activate automations that will allow you to improve the purchase path of your contacts.
Do you know Google Ads? as we said before, you can sponsor a landing page dedicated to the fair using the keyword related to the name of the fair in the announcement. This way you can extend your audience.
During the fair
Your goal during the event should be to acquire new leads and profile them and then close the sale at a later time but, if handled well, it can also be a time to produce useful content that you can use later for marketing. .
But let’s go in order. Can you manage the contacts acquired at the fair?
Here, too, CRM helps us. In fact, some CRMs scan business cards and enter contact information directly from the fair. Immediately inserting contacts in the CRM offers the company the possibility to establish adequate customer loyalty strategies and to communicate easily with new contacts.
Once the contact is saved and stored in the CRM, it is possible to create automation and marketing and sales processes to keep the contact engaged. How many times have you forgotten to call a contact? Or how long does it take to call a contact usually?
With CRM these actions become a process and will (almost) no longer depend on the action of people.
A practical example: with a marketing automation process you could make sure to send an automatic email to your prospects who have just passed by your stand with a thank you and information to contact you back. After a few days it will be possible to send the contact an automatic follow-up and a series of informative emails in the following days. This will make management easier.
After the fair
Your post-fair goal will certainly be to develop relationships with prospects and turn them into customers over time. But how to do it?
We have already mentioned in the previous paragraph about post-fair engagement strategies through emails and automations.
Your sales representatives will also have to learn how to use the CRM and the sales tools present within it such as the Pipeline and the tool for managing appointments.
In fact, from this moment on, salespeople will be able (and will have to) manage the relationship with prospects by analyzing contact data, inserting offers in the pipeline and monitoring the progress of their behavior.
Did you know that with CRM it is possible to keep track of actions performed by contacts and you can get information such as: knowing if they opened the emails and when, having the recordings of all the emails sent in the contact card, knowing which pages of your site they visited and when, what buttons they pressed and what content they downloaded. These are just a few examples, CRM is really the beating heart of your strategy for the fair and not using it means facing the fair without a strategy.
At the end of everything, always measure the return on investment, set clear metrics to actually understand what brought you. The metrics can be: The total cost of the fair, the number of contacts acquired, the number of negotiations, of closed contracts. And most importantly: what have we learned?
Because the fair can be a perfect opportunity to bring new skills to the company and that healthy change that makes it grow.
If you need to bring about this kind of change in the company
If you need a guide to understand which steps to take to digitize the fair
If you need a director to move the ranks
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