Rise above the noise: The 10 step checklist to ensure your success in trade shows and conferences

The other week I met with two cool ladies who are the founders of Buzzooka.io – a unique solution for attracting and qualifying leads real time at trade-shows. A great solution to keep your sales team focused on leads that matter and tune out the noise.

Buzzooka got me thinking. Trade shows and events can be overwhelming, costly and often – disappointing. We believe we will come back with a big fat hit list and a few very hot leads. Moreover, that the whole world will know who we are and why we rock. But when that doesn’t happen and the sales team ends up having long conversations with people who no other vendor wanted to trap or better yet people that are on the hunt for the cool giveaways to get their kids. That’s when sales gets upset with marketing. Again.

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As part of the sprints we run at Faastr, nearly any challenge requires a strong emphasis on Marketing-Sales alignment. It seems that even when “just preparing for a trade show or conference” this is a crucial process to run, even internally. It’s important to map and prioritize your goals and objectives:

1) Grow brand awareness

2) Generate new prospects / leads

3) Move existing sales qualified leads and opportunities down the pipeline

4) Improve relationships with existing customers

5) Launch or grow partner programs (anything from OEMs to influencer groups)

There are multiple factors which impact event success. The conference we chose, the type of attendees at a given year (you guessed it – they’re not always consistent), location of the booth (and, well, most companies don’t end up in the spot lights right?) the booth’s concept and design, staff quality and quantity, etc. At times, foot traffic is minimal; Other times, high traffic volumes make it challenging to sift through for potential gems. However, one of the main challenges, every conference’s success is defined by is: converting leads into meetings.

So, what do successful companies do?

They saddle up with the most complete, holistic toolset to suit their goals.

They get clear on their messaging so that booth design, materials, and the way they speak about their product makes sense.

They get a super clear Sales Kit so that it’s ready for customers.

They get everyone on board so that anyone coming in touch with a potential customer speaks the same “language.”

They build a list of target accounts for Account-Based marketing.

They use automation to make the most of their time and resources – even on the conference floor. Anything, to make sure no potential sales lead is left un qualified.

They create the most compelling hook. Great giveaways are crucial (they deserve a post of their own on aligning your gift with your message and more important your goal). However, with gamification and automation combined, companies like Buzzooka can cut through the noise and draw & qualify leads real time.

They get their hands on the media list (and yes, it’s tricky. I once even staged a big breakdown at the media room but hey, I got the list!!)

They get a speaking engagement. Sponsorship is always a good way to go, though tight budgets can get creative.

They have a special event or meet up that no one can say no too (my dear friend and awesome CMO Efrat Ravid never skips an opportunity for an intimate wine tasting meetup wither customers).

True, when you are a F-100 company you can bring Cirque Du Soleil, Tony Robbins, and the Foo Fighters to your event. But even those large companies started somewhere (and pivoted, and rebranded, and adjusted to change). All you need to do is to get some of those basic plans and tools and get going! To find the ones that work best for you map your business goals, mark your main sales challenges and align your marketing efforts accordingly. There’s an abundance of resources to tap. Clarity and alignment are the secret to tapping on to the ones most suitable for you.

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