Despite your best efforts, poor staffers can sink your trade show ship. 85% of an exhibitor’s success hinges on the performance of its booth staff. Despite its importance only 26 percent of exhibitors conduct trade show staff training for all or most of their events! We put together several trade show staffing essentials that are necessary for your team to be effective at your next trade show.
More times than not marketing managers and booth staff have different views on what is needed for a trade show to be successful. If the correct training is provided to staff and communication is open between these two key forces, you will be able to bring in more qualified leads. More leads result in a bigger bottom line for your company.
What do Trade Show Sales Staff Want or Need?
Brian Kaltsas, Vice President of Sales for EDE Corporation, gives us his perspective on the topic we come across frequently with our clients. Brian began his career in a marketing role and after 3 years transferred over to sales. Spending time on both sides of the spectrum has given him a unique and valuable perspective on the matter.
Brian found that show floor sales staff were never 100% happy with the materials marketing managers provided. The sales staff’s goal is to turn sales around quickly. Getting their input on what message needs to go out and what information needs to be provided can help the process. It’s imperative to listen to your sales staff and for communication to be open between the marketing and sales departments.
Pre-Show Staff Training
Having a successful sales team lead can help with training the sales staff from the start. It is vital to have a pre-show meeting led by the marketing team to review the trade show booth to their sales team as a whole. It is helpful to put together a pre-show information sheet with all the key marketing topics and even ideas on how to talk about them. It is also essential to set the sales team ratio up for success. For example, have a mix of junior and senior level salespeople working the booth and scheduling appropriately by not having too many sales staff in a booth at any given time.
The sales staff need to be educated and knowledgeable about their craft. When proper training is in place booth staffers provide more personalized, focused, helpful, and notable experiences to trade show attendees who visit your booth. The percentage of qualified leads that convert to sale is 7.4% for untrained staffers. That figure rises to 15.8% for those who have undergone training.
Goals Need to be Aligned
It’s often said that the main reason exhibitors participate in trade shows is to gather leads that can be converted into future sales. This makes one think that managing the lead-gathering and follow-up process should be top-of-mind for every exhibit manager from the minute they start planning a show. Sounds reasonable, but with all the other details and deadlines marketing managers face, lead management often takes a back seat to exhibit design and brand messaging.
It’s also important for your sales staff to recognize that all trade show leads are not created equal. Keeping track of where a lead was taken and the context of the engagement can give you valuable insight into visitors’ activities in your booth and serve as a guide for the type of follow-up they receive. For example, a generic post-show email thanking them for visiting your exhibit versus a phone call from a sales rep.
Taking the Lead
Today’s options for lead retrieval and management are light years beyond the badge scanners and fishbowls of yesteryears. In the business of lead management, it’s all about capturing, qualifying, distributing, and following up. It’s about refining the process and integrating the data in a way that helps sales staff close sales and marketing managers target their activity and demonstrate the validity of their trade shows. Utilizing a lead retreival app that can be on the sales team’s smartphones and can be integrated into their CRM along with training them how to use said app can do your sales team wonders. Your staff should know as much as attendees do at a bare minimum. They should be able to whip through your programs faster than they can zip around their smartphones. If staffers stumble through the process, attendees will cut bait.
Trade show staffing essentials ultimately come down to two main objectives: proper staff training and communication between marketing managers and sales staff.