Trade shows have been and continue to be an important part of business for many companies. Yet in 2020, the number of organizations planning a virtual event doubled.
With the majority of trade shows facing cancellation in 2020 and the forecast for 2021 predicting a similar, socially-distanced year, it is likely we will continue to experience a shift from in-person events to virtual events for the foreseeable future.
This shift towards a new reality for trade shows and industry events also brings forth the need to alter sales plans for the upcoming year.
It’s Q4 of 2020, and this year has been a year of change. If you haven’t yet adapted your plans for the months ahead, now is the time.
Keeping these following considerations in mind when adjusting your virtual trade show arrangements and melding them with your updated sales plans will ultimately maximize your ROI.
1. Reallocate Event Funds
Dwindling numbers of in-person trade shows and an increased shift towards virtual events are allowing businesses to reallocate budgets that were originally set aside for expenses such as travel, booth space, business cards, pamphlets, and much more.
Presented with the unique opportunity to utilize previously accounted for funding, businesses can apply newly reallocated dollars to make improvements to marketing efforts, update website features, revise sales processes, and implement targeted calling to make their attendance at virtual events more fruitful.
2. Diversify How You Find Your Leads
Many industries, including machinery, capital equipment, and manufacturing, rely on trade shows for up to 100% of their lead qualification and sales.
When trade shows are canceled and virtual events make it difficult to connect, how do you plan to make up the leads and sales you can’t get from those shows?
Take into consideration what would serve your target market best when immediate in-person conversations aren’t an option.
Even when it is not possible to connect face-to-face, complex sales still require meaningful conversations with decision makers and those at the C-level.
One might have accomplished this through scheduled meetings at large trade shows, but the past year has proven that sales teams must be capable of reaching the same people and conducting business through other methods, such as phone calls and virtual meetings.
Initiating and maintaining contact with decision makers outside of the trade show arena can make all the difference for your sales representatives in order to keep your company name at the forefront of prospects’ minds when the normal routine has been disrupted.
3. Maintain Thoughtful and Consistent Communication
For industries that traditionally lean on conversations and sales reps that understand industry language, it can be a tough transition from in-person interactions to other types of sales.
Staffing experienced people to conduct genuine phone conversations with prospects and clients helps maintain that human part of sales and establishes a sense of closeness and relatability while still remaining physically distant.
At JMS Elite, our experienced cold calling representatives are still conducting pre-and post-trade show calls for our clients’ virtual events, and it is proving successful and necessary. Without making these calls, it is almost impossible to make the important connections that you would like to.
Conducting proactive sales measures and following up after the event is what makes these important connections and conversations possible.
In order to receive a positive ROI, you have to put in the essential prep work. With no opportunity for chance encounters through virtual events, contact information is often gathered in a less personal way, but with meetings scheduled in advance there is still an opportunity to connect with virtual attendees and stand out from the “crowd.”
We have always emphasized the importance of pre-and post-trade show calls to maximize ROI and get in front of the right people, and we find that this is even more important with virtual shows.
Dedicating experienced callers who are comfortable on the phone can put you ahead of your competition as they are able to schedule meetings, qualify leads, etc. before the event has even occurred and —another crucial step— follow-up with potential leads after the event has ended.
Reallocating Event Funds for Cold Calling
With 84% of organizations who have held a virtual event in 2020 reporting lower spend than on in-person events, you may find that you have more funds to outsource your pre-and post-show sales activity.
The heightened importance of establishing a connection with virtual trade show attendees and the option to reallocate unused event and trade show budgets for sales activity such as cold calling for pre-and post-show communication support one another, creating an abundance of opportunity for businesses to elevate their presence in the minds of attendees.
If you would like to learn more about outsourcing your pre-and post-show calling and how it could help boost the ROI of your virtual trade show participation, please do not hesitate to contact us to get the conversation started today.