Two Best Practice Exhibitor Stories

This post written by Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director of CEIR

This year’s EXHIBITOR2013 was as much a learning opportunity for me as it was to promote CEIR studies and how they can help exhibitors and suppliers in the industry. I moderated a peer-to-peer roundtable discussion, and at this session I learned quickly that some of the executives are implementing best practices that are generating real results for their companies. Though the topic was exhibitor training, these executives focused on the overall picture of the process of defining goals that tie into company objectives, assuring staff know what the goals are and putting into place follow-up actions that generate real results.

Here are the stories I’d like to share:

  • An executive for a software company is relentless in assuring every lead captured by her exhibit teams is tracked. Hot leads are sent to sales for immediate follow-up while other leads go into the company’s CRM system and are continued to be nurtured on an ongoing basis. Each lead is tagged to where it originated, and she reviews files to make sure that’s the case. Recently, she was informed that a lead captured by her team has culminated in a substantial piece of business. She said the lead was captured two years ago. At the time it was an unremarkable lead; a general request for information that had gone into the hopper and went through the system. Given her vigilance, her efforts to assure her teams are capturing information, assuring the data is properly stored in their systems and follow-up practices are executed properly, the end result is securing a major contract, a boon for her company and for her exhibit program.
  • Another executive described his approach to winning sales staff commitment to achieving results at exhibitions. The beauty of this approach is that the sales teams are an integral part of setting measurable goals. The sales team is asked to provide the number of sales calls it takes to generate a sale and this data is used to set the goal of number of qualified sales leads that need to be generated at a given exhibition. They buy into the data because it is based on their numbers. The executive compares the costs to exhibit with the costs to close a sale to determine the number of qualified sales leads that need to be generated at an exhibition.  The outcome of exhibiting, whether they hit the goal, then determines whether the company will continue to exhibit, downsize, discontinue or upgrade their space. He notes that this approach has prompted intense commitment of sales staff to meet goals. It has changed their view of exhibiting, their approach and demeanor; it has become their tool for selling, they are motivated to succeed.

It is heartening to hear these stories firsthand, to hear from companies effectively using the exhibiting medium.

A CEIR report, Beyond ROI and ROO Using Measurement to Enhance Decisions & Improve Exhibit Results, is worth a read to reflect on how to position one’s exhibit program for success.  Exhibitor Sales Lead Capture and Follow-up Practice Trends is worth reviewing for those looking to learn the range of practices in this area.

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