Are you getting the most bang for your buck as a trade show exhibitor? Many companies know they’re not, but they don’t know why not. Here’s a big part of the problem: Marketers are gung-ho about trade show planning and trade show marketing, but that’s where their intentionality stops. There’s one more piece of the puzzle you have to get right to maximize your success: trade show staffing. Here’s how to choose the right people to send.
Consider This One Question
Before you start thinking about who should staff your booth, ask yourself this: Who truly owns the success of your show? You might say it’s the booth itself or the marketing team, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. It’s your booth staff. In fact, 100% of whether a show is successful or not depends on the people who are representing your brand there. It’s the soldiers who win the war – or lose it.
Think of your next show through the lens of extreme ownership. You should have set goals for leads and sales, and if they’re not met, the accountability rests at the feet of those at the show. When the booth staff owns your ROI and success, they can’t complain when things fall short. Instead, they’ll be motivated to make the most of the time and you’ll be more motivated to put the right people in place with your trade show staffing.
Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes, people raise their hand to go to a show because they think it’ll be a good time. That’s a bad reason to go. You need people who are charismatic, understand your business, and are kickass with interpersonal relationships. They can’t be shy, timid or awkward. They’re embodying your brand. So, what does this mean? You probably have to boss up and have some difficult conversations.
Just because your Account Director knows your products doesn’t mean they can engage booth visitors. You might need to send someone hungrier, with more enthusiasm and energy. Sometimes, your CEO is the best person to go because they’re the deal maker. But there are other CEOs who are great strategists but fumble face-to-face interactions. If so? Let’s keep Karen back at the office. Even your leading salesperson might not be the ideal person to man your booth if they freeze onstage (and/or on a proverbial stage).
Make A Complete Plan
When I talk with clients, the most common reason they cite for sending a particular group of individuals to a trade show is this: “it’s what we’ve always done.” You don’t need me to tell you that’s a lame reason. Challenge yourself to be intentional and form a complete plan instead.
If you’re unsure how to start, find one person who clearly excels in the trade show setting. This should be a person who sees the flow of an event, understands lead generation, and knows how to naturally push a prospect to the right next person (e.g an engineer or a salesperson) who can then do a soft sell or close the deal.
Once you have an idea of who should go, set clear success criteria and assign particular results that each person on the team will own. This brings you full circle back to the idea of extreme ownership, and it’s really the best way to ensure you go from haphazard trade show staffing to staffing that boosts ROI.
When it comes to trade show planning and trade show marketing, don’t forget your people. At Highway 85, we apply these practices and can help you cover all the bases. Give us a call!