Attending industry-specific B2B trade shows or events is an essential step for business growth. In fact, it’s so important that an estimated $24 billion is spent by companies annually to exhibit and display what they have to offer at trade shows and conferences.
Why is it important for businesses to attend industry conferences? B2B events are an ideal place to generate sales leads, debut new products or services, boost brand awareness, discover the latest technology, and check out what competitors and industry leaders are doing. As long as you carefully plan and budget your trade show, B2B conferences are money well-spent.
What Is a Trade Show?
By definition, trade shows are designed to bring together industry experts and business owners. They are intended for participants to display, demonstrate, and discuss their products and services. Trade shows are where new technology is unveiled, and business connections are made.
At a trade show, you can expect to find:
- Exhibitors with informative booths
- Workshops and presentations
- Networking events
- Awards presentations
The top three trade show event marketing goals and strategies are to increase sales (83%), boost brand awareness (73%), and enhance product knowledge (53%).
Why You Need to Be Exhibiting at B2B Events
When you and your team attend trade shows, you have the chance to build new connections and develop long-lasting business relationships. If executed properly, trade show exhibitors boost brand awareness, successfully unveil new products and services, and outshine their competitors.
1. Generate Lucrative Leads
If you’re participating in a trade show, plan out a thorough strategy. Every event you attend is a chance to grow your business and expand your company’s customer base.
People who attend trade shows are in the right state-of-mind to be sold to. You should think of the entire audience as prospective leads. Most of the time, trade show attendees are motivated, interested to learn about your products, and may commit to a deal on-the-spot.
Before you head out to your B2B event, you and your team should establish key sales goals prior to the show. This will give your sales team a firm objective.
To make the most out of your trade show experience, you should:
- Have a captivating and engaging trade show booth
- Perfect your 30-second pitch beforehand
- Research who will be at the conference ahead of time
- Incorporate a call-to-action (like trade show pricing) to generate as many leads as possible
As you interact and engage with trade show attendees, document everything. When you exchange business cards with a prospect, write notes on it so you can keep track of all of your new leads. Always have a follow-up place in place after a trade show.
In the case that you don’t make any final sales during your trade show, your team will still be networking, which is always a plus. New connections build brand visibility and can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations.
2. Showcase New Products & Services
If your business is launching a new product or service, B2B events are the best places to show them off. A conference can be a highly effective place to launch your new product or service, but it takes a well-planned strategy in order to produce an impressive ROI.
Launching products at relevant trade shows maximizes exposure and directly connects the product or service with potential customers.
During your conference, incorporate a creative and interactive product display to drive consumer interest through the roof. The face-to-face interactions and hands-on experiences will linger in your customers’ minds, making them less likely to forget your new product or service anytime soon.
Weeks (maybe even months) before your B2B event, start generating interest around your new product or service. Use social media, email marketing, press releases, your business’s website, and other tactics to create anticipation. Event attendees will show up looking for the new product or service they’ve heard so much about.
Once you have the foot traffic at your trade show booth, make sure your sales team is delivering concise, yet informative, pitches to explain the product. Try to incorporate prizes or giveaways to keep the excitement level high. After building up so much anticipation for your new product release, you don’t want to let prospective consumers down.
After the event, make sure you’re following up with all of your leads to keep the ball rolling.
3. Build Brand Awareness
Attending B2B events is a great way to boost your brand’s overall visibility and increase your company’s awareness among consumers.
At a trade show, you and your team have the opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level. You can chat and network with people who may be interested in your business. Building solid relationships is a major foundation for growth in any business.
Small businesses can use trade shows to spread interesting news and boast business achievements. You can use the event to answer frequently asked questions current customers have about your products and services, so your new customers already have the answers. Offer in-depth demonstrations to explain how your product or service is best used and the value it brings to businesses.
Above all, trade shows are a way for consumers to put a face behind your business. Once people meet you and your team, they’ll be more likely to remember your business later. Face-to-face marketing and customer interactions are more effective than other forms of advertising.
Just how effective is in-person marketing? According to HubSpot Sales, nearly 100% of people claim face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships and the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%.
4. Check out Your Competition
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, right?
If you’re at a trade show, there’s a good chance your competition will be there, too. Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, use a B2B conference to learn more about your competition and discover what industry leaders are doing to boost their sales.
You’ll likely be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with big names in your industry. Take advantage of this opportunity by networking with these companies and learning more about their processes.
Check out their displays, listen to a sales pitch, and make notes of everything you learn. This way, you can make improvements for your next event and learn new tactics to boost your business’s growth.
Above all, at a B2B trade show, you’ll learn cutting-edge developments and industry news to help you stay ahead of your competitors.
Seminars and presentations will teach you about new processes and industry trends that have a significant impact on your business’s future growth. Therefore, attending conferences can help you keep tabs on your competition as well as discover new methods to stay ahead of them.
5. Discover New Technology
The world is always evolving, and your business industry is no exception. Attending trade shows gives you the opportunity not only to generate new sales leads but to also check out new technology that could drastically affect your company’s growth.
Whether it be new software or technological equipment to make things run smoother at the office, you’re bound to discover something useful to your business at a B2B convention.
It can be overwhelming at first, but make it a point for each team member to learn about three new technologies or software programs that could increase business operations. If you can learn new technology before anyone else, it gives your business a strong competitive advantage.
Word to the Wise: Pick the Right Trade Show
Now that you know all of the advantages trade shows have to offer, it’s essential you pick the right ones to attend. Trade show exhibitions and tickets can become expensive, so be sure to only attend conventions that will provide a profitable ROI and a high chance of capturing clients and leads.
How can you decipher which trade shows are worthwhile to attend? By following these steps:
- Establish a clear goal or objective to attain during your B2B event
- Research your target demographic and only attend tradeshows catered to that group
- Check out trade show calendars to get a glimpse of all of the different events offered throughout the year
- Look into each trade show’s history (be wary of glamorous conferences that haven’t been around for too long)
- Establish a budget and focus on events that fit it (keep in mind travel expenses)
- Pick a trade show with a viable timeline you can work with and properly advertise for (you should schedule at least two months of prep time, if not more)
Once you’ve selected your trade show, conduct as much research as possible. The more you know about the audience who will be in attendance, the better you can design your presentation to create a lasting impression.
Prepare for Your Next Trade Show
B2B events are excellent experiences. They’re ideal places to meet prospective clients and network with potential business partners. At trade shows and conferences, you can expect to participate in informative workshops to advance your business and stay updated on the latest industry technology and trends.
If you’re considering attending a trade show, you’re going to need an exhibition that stands out against the crowd. Metro Exhibits provides first-rate exhibit services to help you crush the competition at your next B2B event. Contact us to learn more about what we can offer your team.