RevOps / Sales

Key Strategies to Optimize Your Return on Investment at Trade Shows

By George Turano

Branded content with Vision-e

You have the opportunity to amplify the efficacy of your event, whether as a trade show sponsor or as an attendee, by incorporating a few essential best practices. During an executive session at Dreamforce, a survey revealed that fewer than 20% of CEOs reported achieving a return on investment (ROI) as booth sponsors, with attendees encountering similar outcomes. 

Company leaders who consistently achieved a robust ROI year after year shared a set of straightforward strategies for optimizing the benefits for both sponsors and attendees. In fact, networking opportunities can be optimized by 100% of sponsors and attendees.

Strategies to Maximize Your Event

1. Schedule appointments before the trade show commences

Networking, whether it’s the anticipation of stumbling upon potential new business relationships, or the serendipitous encounter of a key individual passing by your booth, is an integral aspect of the trade experience. Nevertheless, there exists one action you can take to alter the outcome of the event. 

A common factor among leaders who achieved a return on investment was their proactive approach of pre-scheduling appointments before the start of the event. The most significant returns will be realized through the execution of this strategy!

2. Record leads and capture opportunities in Salesforce before they get away

Have you ever encountered a scenario where business cards seem to vanish? To compound matters, they have become increasingly scarce in today’s tech conferences, as traditional business cards are now a rarity. Have a well-structured process in place to gather attendee information seamlessly, encompassing traditional business cards, digital business cards, NFC cards, and/or QR codes. 

The Vision-e scanning solution has the capacity to swiftly capture information from various sources and promptly transmit it to Salesforce, classifying it as a Lead, Contact, or even as a Prospect for Pardot Account Engagement.

3. Be prepared to share your contact information

Sharing your contact information enables you to connect with potential clients, partners, and industry peers. While you might be ready to scan a badge at a booth, have you considered your readiness for seizing networking prospects during lunch, sessions, and dinner parties? 

Having witnessed others scrambling for business cards to distribute, it’s best to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation – a situation that could potentially hinder your perceived willingness to cultivate professional connections. Whether equipped with conventional business cards or a NFC digital business card, consider taking it a step further. 

You can optimize your approach to networking by generating a digital business card that can be stored on your phone and multiple QR codes using the Vision-e app. These QR codes can facilitate the sharing of landing pages, order forms, and direct links to your social media profiles, enhancing the scope of your interactions.

Security Begins at Hello

As trade shows like Dreamforce storm back, cybercrime, privacy compliance, and accelerated sales cycles are forcing companies to change their approach to in-person sales.

Mike Lightner is the president of Vision-e, a 12-year Salesforce ISV partner and developer of leading team collaboration tools on the AppExchange. He first noticed the trend at Dreamforce in 2022.

Relying on Post-its and being inattentive to the handling of PII (Personal Identifiable Information) is a potential disaster in the making, carrying the risk of financial repercussions and damage to reputation.

As COVID forced businesses online to survive, hackers saw an opportunity and made the most of it. According to the FBI, losses to internet-based crime in the US totaled over $3.5 billion in 2019. By 2022, that number had skyrocketed nearly threefold to $10.2 billion. 

Business email compromise, an internet-based scam that exploits legitimate email addresses to coerce illicit financial transfers, rose from $1.9 billion in 2019 to over $2.7 billion in 2022. It’s clear that the best approach is to treat your PII the same as your credit card or banking info. 

The Vision-e Scan solution provides a secure digital business card on your phone. It’s protected by your password or by facial recognition, making it an effective way to exchange your contact info – just as easy as paper cards, but with much better security and versatility.

Final Thoughts

It’s more important than ever to engage through technology. Utilizing technology to integrate an entire set of event business cards into Salesforce is far more efficient than manually inputting a limited number of selected cards. 

Findings from a survey of more than 1,000 employees across Fortune 500 companies indicated that merely 10% of business cards are inputted into Salesforce. By capturing 90% more opportunities, you empower your marketing team to establish a consistent communication cadence. This includes leveraging tools such as Salesforce’s High Velocity Sales Engagement, equipped with features like the Inbound & Outbound Dialer and Inbox. Taking a strategic approach increases the likelihood of engaging prospects within their optimal buying time frame.

Lastly, here’s the not-so-secret secret: after the trade show extravaganza, be sure to reconnect with your newly expanded network. It’s a no-brainer, yet one that frequently eludes our focus as we immerse ourselves back into the world of business. Happy networking!

The Author

George Turano

George is the Founder & CEO at Vision-e.

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