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To maximize sales from your trade show exhibit at business-to-business (B2B) cannabis industry events, you need to know the tricks that are effective today. The five “hacks” discussed below can make the difference between just collecting business cards and actually attracting viable leads for your company that drive a positive return on your investment.
It goes without saying that trade show attendees are busy. They see dozens of booths (or more) on any given day when they walk the trade show floor, and they’re likely to forget the vast majority of what they saw and heard as soon as they exit the exhibit hall.
Traditionally, exhibitors provide lots of printed takeaways for attendees to peruse through in the evenings or when they get back to their offices at the end of the event. However, most event attendees can’t remember why they picked up those brochures in the first place. With a long list of things to do when they return to work, most of the brochures end up in the trash can.
The trick is to get them to engage instantly and easily with content that is highly relevant to them. Use QR codes as well as RFIDs , NFCs, and Bluetooth beacons to provide the most relevant content and interactive experiences to your exhibit visitors before they walk away. In fact, some companies are getting very creative with how they use RFIDs at exhibit booths. This is a great way to draw attention and traffic to your trade show booth for lead collection and prospect engagement.
The content you provide to booth visitors should be easy to digest. Remember those long brochures mentioned in #1 above? They’re the opposite of what you should give to prospects at trade shows if you want people to remember you for the right reasons.
Instead, the content you give to prospects at your trade show booth and in your initial follow-up calls and email messages should be short, succinct, and extremely easy to digest. To do this effectively, you need to have a process to quickly identify who each prospect is and what matters to them, so you can provide the most relevant content to them.
The lead collection process is covered in more detail in #3 below. Here, the focus is on digestible content. For example, imagine you have a sign at your booth that includes a QR code visitors can scan to view an entertaining and relevant 30-second explainer video.
At the end of the video is a link that leads to a landing page on your website where they can self-select the next step on their content journey (e.g., view a relevant infographic, read a report, watch another video, access your catalog, read a case study, submit an inquiry form, etc.).
This works because prospects are in control. They can choose the type of content they want from your brand, and hopefully, they’ll be intrigued enough by that content to contact you for more information.
While it can be tempting to just scan someone’s event badge (if the event offers it), doing so does not capture the information needed for effective follow-up. Your lead capture form should be streamlined and consistent, so both the sales and marketing teams can follow up effectively after the trade show ends.
To that end, use multiple choice questions on your booth lead capture forms as much as possible. Your sales and marketing teams will need to work on creating these forms in advance, so the right questions are included.
Of course, using lead capture forms doesn’t mean the sales people at the booth can’t ask open-ended questions during conversations with visitors to get more information about them. Sales reps should ask these questions to build a more complete profile of each lead.
The lead capture forms can be completed by visitors, themselves, or the sales team can fill the forms out while speaking to a prospect of when they leave the booth. Digital lead capture forms available on iPads at your booth are highly effective for both visitors and your sales people to fill them out in real-time.
A trade show booth hack that isn’t used often but works very well is to focus less on offering materials and signage at your exhibit that show off why your company, products, and services are so great. Instead, focus on why visitors stopped at your booth in the first place. Focus on their problems and pain points, so they instantly make the connection about why your booth matters to them.
With that in mind, use touch screens at your booth, so visitors can choose their own journey. The content on these devices should be problem-solution based, not “here’s all of our amazing products and services” based. Content that works particularly well to create experiences at your booth include videos and visuals like infographics – things that attract the eye, address visitors’ problems, and motivate passersby to stop and ask questions.
Another great hack in addition to offering touch screens at your booth is to provide recharging stations (if it makes sense for the specific event), so people can stop and recharge their mobile devices. It’s convenient for visitors and gives your sales team a chance to jumpstart conversations. And on a side note, it’s also vital that people have charged devices if you’re offering digital content and experiences at your booth!
As mentioned in #3 above, your sales and marketing teams must agree on how leads will be captured at your exhibit booths and what information will be collected. In addition, they need to collectively define what designates a lead as unviable, viable, marketing qualified, or sales qualified.
This is critical to correctly score leads after the event and determine which leads should be abandoned, which should be put into email marketing nurturing campaigns, and which should receive one-to-one follow-up via phone, email, and so on from a sales team member.
Finally, a process should be developed to follow up with leads from trade shows and to continue engaging with prospects who may not be ready to buy right now but could be interested in buying from your business in the future.
You can learn how to convert trade show leads into customers in the Ultimate Guide To Converting Leads Into Customers After Cannabis Industry Events Like MJBizCon.
The five hacks introduced above can help you attract and convert more leads from your cannabis industry B2B trade shows exhibits. As a result, the return on your event investments will improve!
Want to add your B2B cannabis industry trade show leads to a CRM that comes pre-populated with tens of thousands of cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S., Canada, and international markets? Subscribe to the Cannabis Market Intelligence Platform for sales and marketing. Schedule a demo to see how a subscription can help you reach your goals.
Originally published 4/11/23. Updated 10/17/23.