30 Ways To Transform Your Event Sales Program Into a Mean Sales Machine

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1 30 Ways To Transform Your Event Sales Program Into a Mean Sales Machine We Make Selling for Events Easier

2 While there are many tried-and-true techniques for selling exhibit space, sponsorships, and advertising for events, the sales landscape is changing. Automated platforms are emerging and challenging sales teams to combine their very successful tactics with technology that allows them to reach more prospects, more quickly. Here is a list of ideas to help you move your sales process into the 21 st century. 1. Use exhibitor and sponsor success stories (from your show) complete with objectives, solutions (booth-sponsorship-advertising mix, for example) and results to support your sales pitch. Provide a range of examples from small- to large-sized customers. 2. Use lead scoring (assign values based on prospect behaviors and past history) to prioritize your leads before doing any outreach. Experts say a smaller, more qualified pipeline is much better than a large, unqualified one. 3. Integrate your sales and marketing platforms together so you can track the journey from prospect to customer more accurately and identify factors (downloads, website visits, clicks, inbound calls) that are most likely to lead to a sale. 4. Make your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) the cornerstone of your event sales process. Start (plot a daily course of calls, s, and follow up) and end (send out reminders, call agendas, or pre-call information to the next-day prospects) with it each day. 5. Synchronize your CRM with your online exhibit sales and booth selection platform so that you are immediately notified when sold booths are removed from inventory, and dashboards, pacing reports, pipeline reports, prospect and exhibitor lists are updated. 6. Build relationships before and after the sale. Use detailed account records to identify exhibitor and sponsor interests, preferences and objectives. Then, (when you re NOT in sales mode) make it a point to give customers a call or send them an with something (article, ebook, research report) they might find interesting. 7. Use data to inform your sales process. Look at what has sold and why, as well as what has been lost and why. Search for patterns (customer segments that are getting on board) as well as anomalies (outliers that could indicate an untapped resource). 8. Include social media handles (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) in the customer contact information of your CRM. Then, follow them online to continue relationship building, understand their needs, and look for opportunities to help them. 9. Automate the calculation of exhibitor priority points to avoid errors and to kick off the sales cycle for every show knowing that your most valued customers are taken care of first. 10. Build a sales process that leverages and consolidates lead activity no matter where it comes from social media, inbound telephone calls, website lead forms, mobile devices, face-to-face interactions, paid advertising, or Internet search engines.

3 11. Build a library of content assets articles on what s working (at your show), exhibitor trends, designing powerful sponsorship programs, buyer pains, or the effectiveness of exhibit marketing vs. direct sales, for example that sales representatives can provide to prospects and use as a reason to follow up. 12. Develop battle cards for sales reps to use during conversations with prospects and returning customers. Besides information on the show, sponsorship opportunity, or advertising space, the cards could cover competitive events, competitive sales channels, how to overcome common objectives, and exhibitor FAQs. 13. Design sales reports that speak to the needs of senior management as well as sales managers. For example, booths, sponsorships and ads sold are important to the manager, but potential new markets, insight on what market segments are growing or stagnating, and profit or loss pockets may be of acute interest to the sales VP. 14. Use your CRM data to identify trouble spots in the sales process. For example, look for such indicators as a decrease in new exhibitors (a sign that sales reps are only going after low-hanging fruit), or a slower pace of sales compared to the previous year (indicating a potential lack of motivation of the sales team). 15. Don t start from scratch with every new sales cycle. Develop reusable templates for , invitations, follow up, and reports. Decide on what leads and sales from the previous year can roll over to the current year. Clone successful tactics from past years to use in future years. 16. Develop personas profiles of your ideal customer types to guide you in identifying and communicating with potential exhibitors and sponsors. Personas can include job titles, buying styles, interests, preferences, job responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and event objectives. 17. Invite other departments to input information into the sales CRM. Sales reps aren t the only people in the organization to have visibility into potential and current customers. Marketing, customer service, even accounting can help qualify and disqualify prospects. 18. Begin exhibit and sponsorship sales for the next show during the current show. Having the subsequent year s floor plan, sponsorship packages, contracts, and collateral ready to go helps the sales team strike while the iron is hot. 19. Make sure your sales tools spreadsheets, , databases, and collateral are accessible via mobile devices. Not all sales opportunities arrive through the telephone and desktop computer. Your team needs to be able to enter a lead, access up-to-date information, or send a brochure as quickly outside the office as they can from inside. 20. Involve the sales team in sponsorship design. It s likely that no one knows better about what sponsors want than the sales team members that sell sponsorship packages. Involving sales reps in the design of new products helps them to be more invested and successful in selling them.

4 21. Imagine event sales as a marathon rather than a sprint. Incentivize sales reps on customer retention as well as new sales. Prioritize customers based on lifetime value, total show spend, and ability to influence others, and work to keep them happy. Make sure you have a mixture of exhibitors and sponsors, from small to large. 22. Scrap the scripts. Don t put a sales person on the front lines unless they are fully briefed, well trained, and quick on their feet. Nothing comes across as poorly to potential customers as a sales rep following a script. 23. Listen more than you talk. It s more important to sell something your customer needs insight you can only receive by listening to your prospect s event objectives, pain points, or aspirations than to sell only what your show offers. 24. Review the notes from past conversations and s before you make a call so that you can pick up right where you left off. It s an excellent way to make the best use of your time and his and demonstrates the kind of consistency that builds credibility with customers. 25. Make sure you have the correct pricing for the event you re selling, especially if you re selling more than one event at a time. One way to do that is to create pricebooks, a set of products and prices that are unique for every show. 26. Improve your sales process by consolidating multiple platforms and databases priority points, customer contact information, exhibitor and sponsor purchase histories, systems into a single platform. It saves time and allows you to leverage the data more efficiently. 27. Don t try to sell to a company that has already signed up. Make sure you have developed a system that removes your customer from the prospect list as soon he signs the contract so he doesn t keep receiving the time is running out, exhibit today, s that marketing keeps sending to fill the pipeline. 28. Optimize your outreach. Using your own data or third-party research on the topic, take into consideration the days and times that are best to make calls, send s, or post on social media channels so that you can reach the largest number of prospects with the most appropriate message. 29. Build a sales process with institutional memory. It s bad enough when a key salesperson leaves the show. It s even worse when the only salesperson leaves the show. Using sales automation tools helps preserve the history of sales activity so new team members can get up and running more quickly. 30. Create a system for new lead distribution that is fair (round robin queue, for example) and/or organized according lead rules (by geographic territory, product, show category, past exhibitor, etc.) to keep sales team members motivated and avoid any overlap in customer communication.

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