Planning to be an exhibitor at a B-to-B Virtual Tradeshow (VTS)? Here’s how to become a VTS All-Star:
- The right people – to attain All-Star status, first find your own team of all-stars from within your company. You’ll want a good mix of product folks (product managers and/or product marketers), sales folks (direct sales reps or Inside sales reps) and technical folks (engineers or sales engineers). Prepare your team for the event by bringing them up to speed on VTS (if this is their first time) and give each member clear goals of what you’d like them to do and accomplish. For instance, the sales folks proactively connect with attendees; the product marketers participate in the public forums; the sales engineers are “on call” to the product marketer in case a really tough technical question is asked.
- The right content – place content in your virtual booth that is directly applicable to the theme of the event. Take the time to carefully select your White Papers, Case Studies, podcasts, videos, etc. Don’t simply repeat what you used at an unrelated event. Attendees will be on the look-out for useful content, so if you’re selections are on the mark, you’ll generate more views and downloads. Think of it as a form of search engine optimization – where the “spider” is the visitor to your booth.
- The right actions – train your booth reps to proactively connect with your booth visitors. Thank them for their visit, send them a virtual business card, invite them to review your booth’s content. Ask them about specific challenges they face and have your product marketers suggest solutions. You’ll come out ahead if you help the attendees, rather than doing a hard sell on your products and services. Attendees at B-to-B virtual events are not shy about seeking you out, which means they’ll come asking for pricing and product information. When they do, make sure you have answers – or, be able to find an answer within an hour. There’s no greater shame than getting hot leads at a VTS and then making them wait for the info they’ve asked for.
- The right prizes – that’s right, everyone loves the giveaway, even if it’s as small as a $25 gas card or coffee card. A “big prize” (e.g. Nintendo Wii or HDTV) always attracts attention, but I like doing a large number of smaller prizes – reason being, attendees like the immediate gratification of winning a small prize, instead of receiving a chance to win the big prize. So whether it’s 100 USB drives or 50 Starbucks gift cards, you’ll get the attendees’ attention. The most effective prize I’ve seen – copies of a book (by an expert) whose name was known by all attendees.
So there you go. Do the “right” thing to secure your spot on the VTS All-Star Team. Good luck and have fun.