You’re a sales guy (or gal). I get it. When you go to trade shows and conferences, you’re working the floor, networking, and meeting with prospective clients in person. That’s your job.
Here’s the thing. I’m the marketer. That means that my job is to squeeze every bit of value possible out of our marketing dollars, and trade shows and events are pricey. Not only do we have to pay for the booth space and sponsorships, we have to fly you out there, put you up in a hotel, and cover your meals and expenses. Getting one big account out of the show can make it all worthwhile, but there are a few simple things you can do while you’re attending events or the week after you get home that will make my little marketing heart swell with joy and pride.
I’ve made a checklist for our sales team at SheerID, and they always make sure we’re getting the most bang for our buck when they are attending events and representing SheerID, but we’ve all worked with teams that aren’t so dreamy. So if you’re a marketer wrestling with a sales rep who just doesn’t get marketing, we understand the urge to pin him down and tattoo these four tips on his forearm, but we’d recommend just printing out a copy and scotch taping it to their monitor instead. That way there’s less incriminating evidence that they can show to HR. And if you’re a sales representative, please print out a copy of this blog post and tuck it into your carry on or laptop case as a reminder for the next time you travel.
Do a little research. Check out the hash tags for the event before you go. I bet someone from marketing will even do the work for you. When you know the hash tag, you can participate in conversations with other people at the event not only on Twitter, but also on Instragram and Facebook now.
Use your smart phone. If you’re sitting through a presentation, why not jot down a quick observation or an insightful quote from the speaker and live tweet it to your followers? You’ve got a smart phone for a reason. Use the hash tag, and you’ll be able to reach other people at the event who are idly checking Twitter as the speaker drones on. For bonus points include the Twitter handle of the speaker or the company she is representing. They’ll probably RT it, which will make your social media marketing lead smile. Take a photo of the view out the conference room window or your box lunch and post it on Instagram and upload it to Facebook so that I can share it on our company page. Give me something to work with and make it easier for people at the event to connect with you.
Bring home presents. We don’t want “Someone in Florida Loves Me” t-shirts or fuzzy dice from Las Vegas. We want inspiration. Bring us back brochures and samples of the freebies that were given away at other booths. Did you think it was really cool that one of the booths had free popcorn? Send us a quick text about it. Do you wish we had full color copies of our case studies letter pressed on gold plated card stock? Pick up an extra copy, bring it to us, and we’ll see what we can do. Is the booth that is giving away beer and pretzels getting more traffic and collecting more business cards than the one giving away an iPad? Shoot us an email to tell us about it. If you really want to get into our good graces, snap a quick photo of any booths that catch your eye. Asking for permission to take a photo of someone’s booth can be a good ice breaker. They’ll be flattered and you’ll stand out among the swarms of masses who just want to talk to them to get their name in the raffle.
Your job isn’t over when you’re back in the office. Now odds are your marketing team is going to help you out with this next step. We understand that you’ve got emails to catch up on and follow up calls to make. We just want 15 minutes of your time. Grab a cup of coffee with me and fill me in on what happened at the event. Then I can take the highlights and write a blog post about it. Blogging about events we’ve attended makes it obvious to potential clients that our company is keeping up on industry trends and actively participating in conversations about the topics that matter to our clients. We’re thought leaders. We can be trusted. Writing these posts also gives me a chance to name drop and link to any companies that you didn’t get to connect with at the show so that we can try to get their attention through social media and get you a warm lead. That’s all we want. Is that so much to ask?
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