After years of hosting seminars at Skyline Entourage, one thing has been made very clear to me: as marketers, we very often face similar struggles when it comes to organizing and implementing successful trade shows. One of those pain points is booth staffing!
If you can answer yes to any of the following or if you know someone who is struggling with similar issues, keep reading or kindly share.
Ask yourself: what type of booth staffers do I have on my roster for my trade shows?
- The “I hate traveling” – reluctant staffer
- The “oohhh we’re going to Vegas?” – vacation mode staffer
- The “I’ll see what I can do, I’m really busy” – working on site staffer
Or the one most marketers love…
- The “It’s easy just scan a lot of badges” – lead retrieval trigger happy staffer
Listening to my fellow marketers, it seems like for many trade show staffing isn’t a strategy but an afterthought. And because of that, we often don’t staff the booth appropriately and/or share pertinent information with booth staff team members.
Trust me, I’ve been there. To help you avoid the pitfalls I’ve experienced, here are my top 3 recommendations you should follow in order to successfully staff your next trade show:
- Set and communicate your objectives. If you don’t know what your objectives are at a trade show then how are you supposed to communicate the importance of your participation to your team? By setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives it will guide your entire planning and most choices you make regarding strategies and purchases.
- Select the right staff. Sometimes sales people aren’t the best people to staff your booth. Or at least not all of them. A rule of thumb for qualified leads is to engage, qualify, and present. Think about those pesky objectives; what are you trying to achieve on show floor? Product launch, brand recognition, meeting new suppliers. Then decide who will best suit those purposes. Ex: If you have a complicated product that needs detailed explanations, maybe invite your engineer to do the presentation portion. Your sales person can engage and qualify for them.
- Communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE! You’ve set your objectives, pre-selected the best staff to support your strategies and now you have to communicate all the details. Instead of sending a meeting invite to book their time off, create a travel kit (snorkel not included). It’s important to anticipate questions, issues, or information your staffers will need to know. I’ve broken it down to the following topics:
- What show are they attending?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your show objectives?
- What does the exhibit look like?
- What are the targeting strategies?
- How many qualified leads do they have to collect? How are they expected to collect those leads? What is a qualified lead?
- What are they selling, promoting, or presenting?
- What marketing materials are available to offer or to know about in the booth?
- Are there contests or promotions that they need to know of?
- How will breaks be scheduled?
- A copy of the floor plan and conference schedule so they can anticipate lulls if any during conferences/workshops on show floor.
- Is there a dress code?
- What is their per Diem (if it comes out of your budget) and where they need to expense items?
- Accommodations details and any reservation numbers.
- Travel arrangements
- What’s close by (pharmacies, restaurants, etc.)?
You can add more details but using the K.I.S.S. method for each subject, you’re already miles ahead of what most staffers expect. Equip your team with all the relevant information and even talk to last year’s team for feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
The fact of the matter is you could have planned everything to perfection and have the best looking booth money can buy, but if your staff is not well equipped to engage, qualify, and nurture leads you might not have any R.O.I. to show for it.