Trade shows can seem like an expensive endeavor – especially for a company that hasn't yet attended or hosted one. With every company focused so heavily on return on investment after the economic collapse in 2008, it can be difficult to pitch one if you're the head of the marketing team.
The simple fact of the matter is, events are incredibly important and valuable for your business – here are some statistics that prove it.
King of B2B
When it comes to making business to business sales, nothing beats trade shows, and there are a few reasons why. Let's first focus on the fact that on average, 39.2 percent of B2B marketing budgets were reserved for hosting events, according to Trade Show News Network. That's a lot of assets dedicated to just one marketing channel.
This could be because when it comes to events like these, the type of people who attend are exactly who businesses want to interact with. The news source reported nearly 81 percent of trade show attendees have buying authority. It doesn't take a math wizard to realize that meaningful conversations at events can translate to large numbers of qualified leads. You don't get this type of scenario at other places, like networking events, where you may be talking to someone who is interested in your product but has no way of getting the information to someone who can buy it.
It's less expensive
Time is money, and it should come as no surprise that the time it takes to meet people at a trade show is significantly less pricey than anywhere else. This is because of the vast amount of opportunities present at the event – it's a win-win for both parties.
SageWorld reported the cost of a face-to-face meeting with a potential client at a trade show is just $142, while the same scenario is $259 at the attendee's office. This vast price discrepancy makes a difference at the end of the year, and salespeople are also set up perfectly to meet new clients in an industry-related setting.
The news source also stated 77 percent of C-Suite employees found at least one new supplier at the last trade show they attended. The opportunities are seemingly limitless when thousands of people from the same industry are in the same venue. If your business isn't hosting or attending, you could be losing out on potential customers.
The sales funnel
Trade shows are an exceptional starting point for the sales funnel – they're the equivalent of conducting cold calls with clients who are interested before you even say a word. Everyone in attendance is looking for the same thing – to do business.
"Trade shows provide numerous avenues for ROI."
"What's great about trade shows is that there are lots of ways to measure ROI," Patrick Hull wrote for Forbes. "Qualified leads, sales, traffic at your booth, follow up sales, etc."
By using an event app or software that caters to capturing contact details and the atmosphere of the conversation, salespeople can quickly send interested customers through the sales funnel. Well-connected operations can effectively streamline the sales process and have an email sent immediately. When a sales and marketing team are hitting on all cylinders, companies really experience the true ROI power trade shows have to offer.
Just as good for small businesses
Trade shows aren't only valuable for large enterprises. They can provide value in more ways than one for small businesses as well. Fit Small Business recommends first figuring out what your company needs – is it sales and leads, or just overall publicity?
Then, use statistics like booth traffic, qualified and partial leads and general interest to assess exactly how much value you've obtained from the event. When it comes to networking, you simply can't ignore the power in word of mouth. While it may not be quantifiable, small businesses tend to generate tons of interest at trade shows that can go a long way toward providing ROI.
When it comes down to it, events can serve as excellent starting points for gaining qualified and partial leads – the bulk of where ROI comes from. Don't let the initial cost dishearten you – the vast opportunities at these trade shows more than make up for the cost of exhibiting.