Three Tips to Leverage Virtual B2B Trade Shows and Generate Sales Leads
August 4, 2021
Many B2B companies depend largely on trade shows to discover new customers and build greater brand preference. However, as COVID surged worldwide, opportunities to exhibit in trade exhibitions abruptly ended. Essentially, most in-person meetings and product demonstrations – the cornerstone of B2B sales – ended.
To keep the sales pipeline full and create innovative avenues to remain connected with customers, B2B manufacturers turned to digital marketing solutions such as virtual exhibits and virtual webinars to fill the trade show gap. Ideally, the objective of such events should be to create a learning hub to discuss new challenges in the wake of the pandemic, and share key learnings, as well as information about latest technologies and innovations.
Share educational and value-adding content
The problem with many virtual options was the lack of customer interaction and the inability of these platforms to interface with CRM and marketing automation systems to efficiently support sales. Many virtual exhibits seem to resemble brochures, booth renderings, or simple microsites. Content could also be weighed down by engineering jargon rather than leading with benefits that would better resonate with targeted specifiers and buyers.
Tip one: Rather than taking a “me too” approach and creating a static virtual exhibit, employ a Virtual Customer Experience to create interactive engagements with prospects and thereby generate interest and qualified leads. The Virtual Customer Experience platform can work in liaison with the trade event but also serve as a standalone engaging customer destination, filled with webinars, round-tables, educational content and other collaborative tools.
Link to your customer management tools
To benefit from the virtual events, it is important to keep track of the interest generated among your target audience, track sales leads and monitor customer journeys beyond a webinar or a roundtable. Engaging customers in interactive events can prove to be highly effective as participants can address specific issues and pain-points.
Tip two: Conduct a thorough assessment of your technology platforms including website, CRM, database management, and marketing automation. Working with an experienced partner, evaluate how to streamline and create a dashboard to make it easier and faster for sales to follow-up, track, and convert leads. A compelling landing page should be strategically focused on the Virtual Customer Experience so that leads can be captured, qualified and converted.
Create an ever-green lead-generation platform
Another major benefit of Virtual Customer Experiences is that they serve as flexible platforms for B2B companies to create new events and swap out old content with new relevant images and information. The platform will serve as a learning hub and a critical tool for lead generation through product launches and demos, interactive sessions and webinars.
Tip three: Host webinars, roundtables and other virtual events on your website. Populated with educational content, these platforms will be relevant for years to come. You can continuously add new topics and new events, keeping your audience engaged, while building your thought-leadership.
As COVID vaccinations take place worldwide, trade shows and in-person meetings will be revived. Chances are, attendance at live events and meetings will start small and gradually build. Even so, many exhibitors will take a hybrid approach and have a physical exhibit at strategic shows that will be supplemented by Virtual Customer Experiences.