One of the keys to an exhibitor’s success is trade show staffing. Depending on an organization’s size, the decision may be in the hands of the CEO, the marketing manager, the sales manager or a department specifically tasked with managing trade shows for the organization.
Wherever the decision rests, the choice should not be made lightly.
Factors to consider:
- Attendee profile: Will the attendees be hands-on, mid-level professionals? Will they be C-suite execs who largely delegate implementation to others? Are seminars being held in conjunction with the show? If so, what is the relative importance to the attendees of the seminars and the exhibits?
- Exhibitor’s objectives: Cement relationships with current customers, generate sales leads, both?
- Budget: Financial constraints will determine the number of staff to send, the extent to which customers and prospects will be entertained.
If those attending will be c-level execs, at least some your exhibiting staff should be of comparable stature. If the attendees are largely mid-level professionals, your staff should include people familiar with the nuts and bolts issues faced by the attendees. They must also possess detailed knowledge of your products and services.
Consider the venue. If the exhibition will be held at a magnet location (think San Francisco, Las Vegas, Manhattan, etc.), it is likely that many attending organizations will reward key employees by including them on the trip. Entertainment will no doubt be high on attendees’ list of interests. You may have the budget and be willing to spend, but you must have exhibit staff willing and able to wine and dine the visitors. Folks for whom a big night is room service and TV aren’t the best fit.
As an exhibitor, what are your objectives? What are some of the key skills sets you can leverage from your office personnel? Some people are excellent at nurturing current customer relationships, but not as good at prospecting for leads.
Exhibiting at a trade show isn’t a walk in the park. Its work. It is an investment of resources. Done right it can be immensely rewarding.