Expos are the perfect platform for showcasing brands and generating leads. However participation is often akin to playing bingo – brands register and then hope that they will be able to snag some great leads and achieve sales targets. Complications arise when these hopes are not realized – and what follows is a blame game between marketing and sales. Marketers bemoan the fact that sales doesn’t follow up on leads while sales people grumble about quality of leads.
Marketers study collective customer demographics; sales-persons think in terms of individual customer needs. Marketers create strategies; sales-persons implement tactics. Marketers focus on data analysis and appealing communication; sales-persons focus on building relationships and achieving targets. While these differences in outlook often lead to conflict we must keep in mind that both ‘marketing’ and ‘selling’ are at their core, about persuasion.
Today, both marketing and sales professionals are more under pressure than ever before to deliver evident ROI from expo participation. Yet, it is not uncommon to see sales team with different objectives from those of the marketing team for the same expo. The challenge is to work in an environment where calculated sales and strategic marketing tactics collaborate to achieve success.
Hence, before participating in expos, it is recommended that both marketing and sales functions have a clear understanding of goals and parameters to measure ROI and gauge success. While marketing must focus on attracting prospects and generating leads, sales teams must work towards converting leads into customers. According to The Center for Exhibition Industry Research 88% of attendees to expos have not been met by a brands sales staff in the past year, 70% plan to purchase one or more products, 76% of attendees ask for quotes and 26% of attendees sign a purchase order.
While there can be many stages in customer acquisition, what is important to remember is that both marketing and sales need to work jointly to contribute to winning new business. Today, integrated business operating systems and applications like DazzleToday are making this easier and helping close the gap between sales and marketing. Effective lead capturing facilitated by the app can provide valuable insights that help marketers to design campaigns that attract customers.
Simultaneously, captured leads allow sales-people to engage prospects in a more organized way. Personalization of mails, communication templates and efficient automation simplify the sales process and shorten the cycle while providing powerful analytics on what is working and what’s not.
If both marketing and sales teams work in tandem to coordinate expos, brands will be more successful and profitable. Marketing must ensure effective product and customer segment strategies and anticipate the evolution of longer-term customer needs. Sales should make certain that customer needs are addressed and that short-term company revenue goals are achieved. The mutual dependence of sales and marketing will create a productive sense of urgency and encourage both teams to perform better and more efficiently.