When planning corporate events such as trade shows and seminars, are you considering your return on investment (ROI)? How are you managing and maximizing it?
Exhibiting and presenting at these events can be valuable business growth strategies. But they’re also costly and time-consuming. From marketing and advertising to event space and equipment to staffing, trade shows can be one of a company’s largest expenses in a year—in fact, events account for about 31.6% of a brand’s marketing budget—on average!
Then there are the extensive steps required before, during, and after the event to ensure everything goes off without a hitch and you make the most of your new leads. Following up with prospects and making data-backed decisions for future events is critical.
Many businesses decide to pass on tasks like pre-event marketing, follow-up, data collection and organization to outsourced sales teams. This allows them to focus on their overarching event goals and reduces stress for their employees while maintaining a positive prospect and client experience.
Use our checklist and tips to guide you through the corporate event planning process below, and learn how partnering with an outsourced sales team can help make your events more successful.
Planning corporate events begins long before the big day arrives! This highly intensive phase often starts a year ahead for trade shows and seminars. After all, significant planning is necessary to ensure you’re making the most of your investment. Follow these steps to cover all your bases and garner as much attention and attendance as possible.
First, determine your company’s goal and budget for the event. If you’re presenting, focus on no more than two to three related topics. It’s also worth considering if some partners or vendors will share the cost, like those who have complimentary products or services.
Once you’ve established your goals, set specific metrics for the show, such as sales numbers, leads, or meetings booked.
Before diving too deep into the planning, scope out the event venue (in-person or virtual) and verify your business has no conflicts with the date. This also means confirming essential team members will be available on the day of the event.
Then, reserve your booth space and gather all necessary exhibit requirement details.
Next, answer the crucial question: Who is your intended audience?
“It is far better to have the RIGHT people as opposed to lots of people,” stresses Chameleon founder, Dana Lariviere. Most importantly, he says, be sure you’re providing value!
When planning a corporate event, ensure your presentation and other content/resources educate attendees, address their major problems, and answer their questions. Speak to the appropriate audience—is it a group of C-level leaders? Technical professionals? Tailor your topics and language to the people you’re speaking to.
Marketing is one of the most involved steps in planning corporate events. How will you advertise your presence at the event ahead of time? Leverage all the channels you can, from social media to email campaigns to outbound calling. Send out personalized invitations to customers, partners, and prospects. Ensure:
Your messaging for the event should sum up the value and key takeaways attendees will receive from your exhibit. Again, speak to their challenges and desires and what solutions you’ll be offering. Keep it short, sweet, and engaging!
If you’re attending a physical trade show, you must also design your booth layout and signage. Make a list of your needs for:
Consider the graphic design, printing, and delivery timelines for all of the above so you can set deadlines. Then, be sure to communicate them with team members and vendors!
Your trade show marketing plan should also include post-event marketing. Staying top-of-mind after the show is vital to boosting your results and ROI!
Last but certainly not least, determine your staffing needs for the event. Consider the following:
Considering all of the above, planning corporate events without chaos may seem nearly impossible! But an outsourced sales team can help in many of these steps, lightening your load. Specifically, they can help you manage outbound and inbound marketing for your event. From phone calls to email outreach, an external call center can:
That frees your internal team’s valuable time to focus on their primary responsibilities and areas of expertise—like closing deals.
The big day is here, but your work is far from done. Start strong and ensure it continues running smoothly by following this day-of corporate event planning checklist.
For physical events, walk the venue when you arrive. Whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid, set up and test all equipment and ensure everything is in working order when attendees arrive. This could include:
Your staff’s performance at the trade show significantly impacts your success there, according to 85% of exhibitors. Prioritize your people so they’re confident and prepared!
Review the messaging with your team. Dana emphasizes, “Avoid a blatant sales pitch at all costs!” His rule of thumb: 60% education and 40% entertainment. Holding a dry run of your presentation is always a good idea to get out those jitters and work through any concerns or questions.
Remind staff to greet and register attendees if necessary. Your presenters should have different badges so guests can easily identify them—this is crucial for making your speakers memorable and networking later.
Leave sufficient time for a Q&A session after the presentation. And provide access to your speakers immediately afterward so attendees can ask follow-up questions and your team can make valuable connections! Spending extra time with guests is well worth it—74% of trade show attendees said “engaging with exhibitors increases their likelihood of buying the products/services on display.”
Does your sales team have an easy way to schedule guest meetings afterward? What is that process like?
Follow these best practices:
If your presenters are busy following the session and want to ensure the experience remains seamless and authentic for guests, an outsourced call center can help ease the process. They can be ready to answer calls, emails, or messages so your attendees can book appointments at their convenience and you don’t miss out on opportunities. After all, your employees are responsible for finding new leads and closing the deals—they need support to back them up so things don’t slip through the cracks!
Business event planning continues after it’s over. It is extremely important to follow up as soon as possible following every trade show or seminar to continue those conversations while they’re still fresh.
As Dana says, “Strike while the iron is hot!” Your lead follow-up should include:
And stick to it—statistics show it takes an average of about 3.5 sales calls to close a trade show lead. But the extra time is well spent, as converting these leads costs 38% less than relying on standard sales calls.
After your follow-up, code all registrants and attendees in your CRM and evaluate the event’s success.
Review your budget and decide whether your company will participate in the years to come.
Of course, your staff will be busy enough closing deals from the show while balancing new leads and sales. An outsourced sales team can perform all of these tasks while fostering relationships with new prospects and customers. Additionally, they can gather insights from the show, organize them, and help you make decisions about future attendance and corporate event ideas.
Perhaps your company has exhibited at trade shows or presented at seminars in the past and you’re looking for an easier way to increase your ROI. Or maybe you’re considering your first corporate event and want to streamline the process and do things right from Day 1. Either way, you now understand how intensive the numerous planning, execution, and follow-up steps are.
However, companies can see as much as a 4:1 ROI on their trade show expenses—which goes to show that planning corporate events far in advance is worth the effort and investment!
Having an outsourced sales team to assist with that behind-the-scenes work will help you stay organized, maximize your return, and cut down on stress. You’ll be able to focus on your larger event goals and your prospects and customers will enjoy a top-notch experience!
Ready to eliminate the company event chaos? Reach out to Chameleon today to learn how we can help with your next trade show, seminar, or webinar.
"*" indicates required fields