Although we are interacting more online, a recent report (Buyersphere Report 2013) has shown that face-to-face contact is still key when making a B2B purchase.
Whilst it’s important to engage potential clients online through social media channels, the opportunity to build rapport via live interaction should not be overlooked.
The survey, which was conducted with over 500 buyers from the UK, France and Germany who had made a single business purchase of over £20k, also revealed that 1 in 3 B2B buyers attend live exhibitions – which they rated as the single most influential information source to make their purchase decision.
A quarter of buyers in the Buyersphere Report also said that their chosen supplier exhibited at more events or exhibitions than its competitors, which had an impact on their buying decision. So if your company is not exhibiting and your competitors are, you could be missing out on important sales opportunities.
GROWING YOUR BRAND
As well as generating leads and sales, exhibitions can also help to increase brand awareness to secure future sales.
From the Buyersphere Report 2013, buyers said that the strongest attribute of a winning supplier was brand awareness before the buying process began. This suggests that it’s increasingly important to raise awareness of your business to potential clients before their buying decision has even started.
Be sure to begin contact with delegates early, so take advantage of opportunities to mail the attendee list and let your own database of contacts know that you will be there. Set a goal to acquire contact details and business cards while you are at the show, perhaps via a competition, so that you can continue the contract after the exhibition.
Of course, your success at the exhibition is dependent on many factors, mainly your people, your stand, your position and your offering. It’s often stated that “people buy from people”; perhaps it’s closer to the truth to say “people buy from good people”. Without good salespeople or a good product, any marketing campaign can fail.
Whilst the survey demonstrates the important role exhibitions play in acquiring new customers, let’s not forget that a good variety of channels is most effective.
Research by BrandScience in 2010 suggested that using 3 channels in a campaign improves ROI by 700% and according to research by B2B Marketing, the top 3 most effective channels were Email, Events and Telemarketing. Two of which offer live interaction, which just goes to show, we still like to speak to a real person when making a B2B purchase.