Any science supply company can purchase a booth or tabletop display at a national or boutique science related trade show, send a sales rep and some literature, and if the product is good they will likely get leads. The best leads --the most eager, most relevant and most urgent leads-- usually convert to sales. The best sales reps get more leads, follow up on them faster, and communicate the company's value proposition better, converting more of them to sales than their less competent counterparts.
The best companies do the best pre-show marketing, post show follow-up and lead nurturing, and bring more leads in while turning more of those warm leads into sales with time.
The question of "how to do sales well" is really a question of putting those systems in place at every step of the scientific sales process so that your company and your sales reps can scoop more in, interact with them at a higher level and retain the advantage of having a big pipeline of cooler leads that can be nurtured with time.
Especially in the science fields, fine tuning these processes can mean the difference between a company that grows and prospers and a company that shrivels and dies (or is absorbed by another).
The critical systems your company should have in place include the following:
- Standardized sales rep hiring processes
- Effective sales rep training processes--including customer service, sales processes, organizational networking and information retrieval
- Comprehensive product training- including technical background for products, and proper use of common scientific terms.
- Specific trade show sales and presentation training-- including lead generation, identification, follow up and corporate referral of warm and cool leads for nurturing
- Management systems for measuring sales rep performance and gathering feedback
When you have well-trained sales reps who have a solid knowledge of your products and the science behind them, and who have reliable systems for handling the prospects and leads that are generated in the trade show environment, your company can gain advantage over your less systematized competitors, assuming that your products have similar value propositions.
Considering the tremendous potential for companies to network, educate, and sell products at trade shows, putting efficient systems in place can give your company significant advantage in the science marketplace.
If you are not clear about how valuable improving the trade show sales process is to your company, consider these questions:
- What does it cost your company to put a sales person in the field in a face-to-face sales/demonstration with a single client in a single appointment set-up situation?
- What does it cost your company to put a sales person face-to-face with your customers at a trade show?
The brevity of this article reflects the constraints of this format. However, I hope you have found some useful information in this post. This article was produced and edited by Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. at www.biotradeshow.com.
What do you think is required to do sales well at scientific trade shows?