Security Systems News

MAR 2018

Security Systems News is a monthly business newspaper that reaches 25,100 security installers, product distributors, central stations, engineers & architects, and security consultants. Our editorial coverage focuses on breaking news in all major se

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SE c U r ITY SYSTEMS NEWS M arch 2018 Commer C ial & systems integrators 15 ACHIEVE EXTRAORDINARY SEE THE POSSIBILITIES It's more than security, it's business intelligence. Actual Hikvision customer George Gutierrez California Communication Helping sales managers plan for trade shows By Chris Peterson H istorically, sales managers have taken a back seat to the market- ing team during trade shows. After all, these have traditionally been viewed as marketing events. Unfortunately, tradition often skews our perspective of present-day reality. Since our custom- ers can learn about anything online—includ- i n g p ro d u c t launches and new features— the marketing value of trade shows has decreased. However, the value trade shows offer to sales people is greater than ever. Trade shows offer an environment in which a sales person is physically positioned within a two-mile radius of dozens of their prospective cus- tomers. In this setting, unlike back at the office, prospects will schedule time with sales people, they'll pay attention, and they'll agree to meet over a coffee or dinner. Sounds a lot like the "good ol' days," doesn't it? As a sales manager, what can you do to take full advantage of this shift? The marketing department is still in charge of the event, but there are many things you can do to make sure your team is optimizing their time at these events. Below, I've listed five ideas that I believe are the most important for you to consider. • Inspire your sales people to schedule appointments ahead of time. Don't rely on your super cool booth or advertising to bring people flocking to you—that won't hap- pen. A few weeks before the event, present a master calendar to your team. Launch a contest in which the sales person with the most appoint- ments scheduled (and held) wins. Make the prize mean something— maybe a $100 gift certificate. Give away something less expensive to everyone that schedules and holds a minimum number of meetings. Make this an inspirational and fun contest, with updates and celebra- tions multiple times per weeks. For virtual teams, this contest can be conducted electronically. • Hold a stand-up debrief at the end of every day during the event. Instead of endorsing a mass exodus at 5:00 every day, conduct a painless 10-minute debrief with your team. Ask each person to share a win they had that day and give them the opportunity to ask for help. Keep it to 10 minutes and stay positive. • Don't handcuff your sales people to booth duty. In addition to the appointments that your sales people are scheduling for your booth, they should have appoint- ments outside the booth. I recom- mend staffing your show with 150% of the sales people you need in your booth at one time. This ratio allows your sales people to spend one-third of their time outside the booth. Of course, make sure that your team knows their booth duty schedules, and hold them accountable for find- ing their replacements. • Get to know your customers. Trade shows are exhausting, but you need to get out there after hours. Meet your customers for happy hour, support your sales people on their customer dinners, and network at the association events. It's gruel- ing, but your efforts will come back tenfold. • Conduct a major debrief back at the office. One of the largest wastes that I observe is the lack of follow-up from a trade show. Sure, the marketing team may send a thank-you email to those that visited your booth, but so does every other company. The most effective follow- up from an event is to have a sales person pursue and follow-up. As the sales manager, you can impact this follow-up activity by conduct- ing a debrief meeting and holding the sales people accountable for the follow-up action items. SSN Chris Peterson is president of the Vector Firm, a leader in helping security companies improve their sales and digital marketing performance. Chris Peterson

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