Crucial Factors in Picking an Exhibits Sales Solution

Nishita Jain, senior director of digital marketing, a2z, Inc.

A large number of expo organizers today are turning to technology to facilitate onsite and online booth space selection to book more space in shorter time span, make processes easier and expedite revenue collection. Because it's so critical to the long-term growth of your organization and events, a lot of care and due diligence needs to be put in making the choice of technology and resources to use for your exhibits sales.

If you looking for an effective online and onsite exhibits contract and sales technology solution, here are some of the critical factors that should be a part of your requirements process:

Real-time
The first ingredient that your need is a floor plan and booking system that is real-time. The floor plan needs to refresh to the current status as soon a booth is reserved or assigned so that it is not accidently made available to any other prospects waiting in the line. Your team would also need to pull up-to-date reports and contracts on demand. In addition, exhibitors should be able to sign contracts and make the payment right away. If your team has to spend additional time after the booth sales in migrating and reconciling data, sending out contracts, and then collecting payments, then it's missing out on optimizing resources and proving best possible customer service to exhibitors.

Fast
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are living in the age of instant gratification. Delivery cycles are becoming shorter than ever, and consumers have minimal tolerance for being made to wait. Your exhibitors, indeed, are probably busy professionals and have even more reason to object to being made to wait. Investing in a system that's fast and user-friendly, and one that can serve your exhibitors in a timely manner will ensure that your organization is perceived as being the best in the game.

Secure
Your data and your exhibitors' data is valuable and confidential. A system that's used to collect and store contact and financial information, and to process payments, needs to be PCI-complaint and accessible only to users above a certain access level. This is one point on which no compromises, no slackness should be acceptable.

Integrated
If your exhibition management system is integrated and synchronized with your AMS and CRM systems, it'll cut down on manual work and errors significantly. Look for a cloud-based solution that provides secure APIs or web services to connect with your other key databases seamlessly.

Multi-user
To serve a large number of exhibiting companies well and fast, exhibits sales often need to be managed by a team of people. If a sales team member needs to wait to get her turn on the system, or has to hold up other team members while she is working in it, that's just a recipe for confusion and delays. Exhibitors will also not be well served by being asked to wait while the system is freed up. Your team deserves a multi-user system which can be used simultaneously by all team members, to complete whatever functions they are responsible for, and without affecting other processes.

Customer Service
As is true for everything in modern-day life, it's not just about technology. The solution you go with needs to be backed by professionals who understand your business requirements, empathize with your goals, and can have a consultative outlook.

Once you have a state-of-the-art system in place, the benefits of using smart technology to process exhibits sales can reach far and wide. Your team members will be stress-free and profitable. Their time will be freed up to focus on building stronger relationships with exhibitors and selling additional sponsorship opportunities. And of course, if your exhibitors are happy, they'll be interested in returning to invest even more in your show and in bringing their prospective audiences to it with them. 

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