Sales and Trade Shows

Trade shows. As salespeople, it seems we either love ‘em or hate ‘em. If you’re a member of the sales team looking forward to a few days of schmoozing and staying in a nice hotel, you probably enjoy the experience. If you’re the sales manager in charge of meeting sales goals and managing a budget to ensure money is wisely spent, you probably don’t.

Being part of a trade show requires both a financial investment and a people one. Are trade shows worth it? It depends. For some companies, skipping a trade show attended by competitors would be akin to skipping your sister’s wedding: You just have to be there. For others, it’s an opportunity to schedule a lot of face-to-face meetings all within a short period of time and in one place. And there are other justifications such as brand awareness, publicity, etc.

Yet too often we see companies spending tens of thousands of dollars to participate in a trade show, then bemoan the lack of leads and closed deals that came out of it. In other words, they didn’t see the ROI they had hoped for.

Being Clear on Your Goals Can Help
And maybe hope is part of the problem. Making a trade show work for you requires advance planning and intensive measuring—starting with your goals. Because, as they say, if you don’t know where you’re going…

If you’re going to do a trade show and you want to make sure you can prove the value of doing so, make sure you’re clear on your goals for the show. What will you measure and how will you determine success both short-term and long-term? How many leads will you need to make it worthwhile, and how many sales later? How long of a timeline will you allow for tracking these metrics? What tool or process will you use to track them?

Is There a Better Way to Meet Your Goals?
If your objective is lead generation and eventually sales, is a trade show the way to do it? Maybe not. It could be spending your dollars in another area would generate better and longer-lasting results.

Here’s something to think about: Maybe you should consider investing in something like improving your team’s sales skills or an effective sales process. What kind of incremental improvements might you see if you had a process in place that increased your salespeople’s productivity? If they were better at qualifying leads? If they knew how to maximize the CRM system?

If you’re not generating an impressive ROI from your trade show attendance, maybe it’s time to skip one this year and invest that money in your people and processes instead. And then you’ll reap the benefits all year long, not just a couple of times per year.

Business group meeting portrait - Five business people working together. A diverse work group.

There are six things you must know before you present a proposal to your prospect.  Your ability to conduct a professional and complete qualification of your prospect during the meetings leading up to this point in the sales cycle will provide you with the answers.  Here are the checkpoints:

1. You understand the prospect’s business objectives thoroughly and are able to provide a satisfactory solution.If you don’t understand the related challenges completely, how can you be sure you can suggest a solution that would be enthusiastically endorsed?

2. The prospect has to do something – it is NOT an option to keep things the same.

If the “status quo” is viable for the prospect, they might very well select that option.  Problems tend to fall into the “fix it” or “forget it” categories.  Unless there’s a compelling reason to change, most find it easier just to do nothing. Find the compelling reason why they’d want to go through the hassle of changing suppliers or implementing something new.  If they can’t present a compelling case for change, they probably won’t change.

3. You have access to the decision maker and will make your presentation to him/her.

A good rule of thumb is never to make a presentation to someone who can’t say “yes.”  It’s that simple.

4. The prospect needs to implement a solution in a time frame that makes sense for you from a business standpoint.Time kills deals.  What’s the point if your prospect doesn’t want to do anything for 18 months?  Too much can happen in the interim to send the deal sideways.

5. You understand the prospect’s selection criteria, and have a reasonable chance of meeting those criteria successfully. What are the top three things they’ll evaluate when selecting a business partner, and why are those things important?  This will give you a good handle on just how good your chances are.  If this is a price driven deal, for example, and you can’t or won’t compete on price alone, why try to compete at all?  It’s a very competitive world out there and your competitors are trying just as hard to win the business as you are.  You’ve got to know their strengths and weaknesses, how they’re likely to react in certain situations, how hard they’ll fight for the opportunity that you’re trying to win.

6. The prospect is considering only a small number of suppliers and is not putting the deal out to every company in the area. Generally, “RFPs” are not the most optimum type of business to win, since price plays such a major role in the selection process and the opportunity to communicate openly with the prospect is often quite limited.  Prospects whose attitude is “the more, the merrier” are more interested in price than a relationship.  Finally, increasing the number of options for the prospect decreases your chances of winning.

John traveled to Sedona to work with a customer at their national sales kickoff meeting. On one of his many hikes, he came across Robert, the flute player. Listen in on this soothing two minute escape for a break in your busy day.


My name is Courtney and I have spent my 13-year career in Sales and Marketing. The majority of that time has been in the scientific lab supply space and the remainder has been building and optimizing digital marketing campaigns for small to medium sized businesses.

I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Masters of Business Administration, both from VA Tech and think the two disciplines go together like hydrogen and oxygen.


Marketing with Science is a marketing consulting business I’ve started that brings the structured approach of science to the revenue problems that plague businesses.

Remember “The Scientific Method”? You start with a hypothesis (a statement that you want to test that is a solution for a problem). You test it, collect data, analyze it and either adjust your hypothesis or solve your problem.

I focus on two main areas to create hypotheses and test them:

[1] Target Marketing

  • CLIENT 360 ANALYSIS – Who is your client? Why did they hire you? What do they like? What can be better?
  • BUYER PERSONAS – Who are your customers? What are their attributes, demographics and psychographics? Where do they hang out?
  • CLIENT EXPERIENCE – Are your clients happy? Are they succeeding? Are they using all of your offerings? How might they rate you?

[2] Revenue Process Design

  • YOUR USP – What is your unique selling proposition? What business are you in?
  • MESSAGING – What do your prime prospects want to hear? What might motivate them?
  • SALES STRATEGY – What does your sales effort look like? What should a sales person do?


One could argue that this approach to solving revenue problems would not have been capable 15 years ago. The online space, digital marketing in particular, has provided insight into demographics and behavior unlike anything before.

There are different tools online (Social Media, CPC Ads, email, Content) that, when used correctly provide specific information to solve variables your business faces.


There are a lot of variables that go into your business generating revenue. The more you can identify and define these variables, the better results you get with each go-to-market strategy.

Some examples of revenue-related variables: unique selling proposition, problem you solve, solution you offer, how you present your solution, who benefits from your solution, where they spend their time, target audience (demographics, geography, timing, title, decision maker etc.), etc.

When you need to increase sales, how confident are you in the levers you choose to pull?


Is there really a time when you can’t benefit from learning?

Whether you’re a new business and you don’t have any clients, or you’ve been around for 40 years and sales are maybe, shall we say, stagnant, even if you’re a business that’s established and revenue is rolling in — it’s worth it to understand why. What did you do (either now, in the past or not yet) that got people’s attention?

So if you have a business hypothesis you’d like to test or some variables you’d like to define to spend less, earn more or earn more…faster — let’s talk!



We are excited to be included in the San Diego Business Journal’s 2019 Book of Lists for Top Training Companies for 3 straight years.

If you would like to hear more on how to drive revenue for your business call John today for a conversation at 858-518-7039


This guest article was written by our colleague and friend, Brian Tracy. It is the first in a series.

Did you know that the most important thing you can do to ensure success is to take control of the suggestive elements in your environment?

What do I mean by that?

I mean, make sure that what you are seeing and listening to is consistent with the goals you want to achieve.

Listen Your Way to Success

Listen to educational audio programs in your car. The average person drives 12,000 to 25,000 miles per year which works out to between 500 and 1,000 hours per year that the average person spends in his or her car. You can become an expert in your field by simply listening to educational audio programs as you drive from place to place. It literally is your education on wheels.

Take Courses in Your Field

Attend seminars given by experts in your field. Take additional courses and learn everything you possibly can. Learn from the experts. Ask them questions, read their books, blogs and articles, and listen to people with proven track records in the area you want to be successful.

Get Around the Right People

Associate only with positive, success-oriented people. Get around winners. As we say, fly with the eagles. You can’t fly with the eagles if you keep scratching with turkeys.

Get away from the go-nowhere types and above all, get away from negative people. Get away from negative coworkers. If you’ve got a negative boss, seriously consider changing jobs. Associating on a regular basis with negative people is enough to condemn you to a life of underachievement, frustration, and failure. Associate only with positive people. Always.

Visualize Your Goals

The last thing before you go to sleep and the first thing in the morning, think about and visualize your goals as realities. See your goal as though it already existed.

Your subconscious mind is only activated by affirmations and pictures that are received in the present tense. See your goal vividly just before you go to sleep. And see yourself performing at your best. Visualize the situations that you’re facing working out exactly the way you want them to. And guess what… if you do this, 9 times out of 10, things will turn out in your favor.

Feed Yourself Mental Pictures

See yourself living the kind of life that you want to live. Picture yourself with the kind of relationships, the kind of health, the kind of car, the kind of home you really want.

Visualize just before you fall asleep at night and when you get up in the morning. Those are the two times of the day when your subconscious mind is most receptive to new programming, so use this to your advantage. Feed your mind with positivity and mental pictures that will aspire you to greatness.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do, all day long, to keep your mind and emotions focused on your goals and financial success:

First, listen to audio programs in your car and when you travel around. Continue feeding your mind with a stream of high-quality, educational, motivational material that moves you toward your goal.

Second, resolve to associate with positive, optimistic people. Get around winners and get away from negative people who criticize, condemn and complain.

This can change your life as much as any other factor.

To Your Continuous Positivity,

Brian Tracy


Come visit today.

John Golden spoke at the Sales POP! & Pipeliner CRM Power Breakfast in Vienna on October 2nd 2018.

He spoke about how to prepare for any professional engagement whether sales-related or other. What to do when you actually engage, plus what pitfalls to look out for and how to ensure you leave a positive, lasting impression. These 5 ways are simple and easy to implement and will lead to more successful, productive and valuable engagements.

John is the Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer (CSMO) with Pipeliner is the best selling author of two books “Social Upheaval: How to Win @ Social Selling” & “Winning the Battle for Sales”. An acknowledged thought leader and speaker on sales and business strategy, he is the former CEO of Huthwaite (SPIN Selling) and Omega Performance, both global consulting companies and Focused Revenue Results, a management consultancy group. John has spoken to audiences across the globe on various business topics and continues to write prolifically for Sales POP! magazine.

See the video HERE

In this month’s OTRA John attended the Eagles vs. the Colts game following the kickoff meeting with a new Life Sciences customer in New Jersey.

This article was written by Dan Albaum of Market Impact. 

Today’s Marketing organizations are evolving to be more accountable, quantitative and digitally focused than ever before.  At the same time, market and competitive shifts have never been more dynamic, creating a need for highly adaptive teams using change as a catalyst for continuing improvement.

Market Impact has worked with high growth B2B technology companies across a wide range of segments and found the following “Vital Few” are crucial for Marketing to more clearly and effectively contribute to business success:

Master the Metrics

Justifying Marketing spending through measuring activity levels alone no longer cuts it in most businesses.  Senior leaders demand seeing measurable results of Marketing activities from demand generation to events to PR and more that contribute directly to the overall company performance.  CMOs and/or marketing leaders proactively participating in the formation of annual company objectives, and then linking Marketing objectives that are tightly aligned not only better focus the efforts of Marketing team resources but will ensure Marketing relevancy across the eyes in all functional departments.   Creating a Marketing culture that craves numbers accountability (tracked consistently through easy to understand scorecards with no more than 3-5 priority measures) enables a faster, deeper understanding of what tactics work best, what tactics need adjustment or need to be dropped altogether.

Go all in on “Go to Market”

There’s no room for traditional Marketing and Sales silos in today’s highly successful companies.   Creating tighter alignment through the formation of virtual Go to Market cross-functional teams where Marketing and Sales partner together in the definition of what is a quality lead and qualification criteria builds greater trust and speed in following up on sales inquiries.  Establishing a defined cadence for reviewing together post “top of the funnel” sales follow up activity (ideally through fully implemented CRM systems) is a great start.   Establishing no less than monthly interactive leadership calls reviewing demand generation tactics and sales follow up will over time turn the natural tension that often exists between Marketing and Sales organizations into a “we’re all in this together” mindset.

Commit to a Process  

While a metrics focus and Go to Market team alignment are critical, to really pay off they must be part of a well-defined Go to Market process that ensures consistency in delivery, tone and message across all instances of customer touch.    Unlike traditional sales processes that focus only on sales representative responsibilities at various stages from prospecting to close, a robust Go to Market process actively involves Marketing to incorporate a deeper understanding of discovered customer needs in top of funnel awareness, interest-building and PR influencer campaigns.   These deeper customer insights are made possible by committing to researching target prospect needs, pain points and business objectives.   Taking the time to profile decision makers and influencers, demonstrating great “listening” capabilities with confident playback of your understanding of needs that resonate not only accelerates sales but gives Marketing a much better opportunity to demonstrate measurable impact.

Today’s competitive and rapidly changing marketplace presents unique challenges for sellers and marketers.  But by investing in a higher accountability metrics culture, fostering better Marketing-Sales alignment by creating Go to Market virtual teams and building consistency and discipline into a well-defined process, growth-focused organizations will pave a smoother path for future success.

Dan Albaum and Nikolett Bacso are Marketing Leaders at Market Impact, a trusted partner for B2B technology companies to elevate their brands for strategic growth.