Blogger: Thorsten Kolbinger, Managing Director EMEA, Ungerboeck Software

The future of exhibitions is bright, yet we have to prepare ourselves for a massive shift in the event and exhibition industry. CRM and sales processes will need to be aligned with industry developments and customer requirements. What will customer relationship management for exhibitions look like in the future?

As the industry is undergoing a transformation, organizers have to ask themselves whether selling booth space will be enough to secure the economic stability of their shows in the future. For now, selling booths is a key element of any exhibition business, but as client requirements change and the digitization keeps evolving, we have to be prepared for new sponsoring or advertising possibilities for exhibitors.

Innovative business cooperation – as seen in Alibaba partnering with UBM – are on the rise and open up new possibilities for exhibition business models. Speaking about trade show visitors, exhibition formats will need to be continuously adapted based on the expectations that Generation Y is setting.

Automating the Necessary & Focusing On The Human: Where Technology and Marketing Meet

Sales process automation is used in many different industries to reduce daily mundane tasks and enable staff to focus on important projects that require a “human mind”. If exhibition sales professionals are successful at automating necessary, but repeating and cumbersome tasks, they can concentrate on important projects that require human thinking and interaction – for example establishing and maintaining relationships with clients, partners and market collaborators.

The customer journey reaches ultimate sophistication where technology and marketing meet: User-friendly, automated booth sales and online exhibitor portals with strong upselling opportunities are the future of successful exhibition sales. A web shop or an online exhibitor portal can serve as an elegant tool to automate tasks while providing excellent customer service to potential and existing exhibitors. You may round out the customer experience and speed up the sales process by selling from an integrated digital floor plan – a win-win situation on both ends!

From CRM To Operations: Integration Is The Secret To Exhibition Sales Success

An online portal opens up great ways of learning about client needs and analyzing their behavior. The digital world allows you to gain a complete picture of your customers’ behavior during the entire exhibition journey. However, you have to ask yourself: How good is exhibitor and visitor data if it is disconnected from event-related data? Integration is the key to success.

Integrating your CRM, sales and operational tasks makes sense in many aspects. An automated exhibition booth sales process that is integrated with event planning and floor plan management is of great help on the customer-facing end and may speed up sales processes while offering a first-class customer experience.

But there’s more to it: If we think about operational processes on the backend (back office), it is extremely helpful to have client data flowing through one and the same database – from sales, CRM and operations all the way to invoicing. Integration is the foundation to consistency and accuracy in every aspect of the exhibition sales process, whether it is a booth proposal, a contract or a final invoice.

Would you like to learn more about the difference between a generic and a purpose-built CRM & sales system for exhibition organizers? Click here.