Small stands can be highly effective if you pay attention to details like Vanessa Hunt Consulting
This post, written by CRM specialist Vanessa Hunt, tells of her preparation for Sales Innovation Expo.
Unfortunately, the event became one of many postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite that, we think it’s an excellent case study for any small business entering a big and busy show and we hope, you’ll read it that way.
Preparing for Sales Innovation Expo
Our primary reason for exhibiting at Sales Innovation Expo is to create brand awareness for my business, Vanessa Hunt Consulting Ltd.
We also hope to generate interest in our consultancy services, supporting small businesses in their CRM selection and implementation projects.
Our priorities for the two days we’ll be spending at ExCeL London include:
- To generate excitement among sales professionals about CRM tech
- To show benefits of technology, and dispel the idea of enslavement by tech
- Presenting recommendations and ideas for CRM readiness and CRM selection to a diverse audience
- Attracting new clients from different geographical areas (we are in South Bucks)
- Delivering a successful pitch for the Best Sales Trainer of the Year award!
Why exhibiting is worth the investment
If you plan to do it well, exhibiting can take a considerable chunk out of your marketing budget.
But compared to other channels, exhibiting is a fast way to develop new face-to-face relationships with a previously untapped audience.
It also helps build the credibility of your brand, especially when you take up speaking opportunities.
And, nomination for an award can further enhance the exhibiting benefit!
Since you’re usually exhibiting and presenting alongside larger organisations, the profile of your business rises by association.
You also benefit from promotional coverage of the awards conducted by the show organisers.
And if nothing else, the ‘story’ of the build-up to the event provides you with great content for an exciting marketing campaign!
I chose to exhibit again at ExCeL London mainly because I loved the buzz that Vanessa’s Facebook Café generated last time!
But also because of the way my business has evolved since.
I think the B2C Expo gave me even more confidence that being small doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be ambitious.
In the last two years, Vanessa Hunt Consulting Ltd has been working with larger, more established businesses, and I see the personal service a small business provides viewed as a positive.
I’ve updated my brand to reflect that shift, and I think the timing is right to launch in an even more precise direction about the role technology plays in business success.
The stand visuals on this page were produced by Thewayforward
What can you learn about CRM in two days?
Alongside the hourly taster sessions, I’ll be presenting on my stand; I’m also delivering two presentations on the topic of CRM in The Recruitment & Learning Theatre:
Wednesday 25th March, 11.40 – 12.10
What if CRM really did help you sell more?https://www.salesinnovationexpo.co.uk/speakers/vanessa-hunt/
Thursday 26th March, 13.00 – 13.30
I’ll have what they’re having (aka how NOT to choose CRM)
I’ll be drawing on twenty years’ experience of working on CRM implementations and sharing my perspective on how to avoid costly mistakes to drive value from CRM faster.
What are we doing differently this year?
My first experience of exhibiting at ExCeL London was so positive that we’re not changing a successful recipe!
Having gone through the process with my brand designers Thewayforward previously, I knew what to expect the second time around. And so we’re ready almost a month early.
It’s an excellent position to be in since it’s allowed us to focus more on promoting our presence at the show.
We have also been able to support the organisers of Sales Innovation Expo with their promotions on social media.
This time we’ve been more proactive advertising my presentations in advance, for example in the Show Guide and producing menu-board style leaflets for the event bags. And since the hourly training sessions drew much attention in 2018, we have an extra pair of hands to help on the stand this time around.
What was the brief for the stand and why?
Creating a brief was straightforward since I knew I wanted to repeat the café theme, following on the success of Vanessa’s Facebook Café at The B2C Marketing & Advertising Expo in 2018.
Paula and Richard Allibone (Thewayforward) developed the café concept for me.
I needed a space where I could provide relaxed and welcoming training sessions. I initially considered re-using the previous café graphic, to save money, but decided a slightly different style would be more fitting for an audience of sales professionals.
Hence my brief for Paula and Richard was to create:
- A small relaxed space in the theme of a co-working environment, to allow me to deliver hourly ‘taster’ sessions on trending CRM topics
- A unique, eye-catching design to attract visitors, reinforcing my brand colours and including visual clues to my recently updated brand identity (also developed by Thewayforward)
- An instagrammable stand to make visitors stop and look
- We established this is possible whenever cute cupcakes (with branded toppers) and coffee are involved!
- Supporting, themed collateral to promote my stand and two presentations. These included a half-page ad, a standing menu board and leaflets/postcards in the same menu board style.
I’m delighted with the way the café theme has developed, mirroring ideas that worked well at the last exhibition, with a few enhancements for a new audience.
I’ll be thrilled seeing stand 502 as the real thing!
About the Author
Vanessa Hunt worked as an independent CRM Consultant before establishing Vanessa Hunt Consulting Ltd in January 2010.
Vanessa has held training and management positions in software organisations and consultancies such as Maximizer Software Ltd, McAfee, Detica and CSC Computer Sciences. With 16 years’ experience in training, marketing and CRM, she’s very much at home in today’s growing market of Social CRM.
Vanessa is also a keen linguist, fluent in English, French, German and Italian. When not working she enjoys keeping fit, reading, writing and socialising in her free time.
You can connect with Vanessa via LinkedIn