As reported last week, BIO 2018 attracted more than 1,800 exhibitors and sponsors who took part in 40,000+ pre-scheduled. Dozens of Maryland Biotech Companies and hundreds of biotech professionals were among them. Many accompanied the Department of Commerce or the Maryland Tech Council in their pavilions, and others like Paragon BioSolutions exhibited their own booth. As an exhibitor or attendee, you may have spent thousands to tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars to be there with the hope of attracting the right new partnership opportunities, clients or investors for your business.
So, was your investment worth it?
Legacy Exhibits, an end-to-end event solutions firm out of Columbia, MD, was also at BIO this year. They were there to make sure the answer to that question for their client, Scottish Development International (SDI), was an astounding ‘YES’.
“One of the biggest mistakes that we see exhibitors and convention attendees make at trade shows like BIO is that they focus all their planning on the show itself and not enough on what to do before and afterward,”said Patrick Shek, Partner, Legacy. Legacy’s model is to help exhibitors look at their trade show event comprehensively and develop an overall plan and strategy, not just one that is focused on the booth and show floor. They call their system the Legacy Roadmap, and its designed to ensure that each show provides the maximum ROI. The Roadmap is a series of tasks that are planned out prior, during and post-show to ensure that there is a solid game plan for success, not just fingers crossed that people show up and a deal gets done on the spot.
How can you get the most out of BIO 2018?
You may not have had your roadmap fully mapped out this year, but if you attended BIO last week and are now looking at a stack of cards, Legacy still has a few simple suggestions that will help you maximize the ROI on your recent investment at BIO
1. Make it Personal
While the memories of your discussions are still fresh to you, bring a stack of thank you cards with you to the show. The last day of the show could yield some free time to start to address these. If there is not much time to do so at the show, hand-write ‘thank you’ notes to every person you met and try to get them out immediately. These have a lasting impact on attendees and as well, show your attention to details! Direct mail is making a huge comeback, use it to your advantage immediately after meeting someone.
2. Leverage Technology
Look up every person on Linkedin. Be sure to add a note about your meeting and any specifics about your conversation. Being connected on this platform allows this person to learn more about you and your company through your posts. This can yield great results if your messaging in person matches your messaging online.
3. Follow-up with a Call
Starting six (6) days after the show, make it a goal to call just 7 of your contacts each day. This is a manageable number, and these are not cold calls, they are warm…and still fresh in the attendees’ minds. When meeting someone at the show try and point out some differentiator so that the person remembers you. Dropping the contact in your CRM and emailing them may be easier, but people still appreciate a call and it will deliver better results for you. Start with your “A” leads but be sure someone is calling to thank each person for stopping by your booth at the event and try during the call to set up a conference call or follow up call. BE SURE TO ASK “is now an ok time to speak?” This is the number 1 pet peeve of people receiving calls, is that the caller goes on a rant without respecting the receiver’s time. If you have done your ‘thank you’s’ correctly, most likely you will have some positive feedback during your call. 35 per week minimum after writing a handwritten thank you and connecting on LinkedIn will give your best opportunity to attain measurable ROI from your recent event.
It may feel like a daunting task to tackle all of those connections that you made, especially when you are back in the course of the every-day busyness of the business, but by staying organized and following a simple process you can achieve great results that will have made your investment well worth it.
Maryland was recognized as having one of the largest presences at BIO this year many thanks to the efforts put forth by the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Tech Council, as well as the many representing Maryland companies, who are fueling one of the most exciting Biotech hubs in the world right now. You can find a recap of BIO 2018 from BioHealth Innovation that lists all of the Maryland companies that were present at BIO this year. As you get back to the business of developing new cures and life-saving technologies, I hope that these tips from Legacy will help make sure your company continues to get the best payoff possible from your trip to the Biotech Industry’s premier annual event.
Legacy Exhibits is headquartered in Columbia, MD with 650+ annual clients all over the US and world. Legacy specializes in all types of exhibit and event needs – everything from pull up banners to big, custom booth builds and the strategy around them. Visit www.legacyexhibits.com for more on how a great local partner can help you get the most out of your next conference or trade show.
Two of Legacy’s Partners, Pat Shek, and Shawn Parsons also recently started a new initiative called Rise MD – A passionate group of pay it forward, kind, super connectors, building long-standing friendships and relationships within our community. The goal is to harness the power of like-minded ‘givers’ to do more good for the people and organizations that need it in Maryland.
Chris Frew, @biotechMd