Monday, September 19, 2011
Dan Callahan

For starters, why does the US Army love heat and humidity during August?  Tampa during the last part of summer is three degrees from Hades (or at least it felt that way!).  In spite of the heat, my team had a successful--if not perfect go-of-it the Bay City.


We came back with a bushel of leads and were pretty pleased.  These questions (below) will help guide us and allow you to rate your own performance (either from LandWarNet or from the last show at which you exhibited.

·         Did you or someone on your team eat a meal with a client or prospect?

·         Did you figure out how to use the lead scanning devise provided by the show facilitator and actually use it effectively (be honest!).

·         Did the folks working the booth take a perfectly passive posture or were they gently aggressive in pulling in leads, conversations, prospects and clients?

·         How many demos (or substantive conversations) do you believe were given in your booth?  Given the total budget for supporting the show, how much per conversation was spent? 

·         Are the follow ups (from the show) assigned and is someone being held accountable for this follow up?

·         Did you meet any Army executives and engage them in more than just a, “Hi, how ya’ doing?”

·         Did your company executives meet any Army executives?

·         Did anyone attend the sessions and take notes… and type up a trip report for those who did not attend the sessions?

If someone your team is making excuses about now, he or she may be the wrong person for the job.

We learned (the hard way) on a few items:

1.  Set up all demos **the night before** with technical support either present or on standby.   This is of course, a last minute check, after your team has proven the demo back in the lab.  There should be no excuses for glitches in the demo at a major event like LandWarNet!

2.  Be expeditionary.  Go find your clients & prospects and drag them (well… not literally, but you know what I mean…) back to the booth and to meet your company’s executives.

3. If you’re a sales professional, don’t seek to eat your meals with the same folks you work with.  That’s not what true sales professionals do at these major conferences.  Of course, you can’t get a client out to eat at every meal, but if you work it hard, there is no reason why you can’t take out a couple of them during the three days!

4.  Does your value proposition specifically address a use case that is an acknowledged problem to the Army?  How do you know?  Is the booth team prepared to talk about the Army  or are they from the commercial team and can’t spell A-r-m-y? 


I don’t mean to get preachy, but if your company spent $5K, $10K or more, and you did not come back with some decent leads, you need to consider getting someone different to plan, prepare, staff and orchestrate follow up for these shows. 


Without naming names, who can post a reply with a home run example or a strike-out from LandWarNet?  Let’s learn together.

Share Your Thoughts:

Most of the people you business developers actually engaged with and gave your fancy pens and foam toys to were the useless bogarts that attend conferences and are useless to the Army anyway. The real LandWarNet movers and shakers were still in D.C. making things happen.