A Step by Step Guide to Preparing Your Team for a Tradeshow

A Step by Step Guide to Preparing Your Team for a Tradeshow

This step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process and ensure your team is fully prepared for any tradeshow or conference. This includes defining clear sales goals, setting up meetings, and leveraging lead generation tools to improve your event efforts.

Common challenges in tradeshow planning include budget constraints, logistical issues, and managing multiple stakeholders. Overcoming these challenges requires proactive planning, effective communication, and flexibility in adapting to unforeseen circumstances.

To measure the success of a tradeshow, you can analyze attendee feedback, assess whether the objectives were met, evaluate the level of participant engagement, and track any positive outcomes or impacts resulting from the tradeshow.

Key Takeaways

  • Define clear purpose and goals: Establishing the purpose and goals of the tradeshow is crucial to ensuring everyone's efforts are aligned and focused on achieving the desired outcomes.
  • Assign responsibilities effectively: Assigning specific responsibilities to team members will help ensure that tasks are properly executed and that everyone understands their role in making the tradeshow successful.
  • Create a communication plan: Developing a communication plan that includes regular meetings and updates will help keep all team members informed and ensure effective coordination throughout the tradeshow preparation process.
  • Prepare and deploy a lead capture tool: Deploying the right tool or software is extremely important. You'll want to save these new leads using your CRM tools, digital business cards, or lead forms. Following up with them after the event will be vital to closing sales or booking more demos.

1. Define the Goals of the Tradeshow

Defining the purpose and goals of the tradeshow is essential for effective planning and execution.

Clearly stating the desired outcomes, such as networking, knowledge sharing, or lead generation, is crucial. This clarity will act as a guide for all other preparations and guarantee a successful tradeshow

2. Identify the Attendees and Companies

To ensure a successful tradeshow, it's vital to identify the attendees or companies you'd like to target. Here is a table outlining the process of identifying the attendees and their roles:

Attendee Name Role Company LinkedIn Contact Information
John Smith Speaker Software Co. Linkedin.com/john



Sarah Keller Coordinator Real Estate Co. Linkedin.com/sarah



Michael Jay Moderator Design X. Linkedin.com/michael
Emily Fox Presenter Agency Inc. Linkedin.com/emily



David Ray Technical Support Agency Co. Linkedin.com/david


Identifying the attendees and assigning their roles allows for efficient planning and execution at the tradeshow.

Pro-tip: Engage attendees beforehand to gather more information and personalize your tradeshow outreach approach. You can do this using the apps provided by the conference or tradeshow. Some of these apps allow for in-app messaging; if they do not offer that feature, cross-reference your potential leads with LinkedIn. Once you've identified them, send out a connection request and reach out.

3. Plan the Tradeshow Schedule and Agenda

  • Plan the objectives of the tradeshow. For example, set up 50 demos, collected 300 leads, and closed 5 deals.
  • Allocate time slots for keynote speakers, workshops, and networking sessions in the tradeshow schedule. Workshops and networking sessions are a great place to genuinely meet people, build meaningful connections, and create lifelong partnerships.
  • Create a detailed agenda for your team's activities; it could look something like this for an individual team member:
    • 8:30 AM: Coffee and team meeting
    • 9:00 AM: Service clients at the booth
    • 10:30 AM: Attend workshop A
    • 11:30 AM: Introduce yourself to Company B
    • 12:30 PM: Introduce yourself to Company C
    • 1:00 PM: Networking & Lunch
    • 2:00 PM: Service clients at booth
    • 2:30 PM: Meet Customer C (Leads from our pre-tradeshow outreach)
    • 3:00 PM: Workshop B
    • 4:00 PM: Team networking activity near "center stage"
    • 5:00 PM: Recap the day with the team and organize for the next day.

    Pro-tip: Be flexible and open to making adjustments to the schedule as needed to accommodate unpredictable changes or unforeseen demands. At Wave, we've had many potential clients ask us for demos of our product on the spot. We attend events to collect leads and drive more sales, so it made sense for us to drop our other activities and service these potential customers.

    4. Assign Responsibilities to Team Members

    • Team members' responsibilities should be assigned based on their skills and strengths, including lead generation, demo bookings, client product education, partnership acquisition, and conducting demos for potential clients.
    • Based on individual abilities, assign specific tasks. If your product requires technical expertise, ensure a technical lead is available to support sales.
    • Communicate expectations and goals to team members. Attending an event with no planning is like learning to swim with no lifeguard. You'll most probably drown. Make sure your team understands what they need to achieve. This will allow them to pursue the goal without idling around trying to figure out what to do next!
    • Provide the necessary tools and resources to support the team members. Digital business cards allow for quick lead capture, contact management, and brand information sharing.
    • Regularly check progress and offer guidance to the team members

    5. Provide Necessary Information and Resources

    To prepare your team for a conference, provide them with the necessary information and resources.

    This includes sharing the tradeshow agenda, a list of meetings booked pre-conference, providing travel and accommodation details, and giving access to any pre-conference materials.

    Ensure they have the required tools and technology to connect effectively with new leads. It's crucial to empower your team with all the information and resources they need to make the most of the tradeshow.

    True story: Our team attended Collision 2023, where our manager provided all the necessary information and planned accordingly. From detailed schedules to travel itineraries, we were well-prepared. This allowed us to focus on networking with leads we had pre-booked before the event started, attending key workshops in our industry to meet potential partners, and actively participating in round table discussions.

    Results: Our team's planning resulted in 34 pre-meetings booked, 213 leads collected, and $54,382 in annual recurring revenue by the end of the event. We're in the business of tracking event ROI; it's what we do for a living. Long story short, providing the right information and resources made a significant impact on our conference experience. We published a blog post on how to create digital business cards for events, highlighting their importance.

    6. Conduct Pre-Tradeshow Meetings and Training

    It's extremely valuable to prepare beforehand and ensure that your team is on the same page.

  • Hold a kickoff meeting to discuss tradeshow objectives, overall goals, and expectations.
  • Identify key team members and assign specific roles and responsibilities.
  • Brief each team member on their specific agenda and KPIs.
  • Provide software training sessions if you are using a CRM, contact management platform, or digital business card software.
  • Review logistics and ensure everything is in place for a smooth tradeshow experience.

  • 7. Coordinate Travel and Accommodation Arrangements

    It's important not to mess this up, or your team will be stuck at a motel!

    • Coordinate travel and accommodation arrangements by researching the tradeshow location and finding recommended travel options.
      • Many tradeshows provide discounts to attendees on hotels, food, and travel options.
    • Based on convenience and cost-effectiveness, book flights or arrange transportation.
    • Secure hotel or Airbnb reservations near the tradeshow venue.
      • Do this weeks before the event, or you might be paying a premium and inflated prices.
      • Consider group discounts or packages for larger teams.
    • Provide detailed travel itineraries and accommodation information to team members.
      • This should be included in the agenda we discussed previously.
    • Keep a record of all travel and accommodation arrangements for easy reference.
    • Ensure team members have the necessary travel documents, such as passports and visas.

    8. Create and Distribute Tradeshow Material Digitally

    At a recent conference, our team used digital business cards to distribute material to potential leads and customers. We began by brainstorming the necessary materials for the event, including brochures, marketing decks, and brand information. We then uploaded the documents to our digital business cards to provide a more sustainable and interactive experience for our potential customers.

    You can try out our digital business cards for free. These digital profiles help you exchange contact information and better manage your contacts to collect more leads and ultimately drive more sales.

    create a wave digital business card QR code.

        9. Evaluate and Reflect on the Tradeshow

        After the Tradeshow, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate and reflect on the event. This includes gathering constructive feedback from attendees, carefully reviewing the goals and objectives set beforehand, and analyzing the overall success of the conference, as well as identifying areas for improvement.


        This evaluation process is vital in determining what aspects of the event worked well, what didn't meet expectations, and how we can enhance the next Tradeshow to surpass all previous ones.


        What Are the Key Elements of a Successful Tradeshow?

        • Clear objectives and goals that align with the overall purpose of the tradeshow.
        • Well-defined target audience and understanding of their needs and preferences.
        • Effective planning and organization of the tradeshow schedule and agenda.
        • Strong team with assigned responsibilities and clear communication channels.
        • Engagement in pre-tradeshow meetings and trainings to align everyone's understanding.
        • Smooth coordination of travel and accommodation arrangements for attendees.
        • Creative and informative tradeshow materials that enhance the experience.
        • Well-developed communication plan to keep the team informed and engaged.
        • Opportunities for networking with attendees to foster connections.
        • Team building activities to enhance collaboration.
        • Evaluation of the tradeshow to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
        Suggestions for a successful tradeshow include regular communication with attendees, incorporating fun interactive elements in your pitches, and providing opportunities for feedback and networking.


          What Are the Common Challenges in Attending a Tradeshow?

          Planning to attend a tradeshow can come with its fair share of challenges, but with careful preparation and effective strategies, these challenges can be overcome. Here are some common challenges in tradeshow planning and how to overcome them:

          • Budget constraints: Create a detailed budget plan, prioritize expenses, and explore sponsorship opportunities.
          • Coordination issues: Establish clear communication channels, delegate tasks, and schedule regular team meetings.

          How to Measure the Success of a Tradeshow?

          In order to effectively measure the success of a tradeshow, it is important to gather feedback from your team through surveys or evaluations. This feedback should include leads captured, demos booked, and sales closed. By analyzing this data, you can gain valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your conference activity, and use this information to improve future events.

          Frequently Asked Questions

          1. How can I effectively prepare my team for a tradeshow?

          To effectively prepare your team for a tradeshow, start by formulating an event strategy that outlines the goals, KPIs, and objectives of the conference.

          2. How should I structure the agenda for a tradeshow?

          When preparing the agenda for a tradeshow, define the purpose and goals your team is trying to achieve. Then, create and share an outline of all activities and discussion points to cover during the event.

          3. How far in advance should I send meeting invites for a tradeshow?

          It is recommended to send meeting invites for a tradeshow at least two weeks in advance. This allows colleagues to schedule accordingly and set aside the necessary time for preparation. The meeting invites should include important details, such as the agenda and the meeting goals, to ensure everyone is on the same page and well-prepared.

          4. What are the benefits of using technology at tradeshow?

          Using technology at tradeshow offers several benefits. It enables convenient task management, better communication, and an easy way to capture leads. Tools like Wave, Slack, Asana, and Trello facilitate effective communication and collaboration within the organizing team. 

          About The Author

          George El-Hage
          George El-Hage
          Founder & CEO of Wave Connect
          George founded Wave Connect, a digital business card company looking to revolutionize how people connect. Wave has helped over 20,000+ businesses capture leads, connect with customers, and drive more sales.
          Contact Details: george@wavecnct.com
          Office Location: 3 Place Ville Marie, Montreal, QC H3B 4W8