How Often Have you Relied on Serendipity as a Sales Strategy?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

By John Corrigan

Trade show sales

I’ve seen a really interesting trend in marketing late and wonder if you’ve noticed, too? I’ve noticed that there’s a double-digit increase in spend, attendance, and growth at conferences, trade shows, and events—particularly in the B2B space.

Today in the United States, 90 million professionals gather 284,000 times a year at a conference, trade show, or event. They convene for the purpose to connect and collaborate—specifically to buy/sell, hire or find a new job, or to build trust through face-to-face interactions so business gets done. Let that sink in: 90 million. 284,000 times. And growing!

It’s been reported that marketers in the United States spend over $540B per year sending employees to and sponsoring these conferences and trade shows. I was curious—how does this compare to the revenues of the biggest advertising platforms?

In 2018, Facebook is projected to have $40B in revenue and Google will have $110B—not bad for companies that sell mostly ads and data.

Then I thought—what about the biggest marketing cloud and sales enablement providers? Adobe Marketing Cloud, $1.6B; Salesforce, $10B (includes CRM); Oracle Marketing Cloud, $700M; Hubspot, $400M.

So why is it that B2B marketers still spend 23% of their budget on in-person meetings at conferences and trade shows when the average person spends 4–6 hours per day staring at a screen? In a world where you can virtually buy anything without interacting with another human, what sets B2B marketing apart?

Everyone in sales knows the answer: All B2B sales are emotional sales.

The buyer is putting their name on the line. It’s their job, reputation, and career behind the product, software, or service they are buying. It’s because words and actions have to align and because everyone knows that the absolute best way to build human-to-human trust is to be physically in front of them.

In-person is why the hotel sector is a great bet right now, why airline stocks are surging, and why convention centers continually receive funding and build with bonds. At SummitSync, we have spent years analyzing the why and how of people convening, connecting, and collaborating.

And that brings me to my next point—serendipity. Serendipity is one of the most wonderful aspects of being a happy-go-lucky person, especially when it comes to finding love, chance encounters, winning at the casino, or being lost in the desert.

But it’s a hopeless strategy to rely on when it comes to finding the right people to do business with—even more so when unmoored in a sea of thousands of people at a convention center. The standard ROI at conferences is less than impressive: 90% of the time attendees end up talking to the person next to them at the hotel bar. The remaining time is spent with colleagues or FaceTiming family and friends. Sound familiar?

So what’s the answer? I was shocked that until now, no one has:

  • Built uniquely capable software to make B2B event collaboration easier
  • Attempted to automate the meeting process
  • Tried to significantly improve the odds of you meeting the right person at the right time and place.

I say until now because SummitSync has built such software for marketers that has revolutionized the B2B events process and will change the transactional meetings landscape forever.

SummitSync has answered fundamental questions that all marketers ask about connecting and selling at events:

  • Where should we go or send our sales team? Which conferences, trade shows, or events? I only have so much money and time to invest in an increasing number of events that I need to drive revenue from.
  • Are my clients going to be there? Are prospects or potential clients going to be there? If so, how can I get their information?
  • Can you make it easier for my marketing and sales teams to get and schedule one-to-one or one-to-many meetings, across space, time, calendars, various marketing systems and NOT drown us in a slew of spreadsheets and pointless phone calls?
  • Can all the data and activity be uniformly and accurately connected to Salesforce and marketing automation, WITHOUT human involvement and having to chase my team endlessly?
  • Can you help me track and attribute ROI over time so we can keep validating that it works?

The answer to all of these questions: a resounding YES!

How do we do this? Well, luckily there are smart people who are crazy enough to work with me that I can connect you with to explain how our technology works. Contact me at and I’ll set it up.

Curious how meeting automation could help your organization reach its sales and marketing goals at conferences and trade shows? Contact us today for a free demo at

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