Using IP Conferences As Business Development Opportunities
Conferences are often seen as mandatory events that serve little purpose than displaying the company logo to the competition. However, major IP industry conferences, such as the International Conference on Protection of Intellectual Property (ICPIP) or the Patent Information Fair & Conference 2021, provide an excellent business development opportunity, regardless of whether your target audience is actually in attendance. So let's see how you can make the most of these events!
Conferences are opportunities
Conferences and trade shows are worth only as much energy you put in the preparation and networking opportunities. Even at the most expensive events, you often see tired employees pouring coffee behind high-tech counters, but beyond that, contributing nothing to the event or the company's image. However, this is not entirely their fault as they have not been adequately trained to make the most of the opportunity. At the end of the conference, the management is saddened to find that the allocated budget has yielded nothing more than a few business cards.
In reality, most events are real sales and marketing gold mines; you just have to find ways to promote them. And for that, preparation is key.
We won't go into detail about how to set up a booth, but rather what you can do to make your event a success from a business development perspective:
● Suppose there is an opportunity to give a presentation at the conference. In that case, you should do it not only because you can provide valuable insights to the attendees and network with them later but also as even a semi-professional recording can be used on your website as informative content.
● Most conferences now offer different networking opportunities, such as making a list of attendees so they can arrange to meet each other. Check this list the week before the conference (if it's not available, ask the organizers) and use LinkedIn to filter out the people you might want to meet with.
● Take your most upbeat and talkative colleagues with you. Instead of an eye-catching image, have a practical booth, which focuses on providing transparent information and offering a place to talk. But even without a stand, you can make the conference an advantageous event if you are actively networking.
● Have plenty of business cards and flyers on hand.
What to do after the conference
Many businesses close the conference on the last day - don't make this mistake! Instead, give yourself or your sales team plenty of time to follow up. Without follow-up, potential contacts may be lost from the conference, and if you don't follow up until weeks later, the other party may have already forgotten you met.
So unless you want to start the sales process from scratch, it pays to pick up the thread and write to the potential customer on LinkedIn or by email within one to three days.
A conference is a great way to do this, especially if you've given a presentation. You could start your message with "Hi Mike, I hope you're doing well! At the conference, I promised to send you my presentation on startup patent management for your team to watch. Would you be up for a coffee? One of our new services might help you with that challenge you told us about." The requester is already in the funnel, making your job much easier than starting a conversation with a stranger.
Instead of surviving the conference, take advantage of the opportunities it presents: Give a presentation, focus on networking, prepare for attendees, and organize your meetings. And the event becomes a truly effective business development weapon if you take the time to follow up afterwards (e.g., send out your presentation, organize more meetings).