Roar B2B Expo London 2022 — Are In-Person Events Still Worth It? Oneflow team at the Expo (permission from team)
Remember when the internet was convinced no one would want to go to in-person events anymore?
The internet was wrong. I know. Shocking isn’t it?
I went to my first big post-pandemic expo in London on November 22nd organized by Roar B2B. 6000 others joined me.
It was a 3-for-1 deal with the B2B Marketing Expo, Sales Innovation Expo, and Marketing Technology Expo all in one place.
I was an anomaly at the event because I wasn’t interested in changing my tech stack. I wanted to learn whether these events were good value for businesses. I advise several startups so was on a research mission and covered the event for Entrepreneur’s Handbook.
Here’s what I learned.Wallflowers lose
I’m a simple person. If you have candy at your stall, I’ll come to say hi and hear you out. Lots of startups used this simple technique to good effect but others went a step beyond.
OneFlow had a magician which confused me at first but it makes sense when their slogan is “Less contract admin. More contract magic.” When most companies attack you with a sales pitch, it’s a relief to be entertained instead.
Digital Marketing Manager Arun Kumar revealed the tactic worked well and they found many warm leads at the event.
Jiminny, a conversation intelligence platform that coaches salespeople to make better pitches, went for a different strategy to make a splash. Their Event Marketing Exec Megan Harber told me it was their first major event and they wanted to stand out. Their bright pink huge stand definitely did that. It’s why they are in this article.
For Jiminny, the aim wasn’t to make sales straight away but to trigger enough interest for people to book calls to learn more. Judging by how busy their stand was, it seemed to work too.Prove your people
I’ve heard a million leaders say they have the best people but then they hide them away.
Kelley Walters is a Senior Marketing Manager at Salescroft who identify as the most comprehensive sales engagement platform in the world. She shared with me how these events are what help Salescroft stand out:
“Power behind brand is our team and we get to show that. Can’t show it through email and only a bit through video but in person they can see our culture. This is how we can make a real connection, more than just a brand, people who want to help.”
For Salescroft, a big part of the day was meeting existing clients and prospects to strengthen their relationships rather than simply looking for new business.
If you keep telling people your team is amazing then put them on a stand at an event and trust them to increase your brand capital.Family day out
B2B Sales can often be a solitary pursuit. Everyone has their own leads who they need to chase.
You could tell many people working the event were having fun because they were having a day out. They chatted with each other between pitches and tag team on curious attendees.
Cognism SDR Manager Rachel Goldstone told me this was one of the best parts of the event. The team got to know each other better and watch each other work which built a sense of admiration. They had one of the biggest teams at the event and all their staff knew their stuff when it came to their sales intelligence platform.Test the waters
You shouldn’t be going to your first big exhibition as an exhibitor if you’ve never been an attendee. It’s a tough day of being on your feet and talking to a revolving door of people. Stalls are often expensive so you don’t want to go in blind.
Tom Jeanes, UK Commercial Lead for RedK, went to Roar B2B’s event last year to get a feel of the event and the types of people turning up. He saw there would be high demand for his company’s CX and CRM consultancy so booked a stall for this year. RedK teamed up with Monday.com which is the main platform they optimize for their customers.
On the day itself, the goal for RedK and Monday.com was to test their messaging and strategy. They wanted to know what problems businesses were facing and what their biggest priorities were. This knowledge would be fed back to the main office to inform future decision-making.
Nobody likes filling in forms about their problems online but makes them feel comfortable and people love to talk about them in person. Maybe that’s just a British thing.
All the exhibitors I spoke to were enjoying themselves and generating leads. It seems despite the pandemic hyperbole, there are still many people who would rather meet in the flesh. I count myself among them.
Note: I covered this event as a journalist for Entrepreneur’s Handbook but was not paid so these are my honest opinions.
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