Imagine you have two different options for making a B2B sales pitch. 

  • Option 1: Pay a large fee and spend tons of money to set up a booth at a trade show. Try to attract attention while literally situated next to your direct competitors. Hope that the top decision makers from your dream clients not only attend the trade show, but a) stop by your booth, b) talk to your reps, and c) take a pamphlet, with the ultimate hope that d) they remember your company when it comes time to make a decision. That’s a lot of steps, and a lot of crossed fingers along the way!
  • Option 2: Make a list of your dream clients. Load your product/service into some sort of vehicle, and visit every single company on your list. Offer a fun and interactive “field trip” experience to the entire office. Talk directly to decision makers and influencers on their own turf, without your competitors lurking around the corner. 

Which option sounds more appealing to you?

If you read our last blog post, you already know B2B brands can no longer rely on outdated trade shows. Luckily, there’s a better way to meet customers: the mobile roadshow tour. In this post, we take a deep dive into what mobile roadshow tours can do. We also discuss the success of one of Pro Motion’s successful roadshows, a campaign with B2B company in the food retailing business, Hussmann. 

Roadshows offer everything trade shows wish they could provide

In our last blog post, we discussed the decline in trade shows, including many popular trade shows shutting down indefinitely. One of those trade shows was FMI Connect, a formerly popular trade show sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute. This was bad news for Hussmann, a company that had devoted a large percentage of its annual marketing budget to participate. Hussmann had a new refrigeration system to promote, but now it was left without one of the biggest industry trade shows to show off their system. Having in-person interactions is especially important for a brand like Hussmann: looking at photos of a refrigeration system will never be the same as experiencing the product in person.

Enter the Hussmann Experience Insight Tour. With 33 events in 24 cities, the tour went to the corporate headquarters, flagship stores, and distributors of the biggest names in the grocery industry. Pro Motion provided a 38-foot trailer, loaded the refrigeration system into it, and hired two Tour Managers to go across the country. Before the roadshow started, marketing and sales team members from Hussmann contacted current and potential customers to explain that the company wanted to show them a new product – and that it wouldn’t require getting on an airplane to see it. Instead, the sales and marketing trailer would sit in the customer’s parking lot, allowing employees to come and go as they pleased and see the system for themselves. Practically every company we contacted invited us to visit! When was the last time you had that kind of response to a pitch?

Ahead of our visits, something beautiful happened: word-of-mouth spread throughout each corporate office, and anticipation heightened. Stakeholders shifted their schedules to ensure they wouldn’t miss the corporate “field trip.” Prospects met our arrival with excitement. Some people were so ready to see the exhibit that they came straight to the trailer from their cars. Everyone from top executives to engineering technicians and maintenance staff visited the exhibit, talked with sales staff, and considered the benefits of the Hussmann system. Some days, more than 100 people visited the trailer!  

The roadshow experience

We arrived at each location by 6 a.m. to set everything up before the first employees pulled into the parking lot. Both morning snacks and lunch were offered as a way of thanking visitors for spending time with us. To enhance the feeling that this was an educational field trip rather than a sales pitch, we needed to create a worthwhile and engaging experience. To do this, Pro Motion’s Tour Managers focused on a problem-solving model: helping attendees understand that Hussmann created this piece of technology to help customers solve problems, curb maintenance-related issues, avoid inefficiencies, and reduce excessive costs. Instead of salespeople trying to hand off a brochure at a booth, we were partners working together to solve a problem for their company. 

The next beautiful thing that happened: attendees started to sell one another on the product, independent of our influence. Decision makers excitedly discussed the benefits of having these systems in every store, how much easier maintenance would be, and the money they would save and some brought new store designs to share. By the time we departed, prospects were more than halfway through the sales process without any of them feeling like they had been through a tedious sales call. In fact, we received praise from many locations, with potential customers thanking the Hussmann sales team for understanding their business needs and thanking them for not having to get on a plane. 

Mobile roadshows work

The Hussmann Insight Experience was clearly a success.

  1. Customers gave feedback that not only did the roadshow help them make good decisions, but also they appreciated that we came directly to them — demonstrating that we understand their time is valuable
  2. Aggressive sales goals were achieved. Key customers and prospects made commitments to this line. 
  3. Hussmann executives felt this experience provided more bang for their buck. The strategic campaign provided a higher and quicker ROI than trade shows.  

Looking to achieve the kind of success that a mobile roadshow can bring to your B2B company? Pro Motion is an industry leader in creating engaging, effective campaigns. Give us a call at 636.489.2753.


Can’t wait for our next post to learn more? Learn More About Steve Randazzo’s book, Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!  Including Chapter 3, all about how to build a B2B trade show tour.