#16 Three Strategies for COVID-19 Era Online Sales Events

As a result of COVID-19, most of the global sales events such as overseas exhibitions and conferences for entering overseas markets were canceled or moved online. Success at online sales events can be difficult to achieve by only attending a simple webinar or a part of an offline exhibition that many companies are doing online. In particular, if it is an important event to enter overseas markets, only focusing on what happens during the event is not the most effective strategy. 

Many companies are limited in appealing to overseas buyers’ products and technologies. For example, the world’s largest bio event, ‘Bio International Convention,’ was originally scheduled to take place in San Diego, but due to the spread of COVID-19, it became a virtual event. 

In Korea, a number of companies participated in introducing technology and pipelines that they have, but it is not enough to expect good results by introducing pipelines or companies through video files in about 15 minutes. 

In the case of online exhibitions, investments, technology exports, and face-to-face online sales events for buyers, there are three essential areas. Accepting the challenge of digital transformation as inevitable and accepting an effective approach should be a priority.

While sharing the advice in the three key areas, you should also take this opportunity to look back on the business development (BD) work for domestic companies to penetrate global markets.

First, the key to BD’s work should not be overlooked as it determines success and failure long before an exhibition or sales event begins. Frequently, the beginning of the day of an exhibition or event is considered to be the beginning of business, and it is often thought that sharing products or corporate materials via e-mail is all that is needed for pre-marketing. This is not the case. 

Also, it is not accurate to expect a stranger to visit your website and convert similarly to how you would not expect a sale from a random passerby at an offline exhibition. We need a BD strategy approach that allows them to find our businesses, products, and technologies, that is, inbound marketing. It is no longer possible to delay turning this non-face-to-face, online crisis into an opportunity today when technology’s spectacular development no longer requires us to insist on offline methods. It is time to take an active approach.

Second, if you are a company that actively promotes marketing transformation, you must establish a system in advance and focus on it to identify targets and strive at a strategic level so that content based on their needs can be shared. It is important to have an online route strategy (such as inbound marketing strategies and channels) that allows buyers to visit. At this time, it is a mistake to think of the meaningless mass emailing as pre-marketing. It is necessary to acquire strategic know-how on emailing tactics.

Third, we need to focus on pre- and post-marketing through the use of multiple channels. The method of appealing at the event site is limited and not a strategy. If you use a communication channel based on targeting and understanding your needs (for example, in the North American market, LinkedIn has a greater impact than e-mail), you can already proceed with the process for discussion or negotiation at a 70-80% level before the online event.

Marketing transformation plays a big role in allowing buyers to naturally share necessary information at the right time, which is critical for maximizing the overseas sales pipeline of companies with limited resources. Even in such a case, the strategic insight is based on the buyer’s needs.

For domestic companies with limited geographic conditions or resources, online sales events can be a great opportunity. In fact, with all the buyers working mostly online and because there is no limit to time and space, it is much easier for them to secure time for you.

In addition to webinars, we actively plan for online sales events, but we boost these three factors and spur more effective BD strategy work through marketing transformation.