What really goes into preparing for Europe’s biggest licensing show? The Source finds out… starting with the sales team.
Firstly, what does your role/department cover and what are your main responsibilities when it comes to BLE?
The sales team consists of an account manager Joshua Adewumi (main image centre) and two business development managers Greg McDonald (main image left) and Matthieu Battini.
Josh is responsible for the retention of accounts, spending time visiting and speaking with exhibitors about their objectives and plans for the show and how we can help them achieve ROI at the show. Greg and Matthieu are responsible for sourcing and encouraging new business accounts to participate at BLE. This initially consists of identifying areas of the industry that are experiencing growth (we usually rely on the Annual LIMA report to help with this) and how we can reflect this at BLE. We will attend a number of competitor events, make calls, utilise LinkedIn and undertake general research to introduce us to the companies we would like to see participating at BLE.
How soon does your planning start for the show? How is the ‘to-do’ list broken down?
It is a continuous cycle and we never really stop. We start conversations about the next year’s show around August (sometimes even earlier if there is a major announcement, such as a venue move to discuss) to prepare exhibitors for what we call a ‘prebook’. The prebook provides an opportunity for exhibitors to secure a stand location for the next edition of the show. This allows our exhibitors to focus on holding meetings and generating business whilst at the show rather than being disrupted by us.
We work closely with Anna (Knight, the brand director) to plan sales activities every month and have catch-ups to track our progress.
What is the first thing you do?
After the event, we catch up with all the exhibitors, face-to-face if we can but often over the phone, and gather feedback regarding their experience of the event. We share the feedback with the wider team and together we brainstorm and develop strategies on how we can to improve and deliver better future exhibitions.
How important is it for your team to liaise with the rest of the BLE gang – do you have weekly update meetings, etc?
This is essential, as we get to update the rest of the team on the conversations we’ve been having with the exhibitors, speak with the wider team about the support we can get from them to enhance the show for our exhibitors and figure out how we can improve the experience for them at the show… many innovations we’ve introduced have originated from this happening.
Best bit about your team’s role?
Being in the position to hear first-hand about the latest trends and updates on brand/properties and being able to share this with the team. Due to the consumer nature of brand licensing we can all relate to the brands and products that are being produced. With two members of the team also being fathers, it helps us to relate and share insight into a lot of the pre-school and younger entertainment properties.
Favourite thing about working on BLE?
Being able to work in an industry that is fun and has a real sense of community, we’ve often heard it described as a family. We get to attend a number of industry social events where we network and build relationships with our exhibitors in a consistent yet informal way.
What is your team’s main role once on site?
To make sure all the exhibitors are seen and have everything they need to have a good and productive show. We also make sure they are aware of development and processes to be involved in the following year’s event.
What is the last thing you do before the doors open?
Rallying together, making sure every element of the show is as ready as possible. We remind ourselves that although it will be a busy three days and will come with its challenges, it is a fun show and we should enjoy it.
Sales Team Fun Facts:
- 42 – number of chickens eaten in Nando’s this year (see picture evidence of Matthieu Battini above)
- If a request is made and the response of “one second” is provided we actually mean around 15 minutes
- 17,600 minutes spent on the phone this year
- 43,548 miles travelled attending competitor events and meeting clients this year
- 3 – number of raffle prizes that have been won at various The Light Fund events
- If you had to choose your last meal what would it be? Greg – roast beef with all the trimmings; Josh – Jollof Rice with peppered chicken; Matt – Duck a l’orange