There must be black holes in the floors of most trade shows because that’s where a lot of your new leads seem to end up. Consider the fact that “non-fulfillment” by exhibitors is one of the top complaints by trade show attendees who actually ask for more information. Companies under the gun to show a return for their investments are now recognizing that every time new leads fall through the cracks it means lost revenue. So how do you close the loop on new leads? Trade show lead generation requires a consistent, systematized approach.
Here are the top 5 tips for integrating new leads from trade shows into your organization:
1. Think Sales and Advertise!!
Let everyone know you’ll be there well in advance. Promote that you’re at the event by using the event’s hashtags. Stop focusing on the collection of leads and refocus on distribution and follow-up. Create a system that functions beyond the show floor collection process to work within the parameters of your company’s established sales process. Although most companies’ trade shows fall under marketing, succeeding in terms of new leads requires event managers to put on and become sales managers.
2. Systematize the Process.
Where will the data go after the show and who will be responsible for it? Having all the details defined-from data collection, through fulfillment, to follow-up and tracking-ensures the ball won’t get dropped somewhere down the line. Work with the lead retrieval supplier at each show to customize their system for yours. You should have their data entry pre-laid out the way you need it entered into your own funnel.
3. Respond Quickly.
Strike while the iron is hot by responding to the leads immediately. If they ask us to call, we call. If they ask for information, we send it. You can always expedite response by using your lead system to generate emails to prospects. Try to have each message include links to the specific information that the individual requested.
4. Integrate Accountability, Analyze and Report.
Ensure the sales team promptly responds by placing the follow-up under the watch of sales management through your CRM or other online tools. Once you have the data, use it to calculate ROI for your trade shows and to assess which shows are the most successful.
5. Take advantage of opportunities outside of the show.
Make every second count, contacts are not always made in the exhibition hall, some are made outside of show hours. Coffee line chats and hallways walks are a great way to meet new prospects! From the entry-level employee to the investor – every member of the company is worth engaging.
What are your biggest challenges for integrating new leads from trade shows?
Let's talk and see how we can help your business grow!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2011 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.