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? Lead generation at trade shows requires a consistent, systemized approach.
Here are the top 5 tips for integrating new leads from trade shows into your organization:
- Think Sales. 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 their sales hats. At trade shows, marketing employees should become sales managers as well.
- 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.
- Get Other Departments Involved. Collecting and funneling leads from trade shows needs to be a process shared by multiple departments. Make sure the leads can be graded and then parsed from direct to sales, to lead nurturing, as well as a customer service follow up. Remember to always deliver quality, not quantity.
- 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.
- Integrate Accountability, Analyze and Report. Ensure the sales team follows up 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.
What are your biggest challenges for integrating new leads from trade shows?