David Lawton, EVP of Sales at Convention Data Services has over 20 years of experience in the tradeshow industry with 6 of those years as an active exhibitor at numerous shows each year. His diverse background also includes experience in sales, customer support, design and product development. ConventionDataServices.com.
Exhibitor Education + a Lead Management Plan = Success!
Your booth space is reserved. It’s in a great location on the show floor and has the potential for maximum exposure and foot traffic. Now is the time to create your lead management plan to drive traffic to your booth.
A solid plan for your next event starts well before the first badge is scanned in your booth. Capturing the lead
is only 10% of the equation. By taking advantage of educational and marketing opportunities, you are ensuring a successful event.
The business-to-business exhibition is the marketing channel of choice among brand marketers who include this channel in their marketing mix and captures over 40 percent of the companies’ total marketing dollars. (Source: CEIR Report: The Marketing Spend Decision)
1. Set Lead Goals
· Determine your targeted number of booth visitors and define your objectives. Are you going for a large and varied number of leads or a targeted type of lead?
· Determine who your “hot” prospects are and communicate to your booth staff an action plan around how to handle them when they visit your booth.
· Calculate your event ROI—make sure to revisit your calculations after the event to assist with planning your next exhibit goals.
· Challenge your sales reps to a sales competition to see who can capture the most sales leads or who can best qualify the most attendees through answering sales qualifiers, survey questions and entering notes.
The top three highest ranked exhibiting goals for exhibitors: reach/identify new customers and sales leads, build product and company awareness and meet existing customers.
(Source: CEIR Report: The Marketing Spend Decision)
2. Participate in Pre-Event Education
· One-on-one demos are a best practice for lead retrieval equipment training. Also take advantage of onsite training in your booth. These services ensure that your entire booth staff is ready to go when the show opens, allowing you to get the most from your exhibiting and lead retrieval experience.
· Official vendor webinars provide a valuable array of information and tips on pre-event marketing opportunities that will drive visitors to your booth such as attendee lists, exhibitor emails, VIP emails, sponsorships, badge inserts and booth giveaways that you can advertise to generate leads.
· Exhibitor advisory groups provide an opportunity to speak with other exhibitors, discuss best practices, learn about new innovations and share successful strategies.
3. Create Pre-Event Marketing Campaigns
· Email blasts: work with your lead retrieval provider to create customized blasts to send to prospects and registered attendees. Prominently feature an invitation to visit your booth and include giveaways or events you are sponsoring. Get your company’s name and booth on attendees “to visit” list before they get onsite.
· Exhibitor Evites: invite top prospects and existing clients to the event with free or discounted rates to the exhibit hall and track the responses and acceptances from your VIP list.
· Seek out speaking opportunities to not only educate the audience on new ideas or best practices, but to also promote your own products or services.
4. Customize and Maximize Your Lead Capture
· Create custom sales qualifiers to capture the demographics of the attendees who visit your booth.
· Set up survey questions with preloaded answers to identify specific product interest, purchasing level and post-show actions.
· Use the open notes field to log specific conversation highlights and other pertinent information for follow-up. Clear, detailed notes will arm your sales team with the information necessary to close the deal.
· Take pictures of specific products that leads are interested in and save/attach them directly to the lead.
· Each lead is unique. Assign the appropriate sales person to contact each lead to discuss specific needs.
5. Use Social Media to Advertise Your Company’s Event Participation
· Send out a press release through an industry publication or local newspaper to announce your participation in the event and any new products you are introducing at the event.
· Tweet or post photos or videos to Facebook featuring a new product you are introducing at the event. Feature your executives and booth staff so attendees can recognize them on the show floor.
· During the event create excitement about your booth and product offerings by tweeting, blogging or creating a Facebook post about real-time events happening in your booth such as celebrity or VIP visitors.
· Begin your lead follow-up immediately on the show floor. Access your leads during the show to send out follow-up emails with appointment requests and product/service information.
· Customize and target your follow-up on qualifiers, surveys and notes collected on the show floor for each lead. Don’t just send a generic letter and catalog.
· Set up and schedule a “thank you” email blast through your lead retrieval provider. It’s important to send out an immediate first touch communication and thank you to your leads as well as a daily email to everyone who visited your booth, thanking them for their time and for their interest in your company’s products and services.
· Distribute the leads to your sales team and have them follow up with outbound phone calls ASAP.
· Access your leads reports both during the show and post-show. The reports provide demographic summaries, determine peak lead capture times and locations and will also assist with staffing needs for future events.