5 Tips for Tradeshow Lead Management

October 4, 2015

Your marketing and logistics prior to the show were on the dot, leading to a successful tradeshow.

Your displays were attractive with concise messaging and your team turned pitching into an art form, helping you gain some leads, maybe even more leads than you were expecting.

Now what? According to a study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 80 percent of leads generated on the trade show floor go unfulfilled. 

Don’t let your leads fizzle into one-time handshakes. Turn introductions into active leads; lead management is after all the final and most important stage of your trade show marketing. Here are some tips to make your lead management count.

#1 Prepare for Lead Fulfillment

In4med Corp. reported that 98% of exhibitors collect sales leads at trade shows, but less than 70% have any formalized plan or process in place for how those leads are followed up after the show. Having a lead fulfillment and management plan prepared before your show starts is a great way to stay on top of who you met and remember each second of your conversation. As soon as you make a connection or gain a lead, track it in a shared document between your team—include information like name, company, conversation notes and what you promised to follow up about.

TIP: Write down the promises you make to attendees so you can personalize your follow-up.

Speaking of following up, don’t plan on sending your typical glossy brochures and packets after the fact. Consider yourself that package when you spoke to your lead face-to-face; you also should have all the brochures you would’ve sent at your booth anyway. Make note of the questions he or she asks and follow-up with answers to these specific questions—there is importance in individualized lead fulfillment. It can help tailor your follow-up letter or email with the price quote for their specific request instead of giving them a suite of collateral about all of your products and services (you’re past that).

#2 Opt for Electronic Lead Retrieval System

Business cards are merely part of pleasantries these days. Instead of relying on just business cards from trade show booth visitors, have a lead card or electronic lead retrieval system so you have enough space to record details on the interested party’s needs and wants. Often, these systems will find your lead’s profile on LinkedIn and can tie even more information together to make your connection that much stronger and more personal.

#3 Set Expectations

Sales and marketing need to work together to help set expectations for the lead. To know what expectations to set, you need to work backwards by answering these questions:

·         How will sales associates follow-up with leads after the show?

·         Will email or phone be the primary mode of contact?

·         How long after the show will associates follow-up with your lead?

Answer these questions to help your new contact understand how and when a team member will get in touch with them. This creates a set of expectations that you can use to hold sales accountable.

#4 Appoint a Lead Assistant

Leads are an important part of growing your business after attending a tradeshow, so it’s important to keep track of them. Although you may be using a shared document or software to do so, it’s also important to take as many notes about your interactions with attendees as possible. Appoint one person at your booth as a lead assistant to note the types of interactions, things said and promises made so nothing goes unheard of—these notes can then be processed into your software or document for a thorough database.

#5 Marketing + Lead Management = Sales

Although following up three to five days after a tradeshow is your suggested timeframe, it means nothing without the right marketing in place, no matter how much time you spend in tracking your leads. The 2010 Sales Lead Survey from ExhibitorOnline reported that, “42% of respondents indicate that marketing, as opposed to sales, is responsible for the initial post-show follow-up.” Marketing here includes personal e-mails, post-show mailers/literature, personal phone calls, automated emails and of course on-site marketing like your tradeshow displays, pop-up displays and booth accessories.

Good lead management starts with proper preparation of your booth and booth staffers with the right marketing and logistics in place. What happens after the show is just as important as preparing for the show. The key to post-tradeshow success is noting the importance of the critical step to sales: tradeshow lead management.  

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