A funny thing about trade shows and events is that most attendees leave hoping to get a call from someone trying to sell them something. That’s a rare occurrence, like finding a unicorn holding a pot of gold while standing in a field of four-leaf clovers.
And it’s up to you to take full advantage. If you mismanage your leads, you’ll find that unicorn has galloped over to another pasture to spend her gold.
Almost all exhibitors – 98 percent – collect sales leads at trade shows and events. Yet, 72 percent of these leads DO NOT convert into sales. This is where good lead management can help improve your outreach efforts and boost those sales numbers.
Begin your information gathering before the show.
Begin preparing for how your leads will be captured well before the event. Is your lead capture system in place? Will you need to rent a badge scanner for the event? Also, you may want to reach out to potential clients before the event to promote your attendance. Include a questionnaire and make the completed form part of an event raffle or giveaway.
Business cards will always have a place in networking and lead gathering. However, the number of exhibitors who rely only on business cards as a way to gather lead information is down and continues to dwindle every year. That’s because technology is continuing to make lead management simpler and more efficient. You don’t want to be a dinosaur when an asteroid is on the way.
A badge scanner at an event is a must. If you don’t want to purchase one, they can be rented at the show. Scan the badge of every visitor to your exhibit. This information can be integrated into a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Then your event team can add any important notes about the person or group through a tablet or phone.
Too often information is given to event staff that is not passed on to the sales team. Making the transfer of that information as easy as possible is critical to a successful event. Utilizing scanners and software enables your sales team to quickly reach out to the hottest leads while managing the rest.
Involve your sales team – early and often.
Communication is the key to effective lead management. Make sure that the event team and sales connect often. The transfer of leads shouldn’t be a handoff but a collaboration that includes frequent communication. Check on the results of the leads often. Ask if sales needs more from the event team, and motivate sales by monitoring the progress of the leads.
Let your team know what you expect from each event. Do you judge an event by the number of leads generated or converted? If it’s converted, what does that mean to you? Does the sale need to close or is a quote enough? What is your average sales cycle? How many leads would you like to turn into sales during that cycle?
By clearly answering these questions, your event and sales team will understand their role in fulfilling these expectations.
Dedicate a single point of contact.
Lead information is too valuable to mismanage or overlook – and the more people handling this info increases the likelihood of both of those things occurring. Select one person to be responsible for data entry into your CRM database and to distribute leads to the appropriate departments.
Follow up, follow up, follow up!
Every single lead should receive an email or phone call from your team no later than two weeks after the event. Check regularly with your sales team for progress reports. The longer it takes for you to reach out is more time your competitors have to make a sale.
We hope these tips can help you get the most out of each event. For additional help with lead management or anything event related, give The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005.