A statistic is often cited that says, “70 percent of leads are not followed up on after a trade show.” Several people have tried to find the source for this statistic with no luck. However, the anecdotal evidence makes it very clear that the majority of exhibitors are not doing a very good job when it comes to lead follow-up.
I don’t know of any exhibiting companies who say, “we have no intention to follow-up on our leads collected at the show” so why does this happen so often? There are two main reasons. The first is due to the poor quality of leads collected at the show. A sales rep is handed a stack of leads that contain contact information but no clue as to what was discussed at the show. The second reason is there is now follow-up plan in place. Before you know it, days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months before anyone tackles the job of lead follow-up.
How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Simply follow the three steps to success outlined below:
Step 1 - Define a Qualified Lead: There is often a discrepancy in Marketing’s definition of a qualified lead vs. Sale’s definition of a qualified lead. Before the show, come to an agreement as to what information and qualifications must be on your trade show lead forms in order for them to be considered Sales worthy. Only those lead forms that pass the test should be passed on to a sales rep for follow-up. The rest should go into your CRM system for further nurturing.
Step 2 - Create Better Lead Forms: Whether you are renting the show’s lead retrieval system, bringing your own system, or you are using paper forms, you should have a way to customize the information that can be collected when you swipe a badge or take a business card. A name, e-mail address and phone number is not a lead. At the very least you should include a way to score the lead as a marketing lead, sales worthy lead and hot lead that needs immediate attention. Additional information to include is a timeline for buying, interest level, objections, and needs. Also, be sure to have a way your booth staff can include pertinent notes on what was discussed.
Step 3 - Create a Follow-Up Plan: Have a detailed plan for follow-up in place before you leave for the show. You plan should include:
• Who is responsible for following up on leads. (Assign names and break it down by region/product if need be.)
• When each category of lead must be entered into your CRM system and deadlines for when booth visitors should be contacted.
• How you will follow-up on leads (phone, e-mail, appointment) and how the information requested will be sent out.
• What follow-up will take place (thank you notes or emails, pricing sheets, catalogs, brochures).
• Where follow-up will take place. Studies show taking this extra step ensures you will meet your goals. (Example: Tom Smith to send thank-you notes from hotel room each day after the show floor closes.)
Be sure to review all leads collected at the end of each day or when the exhibit hall closes for the day. This way you can catch any problems and fix them before the start of the next day.
By ensuring each lead that is passed on to sales for follow-up is qualified, contains all the information they need to make a call, and a clearly defined plan is in place, you’ll be one of the few companies at the show following through with booth visitors in a timely manner. That alone will put you far ahead of your competition and will create a lasting positive impression.
Data Connect’s Show Expert Mobile lead system allows exhibitors to capture and process leads right from a mobile phone or tablet. With this system you can capture booth visitor data from their badges or business cards, alert booth staff they are talking to VIP clients, and manage all your pre and post-event emails. You can easily score your leads and include surveys to better qualify the leads you collect. No matter what CRM system you are using, Show Expert Mobile makes it easy to upload the leads you’ve collected.
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