November 6, 2015 | Clare Farthing
There’s an interesting figure that states around 80% of leads taken from a trade show are never followed up? This often quoted statistic was created by CEIR (Centre for Exhibition Industry Research) and still holds true today. Lead generation is fundamental in delivering that all important return on investment back to your business. The longer you leave the following up the process, the more you’ll struggle to convert leads into sales. Follow up on leads quickly and efficiently, while you’re fresh in peoples’ minds and before your competitors!
Here are our top tips for prioritising leads from exhibitions:
As with any exhibition, as soon as it’s over you need to follow-up leads as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence as visitors will soon forget you, your products and services if you do not re-connect in a timely fashion. In order to save time, draft-up a thank you email, pre-show and send to those people who visited your stand saying that you’ll be in touch within the next few days. This will save you time and energy, if you’ve taken pictures of your stand or your team, you could even include these images within the email with a suitable subject line.
Send out any collateral or information to those who have asked for it within three working days, and telephone your hottest leads the next working day. Finally, make sure that your sales team have diarised some dedicated time post-show to follow up on leads.
It’s always wise to plan your data capture process well in advance of an exhibition and ask yourself what kind of data you wish to collect. Remember you need qualified leads, not a pile of names and addresses that cannot be qualified.
Paper lead forms still have a part to play in this process, as do business cards, but how often have you returned from a show and had to spend days manually inputting this information into your CRM system ready for follow up?.
Barcode scanners hired from an organiser can offer an easy and immediate way to gather lead contact data, but only hold limited pre-loaded information. An alternative is an event app that can be customised for unique business needs and includes additional fields for enhanced data capture.
If you are just gathering leads to send out information about a new product, then a simple email address may suffice. However, if you need more than that to qualify whether it’s worth your time following up on a lead, and effort nurturing a lead post-show, you may need more specific information at capture stage. Think about including the following information:
All of this information will help your sales team prioritise their own follow-up, have more relevant conversations when they do and enhance prospect data for potential lead nurturing if they are not yet sales ready.
To speed up the following up process and filter others into a lead nurturing programme, make sure that you have included tick boxes on your paper or electronic lead capturing forms that say whether your lead is Priority 1 (urgent follow-up) 2 (warm leads) or 3 (people who are not ready to convert).
Priority 1 – these leads are those people who have a definite need for your product/service within a defined timescale and so, should be contacted as soon as possible, probably within a day or two after the show. Make sure your sales team are immediately passed their leads and that they are clearly labelled in order of priority.
Priority 2 – a lead has a need for your products or services, but not in the near future. They will need following up within a couple of weeks and then nurtured until they are ready to purchase.
Priority 3 – a lead perhaps doesn’t have the need or budget yet, but should be contacted anyway should there could be an opportunity in the future. (Once again these leads should be nurtured).
Once you have given the leads to the correct sales person, it’s very important to also monitor and track your leads. This will allow you to review the success of the event by measuring conversion from opportunity to final sale.