Manage Trade Show Leads to Increase Your Sales
There is a trade show industry myth that that most trade show exhibitors do not have a structured, effective process for lead follow-up and that over 80% of leads are never contacted. But the 2010 Sales Lead Survey conducted by Exhibitor Media Group indicates that this is only half true.
The study found that 98% of exhibitors collect sales leads at trade shows and that almost 70% have a formalized plan or process in place for how those leads are followed up after the show. The same study found that there are still major gaps. Only 47% of companies track leads generated at trade shows and events throughout the sales cycle, and only 28% percent measure and report the number of leads that ultimately convert to sales as part of their exhibit programs’ ROI.
So the actual answer is that the majority (53%) of trade show exhibitors have no idea if anyone follows up on trade show leads.
Not all leads deserve follow-up
The first step in increasing trade show sales productivity is to establish a disciplined and brutal lead qualification process. Not everyone who visits your trade show booth is a good prospect. The most effective process starts with capturing information about each potential prospect at the show, then building on that customer knowledge in the initial contact. The punch line is simple – if you don’t waste time on unqualified prospects, you can focus more time on your best prospects.
Generally, make sure that all lead follow-up occurs in a timely manner. If you identify a hot prospect at the show, make sure to ask when you should call them and set-up for opportunities to contact them right after the show in a way that will set up the sale. For example, ask what else they would like to receive about your company and products, or set up a time for an on-site sales presentation.
For other leads, make sure that your contact them while the excitement of the show is still fresh in their minds. For most businesses, 2 to 4 business days after the show arrange to have follow-up material delivered to their office. Within 5 to 7 days follow-up with a phone call.
Try to follow-up in a timely manner after your next trade show and you will notice an immediate increase in results.
Track, measure and monitor
It is really hard to improve your sales results if you don’t know how your team is doing. If, like the majority of trade show exhibitors, your company does not track sales leads, put a lead tracking process in place. Tracking leads will help you ID best practices, reduce the number of lost sales opportunities and help you focus your trade show message