We believe most have the best intentions when they sign up as exhibitors to improve their business, but despite the efforts that go into a trade show the process is often mismanaged.

Not everyone likes to dance. There are a bunch of us who like the idea but feel goofy and worry too much about what others think. Now, I can almost hear you saying.

“What the hell does this have to do with trade shows?”  Hear me out.

Getting leads at a trade show can kinda-sorta be likened to a dance. You have two people playing cat and mouse. The salesperson is the cat who’s often trying to scan anything that moves. The mouse (or prey) are the attendees who do their best to avoid eye contact. As each step outside of their comfort zone, it can be nerve-racking for both sides.

While I may not be able to solve the awkwardness issue in this post, I WILL write about the 3 lead tracking issues that are highly damaging to those attending trade shows.

The result = is a wasted lead.

Did you know that around 80% of leads captured at a show are not followed up properly?

Why are so few being followed up?
How on earth is that even possible when they work so hard to get them in the first place?
What happens after leads are distributed to the sales team?

Issue 1 – No value placed on exhibit leads

Unfortunately, most salespeople don’t see the value of a trade show lead being any greater than a cold call. They don’t see how their efforts contribute because there is no structured strategy around obtaining leads or guidance around how it can potentially impact the business’s bottom line.

If they aren’t getting traction or tracking their progress they become disheartened and when the show is over and people pack away their collateral along with their fake smiles, they also collapse in a heap, hating the whole ordeal. They may have had a rough experience so this group may revel in not needing to be polite anymore (and finally getting to sit down for more than 5 mins).

Issue 2 – The busy salesperson

The last thing they really feel like doing is entering leads into a database. It’s wine o’clock. They are busy shaking hands and networking, telling themselves that relationship-building is their core focus. When they finally return to their desks, ready to tackle any follow-ups they have a gazillion emails to sort through. Then they catch up on office goss they missed and just when they might get around to following up leads, their normal office activities resume…

These people are not necessarily bad to have on the stand. They are just lacking structure.

Issue 3 – Life goes on

The reality is that they only get around to following up on 20% of leads.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of poor follow-up? If you actually WANT to be followed up it’s incredibly damaging to the business in question. (No amount of amazing conversations at the show are going to make up for the fact that you don’t do what you say you will.)

How do we solve these issues?

Part of the solution is training your team and making people accountable. The other (very important part!) is having an exhibit strategy that everyone is on board with. A robust one (like what we offer our clients) will cover everything from messaging and engagement strategies to the flow of the stand and lead management.

When the team sees the big picture and knows why you’re making certain choices, they are able to take ownership of their role and become real team players.

Lead management solutions are often key to orchestrating the whole exhibition performance because they can help with accountability as well as tracking results. There are many different kinds of lead-tracking solutions available out there, but finding the right one can make all the difference.

The sales team will be happy because they’re getting deals across the line by grabbing the low-hanging fruit and the customer is happy because they were contacted in a timely manner and their interaction with you was an easy, no-fuss experience.

The silver lining is that you can also track KPIs easily to determine the true success of the show – Keeping the boss happy too!

By integrating a lead-tracking solution into your exhibition stand, all the heavy lifting can be done in the background. After the initial entry, you don’t need to manually enter any information removing any double handling and allowing you to act in a more timely manner.

Finally, setting up your post-show strategy ahead of time will guarantee that regardless of what life/business throws your way upon your return to HQ, you know your leads are being appropriately followed up.

We’re here to help!

Get in touch if you would like to help develop a winning strategy for your next exhibition that is guaranteed to leave no stone unturned.