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Most people don’t like to dance.

Unless you’re a dancer (or spend hours imitating Beyonce), you probably feel goofy and worry too much about what others think.

Now, I can almost hear your mind saying…”Jess, what the hell does this have to do with leads at a trade show?”

Well, getting leads at a trade show can kinda-sorta be likened to a dance…

… You have two people playing cat and mouse.

A sales person who’s often trying to scan anyone that moves and their prey who do their best to avoid eye contact. (It can be nerve racking for both sides!)

In this post I’m not going to solve the awkwardness issue (I’ll save that for another time) but I WILL write about the lead tracking issue.

I find it comical (and a tad frustrating) to see salespeople work so hard on their exhibits only to mismanage the process and waste a good lead that might actually buy something from them.

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

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?

And why are so few being followed up?

Issue 1

Unfortunately, most sales people don’t see value of a trade show lead being any greater than a cold call…

Let’s face it, when the show is over and people pack away their collateral along with their fake smiles, they also collapse in a heap.

They revel in not needing to be polite (and finally getting to sit down for more than 5 mins).

Issue 2

The last thing they really feel like doing is entering leads into a database. It’s wine o’clock.

When they finally return to their desks, ready to tackle any follow ups they have a million 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…

Issue 3

The reality is that they only get around to following up 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 getting people accountable.

There are many different kinds of lead tracking solutions available out there, but finding the right one can make a all the difference and help with accountability after the show.

The sales team are happy because they’re getting deals across the line by grabbing the low hanging fruit.

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 KPI’s easier 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. (And if you’re the sort to outsource that, have you ever tried to decipher someone else’s handwriting? It takes ages).

Before picking your software

Most of the systems available have ways to qualify leads as you enter them. If you are offered something that just takes names and numbers without any means to qualify them, don’t bother.

You want the sales team to be able to easily target the hot leads who are ready to act immediately.

Calling those people first takes the pressure off the team a little and gives them some early wins.

Then decide how you want to use it the system.

Will you need internet? Do you want to send info out straight away? (My advice is to always find a system that has the ability to run offline in case internet is patchy)

  • How would you like to capture leads from the show – Scan badges, business cards, manual entry by staff or client?
  • How will you qualify visitors?
  • What format would you like to use the system in? iPad, phone or larger multi-touch?
  • Do you need to present anything? 1-on-1 or mirror onto a screen?
  • Do you want to send out your e-literature – At the show or soon after? (Internet)
  • Track statistics – Do you need a full reporting system or are you OK with a spreadsheet?
  • Do you want an API link sending data straight to your CRM or are you OK exporting a CSV File?
  • Is it for the show only or will you use it beyond the event

Tools like this are something I envisage the whole sales team using in the field. They look like pro’s, save trees and can enter information wherever they are without having to double handle back at the office. Who doesn’t want less admin?

In an effort to streamline the whole exhibition experience this type of technology should be integrated into your exhibition stand. It needs to compliment how you already use the space and interact with your team.

Get in touch if you would like help systemising how you capture leads at your next exhibition.