How many time have you told yourself that the tradeshow you just finished up “wasn’t worth my time and money”? And then you likely blamed it on the low attendance, the lousy stand position you got, the limited budget, the weather, or anything!
Hey – maybe you are getting great results from your exhibiting and that’s top news. Congratulations!
But for those that aren’t… what we’ve discovered that as long as we got the right show to begin with there is only one reason I wont get the results I expect or want from exhibiting….
We didn’t understand what we were doing! When I don’t understand something I won’t want to or feel like doing it or much less expect results from it!
Our aim this year is to get you excited, trained and understanding the thoughts, concepts, and strategies that will give you 10X results in your exhibiting journey.
Converting event leads to sales
The biggest area for improvement in exhibiting is lead capturing. There are 3 steps below that will help you get a better understanding of how it works and the best practices you need to follow;
Step 1: Gather and segment your leads
The first action item on your list should be your lead gathering and segmentation plan – which is pretty much as it sounds – a plan to gather and segment your leads at the event.
There are many ways to collect leads including pen and paper right through to electronic scanning. We are working on some solutions ourselves in this area that we will be offering customers and will release more on that shortly.
The basics of it is that you need to work out before the show how you are collecting data, what data to collect and how to segment the leads you do get.
Here is a simple example of how you can segment and name your lead lists.
A – Large order, ready to buy
B – Small ready to buy OR Large order, longer time frame
C – Small order, longer timeframe
D – Send literature or add name to database
E – ‘Other’, e.g. media, salesmen…
However you choose to define it, lead segmentation and quality is a key metric for all of your exhibition efforts.
Everyone will segment leads differently, but you’ll get the best results if you segment according to the lead’s buyer profile and buying readiness. And of course, it’s a great idea to include customers as a stage in your buyer readiness too, to avoid any confusion (or embarrassment) at the follow-up stage.
Much of how you do this depends on how segmented your marketing communications are already, for example, you may want to take this a step further and segment into buyer persona groups as well. You need to record all the information that you require to make relevant and personalised follow-ups after the event.
Step 2: Re-engage with your new leads quickly and cleverly
If there is one thing we know about event follow-ups, it is that you should do it quickly. At a busy event, the prospect has likely engaged with many different vendors.
So as soon as you can get your hands on your leads and have them segmented into their lead types, you should reach out to them again. There are a few things you can do to speed up the process and increase your success rate.
Did you know?
“35 – 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.”
Create a relevant offer in advance of the event
So what kind of offer should it be? This depends pretty much on who you’re speaking to. Your email follow-ups should serve a specific purpose: to show the prospect you have something that is valuable and relevant to them. This is where your segmentation work comes in.
Knowing who you’re speaking to, how engaged they are, and what buying stage they’re at will help you to craft an offer that is of most value.
At a time when prospects will be receiving a raft of template offers that are irrelevant to them, a strong, and personalised offer will help you stand out from the crowd.
The trick here is to pre-plan, draft and approve all of your email offers for each segmented market. Use your planning time before the event to really think about what each group will value, how they’d like to be addressed and what you could offer to help them right now.
And don’t forget to use all the usual tips and tricks of best-practice email marketing.
Dont depend on one source of follow-up
Never depend on one single source of following up leads. Use the power of the phone!
Call your lead the day you send your email – “Did you receive it? Great – anything I can do to help you now? No problems, you got all the information you need?”
A quick call like this can lift your chances of securing an order by 10 times! If you aren’t comfortable with calling the same day leaf it till the next day.
Whatever you choose – make sure you are using more than one line of communication.
Step 3: Nurture your leads
If you’ve arrived at this point, you’re in a great spot. You’ve been strategic about planning your lead collection and segmentation, and you’ve already sent out some relevant, personalised emails to all leads in your database and called them. Impressive.
Well, some of your leads might be ready to go to a sales meeting, quote or a demo with you. But there will be many more who are not quite there yet. Yet. So what do you do with these leads? You know that calling a non sales-ready lead stands a bigger chance of bugging them than moving them along. So why not instead create a program using content, that gives them the appropriate time and information they need to make a buying decision?
Did you know?
“50% of leads who are qualified to buy are not ready to purchase immediately”
Lead nurturing is a systemised marketing technique. It is, at its core, an automated series of emails that you can send to an early-stage lead to help move them further along the buyer journey and pre-qualify them for sales. It is all about sending timely and relevant content that helps you build relationships with these prospects over time.
There are many avenues for lead nurturing that we wont go into here although the bottom line is that you need to use it.
Even a basic drip email campaign will be better than a single e-blast.
Remember to give your leads relevant timely and useful data and not just bombard them with sales deals or specials!
Phonecalls can also play a big part in this stage. Call them once a month or even schedule a face to face visit if you know they are valuable enough to warrant this.
Events are such a great way of getting an initial face-to-face interaction with the right people and coming across sales-ready leads. But in many cases, they introduce you to prospects who are just at the beginning of their decision making process and their relationship with you.
Don’t give them away to competitors. Take a segmented, personalised and nurturing approach to lead management after your event to improve your ROI, and pip your competitors to the post.