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3 Tips for an Effective Trade Show Follow-Up Plan


With lead generation being a top priority for trade show marketers, that makes lead follow-ups equally as important. However, many studies report that numerous trade show marketers have no follow-up plan succeeding their trade shows. Without a solid follow-up system in place, a lead that took so much effort to obtain becomes nearly pointless. With this recent break in face-to-face events, we could all brush up on our lead follow-up techniques. Whether your method simply needs more structure, or if you need to start following up altogether, getting a system in place should be a top priority to see results at your next trade show!

Here are 3 tips on creating a follow-up plan that provides greater results:

1. Start with an in-depth lead capturing system. This could seem like we are slightly backtracking from the topic of ‘following up after a trade show,’ but it is such an important piece of the puzzle that will set you up for success in your lead follow-ups! Having a great lead-scoring process will help your team prioritize the hot leads while they are still hot and let marketing automation take care of the other not-so-qualified leads for the time being. Rather than giving a sales rep numerous amounts of leads that they have to sift through themselves and determine which are more qualified, they can save time by jumping to the most qualified leads immediately!

It’s estimated that only 34 percent of trade show marketers have a formal lead-ranking process. These processes are designed to identify the potential value of every single lead obtained. One great way to gauge a lead is by the conversation they have with your staffer. Training your booth staff to get a good read on the attendees they speak to (whether it is formal vs informal, in-depth vs surface-level, what types of questions the attendee is asking, etc.) will help them to qualify the lead on their own. This means asking the right questions to get a good grip on their level of interest. Once they have gathered their contact information through a badge scan or entering their info manually into a tablet, staffers should be trained to take a few minutes to enter notes and comments from the conversation directly into the notes section of the clients’ lead scoring sheet. Doing this step right away will ensure the conversation they had is fresh in their mind and will be the most accurate to pass on to your sales reps.

A few other options for qualifying leads on the fly are offering forms for them to fill out as well as other software qualifying systems.

2. Follow up in a very timely manner. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when following up with the leads you worked so hard to obtain at your trade show is being slow to engage after the event. With prospects meeting with numerous businesses in your industry who have great offerings as well, there is no time to waste when it comes to getting in touch with them. If your event is multiple days long, you will lose several days if you wait until the event is done and everyone has traveled home. Instead, create and implement a system that lets you reach out to a prospect the night of your encounter. This could put you miles ahead of your competition.

As we mentioned earlier, this is where having your leads ranked can come in handy. Knowing how qualified a lead is can give you a good idea of what information to share, verbiage to use, and how to contact them. Some exhibitors create multiple email templates in advance of their show so that they are ready to send once their leads’ information enters the system. Even if you do plan on putting sales reps on a call as soon as possible, an email will keep your business top of mind until a phone call can be made.

3. Remember that silence from a prospect is not a definite no. Far too often, we come to the conclusion that no response after our initial outreach is an automatic ‘no.’ It’s important to remember that this might not be the case no matter how pointless it may feel to keep reaching out!

While many companies can take around two to six efforts for contact to be made with them, some can take more time. And even if it’s clear that no response is coming from your so-called ‘lead,’ it may just not be the right time for them. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean that it will never be the right time! That’s why it’s important to be persistent in continuing your efforts of nurturing them as though they are still a soft lead.

Just remember to continue your strategy in a non-overbearing way. Sending subtle reminders just to let them know you are still thinking of them will keep your business top of mind. Give them quality content that they can find useful such as resources to further their knowledge of your business’s offerings or general information on industry tips or trends. Even if you get no response 20 times, you never know if the 21st try will get you that response and a new business relationship and make all of your efforts worth it after all!