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The Ultimate Follow-Up Checklist for Trade Show Managers

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The Ultimate Follow-Up Checklist for Trade Show Managers

According to Salesforce, the world’s most popular customer relationship management software, a shocking 80 percent of exhibitors don’t follow up with leads after a trade show. In one of their recent studies, if a salesperson reached out at all, it often took 50 days. It’s likely that after that much time has passed, the lead has forgotten your name, if not lost interest in your brand altogether.

If your salespeople aren’t communicating with leads after the show, not only are they losing opportunities and potential revenue, but the time and money the company invested in being at the tradeshow is wasted. For you as the trade show manager, it is important your sales colleagues understand you are responsible for the overall success of your program, not just the trade show booth design.

To ensure your hard work and event planning comes full circle, read through this checklist!

Create a Follow-Up Campaign Ahead of Time

Returning from a trade show, you’re going to be exhausted but eager to prove trade show ROI. To do so, you need to have a plan in place for how leads will be contacted. At the very least, send out an email to all attendees who stopped by your booth thanking them for their time. At best, your sales reps are informed of the post-show strategy you’ve put in place and send personalized emails.

It’s important to remember that your leads are not unique to your company; they stopped by other exhibits at the show. In your communication, jog their memory with a picture of your exhibit or the presentation they may have seen in your booth.

Every good marketing team should have an email service provider in place, like MailChimp or Pardot. It’s even more convenient and effective if it integrates with your company’s CRM. Here are some email ideas to get you started:

  • Send a custom email campaign to attendees based on products they demoed or services they inquired about. Tailored content requires a sophisticated lead capturing system, so plan accordingly.
  • Create templated email copy for your salespeople to send to leads.
  • Send out event-specific incentives since they visited your exhibit, like a limited-time free trial or complimentary demo at a convenient location of their choosing.

Organize Your Leads Based on Readiness

Before you can understand your company’s different levels of prospect readiness, you need to have clear communication about what an ideal, or “quality,” lead looks like. Should they have a company size minimum? An annual revenue range that is ideal? Should they be in a specific industry? Without this clarity, some reps may label leads as “hot” that others would label as “cold.” Or worse, they may neglect to follow up with the perfect lead due to a miscommunication. Consistency across the company is critical to capturing accurate information.

At some shows, lead information is captured when you scan their badge and is automatically imported into a portal. It is up to the exhibiting company to update leads in their system for hot, warm and cold statuses.

Your follow-up communication will differ based on how you categorize leads. For example, hot leads need immediate outreach from your sales team, while warm and cold leads can be put in an email nurture sequence until they’re ready to make a decision.

Scrub Your Data

Your post-show follow-up is only as good as your list. A messy, disorganized old list will only lead to lost time and potentially, lost opportunities. Once you return, or during the show if possible, put a system in place to tidy up your data. Give yourself enough time to import mass amounts of information into your CRM or database.

You’ll want to do the following:

  • Delete duplicate entries
  • Identify existing customers
  • Fill in gaps of information
  • Correct typos if known, especially in email addresses
  • Standardize fields

If this is too manual or your list is too expansive, consider purchasing a data cleansing tool to make it faster and more accurate.

Host a Recap Session

To ensure everyone is well informed after the event, hold a meeting that includes your marketing team and sales leaders. You should cover key takeaways from a marketing perspective, and give sales reps the opportunity to do the same.

This is also a good time to train your reps for how to speak to leads. This shouldn’t feel like a patronizing session, but rather a time to use the same message about your brand across the company.

In the same light of continuity, walk through your CRM or database so all reps are using and understanding it the same way. Should they take notes in it? If so, where? How often? How do they change the status of a lead from cold to hot? All of these points should be covered so everyone is on the same page.

These are just a few ideas to help you and your sales reps make the most of your trade show leads. We know that while you’re figuring out your post-show strategy before the event, you’ll also be in design mode for your exhibit. Reach out to us today to learn about custom-designed exhibits and our dedicated Results team.