5 Steps to Trade Show Success – After the Show by Jae-ann Rock

Posted on May 17, 2018 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Training and HR

You’ve attended a trade show (maybe ATD last week?), met a number of prospects and now it’s time to follow up.

  • So, how can you maximize your trade show ROI?
  • How soon should you follow up?
  • What follow-up approach should you use?

Below are five tips to help you get the most out of every qualified conference lead.

5 Steps to Trade Show Success – After the Show

  1. Sort and Qualify All Trade Show Leads.  Immediately categorize your show leads into hot, warm and cold categories. Designate each lead as A, B, or C. Create your own “rules” to assign each lead quality. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
    • A Leads: You had a conversation with them at the show and they were interested in your offering.  Sort out these “hot” leads from the batch, and follow up within three business days with a personal phone call, followed by a custom email referencing your conversation regarding their needs/interests. Ensure receipt of your emailed information, and answer any questions they have. Learn more about their potential needs or interests. Invite them to join an upcoming webinar or demo call.
    • B Leads: These are contacts with whom you had a conversation, but there is no immediate need. They are in a position of authority or influence within their organization and there is a possibility of a future need. Follow up with a standard “intro” email within 3-5 business days after the show.  Add a custom note if possible, referencing your conversation from the show. Provide a link for them to easily request more information and/or schedule a demo call. Follow up on any responses via phone within 24 hours.  Add them to your email marketing list, and schedule them for a monthly nurture call or email to provide value and keep a pulse on their changing needs.
    • C Leads: For all other conference leads, research the company and/or the contact name you received.  Determine if they could be a real prospect for your company or if they are a “junk” lead. (Note: if you find 15% or more are unqualified leads, call Mentor Tech Group for a high-quality, targeted database of corporate training and HR decision-makers.  We have the detailed decision-maker contact information you need to market and grow your business efficiently.)
  1. Follow Up in a Timely Fashion. Don’t wait weeks to follow up with trade show prospects. Time is of the essence!  Email and call to follow up in a timely fashion. Time your follow up based on lead quality (see #1 above). “Circle the wagons tightly” around the warmest leads. Do not miss an opportunity to help them address a present need! Add all qualified leads to your email marketing list and long-term nurture campaigns as well.
  1. Multiple, value-added outreaches are best.  Create a multi-pronged conference follow-up plan that includes a schedule of phone, email, and social media outreach to make a lasting impression.  Have an arsenal of value-added content ready to leverage for post-show follow up such as tips, best practices, or details on current topics of interest related to your prospect’s interest, business, or industry. Examples may include:
    • Provide them with links to informative articles.
    • Email a white paper to help prospects navigate a common industry challenge.
    • Invite them to attend an upcoming webinar on a “hot topic” of interest.
  2. Nurture, Foster, and Persist!
    • Nurture the leads. Keep this in mind: Only a small percentage of leads are ready to buy at any given time.  This is why developing a lead nurturing campaign is imperative! Nurture and engage leads using content including white papers, webinars, helpful tips and ideas, until each prospect is ready to buy.
    • Become a trusted adviser. Don’t try to “sell” your conference prospects. Rather, become a source of information, a reference point for them to gain insight into how to resolve certain business challenges they’re facing. Gain and share feedback from the industry to better understand how you can help meet the needs of prospect in your space. Act as their business consultant, offering something of value at every touch.
    • Foster Relationship Building.  People buy from people they like, so it is important to reach out and personally connect with each prospect directly via phone, LinkedIn, and email.  Call the warmest leads within a week after the show, and then stay in touch periodically with every lead as determined by their “need” and lead quality score. Remember that nothing replaces a phone call!
    • Be Politely Persistent. Don’t give up on qualified leads. Nurturing leads to the point of a sale can take months or even years. So, be sure not to discard leads due to lack of response. Continue to remain top-of-mind via a newsletter or company blog. Act as their trusted consultant. Invite them to attend online events, “like” your company’s LinkedIn page, or connect via LinkedIn.
  3. Track Results & Measure ROI
    • Results: Calculate the number of qualified leads from the show and track each over time, reporting on the following at specific intervals:
      • # of appointment seen within 3 months after the event
      • # of new appointments booked for the future
      • # of proposals written within 6 months and approximate dollar value
      • # actual signed contracts within 1 year and approximate dollar value
    • ROI:
      • Track the cost-per-lead immediately after the show and over time at certain intervals.
      • Compare the ROI success of all trade shows.
      • Compare the ROI success of trade shows with other lead sources.
      • Use this information to inform future marketing decisions.

In summary, don’t wait for your prospects to come to YOU after a show!

Exhibiting at trade shows can be an incredibly effective promotional tool – if done right. Part of the key lies in how you determine qualified and unqualified leads, and what your plans are for following up after the show. By implementing the steps outlined here, you can improve your overall trade show ROI.

  • Have a plan ready to proactively reach out right after the show, providing value at every touch.
  • Keep your company top-of-mind with prospects over time.
  • Become a trusted business adviser, so that your prospects will think of YOU FIRST when they are ready to buy.

Be sure you are investing your time and energy only in prospects who are true decision-makersDon’t waste your efforts with non-decision makers.

As a matter of fact, you may want to consider adding another cost-effective way to reach the decision–makers you seek.  Mentor Tech Group specializes in marketing to the Training Industry.  We understand your sales and marketing needs and our custom-built directory of TRAINING & HR decision-makers is just the thing to boost your sales and get your pipeline working more efficiently.

Remember, Mentor Tech Group has done all the hard work for you:

To arrange a demo to view the MTG database, please contact Mentor Tech Group today at: (651) 457-8600, Ext. 1.

Happy Selling!!

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