5 Reasons Trade Show Leads Don’t Pan Out by Aleshia Humphries

Posted on Feb 2, 2020 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Principles of Success, Training and HR

I love getting back to the office after a trade show!   Sure, there’s a lot of work to catch up on when you’ve been out of the office for a few days.

But if you planned ahead, you’ve allotted yourself some time to follow up on the trade show leads, especially the HOT ones.   You know the ones I’m talking about… “We have an immediate need,” “This is something we’ve been looking for,” “Send me pricing.”  The list goes on and so does the follow-up.   It goes on, and on, and on….

We’ve all felt the disappointment of a longer than normal sales cycle.  It’s frustrating when things don’t happen fast enough and we don’t know why – or, we may just chalk it up to bad timing.  Sure, timing does play a sufficient role, but it’s not the only reason those TRADE SHOW LEADS ARE HARD TO CLOSE.

Like many salespeople, I’m super excited to get started on my action plan to follow up with each and every prospect.  Most in sales know a good follow up plan starts long before you even step foot on the show floor – but that’s a topic for another day.

Let’s look at five specific things you may or may not be aware of that slow down the ability to close those trade show leads.

1st Thing – All Prospects Are Not the Same.   It’s not a secret that companies like to reward employees with all-expense-paid trips to conferences and trade shows. It’s been happening for years and today is no different.  Many attendees walking the floor and stopping by your booth may not be the right prospect for you.  Sure, they are “in the space” or they wouldn’t be there, but chances are they are NOT the ones making the decisions. Some are not even influencing decisions or making recommendations to others in power.  I call these the Learners/Trinket Seekers.  They are there to learn and expand their personal growth and careers, or they are looking for gifts to bring back to the kids or worker bees in the office.  You don’t want the trinket seekers in your sales pipeline, so don’t bother scanning them. It may look good to upper management and the marketing team to have scanned 1,000 prospects. But, in reality, does management really want quantity over quality? NO. Always have a clear plan about how you will classify each prospect you meet.

2nd Thing – Role-Based Decision Makers vs Title Based.  When you meet someone at a show, the first thing you likely do is look at their badge. Usually, the first name is printed in big bold letters and that’s great, but let’s be honest…what you’re really squinting to see is their TITLE. But here’s a secret: Titles can be deceiving and vary widely by industry, company, and corporate culture.   Sometimes VPs, Directors, and Managers aren’t the only ones making the decisions. And if you’re relying just on the title then you might be missing out on some major opportunities. A title-based decision maker and a role-based decision maker are two very different things. Make sure the contacts you add to your pipeline are role-based decision makers!  You can easily figure this out by engaging in conversation and making a determination right then and there.  (Learn how MTG classifies each contact by their actual JOB RESPONSIBILITY, not just title.)

3rd Thing – Other Vendors.  Did you know that most shows include vendors/exhibitors in the overall attendee count?  It’s a given that exhibitors walk the show floor and visit other booths. Sometimes, to make the numbers to look good, your booth workers will scan anyone who crosses the threshold of your 10×10 domain – even if they are employees of your competitors. Be careful that your trade show follow-up and automated “thank for stopping by our booth” emails don’t go into the mailbox of vendors. Sales teams and marketing results will not benefit from this.  It only bogs down your pipeline with more non-decision makers.

4th thing – High Turnover.  Maybe you struck gold and did find the right role-based decision maker, but six months later they got a better offer and moved on. So, who replacement them and how long will it take you to find out who replaced them?  Has the role changed?  A lot of the time when turnover happens so does the decision-making process. Then the cycle starts all over again. There is a lot of turnover in the training/HR industry. If you’re still marketing to last year’s trade show attendees there’s a good chance that many of those contacts are long gone. But, here’s a solution: Mentor Tech Group monitors this change for you. Through carefully calculated statistics, we have found that the Training/HR industry averaged a whopping 38% change over the past 12 months. WOW! Now that’s a lot of change to keep up with.  Who at your company is managing this change?  Who’s keeping your in-house database clean and free of clutter? Is the extent of your database cleanup simply deleting bounced emails? That is NOT enough. People come and go, emails changes, phone numbers change, and if you don’t keep up with this change there’s no way for you to know who left the company, who replaced them, whose name changed, whose phone number changed, etc. Just because you have the right decision-makers contact information today doesn’t mean it won’t change tomorrow. (Learn how MTG keeps up with this change… And, ask about our FREE 4-month list updates! We’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to!)

5th thing – Spinning your wheels with follow up.   Marketing teams spend a lot of time and resources developing great content, and sales teams spend a lot of time calling to follow up on trade show “leads.”   I am using the word “leads” loosely because if you read Thing 1, 2 or 3, you’ve discovered that not all prospects, titles, and attendees are the same. Don’t be on auto-pilot. Any effort directed towards a non-decision maker falls under the classification of spinning your wheels. That’s great if you’ve got a lot of rubber to burn! But nowadays, competition for the eyes and ears of a true Training or HR decision-maker is fierce and if you’re busy chasing non-decision-makers, then chances are you’re missing out on viable opportunities. Have you calculated the time and resources you spend following up and prospecting to all the non-decision-makers scanned at the show?

Bottom line, you must ask yourself what would be more beneficial in your sales pipeline:

You’ll be glad to know that Mentor Tech Group is the ONLY company specialized 100% in your target industry – Corporate Training & HR. Our unique market intelligence database of 40,000+ Corporate Training & HR decision makers will provide you with the exact role-based decision makers you NEED to succeed in 2020!

Learn more about MTG’s unique hand-built decision maker database, and why MTG’s prospect information is the most accurate available in the industry today.

Then, contact Mentor Tech Group today at: 651-457-8600, Ext. 1.

We’re here to help, whenever you’re ready!

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