What Is the Best Way to Follow up with Trade Show Leads?

Answer

Craig Rosenberg (Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Focus.com)
First of all, there are different types of trade show leads:

1. Prospects you have engaged with -- virtual or live, you will interact with prospects at the event. You have the data based on the engagement whether the prospect is worth following up with -- if they are, follow up with them immediately or you will lose momentum.
2. Prospects you have not engaged with -- virtual or live, you will get a list of names who have not engaged with you -- for these leads, marketing should nurture them. Phone follow up is fine, just don't expect much from them YET.

3. Prospects you have not engaged with but you have data on -- virtual events have a significant advantage over live shows in that they provide sponsors pretty rich data on what the prospects did while they were in the show (eg you will know what the prospect downloaded, etc). You can leverage this data to score and decide who you should call or nurture. (Bottom line: the vast majority you will choose to nurture)

Trade show leads are 'top of the funnel' -- typically the 'right type of person' with the 'right interest', all you need is to turn them into a someone who 'wants to hear more from you'. As a result, trade show leads convert slower than other sources. They do convert, but the nurturing process discussed above is the key to achieving any sort of trade show (virtual or live) ROI.
2 Additional Answers
Victor Kippes (CEO, Validar Incorporated)
Your post tradeshow followup activity should be based upon where that lead is within the buying cycle. The key is capturing relevant propensity to buy demographics at capture. Essentially you are enabling the attendee to control how you treat them post event. If done right and well, you can categorize your leads based upon value to you and drive relevant followup activity toy our sales team.

Here is a blog post discussing different strategies.
I hope this helps.

http://www.dontaskdontsell.com/blog/fishing-for-qualified-leads-which-strategies-yield-the-biggest-catch
Brad Moore (VP, 317Consulting Services)
So many sales people don't have a plan for this situation - amazing! As you've probably seen as well, some teams will attend a trade show with the greatest of intentions, but they have no follow-up strategy, and the cards they gather at the show end up in a shoe box as a door stop (literally - I've actually seen this happen).

Have a plan before the event - know who you're going to see & why, and plot your follow-up strategy based on the kind of customer they can be. All of this requires that you have a clear picture of how you'll measure success. This is determined largely by the kinds of customers & prospects to be found at that particular show.

Part of the problem we've seen is that marketing departments have great plans for the event, put together great booths & marketing materials, but they never communicate with the sales team. The sales folks who end up on the floor are dragged there kicking & screaming because they don't know what's in it for them. Remove the silo mentality on the front end and the results should markedly improve - as long as everyone's singing from the same song sheet.

It's pretty simple really - know what you want to get out of it, have a compelling reason to see those you choose to see, and maintain the discipline afterward to call, meet, email, and otherwise build relationships with those that are worthwhile. Spend $1.49 on a rubber doorstop - you're spend to attend that trade show is huge in comparison - don't waste it.
Q&A Related to "What Is the Best Way to Follow up with Trade..."
1. Enter your leads and the customer contact information into a contact management system. If you do not have such a system, simply enter the information into a spreadsheet program.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2074793_follow-up-trade-sh...
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