We are planning on attending a few upcoming trade shows for clients later this month and are in the planning process of how to maximize sales results at each venue.
For one event, our client is a sponsor and will have a booth at the event. At the other event, we are simply planning to walk the trade show floor. In both cases, our goal is to secure tangible, qualified leads and gain some insight into the competitive landscape.
I remember years ago, I was going to an event with a client and I asked, “What is our goal?” He responded by saying, “You go that way, I will go this way, and lets see who gets the most pens”. Clearly, this is not the reason to attend an event, but it is true, there are a lot of free pens at events.
Instead of pens, I suggested we should aim to have a lead generation contest. We set targets for five leads each and the outcome was fairly successful. From my memory, he generated four and I generated seven – not bad for a few hours of work.
When you are planning on exhibiting at an event or simply going to walk the floor, a few sales tips to make your event a lead generation successful include:
Book Meetings for the Event
Contact prospects and customers prior to the event to see if they will be attending. If so, aim to meet them at your booth or theirs. In the past, we have also rented space across the street from the event to run invite only demonstrations.
Before attending an event you should set goals with your team for leads. Having solid and tangible goals gives you something to strive for. Make it fun too. We would often provide some sort of prize for the most leads, like a gift card or lunch.
If you are manning the booth or just walking the floor, don’t be afraid to approach people, ask them questions about who they work for and what they do. This can seem like an uncomfortable task, but remember they are there for a reason as are you. Worst case you end up with some networking experience, best case, you will generate some solid leads. In the past, we were able to secure a meeting with an engineering firm at the event that led to a six figure sale.
Check Out the Other Exhibitors
From past experience, other exhibitors can be solid prospects or even partners. Explore the booths since they are generally there to drive business. If you are not getting the answers you seek specifically, ask for names of other contacts in the company you can speak with.
Summarize Your Leads Post Event and Input Into Your Sales CRM
In many cases, event leads sit untouched and never contacted. Be sure to put the leads into your sales CRM and schedule follow ups. One other aspect is tagging the leads based on the event they were identified. This will allow you in the future to run reports on event success as well as build mailing lists for sales and marketing purposes.
Follow up on Event Leads
Don’t forget to follow up. Schedule time in the days/weeks following the event to reach out to those leads and move them along your sales funnel.
If you are in need of assistance from a sales and marketing perspective feel free to contact me. I would be happy to see if we can help. Alternatively, if you are simply looking for a source of excellent sales and marketing information, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.