Stacks of Leads – Now What?
You have returned from that big trade show a hero/heroine!
All went smoothly, actually, better than planned. The buzz you created before the show had prospects galore in your booth. They were there, hungry to learn about your new products / services and it could solve their business problem. The electronic file shows that you have more than a thousand new names to add to your database.
However, a small nagging fear is inside of you…how will you ever follow-up all these leads?
This scenario of the returning hero/heroine is played out every week in the offices of exhibitors who use the trade show function as a means of gathering leads. In fact, B2B lead generation is the #1 reason company’s exhibit at trade shows. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) just released a new research report, The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit into the Overall Marketing Budget.
The study documented that in 2011 “the most popular, important objectives for exhibiting at business-to-business exhibitions are:
- identifying new leads – 95%
- conducting general company/brand promotions – 95%
- meeting with existing customers – 94%
- launching and promoting new products and services – 80%
- perceived importance of being at given events – 81%”
The show exceeded all of your planned objectives and more! Now you need to make sure that the leads which were uncovered on the show floor turn into the clients, so you can maintain your super star status and maybe get noticed by the CEO.
Not all Leads are Equal
The names and contact information collected now need to be sorted and evaluated to determine their lead status. Thank goodness your team spent the time with sales before the show to outline what a qualified lead really is. It took several meetings, but you hammered out the universal lead definition. Now to apply that criterion to all these names.
Jointly with sales, you had determined that the best leads are companies who:
- Meets the target customer profile (industry, revenue, number of employees, etc.)
- Is a decision maker who has expresses an interest
- Desires what we sell
- Is planning on evaluating a solution in the next three months or less
- Will make a purchase decision in six months or less
- Is ready to speak with a sales rep in the next two weeks
Within these show names are all types of lead classifications. Some are hot and need to be given to the appropriate territory sales rep, while others should go to a call center to be nurtured, and others should receive periodic mailings from us.
Based upon past experience, you know that some of the leads that you thought were “Hot” at the show, may not truly fit the sales ready definition. This means another review processes must take place, a few more questions asked, before we pass them onto sales. You promised the sales team that they would only get “sales ready” leads.
The scrubbing process typically involves some type of contact with the lead either via a call or an in person meeting with a hot prospect, to verify the information given on the show floor. Once this effort takes place, the leads are loaded into the appropriate nurturing channels so that they can be regularly contacted and moved through the sales process.
It is in the details of the follow-up and follow-through plans that prospects can become customers.
3 Tips to Ensure Lead Follow-up Success
These three tips will help you maintain the hero/heroine status in your firm:
- Make sure to have the sales team’s involvement BEFORE the trade show activity. Having their fingerprints all over the lead collection questions will go a long way to ensure the right questions are being asked and answered.
- Scrub the leads before they go into your sales funnel. Make sure you have the right information and lead classifications so that they are appropriately followed up.
- Track and report the progress of your follow-up on the trade show leads to all participating departments to assess the overall value of participating in that event again.
Is the information and tips in this article helpful to you? I’d love to hear from you. Send me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org