Participation in industry events is important for visibility, brand awareness, and to maintain or build momentum in the marketplace. Planning for success includes having a professionally designed booth space, ensuring company collateral is available to media and attendees, and training your booth staff to represent your company and offerings appropriately.
Beyond planning for these areas, the development of a sound lead-management strategy will help to ensure targeted leads are encouraged to seek out your booth, shortening sales cycle. Review these steps to ensure your team is better prepared to develop a strategy that is designed to get results.
Step 1: Get Input from Sales Team
Proper lead-management begins with input from your sales team at the time when an event is being planned. Ask your sales team to explain what information defines a quality lead and use this information to prepare a lead-capture tool.
Step 2: Plan Pre-Event Buzz
Just because you exhibit at an event does not guarantee quality leads will find your booth. Be proactive and generate buzz to attract quality leads. Develop a strategy that ensures (1) quality leads are being attracted, and (2) the booth staff engages potential leads in quality information-gathering conversation.
Step 3: Use Appropriate Tactics to Qualify Booth Visitors at an Event
Using a fish bowl, badge scanner or similar mechanism to collect prospect information are ineffective lead-collection tactics, unless you can add content that allows the sales team to qualify Hot/Warm/Cool leads. Develop an information-rich form that can be filled out by booth staff to collect information about the prospect’s product interests, product awareness, competitive product perspectives and needs.
Step 4: Plan Post- Event Follow-up
When gathering (Step #1) input from the sales team, develop the method and timeline for lead follow-up after the event. Establish a prospect ranking system such as Hot/Warm/Cool or A/B/C levels. Also plan how the leads will be distributed, such as according to (1) size, (2) region, (3) Hot/Warm/Cool, (4) sales rep experience, or (5) equal distribution. Additionally, determine how the event leads will be categorized in the prospect database and how and when the leads will be tracked and managed by marketing and/or sales after the event.
Step 5: Motivate Sales Staff to Follow-up on Event Leads
Measuring ROI when exhibiting at an event can be tied to leads and closes that occur as a direct result of sound lead-management strategies and practices. Placing emphasis on a timeline that encourages the sales team to shorten the sales cycle and close a prospect allows management to measure ROI and promotes an appreciative work environment. Management can devise a motivation strategy such as recognition at a company event, a congratulations letter, an award, pre-paid gift card, or paid time off.
Effective strategies do not randomly materialize; they are intentionally built and strategically mastered over time. When your company plans to exhibit at an event, the lead-management strategy development plan should immediately be set in motion so that success and return on investment prevail!© 2013 Edge Legal Marketing