6 Tips for Trade Show Follow-Up

Trade shows often represent a significant line item in sales and marketing budgets. Most companies put a lot of up-front planning and effort in place, but many drop the ball when everyone gets back to the office, thinking that their work is done once they leave the show. Creating a custom follow-up strategy will help you get better ROI and close more deals after the show. 

Here are six tips to get the most out of your event spend and creatively engage with trade show prospects:

Tip #1 – Clean your data

While trade show lead capture solutions have improved significantly, it can be challenging to ensure that important data is captured when you scan a lead. Even if your team does a bang-up job of inputting additional information capture fields to the scanner, there is often a lot of clean up to be done when you get back to the office.

The first step when you return home—or even better, while your team is still at the conference—is to start scrubbing your list. Identify duplicate scans, and if the contact or account already exists in your database. If so, append the existing information with any new data captured at the event. Also, identify if you are missing critical information that may impede your follow-up success. Consider appending your data using a third party tool, such as Zoominfo, SalesPredict, Hoovers, or Lattice Engines.

Tip #2 – Determine your follow-up strategy

Plan your follow-up strategy ahead of time to ensure timely execution. Make sure you have an established qualification process to determine which types of leads will require sales follow-up. Establishing this up front will help you consider the types of data you’ll need to collect during the event. Also, plan to send at least one email within a couple days of the event, thanking people for stopping by your booth and reinforcing your message. Remember, these folks probably visited several other booths and attended a handful of sessions and parties, so consider adding something to help jog their memory—for example, a photo of your booth or a video of an in-booth presentation.

Tip #3 – Prioritize leads for immediate sales follow-up

Prioritize your lead intake so that piping-hot leads get immediate attention. If you have a large number of new leads requiring a call—a good problem to have—consider sending them to sales in batches to match the urgency of the opportunity and capacity of your team. And, if a contact is already a part of an active opportunity, make sure you have rules built into your CRM so that those leads rise to the top of the assigned sales rep’s callback list. Finally, leads categorized as cold might be better off receiving marketing emails for a while until they warm up. 

A sales acceleration solution like Velocify® by Ellie Mae® can greatly increase the capacity and consistency of post-event lead follow-up. Velocify can apply distribution rules to ensure the right leads are assigned to the right salespeople. And, once leads are assigned, Velocify can ensure that the optimal contact strategy is followed.

Tip #4 – Train your sales reps

Depending on the conference and who worked your booth, you may have a different set of reps following up on event leads. If so, you need to create an atmosphere of continuity. Invite your marketing lead and a few booth staffers to share key event interactions and takeaways. Then, create a follow-up script that incorporates these points. Finally, make sure your CRM alerts reps that the leads being served up are the result of a recent event. Even better, put the event-specific talking points directly into your CRM.

Tip #5 – Get creative to drive post-show momentum

Stop for a moment and think about how you can stand out. You just spent thousands of dollars on the event, and it is definitely worthwhile to spend a little time brainstorming with your team on how to create a stronger post-event impression. Evaluate your available assets and identify those that can enhance your follow-up campaign, i.e. blog posts, videos, press releases, speaking session transcripts, etc. And, make sure that the sales reps sending post-event emails are leveraging these assets through a personalized approach. For example:

“Hi Jenna,

I heard you dropped by the XYZ booth last week at XYZ EVENT and spoke to my colleague Bob. He mentioned that you’re building out your team of Loan Officers and are looking at technology solutions to help scale your sales process. I’ve helped many team leaders in that position, and would love to assist you. Let me know when you might be available for a quick chat.

BTW, I’ve attached a new industry report with some great insights on how to build out a successful Loan Officer team. I thought this may be of interest to you.”

Whichever creative tactics you utilize, be sure to think about your audience and what will bring them the most value. And, put yourself in their shoes…i.e., how would YOU like to be contacted, and what would make YOU take the next step with your company? 

Tip #6 – Encourage everyone to follow-up

Consider everyone who attended an event on your behalf as a potential connection point. Encourage your entire team to connect via LinkedIn with the people they met, and input any new contacts into a shared database. You can then match this shared data to your CRM to ensure that nobody is left out of follow-up efforts. 

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