Trade show season: that time of year (or sometimes, all year for some of you) when tens upon thousands of marketing dollars are spent securing space, building booths, creating collateral, flying in the sales force for the purpose of generating leads, closing deals and growing business. With all the attention to detail put into making each show a success, there’s always one thing that eludes many marketers time and time again: the follow up. Believe it or not, many of today’s marketers either don’t have the resource or program in place to follow up with the leads they capture at trade shows, despite statistics showing than more than 80% of companies who attend trade shows do so for the sole purpose of generating leads.
I recently attended an international manufacturing trade show here in Atlanta and spoke to 25 marketers about their goals, vision for the future and problems they face. Their answers were as diverse as the products their company’s produce except when it came to the biggest problem they face: what to do with the leads they get and how to nurture them past simple awareness.
According to Exhibitor Online, fewer than 70% of exhibitors have any formalized plan or process in place for how leads are followed up after their show. Trade shows often bring in hundreds of leads that cannot all be qualified at the show, sales can only contact a small percentage of leads deemed ready for purchase, and there are potentially hundreds of leads that require further qualification or nurturing to be sales ready. If any of this sounds familiar, consider the following to improve your own programs.
- Qualify leads by offering a range of options for further engagement.
- Research shows that on average, it takes 8-10 touches to reach a new prospect.
- Leverage email to make content offers and calls to action (CTAs) designed to move potential buyers along their path to purchase.
- Continue to engage with leads until their behavior indicates they are ready to be contacted by a sales representative.
What could a trade show lead nurture program look like?
If you’re not far enough along in your nurture capabilities, consider the following step-by-step guide to get up and running:
Lastly, the following is a comparison breakdown of available platforms:
Do you have any additional ideas on how to execute lead nurture at your trade show? Is this an approach that you’d like to incorporate into your next event?