By Maria Sundström on 2/27/18 2:14 PM
Going to trade shows is great fun and the right show can be a gold mine for collecting new leads, networking with prospects or finding future partners. In today's digital world, a face-to-face encounter with a prospect can be very effective in creating a trustworthy future business relationship. However, just showing up at the show, ready to shake your prospects' hands and collect their business cards will not take you far. When it comes to creating new sales opportunities, you need to be prepared and have a clear strategy on how you can transfer your encounters into new business opportunities.
To make the most out of a trade show, you’ll want to have a game plan between your sales- and marketing department, a process for storing your leads digitally, some marketing automation and a clear plan for post-event follow-ups. All of this will take a bit of planning, but in the end it will pay of.
Here is our Top 4 tips on making the most out of visiting a trade show.
1. Make sure your sales and marketing department is aligned
Decide who you are targeting at your event and what you want to achieve. Your marketing department can probably help you out with creating beautiful materials to give out to potential clients and also help plan the process for post-event follow-ups.
2. Scan your leads into your CRM with a business card scanner
As much as salespeople enjoy new leads, they dread the moment they come back from a show and have to enter all the cards they’ve collected as new leads or contacts into their CRM.
Make sure your salespeople have access to a card scanner app that allows them to scan the cards they collect directly into their CRM. You don't want them to scan leads into excel only to later upload them into your CRM, as this will slow down the process as well as hinder immediate marketing automation. There are plenty of scanners to choose from and if your sales guys are using Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, LiiD is a great alternative. Collecting new leads is exciting, and entering them to CRM should be just as exciting .
3. Collect additional information and make sure you have a next step
When gathering new leads, make sure you don't settle with entering just their contact details, you want to add as much as possible about the prospect. Which product are they interested in, how hot is this lead, do you have marketing permission etc. Give salespeople the possibility to add notes and gather everything relevant, while the information is still fresh in their mind. Meeting new people and talking non-stop can be exhausting and at the end of the day your salespeople might not remember which prospect said what. What you need is a scanner that allows you to add your own required fields and set relevant next steps. This will allow you to create smarter marketing and will certainly make post-event follow ups more on point.
Get your leads into a digital form, assigned to the right person and with the right follow-ups asap!
4. Use marketing automation for post-event follow ups
You want to have your salespeople entering new leads instantaneously, so that the marketing department has the possibility to immediately send out relevant information. If your sales guys have collected info about which products interests the prospect then the marketing department has the possibility to tailor messages specifically for the prospect New leads tend to get cold really fast so make sure your sales guys remember to follow up with their leads immediately after the trade show. If leads tend to be forgotten, you might want to use a Lead Management tool.
Turning leads you’ve collected at a show into sales opportunities take bit of planning, as there are certain actions you want to take before, - during and after the trade show, but you will definitely gain from spending time preparing for the event.
If you are curious to test our solution for scanning business cards, download the app on the App Store or Google Play. For more information on how the app works for Salesforce, check out this blog and for Microsoft Dynamics this blog.