trade show follow up

Money Making Methods for Following Up with Trade Show Leads

This article is right on about the follow up strategy for trade show leads.  When I started IT’S YOUR CALL I knew that most companies didn’t do the necessary follow up on leads gathered from trade shows.  I went to exhibitors at small business trade shows and asked who would do the lead qualification to all the prospects in their gold fish bowls? I then explained that being a B2B telemarketing service we could help them out!

The trade show is winding down and the exhaustion is setting in. So much planning! So much work! You’ve got a bunch of hard-earned leads when that nagging thought creeps in… what happens now? Do we have a solid plan to make the most ROI from these fresh contacts?

According to new research from Certain, 57% of survey respondents said it takes their organization four days or more to follow up with leads after an event concludes. Only 6% can follow-up with prospects on the same day or the day following the event. Timing is the key for successful follow up. Is your sales team ready for the leads that you gathered?

Having a solid follow-up plan is one of the most important parts of your overall trade show strategy. Too often we find exhibitors don’t have the necessary sense of urgency or a well-thought-out plan to successfully contact leads obtained at the show. It is all too common for leads to NEVER be contacted. Leads seem to “disappear into the ether” without a well-developed and executed after-show protocol.

There are many ways to capture a lead on the show floor and the follow-up method will be the same no matter how they were collected. There are many sophisticated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems available that make this process easier. Touch screen and badge scanning technology allows you to instantly capture their info. The most important thing to keep in mind is that leads are time sensitive.

Common Lead Follow-up Methods

  • Phone call
  • Email — this can be done directly from the show floor if you are using interactive technology.
  • Social media – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are powerful and immediate contact points.
  • Direct mail including follow-up packets — include a thank you letter, catalog, informational brochures, special offers and maybe even a company branded give-away (people love freebies). Have these prepared before the show to get them out quickly after.
  • Best case is to schedule appointments directly from the show floor.

Keep in mind that the follow-up process starts on the show floor by qualifying your prospects properly and organizing their information immediately. Having the staff keep good notes on what the lead was interested in, buying timeline, and purchasing credentials will help identify leads as hot or cold. Using a score card is also an effective way to make sure they are being qualified correctly. Hot leads need to be followed up on immediately, within 48 hours of the show. Again, CRM software can help prepare a lead to go through the sales funnel quickly and efficiently.

Using interactive technology can also help qualify your leads with targeted surveys to find out what they are interested in. Analytics track what products and services are investigated. Automatic follow-up emails or custom messages can be scheduled with more useful content and information. New inbound marketing systems give customers what they want no matter where they are in the sales funnel.

Lead Follow-up Timeline

  • Send a simple thank you email 1-2 business days after the show, even if you emailed them directly from the show floor. Mention the topic of the conversation you had with the person and how your product can solve their problems. The personal touch can make a dramatic difference.
  • Follow up with a phone call to schedule a face to face appointment 1-2 weeks after the show.
  • If appropriate, extend a personal invite to an open house or corporate seminar at your facility 2-3 months after.
  • Deliver content and special offers catered to the lead via drip-campaign emails.

Lead Follow-up Tips

  • Have a meeting with follow up staff to clearly communicate timeline and expectations.
  • Craft emails with a recognizable and personalized subject, such as “(James), here is the information you requested at (show).”
  • Include succinct and mobile friendly email content highlighting the value your company will add to their program, your solution to a problem they are currently having, why your product/service/company is superior, a call to action, and a product/service overview. Give them valuable content they want and will use.
  • Put all potential leads into the CRM tool your company uses for future use. Make sure to drop them into a specific Nurture Campaign to keep them engaged.
  • Hold your sales reps accountable for actually following up with the qualified leads generated on the trade show floor.
  • Don’t start the follow up conversation with a sales pitch. Start with referencing the conversation you had with them on the sales floor (this is where those notes will really come in handy)

Following up in a short amount of time is crucial. Prompt, personalized and helpful follow up touches will lead to more sales. Organizing your leads into categories based on importance will help you prioritize and get the most return on investment from your trade show. But most of all, don’t let those leads melt away over time. Contact them!

https://www.applerock.com/blog/post/best-practices-following-after-trade-show#

 

5 Ways to Generate B2B Leads at Trade Shows

b2b trade show lead generation This article is written from the PR perspective but whether its from this industry perspective or any other marketing industry perspective the consensus is that a follow up phone call needs to occur after the trade show. Customers have hired IT’S YOUR CALL to  follow up on the b2b leads  they’ve generated at trade shows and we have always uncovered “hidden gems”.  Not only will follow up secure permission for opt in mailing lists but also has the extra benefit of qualifying the prospects.

  1. Contact the Right People Weeks Before

Typically, a trade show will release a list of press members who are covering the show. This may include bloggers, influencers, and journalists.

While these contacts are not themselves leads, their audience is. One of the most important steps you can take to snag time with these influential people is to reach out to them by email at least several weeks before a show. Request that they stop by your booth, and if possible, schedule a time for them to do so. Remeber that media get jammed at trade shows so you want to be early enough for them to see you. If they are overscheduled or not attending the conference, not to worry. Offer them the opportunity to interview you in advance and embargo the interview till the show.

If you can, give them samples, a free trial, or a demo of your product or service.  And don’t forget to provide background information or any helfpul collateral.

  1. Land a Speaking Engagement

Securing a speaking gig is a great way to generate more credibility around your brand, as well as yourself as a thought leader.

This isn’t always easy to do, so you must plan well in advance. Thought leadership begins with your owned media. In addition, once you have established credibility, you will have to submit an application to speak, likely months in advance. Here’s one tip to help get you in the door: Submit if you can with a customer. Trade shows are loaded with vendors eager to speak and you can differentiate yourself by presenting with a customer.

Landing a speaking engagement at a trade show is well worth the effort, as it will drive prospects, not only to your booth, but to your website since you will (with any luck) create a memorable presence.

  1. Establish Your Goals

Of course, the end game is always to turn strangers into buyers. However, the stage you’re at in your marketing game will largely determine your goals and means of achieving them.

If you’re a startup, you’re main mission at a trade show might be to create a buzz by handing out free swag. However, if you’re well-established, you might be aiming to launch a new product, or secure greater publicity.

Get your strategy in place by first determining your end game.

  1. Get Busy on Social Media

In the weeks and days that precede a trade event, you’ll want to create a buzz on social media. If your brand is launching a new product at a trade show, why not use Snapchat to reveal a hint of the product, mentioning that the full product will be unleashed at the upcoming trade show.

While you’re at the trade show, take full advantage of Facebook Liveto capture real-time highlights of the event.

  1. Follow Up

Want to know something a bit frightening? One statistic says:

“90% of trade show attendees received no follow-up within 12 months of their visit.”

If you want anything to come of your trade show experience, you must follow up. That means inputting new contacts into your CRM, reaching out via email or telephone, and asking for permission to add them to your email list.

Just think… if you can accomplish this one task that so few B2B companies are paying attention to, you’ll have the upper hand to win your prospects’ attention.

http://b2bprblog.marxcommunications.com/b2bpr/how-to-get-killer-b2b-leads-at-trade-shows

 

Lead Generation Statistics Show B2B Telemarketing a Useful Channel

Integrated MarketingBusiness to Business marketing needs to have a mix of all aspects of marketing.  That over half of the B2B marketers still use direct mail and think that lead generation is most effective when done by utilizing telemarketing isn’t surprising.  SEO, social media, content marketing, direct mail, trade shows, and telemarketing all have a spot in today’s marketing strategies.

While search engine optimization (SEO) continues to top the list of concerns for B2B software marketers, lead generation continues to rank high – coming in second, according to Capterra’s marketing survey released last year.

Excellent SEO practices can generate more leads. Marketers also know that their contributions must account for between 30 and 50 percent of all sales generated, which is why lead generation continues to rank high on surveys. One of the strongest methods of gaining more traction with leads is through telemarketing.

Capterra’s survey also revealed these facts:

  • 45 percent of companies are using CRM to manage their lead data, and 84 percent of these companies will have a specific method for evaluating and rating these leads.
  • LinkedIn assists organizations in generating 44 percent of leads, but Facebook also brings in 39 percent and Twitter attracts 30 percent.
  • Aside from executive events, the most effective B2B lead generation tactics involve telemarketing.
  • Blogging accounts for many leads, in fact, companies that blog regularly gain 67 percent more leads than those that don’t blog.
  • Half of B2B marketers continue to use direct mail for lead generation.
  • Almost half of B2B marketers say social media offers the most difficult method for lead generation.

While social media definitely has its place in lead generation strategies and few organizations would say they are not using social media in one form or another, it’s not a proactive channel. Yes, social media does allow a brand to share its personality and it does offer a place where communities can grow and interact, it remains by far a less proactive channel than telemarketing.

B2B telemarketing services are highly sought after because unlike B2C telemarketing, the business world embraces telemarketing as a way to learn more about how they can bring the latest and greatest products and services to their customers. Establishing a relationship with a reputable telemarketing service is probably going to put your organization in a position to gain more high-quality leads.

The telemarketing process is not an easy one. It takes a great amount of planning and a qualified list of contacts that might be interested in the products or services being offered in the campaign. The best telemarketers will lead their clients through the process, work with them to establish goals, and continually monitor the campaign for changes that need to be made to affect a better outcome.

 

/using-telemarketing-to-improve-your-lead-generation/

How to Build Rapport with Sales Prospects

Fotolia_5170186_X-01In practically every sales training guide the first step when selling is to create a rapport.  One of the under rated results of performing a cold calling campaign is that a rapport is being developed with the prospects. Making calls to an existing database to do database cleaning or to do follow up calls to trade show leads or recipients of an email blast strengthens the rapport that has been started. The following article offers tips that will encourage rapport to develop when speaking to prospects.   

 An old saying says, “People buy from people they like.” And it is true to a great extent and research has even proven likewise. When you have a strong relationship with someone, you tend to have more influence on that person.  That means, for the customer your experience and advice are very valuable, therefore, they are more likely to value your contribution to the decision process, and there is a great chance of this customer turning out to become a “long-term” customer. One of the best methods to develop a strong relationship with a customer is ‘building rapport’.

Having a great rapport with someone enables you to be at a level above the others as it helps in smooth communication because it allows people to be at ease.  Sometimes rapport happens naturally, you might instantly hit it off with someone. Other times, you have to be more deliberate in building rapport with someone. In sales, building a rapport with your prospect is of critical importance, as it inadvertently helps both the prospect and the sales rep to sort everything out.

Here are a few ways to build rapport in sales.

#1. Give your Prospect a Chance

In order to build a good rapport with your prospects, it is important to give them a chance to speak. This is easy to understand. When was the last time you found something really interesting in what your counterpart was saying without them giving you a chance to speak. When you give your prospect a chance to express themselves, they feel that you would understand where the problem lies and what could be the best possible solution for it. Most of the times, sales reps commit the mistake of being overly aggressive and not giving a chance for the prospects to speak, thus, losing out on a potential client. Having equal say during a conversation is a great rapport builder, and something most sales reps must look to work upon.

#2. Use the Prospect’s Name

“Good afternoon, Mr. Alan. These are few of the options available to you. Which one would you like to choose”. This statement looks much more effective and cordial than the following one. “Good afternoon, these are few of the options available to you. Which one would you like to choose”. The major reason being, using the name of the prospect has its own effect as they find you a bit more friendly and approachable. Therefore, as a sales rep if you intend to have a great bond with your prospect, try using their name as it can have a great impact.

#3. Offer ‘Genuine’ Compliments 

Genuine compliments are often refreshing and endearing. If you like the office, someone’s website, or is impressed with their book, be vocal about it. If your prospect had a recent accomplishment, relay your authentic congratulations. This can go a long way towards building rapport and they’ll appreciate it. This will also help you to get into their minds, thus, letting you go through the sales process in a successful manner.

#4. Empathize with the Prospect

It is a well-understood fact that, people usually open up more with those, who are good to them and know what they are thinking. This creates a sense of trust which builds a good rapport. It is also said that people usually buy from those who think alike, as they feel that these people would know the exact requirement.  In this case, it is also important to know that if you are talking to your prospect over the phone, you reduce your chances of letting them know that you understand their concern. It is often said that being physically present has a much bigger impact than being on the call. Therefore, if you empathize with someone, make it a habit to let them know about the same by being physically present.

#5. Use Social Media wisely

Social media is at the centre of every sales and marketing related work. There is a firm belief that the success of an organization depends a lot on social media activities. Similarly, in order to build a good rapport with your sales prospects, you need to find out, how they go about socially by seeing their public social profiles. This will help you to learn more about them. In sales, since it is necessary to know what your client prefers, more often than not, social media can act as the catalyst for building a great rapport with the prospect.

As said above, building a great rapport with your prospects goes a long way in sales. The closer you are to the prospect, better your chance of turning them into a customer. Therefore, it is imperative for the sales rep to try and build a relationship with the prospects in such a way that, it is based on trust and the one that is a long term. It goes without saying that, an organization needs its customers for growth, not only on the selling aspect but also on the ways of improvement. Thus, sales rep must look at having a long-term plan and not short-term goals alone and building rapport is just a part of the plan.

https://www.insidesalesbox.com/blog/how-to-build-rapport-with-sales-prospects-in-5-easy-ways

Best Practices for Following Up After the Trade Show

callemailIt’s Your Call will be exhibiting at the #CTBEXPO this Thursday June 9 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. We’ll be across from the Sales Education Hub booth #337!  We can help with the Follow Up for the b to b lead qualification that’s described below!

Having a solid follow-up plan is one of the most important parts of your overall trade show strategy. Your follow-up strategy should directly correlate with the original goals and objectives set during the initial planning process. Too often we find exhibitors don’t have the necessary sense of urgency or a well thought-out plan to successfully follow-up on the leads obtained at the show. In fact, according to Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 80% of tradeshow leads receive no follow up at all, which is why having a good follow up plan is imperative to your company’s success at the show.

There are several different ways to capture a lead  on the show floor and the follow-up method will be the same no matter how they were collected. The most important thing to keep in mind is that leads are time sensitive.

Common Lead Follow-up Methods

  • Phone call
  • Email — this can even be directly from the show floor if you are using interactive technology
  • Direct mail
  • Mail follow-up packets — include a thank you letter, catalog, informational brochures, special offers and maybe even a company branded give-away (people love freebies). Have these prepared before the show to get them out quickly after.
  • Schedule appointments directly from the show floor.

Keep in mind that the follow-up process starts on the show floor with making sure the leads are organized and qualified correctly. Having the booth staffers make good notes on what the lead was interested in, buying timeline, and purchasing credentials will help identify leads as hot or cold. Using a score card is also a good way to make sure they are being qualified correctly. Hot leads need to be followed up on immediately, within 48 hours of the show.

Lead Follow-up Timeline

  • Send a simple thank you email 1-2 days after the show.
  • Follow up with a phone call to schedule a face to face appointment 1-2 weeks after the show.
  • Extend a personal invite to an open house or corporate seminar at your facility 2-3 months after.
  • Send special offers to earn their business 6-12 months after the show.

Lead Follow-up Tips

  • Have a meeting with follow up staff to clearly communicate timeline and expectations.
  • Emails should have a recognizable subject, such as “Here is the information you requested at (show).”
  • Emails should also include the value your company will add to their program, your solution to a problem they are currently having, why your product/service/company is superior, a call to action, and a product/service overview.
  • Put all potential leads into the CRM tool your company uses for future use.
  • Hold your sales reps accountable for actually following up with the qualified leads generated on the trade show floor.
  • Don’t start the follow up conversation with a sales pitch. Start with referencing the conversation you had with them on the sales floor (this is where those notes will really come in handy)

Lead Response Management states that the best day to contact leads is on Wednesday or Thursday between the hours of 4pm and 6pm.

When following up, doing so in a short amount of time is crucial. Prompt follow up should lead to more sales.   Also, organizing your leads into categories based on importance will help you get the most return on investment from your trade show.

https://www.applerock.com/blog/post/best-practices-following-after-trade-show#

Qualifying trade show leads the right way

imagesTrade show attendance is more than “just showing up”  Solid leads can be obtained when putting a plan in place to handle attendees during the show.  This article does an excellent job describing a process for what to do while exhibiting.    Of course, the other vital component of the trade show strategy is to have a follow up plan which includes making follow up calls!

Qualifying Trade Show Leads…Quality Matters … Not Quantity

Qualifying trade show leads leads at the show is a skill that is often unappreciated and misunderstood. Statistics indicate that of every 100 visitors at a trade show, only 10 are qualified to purchase. And of those 10 visitors, only 3 have an immediate need to buy. Like a prospector panning for gold, how does your booth staff sift through the multitude of visitors to find those treasured qualified leads? There are only two parts to qualifying trade show leads. The answer lies in staff conduct, and the ability to ask the right open-ended questions to complete the qualification process quickly and efficiently.

Show floors are noisy, so exhibit staff must talk slowly and clearly. Maintain good eye contact to demonstrate that you’re listening and that the visitor has your full attention. When speaking to more than 1 visitor be certain to address each of them equally. Avoid criticizing your competitors. Remain standing with your arms at your sides or cupped beneath your waist, and remain polite and friendly.

Some exhibit staffers try to sell to everyone, which is frustrating and unproductive. What you need to do is use the first minute or two to qualify prospects before beginning a mini-presentation or a more in-depth conversation. You may find yourself talking to an enthusiastic listener who has absolutely no intention of ever buying your product or service. Use open-ended questions to quickly ascertain whether this visitor warrants more of your precious attention.

To begin, never ask “May I help you?”. The visitor may say no thanks and walk away. Also never greet visitors to your booth with the question “How are you today?”, since visitors know you aren’t genuinely concerned about their health. Instead, try asking “How are you enjoying the show?”. This question can engage the visitor in a discussion about their purpose for attending the show, whether their visit has been successful, and what progress they’ve made thus far.

Once you’ve established contact, ask some opening questions to evaluate their potential need for your product or service. Find out who you’re talking with, where they’re from, objectives for attending the show, what specific product/service they need, and any challenges they may currently be experiencing. Highlight the features of your product/service but keep the conversation focused on the visitor’s needs. Your company’s advantages are a distant second.

If there is a perceived need for your product/service, next pose some open-ended investigating questions to determine the visitor’s budget authority, ability to influence purchasing decisions, and the roles of employees who are involved in the decision-making process. Again, ask open-ended questions to create an interactive dialogue and determine whether the visitor’s budget and authority warrant continuing the discussion.

If the visitor’s budget, authority and needs increase the likelihood of a potential sale, next verify a timeline for a purchase by asking another open-ended question such as “When do you think you’ll be making a decision to proceed?”. You can then pose some closing questions, including “Is there anything else you need to know from us?” and “What would you like to see as the next step?” Perhaps even “May I call you in a few days to schedule an appointment, or can we book an appointment now?”. Then record the visitor’s contact information and important details on your lead form.

When qualifying your trade show leads you determine the person to whom you are talking is not qualified what do you do?
If, during the first minute or two you’ve determined that the visitor is not qualified, but continues to monopolize your valuable time, try to end the conversation quickly but courteously. Simply hand the visitor a brochure, say “Here’s some more information about our product/service for you to read when you have a chance” and express thanks for stopping by your booth. Shake the visitor’s hand, and walk to another area of your exhibit.

By all means make eye contact, smile, and greet everyone who passes by your booth. But if a prospect chooses to stop and chat, your staff must be prepared to complete the qualification process quickly and politely. With proper staff conduct, and an abundance of open-ended questions to determine the visitor’s needs, budget, authority and time frame, you can qualify leads in a fast and efficient manner. Ask appropriate questions to sort quality from quantity.

http://smarttradeshows.com/trade-shows-qualifying-trade-show-leads-right-way/

BEST PRACTICES FOR TRADE SHOW FOLLOW-UP

extWe have many customers who go to trade shows and generate a lot of interest in their products or services.  Here is a link to a case study of how we helped one customer.  Below is an article that describes various ways to follow up.

Trade shows continue to be one of the most efficient ways to introduce new products to large groups of existing and potential customers—because thousands of qualified buyers come together to hear what you have to say. And trade shows are a great opportunity to make connections and interact one-on-one with customers. For many companies, trade shows are about nurturing relationships with existing customers and generating leads to create new relationships.

Making the most of trade shows takes significant resources—time and budget. You’re already investing in being at the show, but the question is, how can you make sure you’re making the most of this investment after the show?

Here are four tips to build stronger relationships through strategic trade show follow-up:

Quickly connect after the show

Once the show is over and your customers have returned home, it’s back to the grind. Your customer’s attention will be on a variety of job concerns and purchasing your product or service may be at the bottom of the list. Maintain the momentum you’ve built during the show—and keep your company top of mind—by making contact with customers within two weeks of the end of the show. This can be with a direct mail piece that’s been designed and is ready to print, an email that you’ve pre-built in HTML or phone calls from sales reps for a select group of customers. In fact, it’s likely to be some combination of these tactics depending on the customer.

Take action: Develop a communication plan before you head to the show so you’re ready to keep the conversation going.

Get personal for better returns

Trade shows attract thousands of attendees to visit hundreds of exhibitors covering tens of thousands of square feet of convention center space. Make your customers feel like more than just a number by showing them they stood out to you. A good lead retrieval device will allow you to capture additional data when scanning a visitor’s show badge. Some devices even have voice-recording functionality. Take an extra 10 seconds to make note when a customer is attending a specific booth event, such as a happy hour or presentation. Then use this information to personalize the follow-up communication; according to a Pardot study, businesses that use personalized messages see a 19% increase in sales.

You can make it really personal with one-to-one connections via social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. The information you gather on booth activities and event attendance can give you a conversation starter.

Take action: Set the expectation with employees at the booth and those coordinating events that you want better data. Request that every badge be scanned at every opportunity.

Make it relevant

Customers go to trade shows looking for information and are open to conversation. It’s a relaxed, fun environment. But after the show, they’re back to business and you’re encroaching on their precious time. Make sure your follow-up includes valuable information and is more than a thank you for visiting your booth. When you offer relevant content they can’t get elsewhere, such as a white paper on a hot industry topic, you increase the likelihood your communication will be read.

Take action: Take your connection one step farther by making your follow-up personally relevant. If you know a set of customers attended a specific presentation in the booth, send a more targeted follow-up piece specific to that topic.

Have a long(er)-term plan

As you’re developing your communication plan prior to the show, make sure you think beyond a single follow-up piece. Create a cadence of information, and plan your next three to five customer touch points. It’s much easier to continue a conversation than to rekindle one that has died out.

Take action: Consider a marketing automation tool that will help track, score and prioritize leads and take some of the burden off sales—allowing reps to focus on the hottest prospects prime for business.

You invest a lot of time and money on trade shows; they’re a big investment for a big opportunity. Consider these four tips as ways to extend the reach of a trade show and make the most of this opportunity to forge new customer relationships, deepen those that exist—and drive an ongoing conversation about your brand.

https://www.capstrat.com/posts/best-practices-trade-show-follow-/