Tradeshows - From Opportunity to Revenue

Tradeshows - From Opportunity to Revenue

Steve Paulsen

We all know the driving force behind tradeshows is ensuring a good return.

Depending on a company’s sales model, direct or channel, determining the right return on investment can be a challenge. The most important thing is to ensure that you come into the show with clear, measurable goals that are metrics of value to the company. This can be a direct sales number of “X” compared to the total investment made, an opportunity goal, or a marketing analysis of brand recognition through post-event surveys to ensure those that visited your booth retained your message to the market. The key is to define goals prior to the event and then follow-up in post to track your results and compare. But likely, the single most important and measurable activity you can do at a show is lead capture. Taking those leads from the show and getting them into a sales pipeline is the most significant activity that can be done to ensure your company is getting a good return on their investment. And that starts with asking the right questions.

Lead qualification should start with tracking how you interacted with the attendee. A simple scan and grab requires more nurturing than showing a visit to a demo pod, notes on interaction and if a follow up was requested. Hot leads should be defined as leads that are ready for sales to contact or distribute to their channel. The key is to segment your leads so that the sales team is not spending cycles on cold opportunities requiring a considerable amount of follow up and instead dealing with opportunities that are already primed to move towards a direct conversation on workflow solutions and the right product for the customer. To get there, you must make sure your booth staff is accurately recording the interaction.

Hot leads should be defined as leads that are ready for sales to contact or distribute to their channel. The key is to segment your leads so that the sales team is not spending cycles on cold opportunities requiring a considerable amount of follow up and instead dealing with opportunities that are already primed to move towards a direct conversation on workflow solutions and the right product for the customer.

Develop a lead qualification survey that your booth staff should complete when scanning attendees at events. This will require training so that the demo staff is working the questions within the conversation and then filling out the survey after the interaction is complete. Review your scans daily if possible and identify your star scanners and your low performers. Highlight to the team what someone is doing right and speak directly with those not doing as well, determine the problem, a simple reminder on why it’s important, an issue with the device or a change in staff location/duty can then be worked through. With a properly trained staff you’re ensuring that leads from the show are ready to go into the pipeline.

CRM tools are great, allowing leads can be managed electronically, and follow-up can be mass distributed, localized by region, contact details and then tracked for activity. However, even if you don’t have a CRM, with the right lead survey distribution should be quick; the work on what’s hot and what’s not has already been done. Leads requiring additional nurturing through email and nurture campaigns shouldn’t be ignored; they do require a marketing strategy, but will result in building the sales pipeline. And remember, todays scan and grabs could be tomorrow’s opportunity. Maintain a database of leads segmented by industry, market and vertical. As new products are developed those leads can quickly turn into revenue. 

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