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10 Top Tips For Trade Show Lead Management

September 27, 2014

by Michael Thimmesch

Imagine this: You had a great show, with a flood of booth visitors and a pile of leads.  And yet after the show, your fine effort fizzled into nothing because your hard-earned leads sat gathering dust atop someone else’s desk.

Lead management is the least visible, yet most important final stage of your trade show marketing.  To help you bring this essential step into the light, here are the 10 best tips that I’ve gleaned over the last two decades:

  • Seek to get not just leads, but qualified leads, so that your field sales force will value them and follow up.
  • Train your staffers to qualify leads at the show according to high, medium, and low qualified levels, and then label them as A, B, or C leads.
  • Do more lead follow up!  Have a lead fulfillment plan prepared before the show starts.
  • Don’t rely on just a business card from trade show booth visitors: Have a lead card or electronic lead retrieval system so you have enough space to record details on your booth visitors’ wants and needs.
  • Do more lead follow up!  Get your sales and marketing management to stress the importance of lead follow up — and even put some teeth into repercussions if they aren’t.
  • Have one person responsible for lead fulfillment, data entry into your CRM database, and lead transfer to sales.
  • Do more lead follow up!  Build more frequent touches with leads after the show (via calls, emails, or mailers).
  • Prepare before the show to be able to quickly send fulfillment right after the show — even during the show. Include in the process the ability to customize fulfillment to include what the visitor specifically asked for.
  • Do more lead follow up!  Check in regularly with your reps to report on lead progress.
  • Watch out for the critical link that is too often broken:  What booth visitors reveal to your booth staffer and what your booth staffer responds is not passed on to the field sales rep, which causes lack of motivation for lead follow up and frustration with the booth visitor.
  • So much of good lead management starts with proper preparation of your booth staffers.  Yet what happens after the show is just as important — but gets less attention once the urgency of the show is over.
I hope you enact some of these 10 tips and get even more value from your trade show leads.  Your company has invested so much to get them — make sure you succeed at this critical final step.

This article is one of a series on Top 10 Tips for various key trade show topics:

> Top 10 Tips For Trade Show Promotions
> Top 10 Tips For Trade Show Exhibit Design
> Top 10 Tips For Trade Show Booth Staffing

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About the Author: Mike Thimmesch was Director of Customer Engagement at Skyline Exhibits, with over 25 years of Marketing and Trade Show Display Marketing experience.
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marketing, tradeshows, lead generation, lead management