Lead Capture

Trade Show Lead Management Plan: What Is It and How to Do It Right?

Trade show lead collection is the ultimate goal for most exhibitors. Read this post for handy tips on how to do it right.

Lead collection is often the ultimate goal for most trade show exhibitors. If you're at the right trade show and have an effective marketing strategy, you might collect in one event what can take several months in ordinary circumstances.

But every trade show goal needs a plan. Especially when the objective is to collect trade show leads, you’ll need a lot more than a fancy booth to get the expected results.

So, what’s the solution? A well-thought lead management plan. Here’s what it means and some handy tips to do it right-

What is a Trade Show Lead Management Plan?

It is the process of managing trade show leads or potential customers up to the stage where they become your customers. The strategy is highly applicable to exhibitions where businesses get the opportunity to build individual relationships with customers.

A typical trade show lead capture plan can be divided into four steps-

  1. Collection
  2. Qualification
  3. Nurturing
  4. Analysis

If done correctly, a lead management plan can help boost conversions and also provide valuable insights to improve your trade show plan for future events.

1- What is Trade Show Lead Collection?

Lead collection or lead capture is the method you’ll use for collecting contact details of prospective customers during a trade show. Once the leads are collected, you’ll eventually pass them to your sales team for follow-up.

Exhibitors generally collect leads through-

  • Lead collection forms
  • Collecting business cards
  • Badge scanners
  • Lead collection app
  • Trade show gamification

What Should You Select for Trade Show Lead Generation?

The ideal tradeshow lead generation method collects engaged leads. Engaged leads have already interacted with your brand or product/service.

For instance, exhibitors often place a fishbowl where booth visitors can put their business cards to participate in a lucky draw. Most such visitors don’t engage with you. They might not even know who you are and what you do. They just want to participate in the lucky draw to win the prize. And there’s no lack of freeloaders at any event.

[Read: Popular Types of Trade Show Attendees]

But let’s take tradeshow booth trivia games, for example. The trivia questions revolve around your industry, company, or products/services. As people answer these questions, they engage with you and automatically learn more about you. This is what you need for an effective lead collection plan.  

2- What is Trade Show Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification helps determine which potential customer is most likely to make a purchase.

For an effective lead qualification strategy, exhibitors need to know the characteristics of their target customers. It is only with the help of these characteristics that the leads will be evaluated and divided.

The leads are commonly uploaded to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software for further action.

How to Qualify Trade Show Leads?

The trade show lead capture plan can be divided into hot, warm, and cold leads. As the expectations and requirements of the leads can vary, dividing them based on sales potential or warmth will make it easier for your sales team to use the correct tactic for maximum conversions.

Tradw show lead funnel showing classification of leads into hot, warm, and cold leads
Pic Credit - PowerObjects

Hot Leads

The hot leads have the highest sales potential. But they won’t remain hot forever. Thus, it is essential for your sales team first to contact the hot leads and try to close as many sales as possible.

Warm Leads

Warm leads are the trickiest to manage. But, play your cards right, and you might convert them into hot leads ready to make the purchase. The lead nurturing strategy discussed below can help you in this endeavor.

Cold Leads

Cold leads have the least conversion potential. As a result, in your sales funnel, they'll be placed at the end. But use the right strategy, and you can convert at least some of the cold leads into warm and even hot leads.

How to Determine Whether the Trade Show Leads are Hot, Warm, or Cold?

There are a few different ways to do this. You can train your trade show booth staff to make notes on the leads they spoke with at the event. Important details about them can be written on their business cards or lead collection forms.

[READ: Trade Show Booth Staff Training Guide]

While several exhibitors still rely on such methods, they’re not very effective because of the following reasons-

  • On a busy trade show floor, your booth staff might get enough time to make notes on every potential lead, and every lead you lose can impact your ROI and ROO.
  • Also, there is a possibility of data loss as your booth staff will be required to carry a big stash of business cards/lead forms which are easy to lose.
  • You'll have to manually enter the leads into the CRM system, which will require plenty of time and effort.
  • Also, in this technological world, using pen and paper to take notes does not give a modern or professional vibe.

A smarter alternative is to use an automated lead collection and qualification method. For instance, gamification at trade shows can automate the process for you.

Something like a custom quiz can collect leads and have creatively crafted questions to qualify the leads and help you know at which stage of the buyer journey every potential customer is at.

3- What is Trade Show Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing builds and reinforces relationships with potential buyers throughout their buying journey. It uses communication and marketing efforts to boost brand awareness, build trust, and continue engaging with prospects until they're ready to make a purchase.

For instance, with the help of a lead nurturing plan, you can convert warm and cold leads into hot leads ready to convert.

How to Nurture Trade Show Leads?

Here are some vital aspects of a trade show lead nurturing strategy-

  • Nurturing Touchpoints- The number of times you’d like to contact the prospects through online and offline channels.
  • Content Offers- You can begin with case studies and blogs that highlight the USPs of your products/services and invite them to a webinar.
  • Contact Frequency- Should the prospects be contacted every week? Once in a month?
  • Contact Methods- Some businesses rely on automated emails, while others use direct mail, phone, and even social media.

A basic lead nurturing plan can involve sending 4-5 emails to the prospects over several weeks. You can also create an advanced strategy that includes various touchpoints, communication channels, and sending content offers over several months.

If you're starting with lead nurturing, it'd be wise to start with a basic strategy and then let it evolve as you progress.

4- What is Trade Show Lead Analysis?

It focuses on improving your lead management strategy for future events.

It often includes analyzing trade show data, including the number of people who visited your booth, their engagement, and why you lost or won a lead.

How to Analyze Trade Show Lead Data?

Here are the steps you can follow to analyze lead data-

Review Closed Sales

One of the most effective ways to refine your lead management strategy is to analyze the things that have worked for you. You can begin this process by looking at the sales you’ve already closed.

While reviewing the sales, focus on details such as the total number of sales, average sale size, total revenue, and buyer persona traits.

Review Dead Leads

You might have also collected plenty of dead or weak leads. These prospects might not be interested in your product/service and have stopped responding to your communication.

You’d not want your sales team to waste resources, time, and expertise on people who might never convert. Reviewing data of dead leads, like their persona, reasons why they stopped responding, etc., can help you improve your trade show marketing strategy for future events.

Collect Feedback from Your Sales Team

You can also talk to your sales team about the performance of leads generated from the event. For instance, you can ask for their opinion on the leads that work best for them.

The interaction will enable you to build a trade show strategy backed by real human experiences.

Identify Optimization Opportunities

The steps listed above will provide you with plenty of information that you can use to optimize your lead management strategy for future events.

If you’re using trade show gamification, some leading game providers also share attendee data and engagement analysis after the event to help you in this endeavor.

Tips to Create a Trade Show Follow-Up Plan

Your follow-up plan also has a lot to do with what happens with the collected leads. Here are some tips to follow up with the collected leads-

  • Tailor the follow-up plan based on whether the leads are hot, warm, or cold.
  • Be prompt with follow-ups. Don’t let the prospects wait for several days or weeks to hear from you.
  • Never bombard the prospects with redundant communications, like calls or emails, as most will soon start avoiding you.
  • Keep monitoring the leads throughout their buying journey. Most CRMs now come with lead tracking capabilities.
  • Ensure that each of your messages incorporates value for the prospects. For instance, your emails could include a link to a relevant e-book, newsletter subscription, or videos and blogs.  

Effective Trade Show Lead Management = Success

Your trade show lead management plan will significantly determine whether or not you succeed at the event. It directly impacts your ROI and ROO, possibly influencing your brand's image in the eyes of the audience. Focus on the above points to create a lead management strategy to collect quality leads and generate maximum sales.

You can contact us to learn more about booth trivia games and how they can play a vital role in your lead management strategy.

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