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11 Best Practices For Lead Follow-Up at Virtual Trade Shows

By Joshua Rich

A more comprehensive version of this article was originally published on the Bullseye Locations blog.

At physical trade shows, lead capture and follow-up has been cited as a major challenge to driving successful event results. However, just 6% of marketers believe their companies convert trade show lead contacts and conversations into customer business extremely well.

This problem has been magnified by the switch to virtual trade events which result in different customer interaction and follow-up opportunities for manufacturers.

Here are some tips on lead follow-up at virtual trade events to help drive conversion and sales:

  1. Before you start your event, make sure you have a solid lead follow-up plan in place. To do this, you must define success criteria and determine who will review and classify leads as hot, warm, or cold, who will follow up with them, and when. You must also decide what touchpoints you will use and who will be sure the leads receive the information they need.
  2. Make sure CRM and marketing automation systems are in place so leads can be followed up quickly and in scale. Use input from CRM and marketing automation software to prioritize leads, know what to say, implement an email sequence, and increase engagement. Plan to make follow-up calls and record all interactions in your CRM. On average, it takes 6-8 touches to close a deal and this will help ensure more productive calls with leads and help build rapport.
  3. Segment your leads. After the virtual event, use input from the show in your CRM to segment leads into 3 classifications—high priority (hot), medium priority (warm) and low priority (cold). This is based on information captured at the trade show such as engagement with trade show components, pain points, budget, time frame, and buying authority. It is critical to follow up quickly so competitors do not contact your prospects first and gain their business.
  4. In a distributor-based sales model, use an automated real-time lead management platform to quickly deliver leads to dealers for fast follow-up and conversion. Lead information is sent to one or more dealers who can be prioritized based on location, performance, etc. Customized messages are sent to leads and dealer follow-up is electronically monitored by the manufacturer with emails being sent, if needed, to ensure action. To get the info they need to choose a dealer and make a purchase, leads can review a directory with photos and videos that showcases the dealers expertise and the manufacturer’s product. SEO-optimized local landing pages, created by the manufacturer with a built-in contact form for leads, can be used to expedite the process. The system can be used to manage, convert, and report on leads from all sources, such as other events or from a dealer locator on a manufacturer’s website.
  5. Deliver relevant content. Follow-up content should be personalized based on the interests leads communicated at the show. You should review attendees’ activities, such as documents and videos they viewed and chat transcripts, and provide relevant follow-up material to keep them engaged and get them closer to purchase.
  6. Offer and have the ability to send out samples right away. In many categories, customers need samples to make decisions, and speedy delivery can make or break the sale. For example, few customers have chosen hardwood flooring without seeing sample boards. They need to know how it will look with their lighting and decor, how it feels, and its construction quality.
  7. After the virtual show, use your CRM to monitor leads in real time and to track the lead’s actions. If they are downloading content, follow up the email with a phone call from a salesperson.
  8. Create groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for event attendees to network and exchange ideas.
  9. Have presenters do follow-up Q&A for presentations. Use ZOOM or Live LinkedIn chat–make it fun and exciting so viewers stay engaged.
  10. Make content available on demand after the show and make sure everyone knows about it.
  11. Consider sending some Swag as a token of appreciation to attendees for participating in the virtual event.


Conclusion

Virtual trade shows are here to stay. They provide rich information on a lead’s behavior to help guide follow-up. Be sure to leverage technology to ensure timely and personal lead follow-up by having them flow seamlessly and automatically through CRM and Marketing Automation Systems.

About the Author:

Joshua Rich is the founder and CEO of Bullseye Locations, a leading provider of global locator software and services. Bullseye develops integrated locator software solutions that help companies of all sizes engage consumers, cut costs, and drive growth. Founded in 1998, Bullseye is privately held and headquartered in Branchburg, N.J., and serves over 5,500 customers worldwide, including Loblaw, Mizuno USA, Honeywell, The Vitamin Shoppe, Lumber Liquidators, AIG, and The Sika Group. For more information on Bullseye, please visit bullseyelocations.com.