As a business, you need to be savvy when it comes to defining what a lead is, at an event.
Does someone who comes to your stand simply for a sweet or a free pen qualify as a lead? Probably not. You need to consider if there is any value in investing your sales team’s time with following up with these ‘leads’ post-event.
In order to successfully generate quality leads, you need to consider many factors and plan effectively to maximise the ROI potential.
There are many factors to consider before you book your space at the event – do the attendees match your target audience? Will the event help you to achieve your overall marketing objectives and strategy? There is always a temptation to attend the ‘BIG’ event of the year but if you are unable to successfully deliver your product/service to the audience attending, is there any value for your business in attending the event?
You need to put the ground work in… Your sales team needs to help push the attendance at the event. How many of their prospects are attending? Get them on the phones – tell your prospects you are going, encourage them to visit the stand, set up a meeting/product demonstration. Gone are the days of customers attending for a good day out. Attendees are far more switched on and the vast majority will be there to buy or will be looking to buy in the future. So make sure they visit you and that you maximise that potential.
The event team need to have a clear brief for the event so that they understand what attendees qualify as business leads. If they are set a really high lead count target for the event, you run the risk of having a large number of ‘only interested in swag’ leads which, post-event, will quickly increase the cost per lead and your sales team’s conversion rate. Be realistic with what is an acceptable number of leads. What trigger points in the conversation are you looking for? Defining what constitutes a lead means that you are more likely to be passing over decent contacts to your sales team and ultimately, the better the ROI will be.
Follow up, Follow up, Follow up – Events can generate really strong leads for the sales team to work with and convert into future business. But do your sales teams follow up effectively? It is crucial to put a follow up plan in place. Email your leads as soon as you can. Don’t leave it a couple of days for the buzz of the event to become a distant memory. Strike whilst the iron is hot. If it is an event lasting more than a day, email your leads the following day – thank them for visiting and invite them to come back if they have any questions or want to bring a colleague along for a demo. If it is a one day event, email the next day, thank them for attending and attach a relevant video to get them to re-engage with you. Get your sales teams on the phone – DON’T let them give up after one call. Have a process in place of when and how to follow up, depending on the responses. On average, it takes 5 follow up calls to move the sales process forward.
Events have gone through a transition from a jolly day out to a genuine business opportunity to generate new business. It is crucial to get the same focus from your event and sales teams. With careful planning and proactive follow up the new business opportunities can be huge.