5 steps to improve your trade follow-up

Tradeshows are a great way to meet with future clients and show your products. Nevertheless, if you don’t follow-up, and do it quickly, there is a good chance that you will loose an opportunity to convert a contact into a prospect and a client.
With all the preparation you need to undertake to get to this show, it’s easy to postpone the set up of an effective follow-up process.
Unfortunately, if you think it’s ok to do it on the go when you’ll come back, you’re wrong.
You’ll be on fire with all the unpacking, catching up with all the things that happened during your absence, and maybe preparing for the next one to come.
This is why having a well-defined follow-up plan before going to the show is what will generate the best results in leads conversion.

1. Plan ahead

You’ve got a very short time window to get back to your prospect once they left you for the next booth. And then, go back to their day-to-day work life.
You should plan 3 months in advance at the bare minimum to be well prepared. If you can plan 6 months all the better.
On the plus side, once you’ve set up your plan, it will be already running for the next shows you’ll be attending.

2. Your time window to follow-up is short

If you want to be remembered, send your “initial touch” follow-up within 24-48 hours after the trade show ends. Waiting longer will decrease your ability to close a deal — as much as 60% if you wait one week.
Just send a short email thanking for the conversation and saying that a new one with additional info will follow in a few days.
Some studies show that 80% of the leads captured at a tradeshow are never followed through.
I can’t confirm this number, but I talk to a lot of companies who are well aware they could do better at following up. So if you take this one little step, there is a good chance you’ll be ahead of your competitors.
Following up effectively is the secret to positively impact your closing rate.

3. Qualify your leads before handing them off to sales

Most leads from trade shows are ignored by sales because they are not sufficiently qualified.
During the show, divide your contacts into 3 categories: strong, average & weak.
Follow up immediately with the strong ones. Don’t wait for the end of the trade show.
And when you’re back from the show, focus your personal following-up effort to the strongest prospects.
After the “initial touch”, follow-up during 2 weeks with 3 to 7 touches. Make sure you make yourself available in the week after the trade show to take any incoming call from a prospect.

Leverage the power of automated follow-up email campaign to qualify your leads.

Set up an email follow-up campaign.
These emails should offer a range of different call to action: “download our free white paper,” “request a personal demo,” “watch our 3-minute overview video”.
Since you don’t necessarily know where your prospects are in their buying cycle it’s a good opportunity to identify at what stage they are.
Don’t forget to personalize your emails. Make it easy for sales-ready leads to contact you: provide the contact information of the assigned rep.

4. Don’t just subscribe your leads to your newsletter.

Plan for a long-term lead nurturing plan

Your touches and the content you’ll send will depend on where your prospect is in his buying cycle.
You need to be present in your prospect inbox for the long run, with relevant information to help him make his decision.

To streamline your process and automate the subscription to your follow-up campaign, encourage people visiting your booth to download your company’s catalog/whitepaper/eBook online. You can use an app on a tablet for this purpose.
This will allow you to automatically enroll them in a qualification email sequence and nurturing campaign.

5. Track your results

Not all shows yield the same results.
It’s more difficult to have reliable numbers than for an online campaign but make sure you can calculate your results:
Cost per Lead, Gross Revenue, Total Investment, Total Leads Captured, Conversion Rate, ROI.
If you plan to attend several tradeshows this year, make sure you track them and evaluate which ones produced the biggest ROI and the most leads. So you’ll know which ones to pick next year.
If you only attend one, you still need to know your ROI

Want hands-on details on following up the right way?

Go check his in-depth article: A step by step tradeshow follow-up process