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9 Steps For Implementing A Successful Lead Management System At Events

Jan 02, 2017

No matter how good the leads might be, they have no value unless salespeople pursue the opportunities created at a show. It's almost impossible to succeed without their support and commitment to provide you and your associates with updated information on when the leads were contacted, which were converted into customers, and what revenue was generated. The following nine step process will help you and your sales department design and implement a successful closed-loop lead management system:

  1. Quantify Your Goal
    • To quantify your goal, calculate how many hours each person staffing your booth will work and multiply this number by the number of leads each will probably generate. A generic rule of thumb suggests that each person will generate three or four qualified leads each hour. If you have worked the meeting or show before, check your previous results, compare them with the number you just calculated, and adjust accordingly. Remember, your goal for leads should be specific, time bound and measurable.
  2. Create a Lead Form
    • A business card with notes scribbled on the back is not a lead form. Meet with and discuss the lead form with the salespeople who will get the leads after the event. What is their definition of a qualified lead? What would they like to know about new prospects? Most importantly, what would motivate them to follow up? Their input before the show create the right lead form and will help you get their support after the show.
  3. Pre-Show Promotion
    • Use pre-show promotions to attract pre-qualified prospects to your booth. Ask your salespeople to provide you with a list of existing customers and targeted prospects. If they give you the names and some of these customers and prospects attend the meeting or show, there are two benefits. First, it will create sales opportunities and second, it will improve the attitudes of your salespeople who personally derive greater value from the time they have invested in the booth. Another way to generate a list of people who represent your target audience for the show is to use your corporate database(s), or to purchase a list from a show manager or association. Another list might be obtained from the publishers of trade journals in your industry. Some exhibitors will "partner" with their strategic suppliers or other exhibitors to develop a list and do a promotion. Whatever list you use, your best results will come if you only contact those prospects that are pre-qualified for the products and services you sell. Once you have your list and have determined your key message(s), it's time to select the most appropriate pre-show promotion. Types of pre-show promotions may include;
    • Invitations
    • Hospitality
    • Advertisements
    • Incentives
    • Contests/Gifts
  4. Train Your Booth Staff
    • Prior to the show, teach your booth staff how to use the lead form. Make sure they are comfortable with the qualifying questions, how to record the required information and process the lead form after it's been completed. Role play to ensure that your staff is comfortable with the process. Also, make sure they know how to set the appropriate expectations for how your company will follow up after the event is over.Measure and Motivate
    • Reward the people who are putting the most energy and effort into your success at a trade show.
    • A complimentary letter to the staffer's manager or a small financial reward can be very motivational. Create a contest that everyone can win by reaching graduated productivity levels. Competition for a single prize, such as one awarded to the person with the most leads, can create friction in the booth and detract from the team spirit. Link your incentive to your show goals to generate maximum results.
  5. Collect All Leads
    • Collect all the leads as they are generated. If people keep some leads and turn in others, you won't be able to follow up consistently, nor calculate the true return on your investment. Explain to your staff how the leads will be processed, what each prospect can expect after the event, and how and when you will distribute the leads after the event's completion.
  6. Follow-Up
    • Distribute the leads immediately after the event. The faster you distribute the leads, the more motivated your staff will be to follow up. The follow-up activity should be consistent with your prospects' expectations. If you promised to send literature, send it. If you promised to call for an appointment, call. You will leave a lasting impression if you do meet your prospects' expectations. Don't just distribute the leads after a show. Set expectations on when you want feedback on the leads, and what that feedback should be. This is where you really need the support of sales management. If you don't get feedback on leads contacted, leads converted to sales and the resulting revenue, you won't be able to calculate the return on the show.
  7. Track Results
    • Track the results of your follow-up efforts in specific time increments (e.g., one month, three months, six months, one year). The time frame should be determined by buying cycles. A buying cycle is the amount of time it takes from initial contact with the prospect to when he or she makes a decision. The buying cycle for commodities, for example, is often measured in weeks or months, while the buying cycle for major capital equipment is often eighteen months to two years. Tracking results will enable you to determine how many leads were converted to customers, and the revenue generated as a result.
  8. Calculate Return
    • Return on investment based on leads collected and converted into customers comes from two sources:
      1. New customers; and
      2. Incremental business from existing customers.

After one buying cycle, track actual revenue from leads converted to new customers. Then, project how much business you will generate with these new customers during the course of the year after the show. Next, calculate incremental business from existing customers that can be attributed to the show. Sometimes, companies also include a projection of how many additional customers will develop from the leads taken at the show (just because they didn't buy in the first six months after the show doesn't mean that they won't buy during the next six months). Add together actual and projected revenue from new customers with incremental business from existing customers. Compare this revenue amount with your costs for the show to calculate


About the Author

Erkan OGULGANMIS

Posted by Erkan OGULGANMIS

Erkan OGULGANMIS Graduated from Army War College, completed MA degree in Ankara University on Global & Regional Studies, studies law in Istanbul University. Works in MEETINGHAND Online Solutions Co. as Business Development & Sales Manager.