Trade shows are gold mines when it comes to lead retrieval.
Not only can you build brand awareness, but, more importantly, you can also shake hands with key decision-makers and influencers in your industry - which is definitely worth it's weight in gold.
Surveys conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) show the following* to be true of trade show attendees:
- 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products (Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face).
- 81% percent of trade show attendees have buying authority (Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget)
- 46% of tradeshow attendees are in executive or upper management roles (Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face).
*Extracted directly from the Trade Show News Network.
With that said, it's easy to see why learning to capture lead data is vital to building business. And it is a learned skill. Here are three reliable methods.
1. Collecting Business Cards
Smartphones, tablets and other high-tech gear is great, but it doesn't negate the effectiveness of collecting business cards. In fact, receiving a business card means you connected with that person, you had a face-to-face interaction and a lasting first impression formed. All good.
Collecting business cards is the most economical way of collecting lead data. It has the added bonus of an interpersonal interaction connected with it. However, there are a few downfalls:
- Collecting business cards requires manual data entry.
- Business cards require legwork to work the lead.
Sadly, this is where the opportunity to convert potential leads into clients falls flat. Who wants to organize and input hundreds of business cards into a CRM after working a trade show?
Nonetheless, business cards are a viable and effective way to collect trade show leads.
2. Trade Show Badge Scanners
Like the rest of the world, trade show lead retrieval tools have gone digital. In fact, many trade shows offer exhibitors digital scanners to capture data from attendees with a simple click of a button.
What's nice about mixing technology with lead retrieval is that you truly get the best of both worlds with less work for you after the show.
As we discussed earlier, following up with leads is the most important part of attending a trade show. It's also one of the most neglected post-show tasks. Modern data retrieval technology fixes this. Not only is having a gadget that scans someone's badge and captures their data pretty awesome, but they also alleviate the need to scan, proof, edit, and organize the hundreds of business cards you collected at the show.
Do yourself a huge favor and get technology on your side.
3. Use a Mobile or Tablet App
Yes, you guessed it, there are apps for capturing trade show leads.
Lke digital scanners, apps are an economical and a streamlined way to manage lead retrieval at trade shows.
Here are a few worth considering:
This app is designed to be a mini customized survey. Present it on a table/kiosk at your booth to potential leads. It doesn't need Internet access and it integrates with third-party companies to make exporting data to your CRM a synch.
Probably one of the most beautifully designed mobile lead capturing apps, Zuant is packed with features that make data retrieval convenient and fun. Zuant works offline, but it has a live reporting, badge scanning, and business card capture capabilities making data collection a no-brainer. Zuant easily integrates with third-party companies as well.
- OnSpot Social
If your primary objective is to gain email subscribers and social media followers, then OnSpot Social for you. OnSpot Social has a simple, yet inviting, interface that makes it extremely easy for leads to enter their email or like your social media pages. OnSpot Social can also be used for capturing prospect data, too. Even if you don't get a customer out of the deal, you at least gain a social media follower who may become a future customer.
Technological advances make it easy, convenient, and nearly foolproof for you to capture prospect data and import it into your CRM. All it takes is a few clicks of a button or two.
Regardless of which option you choose, if you don't follow up with your leads in a timely manner post-show, your efforts are moot. It's imperative to choose a lead retrieval system that works for you and fits into your overall trade show marketing plan - and use it!