Trade Show Marketing – Smarter Post Show Strategy
The recent resurgence of trade shows presents today’s sales and marketing teams with both new challenges and new opportunities for growth. While trade show attendees have more interest and buying power than ever before, small and mid-sized companies are at a disadvantage to Fortune 2000s when it comes to budget, staffing and technology. Consequently, many SMBs end up losing out on the opportunity to maximize event-based lead generation and sales revenue, both immediately after the event and for months into the future.
According to Exhibitor Magazine, Less than 70% of SMBs have a follow up strategy post-event. As a result 80% of leads that are generated during a show are ignored after the show.
In this age of marketing automation, content marketing and increasing competition, simply showing up at a trade show and then blasting every lead with the same, tired email message instantly upon your return no longer works (and dialing every lead is simply too cost prohibitive).
The average company can increase trade show lead gen ROI by as much as 4X. This increase requires a little more planning, tight execution, leveraging the right tools/technologies and temporary staffing (through a sale outsourcing company) focused solely on lead generation.
If you execute your trade show strategy correctly, you can ensure:
- You never miss a hot lead
- You don’t let warm leads slip away
- Everyone knows who you are and how you can help
- You maximize your ROI for the remainder of the year
This educational article is part 2 of a 2 part series. In this article we focus on how to maximize your post show follow up to make every lead count. (The first article details best practices to fill your booth. Both of these blogs were taken from a full whitepaper that also details how some of your larger competitors now fund and approach their trade show lead generation. You can download the full white paper by clicking the button below.
To get the most from the simple tactics and strategies we require:
- The ability to leverage a smart content management system
- The basic lead scoring features of a marketing automation platform
If you don’t have lead scoring tools in place they can be rented as part of Gabriel Sales Turnkey Support Package. If you do have automation tools in place we hope you find these Trade Show Marketing Tips helpful.
Generate More Real Sales Opportunities – Post-Show Tips
87% of attendees said they purchased a trade show exhibitors product or service 6 months post event (CEIR Report ACRR)
But according to Exhibitor Magazine 80% of leads that are generated during a show are ignored after the show because 70% of companies don’t have any follow-up strategy post-event.
With a little incremental investment and a systematic and sustained effort post-show, most companies can generate dozens of additional sales qualified opportunities to increase both the volume and revenue amount in their sales pipeline by as much as 4X. What follows are simple to follow best practices you can implement to focus your team on developing, qualifying and generating more sales opportunities after the show.
Generate a Show Highlights Blog
You’re either sitting in your hotel room and unwinding after a long trade show, or you’re already at the airport or on a plane on your way home…what’s next? You had a great show—you talked to folks across the trade show floor; including vendors, potential customers, competitors, and successful innovators in the space.
Now, it’s time to create some content to share with all of the prospects you talked with and met at the show, all of those people who gave you business cards, all of those scanned leads and your existing nurturing database. The first thing we recommend doing is jotting down some notes on the following:
- Cool, interesting or valuable speaking presentations that were given
- Any break-out events or smaller sessions where you learned anything interesting, new or helpful
- New companies or solutions in the market that are worth paying attention to
- Any future industry trends that came to light during the show
- Anything interesting you learned or saw
- New innovations, solutions or ways people can do business better
Using these notes, our best practices recommend that you write a personalized blog recapping all of these items to share with your entire database (existing and new leads). As you’ll see in the “Post-Show Content and Email Flow” section, this is the first piece of content and email we recommend you lead with, within 48 hours of the show ending. You can assume that the large majority of your competition will be following the same old process of loading all of their new leads into their CRM, and blasting everyone with a hard ask: “Can we set a meeting?”
Differentiate yourself in your first post-show follow-up email by sharing relevant, educational and informative information with your network. The goal here is to share some honest, interesting content that will benefit your network, whether they immediately transact with you or not. This greatly aids in cutting through the noise that’s ever present after a show, and helps you stand out as a real resource while building trust and brand awareness.
Focus on Continued Buyer Education First After the Show with a Nurture Campaign
Exiting the show (since you have been diligent with daily list management as suggested above), you will have the hottest 10% of leads distributed to the appropriate sales reps. Your competition will have done the same thing. For the next two weeks buyers are going to be flooded with follow-up calls and follow-up meeting requests. Buyers are going to be flooded with these requests while they are also catching up on more pressing tasks after missing 3 to 5 days in the office.
The goal of your campaign is simply to stay top of mind until the attendee has the time and is ready to engage. If you do this you will not miss a deal and your buyer will appreciate the respect and persistence. Here are our email best practices to help you stand out from the crowd:
- Show highlights blog – 1-2 days post show
- Piece of educational content – 7 days
- Thanks for visiting us & reminder of how we can help – 10 days
- Special post-show offer – 14 days
- Product demo offer / soft ask – 21 days
- Hard ask – 30 Days è then drop into the nurturing engine
Does this cadence mean you should not ask for the meeting immediately? Absolutely not! Our best performing emails are those that give leads the option to do both. We recommend you offer the meeting or demo but you also offer continued education.
To do this, you will need to have a couple of educational pieces ready to send immediately after the show. You don’t need to create new content. You can simply recycle old material to provide options that appeal to a range of prospects at various stages and with different preferences for different educational formats.
- Whitepaper and blogs for early-stage education
- Webcasts for mid-stage
- Thought leadership videos or a clip of your panel at the show (if applicable)
When these are combined with the show highlight blog discussed above you will stay top of mind. And when schedules settle down over the next two to six weeks you will reap a significant increase in your scheduled meetings.
Sales Outsourcing Tip: Trade Show Marketing Lead Scoring
With calls to connect ratios (a buyer actually picking up the phone when you call) at 10%, it is critical that you make the most of every connection possible. To do this, it is important to prioritize your calling based on your buyer’s engagement with your follow-up email campaign and digital content consumption.
Once again, this is where you need to leverage marketing automation to maximize your calling efforts. Similar to the pre-show lead scoring, we recommend giving escalating scores to engagement with your post show content, If a lead is moving from the content offer and into more specific pages, we highly recommend that you follow-up immediately with an email and phone call. You can use an automation system to notify your caller when this occurs.
Coming out of the show, we also recommend that you segment your leads into three groups of follow-ups to maximize results and minimize costs. The basic idea behind segmentation is that you should not have senior reps—with loaded costs exceeding 100K—attending to an early stage prospect, and you should not have inside reps, your email marketing campaign or BDRs following up with executives you know are ready to engage.
As mentioned above, you can’t connect on the phone with every lead immediately, especially if you do not have the excess calling capacity to handle a spike in lead volume. Maximizing your results and manage your cost of sales percentage, you should prioritize follow-up with different types of leads accordingly:
- Hottest Leads – Leads where leaving the show, the next step is already scheduled (or promise of next step scheduled) and is to be followed up by sales reps.
- Hot Leads – Deals that are worth being pursued until they have been reached on the phone, but not worth a senior rep spending hours on that connection; prioritize these leads in batches of 50 (in order of importance) and then they should be given to your BDRs and they should call until they connect. It is OK to drop these leads into your post show marketing campaign.
- Warm Leads & Your Entire Pre-show Database – Call these leads based on their digital engagement. These leads merit a direct follow-up only after they start showing predictive buying behavior in their automation score
Sales Outsourcing Tip: Trade Show Marketing Post-Show Summary
Exiting the show you are going to generate business from your top leads. Maximizing your results simply requires a systematic plan and smart use of your calling resources executed over 4-6 weeks after the show. Remember, the majority of buyers stated they do not transact until 3-6 months after the show.
- Continue to educate your buyers after the show
- Be persistent and continue to build trust with the buyer with a consistent but not overly aggressive nurture campaign
- Call the hottest buyers first
- Use your automation platform to:
- Score leads to prioritize calling
- Give the buyer the power to schedule with you when ready
- Pursue the buyers for at least 2 months post the show
Who We Are and How We Can Help
Every tactic we use is driven by the goal of putting more sales qualified leads in your closers hands to generate revenue. We understand that companies already have different teams and tactics in motion. In response to this, we provide the following services:
- Top-of-Funnel Campaigns
- Sales Ready Lead Campaigns
- Thought Leadership and Sales Outsourcing and Automation Content Production
- Trade show Support
- And Full Go-to-Market Packages