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Tips for Maximizing Integrator Trade Show Leads

We recently spoke with two marketers to better understand how to organize and follow-up on B2B trade show leads. Here’s what they told us.

Tips for Maximizing Integrator Trade Show Leads

Audiovisual industry trade shows are just as (if not more) important for the manufacturers and tech providers exhibiting at them as they are for the integrator attendees. It’s their chance to show buyers that they not only make great products, but have competent support for them, too.

Whether it’s through badge-scanning, business card handoffs, or friendly introductions, marketers and product managers at these events tend to gather large pools of leads. But do they know what to do with them after the show?

We recently spoke with two marketers to better understand how to organize and follow-up on B2B trade show leads. Here’s what they told us:

Marketing and product reps. at B2B trade shows have countless meetings with prospects and partners. How do they make sure they follow up appropriately based on whether who they’re following up with is an existing customer or a prospective one?

Steve Cummins, VP of Marketing, airtame:  There are a number of ways to do this. The simplest is a Red/Yellow/Green approach.

The rep. notes down anyone they had a significant interaction with (ideally in the scanning system, if it supports it; otherwise, you’ll need a way to capture it manually).

Those are marked as red in the CRM/Marketing automation system, which then flags it for the rep to follow up personally. Yellow is for any contacts that fit an “ideal” profile (which could be from a specific company or city, for example), which will then be highlighted to the reps. as a possible contact of interest. All the other scans are then Green, which means that Marketing follows up automatically with a nurture campaign.

So after the event, the rep. can pull a list of the Red and Yellow contacts, view their details in the CRM, along with any notes taken from the show, and follow up appropriately.

David Bacher, head of marketing for LG Business Solutions USAAt in person events, we generally expect to meet with a 50/50 mix of both prospective customers that we’d like to introduce ourselves to, as well as existing customers we want to continue building relationships with.

There is a high level of pre-planning for each event to prepare for which existing customers we are hoping and expecting to see. Our database within SalesForce helps us pull together customer data which generates key insights that enable valuable conversations when we follow up with customers at the trade show.

On the other hand, when meeting with prospective customers, we immediately enter their information into our SalesForce database to see if we have any history with them before we engage. We also add these potential customers to our marketing database so they receive relevant outbound emails.

At trade shows, our team will use an app to scan business cards and badge information. We then upload that scanned data into SalesForce so we have all of the lead information in a centralized location.

Scanning that card or badge is the first step we take in the relationship to capture insightful customer information. We try to be systematic with this data to match it up with any prior data and pull it all together, so that we have a cohesive and insightful view of the customer. This allows our marketing and sales teams to have meaningful conversations with existing and prospective customers. As a result, we can better serve them as we continue to engage with them beyond the trade show.

Do you nurture these leads as more of a sales department initiative or marketing, or both?

Steve Cummins: Every lead from the show should have some level of Marketing follow-up.

At a minimum, there’s a “thanks for stopping by” email, which includes some additional resources and possibly an offer. The hot leads (Red, in the above description) will then be managed primarily by the sales team and not put into an automated campaign directly.

The other leads can then be split into multiple nurture campaigns – for existing partners vs. new prospects; or based on interest in a specific product category or technology and so on.

I’m also a fan of including a time-bound promo for people who have attended that particular event. For example, offer an Amazon gift card if they take a live demo within 10 days (the sense of urgency is important on this one, since they’ll be inundated with messaging directly after the show).

The SDR/BDR team can then take some of the leads that are in the automated marketing campaigns, and do additional targeted outreach, in parallel with the nurture campaigns. This relies on the CRM/MArketing Automation providing enough information for the BDRs to understand where the lead is in the nurture cycle.

David Bacher: At in person events, like trade shows, we generally expect to meet with a 50/50 mix of both prospective customers that we’d like to introduce ourselves to, as well as existing customers we want to continue building relationships with.

There is a high level of pre-planning for each event to prepare for which existing customers we are hoping and expecting to see. Our database within SalesForce helps us pull together customer data which generates key insights that enable valuable conversations when we follow up with customers at the trade show.

Related: What Integrators Really Want to See at Your Tech Trade Show Booth

We see nurturing these leads as a shared responsibility between sales and marketing. In most cases, our marketing team will take the first step in thanking and engaging with these leads, trying to best understand the context of the journey of where they came in, and making sure that we are able to match them with the solutions that will help quickly and effectively address their needs.

Equipped with this context from marketing, sales will then step in to have a real, personal conversation with the customer to truly understand what they need. At LG, we believe that human assessment is integral to fully understanding every problem, and our salespeople are the best people to do so.

On the other hand, when meeting with prospective customers, we immediately enter their information into our SalesForce database to see if we have any history with them before we engage. We also add these potential customers to our marketing database so they receive relevant outbound emails.

We adjust our leads attraction strategy based on each trade show’s unique audience. We work to attract more leads through sponsorships as well as through fun, “surprise and delight” activations for customers.

For example, at previous trade shows and events LG has done spin-to-win games, where integrators can get their badge scanned at the booth, then spin a wheel to win anything from a Starbucks or Amazon gift card, to consumer products like LG OLED TVs. These opportunities that attract a wide range of potential customers result in an even larger list that our team can pull from in the process of qualifying prospective customers.

These strategies help us widen the total addressable market (TAM) that we reach, thus expanding the sellable addressable market (SAM) within the TAM. From there we identify those that are a good match for our business solution technologies. Trade shows provide us with a great opportunity to cast a wide net, bringing more potential customers with diverse interests.

The ultimate goal of this process is to of course make sales happen. This process of collecting new customer data, as well as enhancing and enriching existing data, provides valuable context that helps us generate sales.

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