Sales and marketing teams around the globe have become increasingly inventive during the global pandemic, finding new methods of showcasing their products and services to their target audience. That said, many businesses are now eagerly anticipating the resurrection of trade shows and expos and the opportunity to meet potential clients face to face and network in person with existing clients and peers. As we too prepare to exhibit at several upcoming shows, including EMCON, Subcon and Advanced Engineering, we thought it would be valuable to revisit how sales and business development teams can maximise trade show results with CRM underpinning the follow-up of leads in a consistent and methodical way.

You’re finally able to send your sales team back to a major national trade show. You know that your team will work hard, network, answer queries and gather leads. It’s estimated that 81% of trade show attendees have buying power (CEIR: The Spend Decision) so your team are in the right place at the right time, meeting valuable contacts who could make a big difference to your business. But what happens when the show ends? Will the team diligently follow up with each contact or will these leads, like 80% of trade show leads, never be followed up? (Exhibit Surveys) And how will you know whether they are? It’s a no-brainer that you need to follow up trade show leads with CRM to maximise your results.

Organise your trade show leads

After, or even at, the show, the first task that needs done is getting your leads into a CRM. You’ve spent time and money gathering valuable contacts – you don’t want them to get lost. By creating contacts for them in a CRM, these leads are stored in a central location which everyone who needs to can access. You can:

categorise – for example, by source (we like to do this on E-Max ERP so we can track how successful an event was at a later date) or by other criteria, ie industry, size of company, etc

prioritise – not every attendee will be in the same position – some may be ready to buy whereas other are doing their research for future activity

group – actions can be applied to groups of contacts

Once in a CRM, there’s no need to be hunting around a desk for an elusive business card weeks later when someone remembers – if they even do – that these leads need followed up.

Which brings us to our next point…..

Follow up trade show leads quickly

How many people does a typical trade show delegate meet? Dozens at least, potentially hundreds. Will they remember you? Maybe, but why take that chance? You need to re-connect with them after the show. Once in the CRM, you can give them a call and record the outcome, store details on them and their company – ie what is their buying timescale, or, in the happy event you have too many leads to manage yourself, allocate the leads to other members of your sales team so they can be contacted promptly (ie before your  competitors do!)

Schedule actions and receive reminders

Once you’ve spoken to the prospect – or even if you haven’t – it’s important to maintain regular contact with them to stay front of mind. With a CRM you can schedule the next action, such as next phone call, email further information, visit their premises or schedule a meeting, and allocate a reminder to these tasks. If you use a system like E-Max ERP, you’ll receive alerts when tasks need to be done, so there’s no chance of these activities being forgotten or slipping through cracks.

Track your activities and measure success

There’s no doubt having your trade show leads stored within a CRM helps with process and visibility. Using a consistent and structured sales process, each contact will be followed up and regularly communicated with to ensure your company remains front of mind. With this standardised approach, it’s possible to track the sales teams’ activities and ensure they are following up effectively, maximising your trade show investment.

When a CRM is integrated into a more comprehensive system, such as an ERP system, it’s easy to track the success of events all the way through to final sale. Detailed reports allow the tracking of a lead’s progression through the system and highlighting areas of success or concern, allowing the sales process to be constantly monitored and refined.
By following the above steps, If you really want to maximise the potential of events, then it’s imperative you follow up trade show leads with CRM.

Find out more about how E-Max ERP can help with managing leads by contacting us on 0808 109 2035 or drop us an email. We can also take you through a demonstration of the system so you can see how much more effective tracking trade show results becomes when your CRM is integrated with ERP.

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