Easily 50-90% of trade show leads are wasted (because 70-90% of salespeople working the booths are wasted 70-90% of the conference...but I digress!).
In fact, only 6% of companies think that they convert trade show leads well!
There are many reasons trade show leads are wasted, but for now, we'll look at the technology side of things, especially the CRMs companies (mis)use, particularly the lack of follow-up they deploy.
With that in mind, let's look at the 800-lb gorilla in the CRM space vs. the friend of the SMB user, which is, respectively, Salesforce.com vs Keap.
So which is better for trade show marketing?
First, some numbers.
Quantity has a quality all its own." Joseph Stalin
According to trade show experts,
- Because of the unconstitutional lockdowns our government dictators forced upon us with COVID as their excuse, trade show revenues dropped 61% in 2020, but they are rebounding
- In the B2C space, over 75% of marketers use email marketing to promote their events...but 50% of those marketers struggle to get their emails opened!
- In the B2B space, 74% of trade show attendees admitted to being influenced to buy
- and used 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority (46% are executives or upper management)
- 78% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to attend, which means you are expanding beyond your local or even regional market.
- Exhibitors have "out-of-whack" goals* (my wording) for attending trade shows, which include
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Relationship building
*If you are Boeing or Coca-Cola or McDonald's,
- brand awareness is fine.
- If you have a sales and marketing automation process in place, lead generation is fine.
- If you are ahead of your numbers for the month, quarter and year, relationship building is fine.
- Otherwise, you exhibit to
- Make sales, (see the next bullet),
- Generate qualified leads,
- Generate joint venture leads,
- Build relationships.
While I love forming quality relationships with the people I meet when you're at a trade show, "Quantity has a quality all its own." (Yes, I just quoted Stalin...but ya gotta admit, it kinda works in this area. Now, where was I?"
When you're at networking events like those conducted by your chamber of commerce or you're at a big trade show, you're there to gather leads.
While it's great to spend time with everyone that visits your booth and get to know their deepest, darkest desires, their dreams, their aspirations, their favorite movie, and their zodiac sign, the reality is you just can't do it and get more leads with whom you can follow-up after the show.
The problem with Salesforce for trade show marketing is that it's a big, expensive, locked-down contract, limited-support, static CRM that is little more than a Rolodex in the sky, which means you need additional tools to make it really work for you.
Yes, you need a database/CRM to store your contact's data, but data storage is cheap and almost useless unless you have systems in place to turn that data into knowledge and that knowledge into money.
This is why I like the proven simplicity and efficacy of Keap.
Here's an overview of a simple Keap marketing automation campaign you can use for your next trade show that might take 45 minutes to set up and maybe 15-20 minutes to update for future trade shows.
On the far left you see three different ways to get prospects into your follow-up sequence:
- The contact registers on their own, maybe via tablet at your booth or via QR code they click on and complete on their own phone or via email announcement.
- You manually enter them when they stop by the booth and drop off a business card, maybe for a raffle you're conducting.
- You upload a list of attendees whose badges you scanned and Tagged them as booth visitors.
On the far right, I show two ways the campaign could end:
- They click a link you send them via email or text as part of the follow-up sequence that maybe takes them to a scheduling page to request a demo.
- They buy from you.
In the middle is the actual follow-up sequence than can have a myriad of steps, but the name of the game is to simply follow up.
Over time, you can add details and nuanced steps and if/then variables to account for 1,001 different scenarios, but if you implement a 3-10 step follow-up sequence that includes emails, phone calls, text messages, and maybe some direct mail, you can and will have tremendous ROIs on your trade shows.
In the sequence above you see:
- Tag the contact so you know their status. I'm showing two in this example, but you might add a dozen, such as:
- Prospect (since they are a prospect)
- Trade show prospect (since you met them at a trade show vs. outbound or PPC)
- ABC 2022 conference prospect (the exact conference you met them)
- Product #1 interest (if you had a special offer or they indicated their specific interest)
- Hot/Warm/Cold (if you know their buying desire/timeframe)
- In reality, the first three are all you really need to make this a beneficial tool.
- Rather than send an immediate email and text when you scan their badges or enter their info into your system, I like to wait a few minutes to a few hours before having my system fire off communications to them.
- Send a "Thanks for stopping by" email that has your contact info and information on any offers you running for the show.
- Wait a little longer and send a text. If you're having a raffle or you are hosting a happy hour at your booth or dinner/party during the show, send a text with that information at the appropriate time.
- Somewhere in the sequence, you will want to assign these leads to your SDRs and salespeople so they can own the follow-up.
- Create additional correspondence, i.e., emails, texts, phone calls, etc. at a concentrated pace at the beginning that slowly tapers off if the prospect turns out to not be qualified.
If you had a short drip/nurture/follow-up sequence like this inside your Keap account for your trade show, you'd be in the black for any trade show you worked.
(If you had my help customizing your campaigns and you had the best Keap campaigns, you'd really be in the black!)
Yet few–almost none–of the prospects I meet with have a defined process for following up with trade show leads beyond exporting them to a CSV file and uploading them in a newsletter tool like Constant Contact or uploading them to their static CRM like Salesforce.com and plowing through the hot leads and hoping they get to all of them before they buy from someone else, which is rarely the case.
You need a Process Before Login (and a Process Before Trade Show...but I haven't made that video, yet.)
Part of your sales and marketing process needs to follow "The A.B.C.D.E.™ Sales & Marketing System."
In some ways, it is as fundamental as saying your ABCs as a child.
But the devil is in the details.
So watch those videos to get some ideas on why and how you need to create an automated system that helps you segment your hot, warm, and cold leads so you can stay in touch with them appropriately.
When you make that happen, you can and will kill it at your trade shows while your competitors are left nursing their hangovers and wondering how you keep eating their lunches.
See below for more Keap and Infusionsoft resources:
- Infusionsoft Cheat Sheet
- Order Keap Now
- Order The Infusionsoft Book
- Get Keap Help
- Earn up to $500 for a Keap or HubSpot Referral
Market like you mean it. Now go sell something.