Home > Marketing, Sales > Exhibiting at a Trade Show? What to Do After the Show

Exhibiting at a Trade Show? What to Do After the Show

WhatToDoI just don’t get it.  Companies and law firms spend a great deal of money and time to put on a successful presence at an important trade show and they don’t follow up with their leads from the show.  Studies have shown that over 75% of leads taken at a show by exhibitors are never followed up.  I’ve seen it as well.  Many times it is a disconnect between marketing and sales.  Marketing spends a great deal of time on the show but often don’t work with sales before, during and after the show to get the most benefit from the show.  Given the company’s investment in events like a major trade show, this is unbelievable.

It has been proven that contacts made at a trade show are some of the best contacts possible for a company.  Individuals who attend trade shows are usually there for a reason, often looking for solutions to their problems.  They are taking the time and effort to investigate their options.   Usually they are ready to purchase a solution within the next year from the date of the show.  Therefore these show attendees should be contacted and courted, quickly and efficiently.

Here is what needs to be done after any trade show event:

A. Finalize the event cost spreadsheet and write an after show report.  In this report mention the total cost and state key information from the show especially any successes and failures including:

  • what could be improved for the next time such as additional  items to pack
  • customers met
  • attendance of event
  • what competitors were there
  • # of prospects
  • key relationships established
  • any trends at the show

B. Enter all leads into your prospect tracking system or customer relationship management (CRM) application such as Salesforce, Act or Goldmine.  At a minimum get them into a spreadsheet.  If any information is missing such as a contact’s phone number then do a web search to get the missing information.  If appropriate have a post show meeting with those involved to gather information that might be beneficial to the company.

C. Promote your attendance at the show.  Write a blog post or article about what happened at the show including trends seen and highlights from the show.  Include your company’s highlights from the show but discuss other companies as well.  Send this show article to customers and prospects that could not attend the show.  This is a touch point that many will appreciate.  A blog post or article will key your company’s name, products and/or services into the top of mine of those that went to the show.

D. All leads should be immediately responded to by visit, mail, overnight delivery, email, and/or phone.  Highly recommended that a follow-up package to key show leads be sent immediately.  All contacts should hear from the company within 5 days of the show.  Email is probably the easiest to do this with a thanks for attending.  Prepare the email to send before the show so that it is not rushed.  Assign every contact made at the show to a specific sales representative or upper management person and have them call the contact within 10 days of the show.  After 10 days check with them and find out their progress.  All information gathered during the call should be entered into the CRM package.  Segment contacts into different groups so that the marketing can be tailored to them.  Groups could include the following:

  1. existing customers that visited the booth
  2. prospects that visited the booth
  3. other contacts such as vendors, potential partners, potential employees, etc. that visited the booth or your company had meetings with at the show
  4. anyone else that attended the show

Of course, booth visitors get a thank  you for visiting your booth and the marketing piece is personalized.  Show attendees that did not visit your booth gets information about your company.  An incentive to learn more should be included in the contact.  Marketing can create a marketing campaign to the prospects and these prospects should be included in future campaigns.

E. Decide a go/no-go to attend this event the next year.  And, if they vote go, make sure the show staff know your interest in attending next year and start planning for next year’s show.  Many of the same attendees from this year’s show will probably be attendees at next year’s show.

Trade shows are an important part of an organization’s marketing plan, as well one of the most expensive items.  What is done after a trade show is just as important as what happens during the show.  Maximize your effort after the show and follow up with those engaged.  If you do this you will be ahead of your competition.

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