In the blink of an eye the trade show has ended, you’re back in the office for a week and before you know it you’re back on the road off to the next show. Sound familiar? Trade show season is a whirlwind. Between the pre-show efforts, countless meetings and energy exerted during the show the last thing you want to do is get back to the office and leave the stack of business cards you collected to sit there and collect dust. Following up with prospects, tracking ROI and holding your team responsible are critical components of your post-trade show strategy.
Strategize your post-show strategy with your team prior to leaving. Establish who on your team will assist you with follow-ups. It’s best to have different strategies to maximize where the prospect is in their buying journey. You may have many team members playing different roles, so it’s important to have responsibilities clearly defined in advance.
Your marketing team should plan to send a series of post-show emails. You may want to remove certain prospects you have a different plan for. Gathering post-show insights through a survey may help determine a particular marketing strategy based on the responses. A post-show survey may also help enhance your trade show strategy for years to come.
Collecting business cards and taking notes during the show will help have a more personalized follow-up. Include non-business related points in your notes to show the prospect you valued the conversation. Upon returning to the office, this valuable data needs to be transferred into your CRM and then prioritized. Prioritize your list by who you spoke with and who you didn’t. `
It’s absolutely critical to call your hottest prospects immediately upon returning from the show. Returning from a trade show can be hectic for everyone, so stay top-of-mind in a respectful manner. If your sales team utilizes video messages, this is a great time to send them a casual video saying how great it was to meet at the show and you look forward to building your relationship. Try to include calls to action in your outreach to keep the momentum going.
Reviewing goals and tracking ROI
Trade shows are a big investment, but can really propel your business forward. In order to make sure you are getting the best return on investment, meet with your team immediately following the show to discuss your experience. What did you learn that was successful? What would you do differently for next time? This conversation should be centered around your goals that were previously set. You may discover your goals were too aggressive, not aggressive enough or totally reasonable.
Take time to review the movement of your ROI. If you set a goal of 10 prospects what does that look like in terms of revenue added to your business? When can you expect prospects to convert and what will those numbers look like? Maybe your ROI isn’t clearly defined by deals closed or number of prospects added but rather, increased brand awareness. Find a way to track and measure whether or not it was achieved. It’s also beneficial to review your budget and expenses to confirm accuracy which will affect how you report ROI.
Documentation is critical during this evaluation time period. Capturing all of the details will assist in planning for future conferences. After returning from the show, your team may feel super jazzed and have many ideas for the next show. Listen to their experience and value their feedback. Seeing what other businesses are doing during the show may spark creativity you want to leverage in the future.
It’s easy to get sucked back into the day-to-day workload after returning from the road. With so much money and effort exerted into conference season, it’s imperative to hold your team accountable. Your post-trade show strategy should extend into your sales and marketing conversations several months after the show is over.
Continue to stay on top of your sales team to ensure they are executing the proper follow-up strategy. Don’t let those hot prospects slip away! If you let too much time pass or aren’t consistent, you lose leverage that you’ve gained from the trade show. You can’t expect a prospect to remember you 10 months down the road, it’s just not realistic!
Only you can determine the best way for your team to track activity, but the key is holding everyone accountable. Having detailed conversations and progress updates can also help the team brainstorm different selling strategies.
Just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads, contacts and conversations into customer business extremely well. (spingo) 6%!? We have a lot of work to do! Your post-show strategy will help close the gap. If you feel like you can’t execute properly, you may want to outsource some of your efforts.
For a full guide to trade shows, check out our Trade Shows Aren’t Just About the Shows white paper.