Part 3: The follow through
Tradeshows are a lead generation goldmine. But you’ll need to polish those nuggets before you can cash them in.
It’s the Monday morning after the show. You’re back at the office, ready to get back to business. You unpack the fishbowl full of business cards. Now what?
In part two of our Tech Tradeshow Tips series, we shared our ideas on how to make the most of your time at the show. For the third part of the trilogy, we’ll cover the best ways to cash in on the leads you generated and the buzz you built while you were there.
1. Have your follow-up plan in place
Tradeshow follow-up should be part of your pre-tradeshow planning. If you set a goal of generating 100 leads, then have at least that many follow-up packets prepped and ready for customization when you return to the office. Determine ahead of time if every lead gets the same touchpoint, or if you want to send different pieces and messages, depending on where the lead is in their buyer journey.
2. Get a move on
The timing of your post-show follow through is critical. The week after the tradeshow is the time to get in touch, not a month or more later. Do as much prep work as you can before the show so your follow-up piece lands in prospects’ hands while they still remember you.
Using targeted calls to action that address prospects’ needs will bring a level of urgency to the conversation without coming across as desperate. Your persistence isn’t annoying because you listened during the show — you get them. Demonstrate the patience and understanding that comes with knowing there are several layers of decision making involved, but don’t let that patience be mistaken for apathy. Even in the tech space, with high price tags and long sales cycles, it’s still best to be first to the conversation and to remain top of mind throughout the entire buying process.
Take a multi-modal approach to connecting to and staying engaged with leads. While you’re at the show, connect on LinkedIn and follow their company accounts on other social channels. Hopefully, during the tradeshow, you were able to schedule follow-up calls and product demos for the weeks to follow. Sending a concise post-show email blast to your full leads list is a great first step. Then consider sending personalized notes, letters or premium lumpy mail to qualified prospects. Make outreach calls to follow-up on the mailers and see if you can answer any questions, address barriers to sale and/or schedule a product demo.
3. Drip, drip drip
Remember that list of client pain points you documented at the show? They’re great fodder for your content marketing strategy over the next 12 months. You should now have a handful of new topics for your email drip campaign, a regularly scheduled digital outreach. Put a plan in place to generate articles, eBooks, infographics and white papers that specifically address how your brand solves those pain points.
Prioritize the hottest and most common pains first. Sending a personalized message to the people who expressed the specific pain you’re addressing will demonstrate your commitment to helping them. Thank them for opening up about what keeps them up at night and tell them you think they might like the piece you’re sending, which was inspired by your conversation and addresses their concerns.
4. Assess strategy, positioning and product
After you’ve done your initial round of follow through and some time has passed, assess how what you learned at the tradeshow might inspire new offerings, strategies and/or innovations. Did you uncover client pain points that you’re not adequately addressing? Are your competitors eating your lunch in certain areas? Do you need to get out of certain markets and into others? If you need to make a course correction, you’ve got 12 months to do it. Lay out a plan to unveil your new and improved product, service or positioning at next year’s show.
5. Plan for next season
Now’s the time! Revisit part one of our Tech Tradeshow Tips series for more details. Work backward from next year’s show date and make sure your product, sales and marketing teams have the time, resources and shared vision to make next year’s show an even bigger success.
Take a multi-modal approach to connecting and staying engaged with leads.
There’s no business like tradeshow business
Tradeshows are just one part of your overall marketing and sales mix, but there’s nothing else like them. Where else can you find so many of your competitors, partners and potential customers all under one roof? Tradeshows are a big investment, and you can maximize your return with an all-year approach — allocate marketing resources, set goals, encourage friendly competition and follow-up in a timely, strategic way. Now get out there and talk to some strangers. They’re just prospects you haven’t met yet.
About Tom Campbell:
Tom is Toolbox’s co-founder and creative director. When he’s not keeping the ‘Box rocking, Tom can be found backstopping his beer league hockey team or playing drums for local bar bands. He’s also a founder and fairy godfather of Art Lab Fort Collins and keeper of TomLovesTheLibertyBell.com, a quirky repository of stories and stats on Liberty Bell replicas around the world.
About Toolbox Creative:
Toolbox Creative is a B2B Brand Engineering firm, helping the 3D Printing, AgTech and CleanTech industries change the world. We distill complex technologies into powerful identity systems, websites and marketing tactics that align sales and marketing efforts, create lasting impact and build brand love.