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Effective iPad Lead Retrieval Strategies for Trade Shows

Running to get the latest iPad for your trade show booth is a great concept, but make sure you create a plan to go with the device.

It’s so easy to think we can push a button and hear “that was easy!” and really have the problem solved. But like our parents told us, and we tell our kids, “the best things in life take a lot of time and hard work. There are no shortcuts to success.” This is true when using iPads. You’ll need a plan to create effective iPad lead retrieval strategies for trade shows, not only for use and implementation but also by setting some measurable goals and exciting your sales team excited about using iPads in the booth.

Start with an overall idea of what you wish the iPad would do to improve your trade show marketing process. Is better lead collection what you need? (Click here for the free white paper, “What Questions Go On My Lead Form?) Using an iPad for trade show lead capture is a great method, so make sure that it will work at all of your shows, not just a few. If you can’t use it at least at your tier one and tier two shows, then you still have a broken business process.

Beyond lead collection, what are the iPad lead retrieval best practices? With a device still so new, this is being redefined at every show. So, what else would you like the iPad to do? Using the iPad to show collateral is an obvious choice. Make sure you optimize the iPads for your trade shows. Using iPads for e-lit fulfillment will save you a lot of time and money and will be a great, Eco-friendly alternative to printing and hauling collateral to shows. With e-lit, you get a much stronger pass-along rate, so why not put that in your goals?

Next, think about what’s in it for the reps in the booth? If you position this as something you got for them, then your user adoption rate will be much faster. Find a few reps who already have iPads and pick a few test shows where they will be working. Get the iPads in their hands as “beta” users; seek their input and watch how fast they tell everyone in your organization about it. Certainly they will give you some insight into the way they use the iPads in the booth; perhaps they had a hard time finding collateral, maybe the process of correcting badge data was not intuitive. You’ll get great tips on how to tweak the iPads before your official roll-out.

Once in place, get a contest going between your reps. At our last show, Exhibitor 2012 (a trade show for trade show managers), we had a live dashboard with various metrics of booth activity. See the dashboard here. One of the little pie charts showed how many leads each rep had qualified. Just having the pie chart to view was enough to spur great competition among a team of five. By the end of the show, we were almost even in leads per rep.

Finally, you’ve got to align your trade show lead export file with your CRM. (Click here for a free white paper on “Trade Show Lead Alignment With CRM’s”). Collecting lots of sales-ready leads is a great start, but if you don’t have a process to give the leads in a “CRM-ready” file to your CRM team, you could see those leads just wither away.

If you’d like more information about iPad lead retrieval for trade shows and best practices, contact us for a discussion about your needs. Let’s dream together about what it could be and then create a great solution for you and your company!

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Are Your Trade Show Leads “Sales Ready” or “Ready for the Garbage”?

Back in the early days of computing, there was a popular saying, “Garbage in; garbage out!”  It’s still true today: if you collect garbage for leads, don’t expect anything but garbage to come out the other end.  What’s a pile of leads garbage?  That’s the pile of badge scans that have inaccurate contact information (phone and email are often incorrect) and are not qualified, just swiped. And don’t be fooled that your leads “are on a USB stick” or you “download them from the Internet”.  Garbage is garbage, be it on paper or electronic.

If you analyze any trade show’s demographics, you’ll likely find that no more than 20% of the attendees are your target.  If you promote an iPad giveaway and everyone gets scanned, then only 20% of those scans are worth anything.  But worse than that, those scans are just contacts, not leads.  To get sales to pay any attention to any leads gathered at your show, the captured lead will need to indicate a defined product interest, a time frame for possible purchase, and something that identifies the size of the opportunity (such as quantity).

This is not to say that you shouldn’t collect “C” leads at trade shows, but if you jam your booth with “flies”, how will your reps have time to interact with your target market and get “A” leads?  If you do a giveaway, target mail or email only the 20% before the show, and try to make the giveaway tied to your products and services and be of benefit to the attendee. In order to collect more “sales-ready” leads, you’ll need to have a couple of things in place.

First, focus your sales team on the goal of getting two sales-ready leads per hour per person.  Agree with your sales director on the definition of such a lead–usually it is a defined product interest with a short time frame and a quantity over “x”.  Get a contest going between your reps in the booth. The reward doesn’t have to be great; bragging rights are often good enough. 

Second, get some basic training for the team.  Sales conversations at trade shows need to be focused and structured in a different way than day-to-day selling.  Once trained, every sales rep in the booth should be able to qualify a attendee within two minutes to determine if they should spend another five minutes or 15 minutes with them.  Well trained reps know how to focus on attendee questions and needs instead of their own agenda of spewing out endless information.  They will also know how to include more than one person at a time into their conversations and demos.

Third, give your reps trade show optimized tools, such as virtual collateral and lead detailing stations. The more information tools you can provide your reps, the more answers they have for attendees and the more sales ready leads you’ll get.

And last, but not least, send the leads that are “scans only” to your lead nurturing program, not to your sales reps.  If your reps get leads that have real potential for a sale, they’ll gain respect for the leads you gather at shows and you’ll see a dramatic rise in sales from these leads. Remember “Garbage in, garbage out.”  Time to take out the garbage!

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Is there something better than BANT to qualify show leads?

Is there something better than BANT to qualify show leads?

Give salespeople enough leads and they will complain about quality. The surest path to quality enhancement is getting answers to questions salespeople require to separate immediate, long term buyers or visitors that just want a free t-shirt. I think the answers most sought after are: budget, timeframe to buy, authority to buy, and need (usually thought of as product or product application).

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