By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter
I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I get back from a trade show I’m exhausted and ready for a vacation. Unfortunately there is still work to do after the trade show. In this Part 3 of our 3-part series on successful trade shows we’ll look at the 3 post-show activities you should be doing after every trade show to make sure it is a success.
“How many leads did we get?” This seems to be the number one question everyone asks after every trade show. And while this is an important question, I think the better question to ask is “What’s the plan for handling these leads?”
You need to have a plan in place well before the trade show, because after the show your attention is going to be pulled into the next trade show or another marketing project. First of all, make sure these leads/inquiries are added to your CRM system or whatever system you have in place to manage leads. It is important to categorize and prioritize these leads because there should be different follow up tactics depending on the lead level. For example a “hot” lead should have your salesperson following up in-person or with a phone call. This human touch point is critical and it also needs to happen in a timely fashion. On the flip side a “lukewarm” lead can be added to your email nurturing campaign so they can continue to receive relevant information on your products/solutions. Just because they don’t want to buy now doesn’t mean they won’t be a future customer.
At the end of the day, make sure you have some sort of touch point with every lead collected from the trade show. You’d be amazed at how many companies don’t do this simple step. Because if you are not going to do anything with these leads, why are you even collecting them in the first place?
2. Public Relations
This is one area that has relevance for pre-, during and post-show activities. Trade media will always have post-show wrap up issues, highlighting the new products showcased along with other news from the show, so you want to make sure your company is included.
Send press releases on new products out to any of the media you didn’t get a chance to meet with at the show (not all relevant media is going to be able to attend every show or make it to every booth).
And finally, follow up with any of the editors you did meet with at the show and continue to pursue the opportunities you discussed. Many of our clients have built extremely positive relationships with trade editors that started with a single trade show meeting.
A key factor for any marketing tactic, evaluating the performance is always a must. Make sure and capture key metrics from the show, like:
- Number of leads (depending on your plan, sometimes “quality” of the leads is better than the overall “quantity”)
- Overall show traffic stats (make sure and have comparisons to previous years to see the overall health of the show…is attendance growing, shrinking or staying flat?)
- Monitoring for media coverage from the show
Have a meeting with the key members of your team, including sales, to discuss and recap the show. It’s important to have this meeting shortly after the show, so everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Here are some potential topics/question starters for this meeting:
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What can we improve for next year?
- What should we add/remove?
- Booth size – do we need a larger/smaller one for next year?
Read Part 1 on Pre-Show Activities
Read Part 2 on During Show Activities