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Monday, July 30, 2007


Take a look at your trade show budget. Is it focused on developing sales or just on generating leads? Of all of the important line items in your budget, how many focus on converting the leads into sales? Chances are that if you are taking a traditional approach to allocating your trade show budget, your marketing efforts may fall short of producing the number of sales and revenues that they should.

Here's why. Industry statistics show that a staggering 80% of trade show leads are not followed up on. If your follow up plan does not extend much beyond giving the leads out to the sales team, then you're the rule rather than the exception. Developing trade show leads into sales opportunities takes a more strategic approach. By helping your sales team at this crucial stage you can significantly impact their effectiveness and production.

It's critical that your trade show marketing plan does not stop at the show floor. There are several important steps necessary to develop the leads into sales opportunities. Leads must be called, decision-makers must be reached, and opportunities must be qualified to leverage the time of your sales team.

Allocating a portion of your budget for marketing to qualify the leads before the sales team takes over will impact the success of your show tremendously. Whether you invest in your marketing team, an inside sales team, or a lead qualification company like Lead Generation Solutions, the key is having the expertise that you need to execute the following techniques:

  • Call every lead immediately after the show. This allows you to reach the prospects when their interest level from the show is at its highest. It also allows you to beat slow moving competitors and make sure that no leads fall through the cracks. While calling six weeks or six months later is better than not calling at all, it's critical to call every lead immediately after the show. You are investing a lot of money on the show to initiate a personal relationship. Mailing catalogs or a power point presentation and hoping the prospect will call is not enough to maintain it.
  • Call several times until you reach the decision maker. It takes several calls to reach the decision-maker. The higher their level of authority, the more calls it takes. This is one of the areas where the breakdown occurs. It's very difficult for sales reps to make enough calls to reach the decision-maker. To make things more challenging, often the right company stops by your booth but not the right decision-maker. Many sales are lost because it is difficult to maintain the follow up needed to penetrate deeper into the company to find the opportunity. While some sales take extra resources to develop them, the investment will pay off in the long run.
  • Quality grade and prioritize the opportunities for the sales team to leverage their time. The sales reps time is valuable and is best spent only with the leads that have a qualified opportunity. However, even among these ideal prospects, they need to know exactly who to focus their time on. The first priority is the prospects that have a need and want to meet right now. Second are the prospects that have a need and want to be followed up on within a specific time frame. This way they will never waste time with non-qualified prospects.

Put your trade show budget where your sale is. There is a sports saying that holds that every baseball team will win one third of its games, and lose one-third of its games. What separates the winners from the losers is what they do with the remaining third. It is the same with companies exhibiting at a trade show. There will be obvious leads that will be cherry picked and quickly result in sales. There will also be leads that will never turn into sales opportunities. But how you budget and execute the qualification process with the remaining leads will really determine how successful your trade show will be.

About the Author
At
Lead Generation Solutions, we specialize with helping companies to maximize the effectiveness of their trade show follow up. Please give me a call me for a no-obligation discussion or take a moment to visit our web site at www.leadgenerationsolutions.com.


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