26th July 2019

21 Trade Show Lead Generation Ideas: Maximise Presence & ROI

Skyline Whitespace have compiled a complete list for trade show lead generation ideas and tips.

Pre-show trade lead generation ideas

  • Ideas to generate leads at the trade show
  • How to generate leads after the trade show
  • Check out some of the best tips to help any marketing manager generate leads from trade show events and maximise ROI.

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Trade show lead generation ideas pre-show

  1. Identify the right team – studying demographics is a must before deciding who from your company is best suited to engage and follow up with the visitors. Regions and titles within the company are good indicators ideally, your team will speak the same ‘language’ as your clients/prospects.
  2. Get staffing levels right – it is ideal to think about your stand space and how many visitors it can comfortably accommodate. Including the number of meeting rooms, networking areas or demonstrations will help you identify the number of staff.
  3. Brief your staffs – refresh your knowledge of your company’s whole product offering and make sure everyone is aligned on the messaging/campaigns etc.
  4. Book meetings beforehand – Get everything together in the calendar if there are customers at the show who you would spend some time with to build-up that relationship or event prospects you’ve been speaking for several months.
  5. Swap printing for digital – you want to be remembered for  the right reasons so try to be more environmentally-friendly and think of using QR codes, USBs, social media platforms and think twice about giveaways
  6. Get your tech set-up right – never rely on the show Wi-Fi which is low bandwidth and shared by thousands. You should have dedicated internet access – Wi-Fi or wired in. Using Apps for lead capture, for example, the Akkroo app solves the problem as they are designed to work on and offline.
  7. Set targets and Design your lead capture form – think about the bigger picture and agree on the goals for the trade show.
  • Is it a lead generation event?
  • A thought leadership event?
  • A brand awareness event?
  • A partner/distributor event?

Your targets and your lead capture forms/app should reflect this. The content will be a combination of understanding your marketing objectives and sales targets.

  1. Brief meeting - having regular planning and progress meetings in the run-up to the show makes sure that everyone is aligned on the goals of the event, and aware of all the on-the-day logistics.
  2. Know who’s on the stand - make sure the right person speaks to the right visitor.
  3. Keep energy levels high- make sure everyone has regular breaks and show these in the rota. Make sure you eat and have plenty of water on the stand.
  4. Engage with visitors - just make sure all the staff are not only willing but keen to engage not just staring at their phone or doing emails so every visitors will be attended to.
  5. Get to know your neighbors - grow your network, get to know more people in your industry, exchange business ideas and potentially leads!
  6. Book meetings there and then - make the most of this opportunity and book in your next conversation – whether it’s a face-to-face meeting or a phone call – there and then, on the show floor. Keep those conversations going!
  7. Have a smooth lead capture process - use a digital lead capture system – whether it is the organisers’ of the show or whether it’s a third party system. Scanners can be fiddly. We recommend an App-based system such as Akkroo where it makes sense. The App also enables you to follow up within minutes of your discussion with a personalised email.
  8. Listen and Don’t pitch your product - take the time to listen properly and learn more about your prospect/client’s challenges to make sure your discussion/demos are relevant and meaningful.
  9. Get leads into your CRM  as quickly as possible - if you are still waiting for days or even weeks after a show before entering your leads in your system, the chances are that lead has gone cold, or lost to one of your competitors who were quicker to reach out.
  10. Who follows up? – make sure you have an agreed process before the show and make sure everyone sticks to the plan after the event.
  11. Personalise follow-up messages - the temptation is still to send a generic follow up email – it may be easier but it’s simply not good enough. We live in a world of personalisation and with digital marketing; there is no more excuse for sending a generic email. Make sure the email is addressed to the contact name and add a personalised content that will prompt the reader’s memory.
  12. Measure your performance - How do you know if a show went well? Pick one metric that you look at in the immediate aftermath of a trade show as your early measure; some customers look at the number of Sales Qualified Leads, but for others Marketing Qualified Leads work better.
  13. Measure event ROI - If you can calculate how much revenue you’ve generated from exhibiting at a trade show, you can calculate your return on investment. This will be one of the most important numbers for your boss to report back on, to justify your company’s budget for trade shows and other events. Other more qualitative measures can also be taken into account – number and type of meetings, progress in projects following discussions, brand awareness – they all matter but they are harder to measure.
  14. Debrief and plan for your next event - Once you know the ROI of each event you go to, you can set priorities on which to attend and consider other types of events that may work better for you. They could be more focused-type of events such as roadshows or bigger thought leadership events. Do not fall into the trap of going back to a show only because you’ve always been to that show! There is enough data available to make informed decisions. Hopefully, these trade show lead generation ideas will help as a bit of a refresher or as a guide to planning your first event.

Contact Skyline Whitespace for advice for your next event.