Trade shows and events are multifaceted marketing instruments. When implemented properly, they can
- boost company awareness
- serve multiple PR purposes
- form an important part in recruitment strategies and
- allow benchmarking with competitors.
The importance of selling directly at shows has been declining, however, generating sales leads at trade shows ranks highest for most of the exhibiting companies.
Ultimately, it is the crucial success factor for organizers: Your show is sustainably successful when this criterion is fulfulled – facilitating lead generation via techical tools can be one way to achieve that objective!
Particularly small and medium-sized companies anf first-time exhibitors don’t seem to pay enough attention to the process of retrieving and managing leads at such events and, thus, don’t get the maximum impact from their participation.
In the old days, lead capture was done on sheets of paper with some notes and a business card stapled to it.
Not bad, but, hey!, we can do a lot better nowadays, can’t we?
In an ideal world, the lead capture and follow-up process by exhibitors is closely linked to the activities of the show organizer – before (pre-show marketing), during (e.g. badge scanning) and after the event.
That’s where technology comes in. I have endeavoured to present some of the available services in this post. Some come more from the organizers perspective, others focus on the needs of the exhibitors, some combine both views. I am sure there are more out there, so please feel free to comment and add services.
What are the most important criteria for an organizer when selecting the right lead management tool to provide to your exhitibitors?
- Simple interfaces to visitor registration, CRM and exhibitor databases (if not fully integrated anyway)
- Monetisation: To what extent can you turn this service into a business model?
- Data protection: Is the process of lead capture and management bullet-proof from a data protection point-of-view?
- Usability: Sleek, easy-to-use front-end both for visitors and exhibitors.
What do exhibitors look for when qualifying sales leads?
- Can the software be fully integrated into CRM tools like Salesforce, SAP or others.
- Is the lead form customizable in terms of fields, contact details, priority, sales potential etc.
- Does the tool offer automatic follow-up procedures, like setting reminders, sending follow-up emails?
- Can you use it to present sales material and other digital assets like product videos? Some integrated solutions offer this A-Z approach.
Here are some technology providers, listed in alphabetic order by company name:
Bartizan Connects: iLeads
iLeads is a mobile badge scanner with lead qualification tools, so it connects to the registration data of the show organizer.
ExpoBee: Industry Tracker
…is a little bit different, in the sense that it looks at the process from a vistor perspective, providing a personalized news platform. It allows the trade show visitors to connect with relevant vendors, and the vendors in return to get in touch with the prospects.
G2Planet: Event Lead Generation and Management
Used by Hyundai to collect leads at consumer car shows, the solution from G2Planet can gather data from any type of attendee badge and can be used in trade show as well as sports or culture events environments.
The tool from iCapture offers marketing automation and can be integrated into most of the leading CRM systems. It works on iPads as well as in kiosk mode.
I have featured this solution in a recent blog article already. The guys from insinno all have a background in sales and sales process design, so they put a special focus on the presentation part at exhibitions, combined with a structured follow-up process.
A service by a company based in Czech Republic that combines various apps in one, like exhibitor and product directory, attendee mobile app and lead retrieval system. Just about to be launched, so no video available yet, but worth checking out and keeping an eye on.
n200: Visit connect
The company from the Netherlands offers a combined bar code scanning tool (either smartphone-based or with scanning devices on a rental basis) with lead capture and management tools.
NewLeads: Trade Show Leads Solutions
The solutions for iPads come with a language conversion tool, so that you can easily support multiple international trade show participations with just one interface.
A lead retrieval and lead capture app for trade shows and events that will work offline, too, and comes with subscription pricing starting at $19 per month. There is also a free forever plan available to all.
Willwork Lead Capture
Offers a platform for customer dialogue at the trade show, with e-literature mailing functionalities and a special focus on reporting.
XING is the leading social business network in Austria – Germany – Switzerland. With its purchase of amiando, a provider of event and ticketing solutions, XING has combined its social network with event technology. XING events is not really a lead capturing software, but due to its full integration in the events management workflow, I’d like to list it here. You can see who’ll be coming to an event, you get recommendations who to meet based on the user profile.
Zoho CRM: Leads App
Using the Leads App, you can scan barcodes or business cards and assign lead owners right from the show floor to manage follow-up processes. Zoho is basically a CRM software, and the Leads app is fully integrated.
Zuant: Mobile Lead Capture
Ticks a lot of boxes: works offline, integrates with Salesforce, has a media viewer to present files and attach them to follow-up emails, and comes with a badge scanner.
Who would you add to this list? Look forward to your comments, experiences and reports!