According to a recent MarketingSherpa survey, generating high quality leads is the top challenge for B2B marketers.
Clearly it is no longer enough for tradeshows to generate leads and simply pass them on to the sales team. Tradeshow professionals need to help sales be more effective by identifying the leads that are most likely to convert. Sales needs to know which leads to act on first and in what context (i.e. what are the prospect's primary interests and needs with regards to your offering).
By collecting more than just contact information from each booth visitor, you can assign the lead to the appropriate sales person so that the lead gets acted on quickly and enthusiastically, and the prospect gets the best service.
Industry reports show that up to 80% of tradeshow leads are ignored when a lead qualification process is not put in place. And it's no wonder - without a robust lead qualification solution, the sales team is faced with a daunting list of seemingly random contacts that they must call on. They quickly lose motivation because they cannot distinguish which leads are most likely to "cross the finish line."
Here are some progressive steps to advance from lead collection to lead prioritization:
- BANT - Add a few profile questions to your lead retrieval solution and you are well on your way to helping qualify leads. An accepted way to qualify leads is to ask four simple questions, known collectively as BANT:
- Is there a budget allocated for my offering?
- What authority do you have in the purchasing process?
- Is the need for this solution well defined and does it match our capabilities
- What is the timeframe for purchasing and implementing a solution? Is it in the next 6 months, 12 months, or over a year?
Make sure that the lead retrieval system you use at tradeshows includes the capability for booth staff to enter this data into the system along with contact information.
- BANT + B - Add attendee behavior data to the BANT information, via an RFID solution, for indications of intent to purchase. Imagine how much more effective your sales team will be if they know which leads are both highly qualified in terms of profile and purchase intent.
- Lead prioritization report - Now you have much more information on each lead. But for sales to take immediate action, the data needs to be organized in a way that makes it easy to view and understand which leads are most likely to convert quickly.
A lead prioritization report takes the contact information and the BANT + B data for each lead, converts it into a lead score that takes into account your organization's sales objectives and areas of success, and delivers a list of the leads, ranked by priority from highest to lowest.
Here's an example of a lead prioritization report provided to a Fortune 500 healthcare organization:
The lead priority column shows the key leads, obtained by analyzing BANT + B data and using an algorithm customized to the healthcare company's sales objectives.
- Visitor cultivation reports - So far we've discussed leads generated at the tradeshow booth. But how about booth visitors who did not exchange contact information with booth staff?
If you are capturing attendee behavior data with RFID, you can also compare these booth visitors to your lead retrieval data. Even though you have not captured their contact information via your lead retrieval system, you can still cultivate these new leads based on their behavior and interest when in the booth. Include them in lead nurturing marketing campaigns so that when they are ready to purchase, you'll be on their short list of preferred vendors.
Lead qualification strategies and solutions not only help make the sales team more productive and efficient, they also provide better measurable ROI for tradeshows and give you more data to answer the question "Are we participating in the right tradeshows"?