Trade shows are considered the lifeblood of many sales and marketing teams. Giving companies the opportunity to market their product to potential customers, obtain PR and generate inbound sales opportunities.
But to realize the many rewards that come with trade shows, a massive investment needs to be made. Exhibitor tickets are expensive and constructing a booth design is time intensive (+ expensive), travel itineraries for countless team members and then the actual execution of the event.
It takes a company-wide initiative to pull off a successful event and obtain the goal of generating leads. Whether at the event itself or direct follow-up after the event or inbound from the PR recognition you receive, the fundamental goal of a trade show should be sales.
Thus, it’s imperative to maximize your opportunities during the event and convert the leads you obtain to closed sales (heck, you need sales just to pay for the event).
After working with several clients, we have uncovered how incorporating a sales development rep (SDR) into the preparation, execution, and follow-up of a tradeshow can seriously increase sales opportunities.
Here’s how you do it:
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Traffic to your booth can be sporadic depending on the show and booth location, so utilizing your SDR team prior to the show can ensure a steady flow of “interested” target visitors.
Your SDR can prime the pump by tapping into your attendee list, matching against your target customer profile and building a hot list of targets for the show. Once this list has been approved, the SDR can create a custom email/calling campaign to reach out to targets 3-5 weeks prior to the show and again days before the show begins. Prospects are 32% more likely to take a brief meeting compared to standard appointments setting as they are already at the show. Having 10+ meetings already set is a clear benefit, but companies that run specific campaigns prior to the event also see 28% more drop-by visits – a correlation of SDR outbound (your pre-show messaging should include your booth number!).
Tradeshows can be hectic with the ebb and flow in foot traffic and event managers admit that up to 23% of leads are lost by inefficient management, tracking and leads documenting error. Having your SDR support the event team guarantees the likelihood that leads gathered actually turn into opportunities.
The SDR can be tasked with the responsibility of uploading leads into the CRM live vs post show. Trade show leads are notoriously incomplete with up to 64% missing vital data (phone, name, email…) and thus having an SDR with access to data sources, ensures each lead is entered into CRM complete with all the data needed to follow up and convert that lead into an opportunity.
The SDR can also assist the team in mapping out the organizational structure of the lead giving the team all the ammo they need for follow-up. Subsequently, the SDR can score the lead live based on your scoring method to ensure correct prioritization and max ROI returned from each lead gathered.
Lastly, the SDR can get a head start on follow-up. 64% of leads that convert to an opportunity were contacted within 24 hours of the first contact yet most event teams stack the list and start outreach after the event has finished up. Using your SDR to immediately follow up and lay out next steps or set up a follow-up meeting will ensure that leads stay hot.
74% of exhibitors admit that their post-show follow-up lacks urgency. There are various reasons for this. Some are prepping for the next show. Others admit they put to much focus on the 20% “hot leads” while dropping the ball on follow up to the other 80%.
Since the SDR was involved in prepping and executing the event they are in a prime position for follow up. By utilizing an SDR on a follow-up/nurture campaigns to the leads gathered, a company can increase SQL (sales qualified leads) by over 43%. Add in follow up calls and coordination for the sales team and this can be driven up to 54%. The key here is time! Two weeks post event and prospects will barely remember the event let alone the conversation, so it's imperative that follow-up occurs immediately and aggressively to ensure a 2nd meeting is added to the books for the sales team.