Lead retrieval systems are evolving as the technology behind them continues to change. They are still a sure way of capturing and tracking prospective buyers at the trade show. By using a lead retrieval scanner or badge reader, which reads encrypted bar code, magnetic code and QR codes printed on the attendee’s badge, the exhibitor can capture and retain the attendee’s information. After the sales reps in the booth scan the badge and enter a pre-selected tidbit regarding the potential or existing client, they can then use this information to follow-up on the lead after the show.
Scanners are normally offered through a show management approved contractor, and are available for pick-up at the beginning of the show. There are a few different types of scanners available, with handheld devices, tabletop models and even versions that feature a printer. Data is collected after the show and forwarded to the exhibitor either through a website or a thumb drive.
Rental of scanners can be expensive, sometimes upwards of $500 per show per unit. Multiply that by 2 or 3 scanners in a booth and the costs add up quickly. Some mobile lead retrieval devices allow exhibitors to capture leads not only on the show floor, but also in break-out sessions, in hallways during intermission, on buses, at dinners… virtually anywhere. Also, several of these applications integrate with CRM software platforms so the sales team can follow up with the qualified leads sooner after the show.
Due to the amazing number of readily available smart phones, hand held tablets, and near field communications, a flurry of developers are now offering aftermarket lead retrieval applications. These applications eliminate the need to rent traditional scanners at the show, and they can narrow the gap between marketing and sales by capturing more information. These applications give marketers the ability to send instant messages, provide E-literature instead of printed materials that end up in hotel trash cans, and provide interactive media for enhanced experiences. They can also provide analytics about visitor traffic flow, and can even help with some compliance requirements that are inherent in certain industries such as the Healthcare industry.
Not all these new lead retrieval apps will work at every trade show, since some of the show organizers may have restrictions on using outside devices and guard their participant data closely. You will have to make a choice based on the restrictions of each show.
When choosing a lead retrieval system, here are a few things to consider:
- Booth size and layout; will your booth staff be able to capture a lead without a long or awkward walk? The size and layout of your booth may be a significant factor in the type and number of lead capture stations you require.
- Number of leads you expect to capture; this one can be deceptive. More leads do not necessarily mean more devices. But, if you can reasonably expect 1,000 leads during a two-day event, then you better have the resources and bandwidth to handle that volume.
- Number of booth staff;the last thing you want is to have staff crowded around a single lead capturing device rather than engaging prospects.
- Experience of booth staff;by this I do not mean how experienced they are in their regular positions, but rather how experienced they are with engaging and qualifying prospects in a busy booth. The less experience present, the easier the process must be if you want them to be efficient and capture as many qualified leads as possible.
- Event culture;is this the type of show where most of the activity takes place during show hours or are there many “social” off-hour events where engagement occurs? Make sure you choose a solution that works when and where you need it.
- Resources available after the show;this is often forgotten. You’ve been to the show, you’ve collected tons of leads, and now you’re back in the office. What kind of physical and technical resources do you have available to sort through and follow-up with your hard-earned sales leads?
Due to an increasing demand for metrics that justify the cost of exhibiting and the need for data that goes deeper than an attendee’s name, title, and e-mail address, the traditional model of renting scanners for your show might not be enough. The gap between what data is captured and what data is necessary to deliver an ROI on the tradeshow participation needs to be narrowed. With the average cost to participate in a tradeshow going up every year, it’s no wonder that companies want to capture all the information they can from qualified leads at a show.
Industry sources claim that fewer than 25% of all leads collected at shows are followed up after the event, so what are you doing to make sure you are following up with all the leads that are coming to your trade show booth?
Budget, usage, and choice of application will help determine the ROI regarding any lead retrieval solution being used, and systems that are ‘hot’ today may easily be eclipsed by something new next week. Whether you need to use a show provided system or discover what application would work best for you, Exhibit Systems can help. We welcome the opportunity to work with your team to locate, price and choose the correct platform and software applications for your marketing efforts.
“Simply put, leads are the reason most companies exhibit.” Candy Adams, Exhibitor Magazine. You can read more of Candy’s article Golden Retrieval in Exhibitor magazine.
We hope this information is helpful as your marketing team starts planning your next trade show. Please call us at 262-432-8410 or email us if you would like our help to integrate a lead retrieval solutions with your face-to-face marketing efforts.