Demystifying APIs & Dev Kits for Event Lead Capture
When Event Organizers & Exhibitors work together, everyone wins!
You’ve set up your Universal Lead Capture form, your documents are ready to go, and your team is trained. Now the important question:
have you figured out how your team will actually be capturing contact data at your event?
For most events, especially in the US, you can get contact data by scanning name badges. Universal Lead Capture apps like Lead liaison can pull in data from badges. To do this, however, you’ll typically need an API, or developer’s kit.
This is where things go off the rails sometimes. You email the show management, and they have no idea what you’re talking about. How do you navigate these events and get your scanner up and running?
How to Retrieve API / Dev Kit Info
1: Check the order form
Many lead retrieval providers will have the API kit on their order form. This is a best case scenario. It might be listed as one of the following:
- API Kit
- Developer’s Kit
- Third-Party Kit
If it’s on the form, then that’s all you need to buy. No need to rent scanners or license the provider’s app. If it’s not on the form, it’s time to contact the provider directly.
2: Identify the lead retrieval provider
Show management rarely has much to do with lead retrieval. You can ask them about badge scanning and APIs, but more often than not they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. They will usually contract out to a lead retrieval provider.
Oftentimes the provider will be listed in your Exhibitor kit. It may even be listed directly on the show’s website. If there is an order form for lead retrieval, it will often reveal who the provider is.
If you’re having trouble identifying them, contact show management. Be very careful with your wording. If you throw around terms like “API Kit,” they’re probably going to get confused. If you have to contact show management, we recommend the following wording:
“Hello, we’re trying to set up lead retrieval for EVENT NAME. Could you please let us know who is providing lead retrieval services? We’d appreciate it if you could either connect us or give us your contact’s details.”
If management is still unsure, you can ask them if the badges will have barcodes on them and who is providing the name badges. Note that this is not always the lead retrieval provider.
Contact the provider directly
Once you know the provider, contact them directly. We’ve had the most success by asking questions like this:
“Hello, we understand you’re providing lead retrieval services for EVENT NAME. We use a Universal Lead Capture app and would like to set up badge scanning. Do you have an API kit or developer kit so our app can scan the badges at EVENT NAME?”
On rare occasions, the provider might misunderstand what you’re asking. They may send you an order form for their app at the event. Make sure they understand you want to use your Universal Lead Capture app.
What if there is no API Kit?
In some cases, there may be situations where the provider does not or can not offer an API kit. Depending on the situation, there are still a few things you can try.
1: Ask for post-show reconciliation
With post-show reconciliation, your Universal Lead Capture app will scan and save the badge ID. Once the event is over, you can send the list of badge IDs to the lead retrieval provider. They will return a list of contact details that apps like Lead liaison can use to complete your submissions. While it isn’t instant like with an API, the end user experience is the same. Your users simply scan the lead, add notes and qualifiers, and submit.
2: Ask for a sample badge
Sometimes providers don’t offer an API because the contact details are embedded in the badge. If you can get a badge to your Universal Lead Capture provider, they may be able to read the data without the need for an API. Lead liaison, for example, has a team of experts that check badges for you.
3: Talk to show management
If all else fails, let show management know how important it is for you to use your Universal Lead Capture app. Many show managers aren’t even aware that these sorts of apps exist, and as a paying exhibitor, you can make a difference. We’ve had managers make changes by sending messages like this:
“Hello, we use a Universal Lead Capture app that we normally use at the events we attend. Usually the lead retrieval provider has a developer kit which allows our app to scan the badges. We understand that PROVIDER does not have this option.
Our app is configured for our needs. It has all of our questions and documents set up for our organization, and our booth staff are used to it. We would rather not have to train on a new app and figure out how to fit it within our data flow. Please consider finding a provider that offers this in the future.”
4: Take a Picture of Badges & Business Cards
Lead liaison can easily transcribe the data and send it to your CRM or Marketing Automation platform.
In some rare cases the provider may have an API kit, but show management has specifically told them not to offer it. In those cases, we suggest sending a message like this:
“Hello, we use a Universal Lead Capture app that we normally use at the events we attend. Usually the lead retrieval provider has a developer kit which allows our app to scan the badges. PROVIDER has informed us that you will not allow them to offer the kit. This is disappointing.
Our app is configured for our needs. It has all of our questions and documents set up for our organization, and our booth staff are used to it. We would rather not have to train on a new app and figure out how to fit it within our data flow. Please consider allowing this option.”
Premium lead capture solutions like Lead liaison empower teams to collect custom event data, collect and distribute that data instantly, and begin the follow up and meeting scheduling process long before the competition. Lead liaison provides event teams with resources to make every event a success such as in-app lead rating, meeting scheduling, team communications and more, and event engagement solutions that will increase activity and engagement at your booth!
Click here to explore Lead liaison’s award winning, premium lead capture and event engagement platform and view testimonials from event professionals who use the app.
Lead liaison is a multifunctional event platform that provides: Universal Lead Capture, User Customizable Gamification, Marketing Automation, CRM, Lead Management, Sales Enablement, Leader Boards, Point Rewards & e-Gift Cards, Waypoints for Sessions & Scavenger Hunts, Player Profiles, and more with over 3,000 integrations for all common CRM and Marketing Automation platforms.
To see how Lead liaison’s growing library of digital activations (games), universal lead capture, and reward-based solutions can help your company generate more leads at your trade shows, contact us today!