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21 Questions to Ask Your Event Lead Management Vendor Before Making a Purchase

To download the PDF of this resource, click here

To access our Event Lead Management Kit, which includes this resource, click here

According to Forrester, marketing events such as trade shows and conferences occupy the largest share of B2B marketing budgets at 14%. Choosing the right event lead management solution for lead capture will be the most important decision you make. Before signing a contract, here are 21 important questions to ask your vendor.

1. Does your solution integrate with my CRM, marketing automation platform, and/or analytics platform?

What good is capturing lead information if you don’t accurately save the information and prepare it for follow up? Ensure that your event lead capture/management solution integrates with the technology stack you already have in place. If you don’t have the proper solutions in place, like a CRM or a marketing automation platform, ask your Event Lead Management (ELM) vendor if they offer solutions for that need, as well. Communicating with the registered list of attendees prior to the event, and with the qualified leads after the event, is essential to converting your marketing event efforts into closed business.

2. Does your solution allow for immediate follow-up?

Insidesales.com conducted a study that found 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. The amount of time that goes by before you take action on your leads is important. Many event lead management solutions require additional, manual steps to follow up with a lead. Some, however, allow companies to instantly sync leads to your system of record so that you can communicate with the Prospect before they’ve even left the conference.

3. Does your solution allow me to respond to new leads via email, text, postcards, letters, and other types of communications?

Make sure you don’t limit the touch points you can send to new leads. According to MarketingProfs.com, 98% of all text messages are opened. Being able to instantly (or even introduce intentional delay) send a text message to new event leads could be vital to your strategy. You might also benefit from sending different types of touchpoints to nurture prospects through their journey.

4. How will you support me?

Some vendors in the ELM industry are headquartered in Europe, while some are in North America. Think about where your events will occur and make sure your vendor can support you. What if you have a problem on a Sunday while you’re setting up for your event on Monday? Will your vendor be there to support you? Are they truly a vendor or a partner?

5. Can I import and merge leads into your event object as if I captured them on the lead capture app?

You might attend some events where you’re collecting leads at your booth, and at the same time you get a CSV file with leads from a speaking session that occurs in parallel. Make sure your vendor can import your CSV file from the speaking session, and most importantly, merge the data with data you might have already collected at the event to avoid duplicates and keep your data clean.

6. Do you have an API for your event data?

Whether now or in the future, you might have a need to pull event data into your custom/third party software. If your vendor provides an API then you’ll be all set for your current/future needs.

7. How accurate are your transcriptions?

Why you should ask it: If the event lead management solution you are considering offers “business card transcription” as an option for lead capture, make sure you investigate a little further. You’ll want to double-check how accurate those transcriptions are.

8. How fast is the turnaround time for transcriptions?

The faster the transcription can happen, the sooner you can respond to your lead. Quick responses are vital. Your provider should be able to turn your transcriptions around quickly, within minutes, without sacrificing accuracy.

9. Do you offer true ROI metrics and allow me to see how much revenue we generated from an event?? Do you connect with the opportunities in my CRM?

Events occupy the largest share of B2B marketing budgets (14%), tracking accurate return on investment is critical. You’ll also need a lot of other key event data to be able to improve your process. Talk to your prospective ELM vendor about the data their solution can report back. Can you track cost per lead? Can you track which sales reps collected the most leads? Can you track post-event engagement? Can you track true ROI percentage, connect to my opportunities in my CRM, and show me revenue figures from my events?

10. Can I customize my lead capture forms? If so, how much? What about creating conditional questions?

Being able to customize your lead capture forms is important because the information a business wants to collect on a lead varies from company to company. You should look for an event lead management solution that allows you to customize the information you collect on the lead capture form.

To take it a step further, talk to your ELM vendor about customizing the look and feel of the form. A truly enterprise-ready solution will enable you to use your specific company colors, logo, explainer videos, etc.

11. Can I customize the invitations sent out to reps? Can I send an email and text message invitation?

Enterprises and large companies have large sales/marketing teams and get lots of email. If invitation emails are standardized, and not clear, you could risk inefficiencies by having your invitation emails deleted or marked as spam by recipients. Your vendor should help you custom your invitations. Also make sure you can send email, text, or both at once, so your invites are successfully received.

12. Do my reps have to log out and log back in to see changes?

Attending an event is stressful. The last thing reps need to deal with is logging out, tracking passwords, etc. to see changes/updates that might be pushed out to the mobile device. Make sure your vendor can push out updates in real-time without requiring people to log out and then back in again.

13. What if my team onsite at the event calls me at the office, explaining that they need to make a change to the event form? Can I make last-minute changes?

No matter how much you prepare for your event, there is a good chance you’ll need to make some last-minute adjustments as the team onsite adjusts to the environment and the audience. Look for an event lead management solution that supports instant updates. You want to be able to make changes to your event form in real time to best support your event staff.

14. Do you have offline mode?

Internet at trade shows and conferences can be spotty and expensive. You want to make sure that the solution you choose will support offline lead capture so you don’t lose a single opportunity.

15. Can I run my own events with the same platform?

If your company hosts its own marketing events, or even if you think it might be a possibility one day, ask your ELM vendor about running your own events. The solution you commit to should offer the option to run event check-in and registration. Bonus points if it supports the ability to print badges based on your registered attendee list.

16. Can you scan NFC badges?

Over time barcodes and QR codes on badges will be obsolete. The code consumes real estate on the badge. The modern way to create a badge is to embed a NFC chip into the badge (think Apple Pay) and hold a NFC-enabled device up to the badge to collect lead info. If your vendor doesn’t support NFC badge scanning then they’re not ready for the future and might not be ready to support you down the road.

17. What does your solution offer, on the back end, to enrich lead data and ensure that everything is up-to-date post event?

Let’s say that your team has a great conversation with an interested buyer. Your team collects their business card to follow up. But, wait! This person’s business cards was printed over a year ago and their phone number has since changed. Look for an ELM service that will enrich data. A superior solution will add key lead data such as gender, age, social presence, affinities/interests, social profile URLs, and much more.

18. Can you help me qualify my leads? Do you provide lead scoring and grading?

Lead qualification will help you differentiate look-alike leads and keep your sales team focused on important leads. Scoring helps measure how engaged a lead is, and grading measures how well they match your ideal buyer criteria.

19. Can you help me distribute my leads and report back to me on which reps are missing any response time requirements we put in place?

You might need to distribute leads based on various criteria, such as geography, names accounts, job titles, and more. You might also be interested in adding SLAs and report back to management for any reps that don’t follow up with your leads in time. Make sure your vendor can support your lead distribution and SLA needs, whether you have them now or are planning for them in the future.

20. If I have a list of registrants, can you help me market to them and/or load them into the app to search for them at my event?

Some providers have communication platforms that can help you reach out to a list of registrants prior to the show and build rich profiles at the same time. If you have registrants, you might also want to search for them on the lead capture app, select them, and pre-fill the form with their information. Make sure your vendor can help you make the most out of your registration lists.

21. Can you track the entire lifecycle of a lead, before and after an event?

Your engagement with a prospect may not start, and hopefully doesn’t stop, at your event. Look for an event lead management solution that can keep all engagement (inbound/outbound) in a timeline in addition to what info was collected when the lead was captured at an event. Examples of that activity are website visits, email link clicks or content downloads.

To set up an appointment to ask our team these questions, click here.

event lead management

Creative Uses for Lead Capture

Download the PDF here!

To access our Event Lead Management Kit, which includes this resource, click here

Businesses can use Lead Liaison’s GoExhibit!™ in many ways – it’s not just for trade shows! GoExhibit!™ is an event lead management solution, powered by a slick mobile app, aptly named GoCapture!™. If you’re using an event lead management solution like ours, this article will help you explore the other ways you can use the system and/or mobile app to capture leads. We’ve rounded up seven creative uses for event lead capture using our system.

Everyday Lead Capture

Let’s say you are a salesperson running into a meeting with a client at their office. In the elevator on the way up to your appointment, you meet someone that might benefit from your service or solution. You grab their business card and hope to A) not lose it, and B) remember to enter the information into your CRM later. Or, you could open GoCapture!™ on your mobile device, quickly take a picture of the business card, have it automatically transcribed, and sync it with your CRM. Problem solved!

Corporate Event

Does your company host, or attend, corporate events or conferences? Use the power of GoExhibit!™ to collect lead information in a streamlined, unobtrusive way. The system also includes options to create your own custom badges with QR codes. A customized registration and check-in portal can be used at the front door to help manage attendance.

Trade Shows

Exhibiting at an industry trade show? Forget those antiquated badge scanners and opt for end-to-end event lead management. Use GoExhibit!™ to announce your attendance at the event via marketing emails, social media, and more. Go a step further and use complementary marketing services that integrate with GoExhibit!™ to book demos/meetings at the trade show. Then, have your team use the GoCapture!™ app at the trade show to collect lead information via badge scan, business card transcription, attendee list search, or manual form fill.

Lead Kiosks

Speaking of trade shows, another way to encourage excitement with potential prospects about your service or solution is to set up individual kiosks at your booth that allows visitors to fill out their information if they are interested.

Experiential Marketing

Instead of a table, a sign, and a person – create an experience at your booth. Your experience should engage the prospect in some way. Consider these 20 examples of experiential marketing to get your creative juices flowing. Be smart about setting up the experience though. When people engage, capture their information. GoCapture!™ can be configured to display custom content, such as videos, text, maps, and more to perfectly pair with your experiential display.

Product Showcase

Consider setting up your booth with individual solution areas. Each area could showcase specific solutions. Have each solution on display with a tablet sitting next to it. The tablet could run a purpose-built lead capture form that has an explainer video embedded into it. This approach helps you tailor the experience to specific solutions and results in higher lead conversion rates.

Sales Qualification

One aspect of GoExhibit!™ is lead qualification. Lead Liaison uses a system of scoring and grading to qualify leads. Have your sales team use GoCapture!™ as the primary method to get new leads into your system. Set up automated processes around each new lead that qualifies them. For example, give all CMOs captured with GoCapture!™ a grade increase from C (default you might set) to B. And, if the person is located in the USA then increase their grade another level, to A. On the backend, administrators can filter out ideal buyers captured anywhere, anytime, by your sales force using GoCapture!™.

Check-In System

If you host your own marketing events, then using GoExhibit!™ should be a no-brainer. With the ability to create custom badges ahead of time or on the fly, sign people in at the front desk, or register new attendees, your team can streamline the check-in process across all of your events. Leads are readily available after the event, in GoExhibit!™, for export or further processing. Statistics on attendance and return on investment (ROI) for your event is visible in the GoExhibit!™ dashboard.

 

To learn more about GoExhibit!™, request a free, customized demonstration here.

5 Creative Ways to Generate Leads You’ve Probably Never Tried Before

When your company needs to generate leads, your goals should be to find creative methods that allow you to communicate and network better with other businesses as well as untapped customers and, simultaneously, establish yourself and your company as an authority figure. You need to cut through the noise and get in front of people. When you show up, you need to be remarkable so that people see you as an expert and want to work with you. Here is a look at five ways to generate leads by getting in front of your prospects, where they are. 

1. Slack Channels

Slack channels are tight-knit communities and, typically, you need an invitation to join them. However, once you get access to a channel, you can begin one-to-one communication with channel members or send broadcast messages to everyone. Slack channels are usually active, so you’re able to get in front of people passionate about a specific topic. By joining Slack channels, you can grow your brand within that community, and then help the other people in exchange. By helping others consistently, you can grow your status and authority within the group. Remember to bring value always and don’t spam.

2. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is an effective way to improve your company’s reach. Websites require content to attract new visitors and nurture their existing audience. When you provide blog posts for other sites, you gain exposure, and they benefit as well because they get to publish great content. Guest blogging positions you as an authority figure because a website is endorsing your work by publishing it. Guest blogging also helps you build backlinks, enhance your search placement and drive relevant traffic to your site.

3. Answering Quora Questions

Quora is a wonderful way for you to answer important questions relevant to your industry and build your credibility. Make no mistake that answering Quora questions has a similar effect to that of guest blogging. Quora is an adult version of Yahoo Answers where people are actively asking for help and looking for specific answers. At the time of this writing, the website recently reached 100 million monthly unique visitors. Quora allows people to answer questions and establish themselves as an authority figure.

Answer questions that come from members of your community and industry. Doing so will help you target users who fit the profile of your ideal customer. When you use this website, you can create a company profile and then answer the questions that are related not just to your company but your industry as well. You can handle reputation management by searching for questions that people are asking related to whatever service or products you provide and then answer those questions. You can even set it up so that each member of your team creates a unique profile and team members can answer questions in conjunction with one another based on different levels of expertise.

4. Syndicate Your Content

Syndicating your content gets more mileage out of a regular blog. There are so many online platforms that have many visitors, and they often need quality content. Blogs, community websites, social media sites, forums and question-and-answer sites are an ideal solution. Syndicating content is a terrific way to enhance your lead generation because it amplifies the reach of your content, allowing you to tap into an audience you might not have otherwise been able to access. All of this optimizes your returns and puts your content in front of a demographic with a high potential for sales.

You aren’t just restricted to publishing your content to your immediate audience of current customers. When you put effort into making high-quality content, you should be rewarded by expanding your reach, so prospects get to see what it is you offer. Sharing your content through syndication also improves search engine ranking with enhanced credibility and relevant backlinks. This puts you in a place of authority as a leader in your industry, which generates more traffic and potentially more qualified leads.

With content syndication, you can collaborate with another company to co-market your promotional efforts where you both promote a single piece of content. You can also swap content with another brand where you both agree to promote one another’s content on your respective social media channels.

5. Public Speaking

Public speaking is a superb way to gain a captive audience. In today’s world, as things become increasingly more internet-based, people are trusting the face-to-face selling method much more. Known as the podium effect, being a public speaker will position you as an expert in the industry, which is what each of these methods helps to do. Focus when you start at small, intimate events. This will help you figure out what your audience wants to hear and help you fine-tune your selling methods. The right strategy is important in setting your business up. You can begin at small events with just 10 people at a time put on personal company events where you make an offer at the end for your attendees. When you start out, you want to create your own events so you can craft your signature talk and gain experience with your audience. Libraries or community centers make ideal places for these local events. You can book area venues and market it to local residents. Once you become more comfortable with it, you can host bigger events. Just remember that, at the end of each public speaking event, you need to give your attendees something like a free consultation or the opportunity to try a product for free. Give them an offer they can’t refuse. On the topic of syndication, if you know other people are having events, and they are looking for speakers like at expositions, conferences or trade shows, offer yourself as a speaker. Even if it’s just a few minutes, this could be a low-cost opportunity with a lot of return.

Overall, the purpose for each of these five creative methods is to allow you a way to generate leads by establishing yourself as an authority figure. You want to expand your reach and make sure that people see you as a leader in your industry — someone they can trust to whom they can turn for answers.

To learn how to properly manage those leads, once you have them, contact us here.

Bio

Morgan Williams is a Sales Professional and B2B Lead Gen Consultant based in Chicago, IL  For a case study on how to use automated cold email marketing to spend $166.70 and make $3,435.30 in profit (2,061% ROI – email templates included), head over to his blog.

Infographic: Post-Event Lead Nurturing Strategy

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here.

To access our Event Lead Management Kit, which includes this resource, click here

Marketing events can be a very costly effort. There’s the booth rental, the booth design/display, travel and expenses for your employees working the booth. Service costs like electricity, cleaning, or wifi can sneak up on you. Badge scanners are expensive (have you looked into other options?).

I think you get my drift: marketing events cost a lot of money. Return on investment (ROI) is paramount. Once your team has captured hot leads at an event, you should be prepared to follow up with those leads quickly and effectively. There’s no time to waste – don’t let your competitors beat you to the punch.

We are often asked for examples of how a business can (and should) nurture leads post-event. Below is an infographic that examines a tried-and-true post-event lead nurturing strategy. 

Technology to Support Lead Nurturing Strategy

The first step in determining your post-event lead nurturing strategy is to make sure you have the technology in place to automate it. Don’t count on these things being done manually – it’s just not realistic. Companies are busier than ever these days, usually with multiple people wearing multiple hats – stretched thin. There’s also tons of room for distraction at (and after) marketing events. The more administrative tasks you can automate, the better. Let your employees spend their time building relationships and making connections.

There are lots of options out there, but we recommend a wholistic approach. Look for technology that works together, so you don’t have to spend time exporting and importing. For example, our event lead management solution allows businesses to create and customize lead capture forms, prepare intelligent post-event workflows, quickly capture leads onsite, instantly sync with a CRM, and then place them into those previously mentioned workflows. No additional technology is needed.

Of course, we love our solutions. But, there are lots of options out there! Just make sure you have something in place to be able to effectively execute your plan.

Lead Management Strategy – Instant Tasks

Create a list of all the actions you want to take once you’ve captured the lead’s information, and separate them into groups based on the time of the outreach. Here are a few examples of what you might want to do instantly:

  • Tag the Prospect with the Event Name
  • Add the Prospect to the Event Leads list
  • Assign a grade or score to the Prospect based on your ideal buyer criteria
  • Distribute the lead (Prospect) – based on round-robin, geography, or product interest
  • Sync the Prospect Record with your CRM

Side Note – Lead Scoring vs. Lead Grading

Let’s talk more about lead score versus lead grade. You may want your reps to call a Prospect if their score is high and their grade is high. Or maybe just one or the other. To make that determiniation, you should know the differences. 

Lead scoring is a way to measure engagement, and it happens over time. Even before your event, a Prospect may have already been to your website, scanning a few of your webpages, which would increase their score. It will continue to increase as they continue to interact with your website or your content.

On the other hand, grading is a way to measure how well a Prospect matches your ideal buyer criteria. Your reps can qualify and assign a grade onsite at the event. With our event lead management solution, reps can collect lead data quickly and either grade them in the moment, or they can go back later and grade them when they have a lull in booth traffic.

Lead Management Strategy – Starting Your Nuture

Once those organizational actions have been completed (usually within seconds), what do you want to do next? Let me answer that for you…you want to follow up. Insidesales.com conducted a study that found 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. That means that the timing of your follow up matters.

If at all possible, reach out to your leads within an hour of them visiting your booth. A great example of this kind of outreach is with a text message. If you’re capturing a lead’s mobile phone number, use your marketing automation platform to send a text message saying, “Hi Jane, it’s Bob. Thanks for stopping by our booth! We’ll be in touch soon – but in the meantime, here’s my number if you have any questions…” That is sure to make your company stand out.

24 Hours Later

Send an email. Even though you already sent a text message, send an email 24 hours later. Give your Prospect time to filter through messages from other booths, but not enough time that they forget who you are. Remind them of a product feature that sets you apart from other exhibitors at the trade show.

Pivot

At this point in the game, you may want to consider customizing your lead nurturing strategy based on the previously mentioned lead score and/or grade (depending on what matter most to your business) and how the Prospect interacts with your outreach or content. Your marketing automation platform should have the capability of customizing the workflow using this kind of criteria. If the lead score is high, assign a task to a rep to make a call. If it’s low, continue to nurture via email.

Don’t disqualify leads with a lower score or grade. They may be hesitant because they are taking this decision more seriously. Offer a piece of educational content, like an infographic or a case study. Try to be their source of education in the industry, so they begin to see your company as a thought leader.

If they download the content, you may want to pivot further based on that. If they downloaded it, offer another link to an informative blog post with a powerful call-to-action (CTA). Make the decision to reach out to you easy.

If they didn’t download the content, perhaps they need the same information as the lead above, but rather they need it summarized within the email itself to reduce effort. Include your CTA within the email itself, to make it even easier.

In Summary

Continue nurturing your Prospects for several weeks until they are ready to buy, or place them into your newsletter list so that you can continue your educational content without being too pushy.

It’s all about creating a sense of authority and innovation within your industry. Those that actively attend trade shows, conferences, or other marketing events are not passive. They are engaged, and their presence at an event will make them hyper-aware of you and your competitors.

If you decide to exhibit at an event, be prepared to make it count. Here’s an infographic that you can save for when the time comes. And, good luck!  

Decision Guide: Comparing Pros and Cons of Badge Scanners vs Mobile Apps

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here. 

To access our Event Lead Management Kit, which includes this resource, click here

It’s time to prepare for your upcoming trade show, but lately you’ve heard a lot about new mobile apps that allow you to forego the pricy badge scanners and use your own devices. It sounds intriguing, but you’ll need to know a little more before making the jump.  

We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of badge scanners vs mobile apps. Really, what you’re comparing is a standard lead retrieval system that captures basic information that attendees provide to the event host, versus a customizable, enterprise-ready event lead management system that can empower you to actually do something with those leads post-event.

Badge Scanners

Pros

  • Contact and rental info may be easier to find as most trade show organizers partner with lead retrieval companies who promote their solution.
  • Proven and reliable.
  • Badge scanners are fast. Scanning takes mere seconds.
  • Builds a list of contacts.

Cons

  • Managing and distributing leads after the event is a manual and time consuming process, and it could take days to retrieve your lead list.
  • There is only one way to capture a lead (by scanning a barcode). You’ll lack the ability to have multiple sources of integrated lead capture (like a kiosk for when your sales team is tied up with other attendees).
  • There is no qualification – unless you count your salesperson’s scribble on the printout from the badge scanner. Hopefully, he remembers all the notes he meant to write down!
  • You have to go through the process of renting and setting them up for each event.
  • They are expensive (ranging from $200 to $500 per device). Some might also require internet, which is another expense.
  • They are bulky and can get misplaced.
  • Limited ways to respond to leads, if at all.
  • No GDPR compliance options.
  • No control over entire experience.
  • No lead enrichment.

Mobile App

Pros

  • Leads are captured and in your possession instantly. This results in instant replies, instant lead routing, instant flow through your business process. And apps usually integrate directly with enterprise CRM and marketing automation systems.
  • Less setup & more options. Once you select your mobile app, you don’t have to keep going through the process for each trade show. You don’t have to set it up each time, outside of connecting your Media Kit. And, you’ll benefit from multiple lead capture methods, such as business card transcription, pre-registration, manual submission, and badge scanning.
  • Integration & automation makes it easier than ever to show a clear ROI for the tens of thousands of dollars spent on trade shows. Depending on the martech you integrate with, you should be able to easily track which leads actually convert to sales.
  • Sales and marketing staff can use their own mobile device instead of carrying around a bulky scanner.
  • Works offline, eliminating the need to rent internet which could cost 100s of dollars. You have complete control over the experience with your event visitors and managing leads internally.
  • Mobile apps are usually more current. For example, some mobile apps (like ours) offer GDPR/Privacy Management compliance options.
  • Consistent user experience as sales reps and marketers manning the booth only have to learn one system.
  • Leads are automatically enriched with social and demographic information.
  • Automation, automation, automation – mobile apps allow for immediate qualification, scoring, and follow up utilizing the integration mentioned above

Cons

  • There’s some legwork that needs to be done when choosing a mobile app solution provider. But keep in mind, you only have to do that legwork once.
  • You still have to purchase a “Media Kit” in order to activate badge scanning using a mobile app. These usually run around $500. That’s still significantly less than purchasing internet PLUS a badge scanner for each person.
  • Mobile lead capture apps are typically priced as a monthly subscription, so if you’re not going to a lot of trade shows, it may not be worth it. There may also be limitations on how many shows you can do or how many salespeople can use the app at one time.

Take Away

Using an event lead management system will reduce the amount of headache collecting leads during an event and managing leads after an event, while badge scanners are more convenient to rent prior to an event. Clearly define your goals, and if you go with a mobile trade show app, find one that integrates well with your martech.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s mobile app, GoCapture!™, or our entire Event Lead Management soltuion, click here.

Plus…

We put together this infographic with the key points from above. Feel free to print and hang this at your desk, or pass along to your colleagues.

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps

event strategy

Event Strategy: How to Properly Manage Leads from a Trade Show or Other Marketing Event

Want the executive summary? Download the infographic here.

To access our Event Lead Management Kit, which includes this resource, click here

Does your company do marketing events, like trade shows or conferences? Whether you’re just dipping your toe into marketing events, or you’re a seasoned pro, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about how to perfect your event strategy. When preparing for an event, there are two main focuses: getting your “gear” ready for the show, and setting up a process for managing the leads you get from that marketing event. We’ll save the “gear” topic for another day…today we’re thinking about LEADS!

What do marketing and sales always have in common? The answer: leads (duh). Marketing teams generate leads, and sales teams pursue them. Marketing events, and the like (conferences, trade shows, etc.) are incredibly effective ways to generate leads. But there’s often a lot of prep work that goes into these events.

The first step in planning for a marketing event is to come up with an event strategy, which should include a well-thought-out lead management process. Without this, you risk losing a lot of potential leads – leads who have seen your booth, spoken with your sales rep, and shown real interest in your solution. What a waste that would be! Here’s our guide to coming up with the perfect lead management process as a part of your overall event strategy:

Do Your Research

Find an event lead management strategy that works best for your business. Do you prefer to just order a lead scanner and do the rest manually? Or, do you prefer to use a lead capture app that already integrates with the rest of your marketing and sales technology (ex: marketing automation platform and CRM)? We prefer to use our lead capture app, GoCapture!™, as it integrates seamlessly with our marketing automation platform and our CRM. We can easily connect the dots between our event-specific marketing campaigns and the end results. We can also customize our forms so that we capture all of the information that we want/need, and we have limitless options for lead capture (not just badge scanning!).

Map Out Your Lead Management Process

Meet with your team (marketing AND sales) and lay out a plan for how you wish to follow up with your leads. A quick text saying, “Thanks for stopping by our booth!” goes a long way – especially considering the amount of email follow-ups those folks will probably have the next morning. Are there any special offers or messages that you should incorporate into your follow-up? Get to the drawing board (quite literally, if you have to!) and map out how you will nurture those leads (your “nurture campaign”). Part of a thorough event strategy is making sure that everyone is on board and knows what kind of messaging that lead will receive.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider, when laying out your post-event lead nurture:

  • Determine the proper lead score for this event and incorporate that into your post-event lead nurture plan. Either manually, or automatically if you’ve got the technology, add that number to Prospects’ overall scores.
  • Ensure proper lead distribution. Many marketing automation platforms will allow you to automate your lead distribution based on specific rules, or round-robin. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how those leads will be distributed so there is no confusion later.
  • Incorporate omnichannel marketing in your nurture campaign. Sure, emails are great – of course those should be included. But text are powerful, postcards are unique, and handwritten letters give a personal touch.
  • Set up your post-event nurture in your marketing automation platform prior to your event, so that once that lead is captured, it is automatically tagged, segmented, scored, and placed into an automation.
  • Keep in mind that you can usually clone your nurtures (aka automations). Put the proper legwork into creating a killer nurture campaign, and then rest easy knowing you just have to edit a few minor things (like event name, etc.) next time around.

Train Your Team

Okay, now back to your event strategy: Don’t assume that your sales reps (or other team members attending the event) are up to date on lead capture technology. Although there will probably be some complaining, try to get your reps into a room to refresh them on the process or train them on new tech. If you are using an event lead management app, you can have your reps install it on their devices (or the company’s devices) ahead of time so they can get some real-life practice.

You want your sales team to be on board with your process. If they are not, you maby be less successful than you could be.

Ensure Attendance

More often than not, trade show organizers will provide an email list of people who plan to attend an event. Put some thought into your plan for encouraging attendance at your booth and start building those relationships early. Gone are the days when attendees just show up and wander around. With more and more millennials attending trade shows, conferences, and other live marketing events, we find that attendees are doing more research ahead of time so that they know who they want to visit and can plan accordingly.

Make it easy for them; properly distribute and advertise your location and booth number through marketing emails, social media, and 1:1 communication (like Lead Liaison’s Sales Enablement). And don’t forget to include past attendees in your communication (based on location).

In Summary

Marketing events can be costly, so it’s important to ensure you are getting the most out of it. Properly managing your leads is essential. Include team members from both sales and marketing through as much of the process as you can, so that everyone is on board with (and will follow through with their part of) “the plan.” Below is a quick graphic you can print out and stick on your desk, so that you’re ready for trade show season!

Event Strategy: How to Properly Manage Leads from a Marketing Event

interactive lead generation

7 Interactive Lead Generation Ideas to Try at Your Next Trade Show

Let’s face it: generating leads at trade shows isn’t as easy as it once was. Vibrant booth displays and creative signage may catch the eye of trade show attendees, but this alone won’t result in new leads for your business. We’ve rounded up a few interactive lead generation ideas that you can use to maximize the success of your next trade show.

To draw in high-quality attendees and get their information, you need to make sure they are engaged with your booth. One of the trendiest ways to boost engagement at your trade show booth is to create interactive experiences for your visitors.

Interactive experiences are highly effective for lead generation because they allow visitors to learn about your product or brand in an engaging way. And if you’re thinking that this will no doubt be expensive to execute, don’t worry — interactive lead generation exercises can be created on any size budget.  

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #1

Host a Fun Trivia Game

Make learning about your industry more engaging with a fun trivia game. Half the fun of trivia is winning, so you’ll want to have some cool prizes and giveaways. Although everyone should leave your booth feeling like a winner, be sure to reward the actual winners with something of higher value than what you give everyone else.

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #2

Use Digital Games to Draw Visitors

If you’re marketing to millennials and the generations after them, digital games are a wise investment. Digital games provide a fun experience for attendees and can help you drive qualified leads — if you use them correctly.

Before visitors play your games, collect their contact information with some sort of lead capture app. Many exhibitors neglect the importance of this step and wind up with everyone playing their games for nothing in return. Be sure to have an event lead management plan in place, so that once you capture your leads you’ll actually be able to do something with them (at least send a “Thank you for stopping by!” text/email). 

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #3

Let Visitors Spin a Wheel

As cool as technology can be, who doesn’t love a good spinning wheel? These flashy, colorful wheels may not be original, but they are extremely effective at grabbing the attention of passersby.

If you use a spin wheel at your next event, be sure to have quality prizes. Cool tech giveaways are always a winner with audiences, they fit into any promotional budget and they’re guaranteed to be held onto long after the event is over.

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #4

Use Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) may not be new, but both technologies are novel enough that they are guaranteed to captivate your audience and drive traffic to your booth. In fact, don’t be surprised if people form a line!

Best of all, VR and AR are surprisingly cost-effective lead generation strategies. It can take some technical know-how to get them up and going, but virtual reality headsets with your logo on them are extremely appealing.  

Visitors will be so eager to try your AR and VR that getting their information will be easy. Ask them for it during the setup process.

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #5

Let Attendees Test Your Product

Allowing visitors to test your product is both a fun experience for them and an effective way to turn a casual visitor into a potential customer. By removing some of the anxiety from the purchasing process, you’re already one step closer to converting your lead.

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #6

Set Up a Branded Photo Booth

Renting a photo booth for your trade show is far easier now than it was just a few years ago. Today, branded photo booths are sleeker and easier to set up than their bulky forebears.

Best of all, they can benefit your brand in so many ways. Not only can they increase engagement, but modern photo booths can easily be customized to promote your brand’s message and collect consumer data.

To capture visitor information, simply give visitors the option of entering their email to receive their photo digitally. Then they can share their photo on social media and provide your brand with even more exposure.

Interactive Lead Generation Idea #7

Display Touch Screens with Interactive Content

Touch screen displays are now a common sight on the trade show floor. But today, the content we use in these displays is far more engaging. Interactive content such as quizzes, games, product demonstrations, digital product catalogs and videos can spark engagement among visitors and easily double as a lead generation tool.  

In addition to being a great lead capturing tool, interactive content is a great conversation starter. Everyone will want to share their quiz results or the score they received on one of your games.

Conclusion

After spending months planning and budgeting for your trade show, you no doubt want something to show for all your hard work. Offering interactive experiences to your booth visitors will give you the edge you need over the competition and drive qualified leads for your business.

And, if you’re looking for an event lead management solution be sure to check out Lead Liaison’s GoCapture! app (which includes an onsite lead capture app AND “back office” capabilities to make it easier to take action ASAP!). 

 

Author’s Bio: Kelsey Stage is the VP of Business Development at PROMOrx. She enjoys sharing marketing and branding tips through blogging and local meet-ups. Outside the office, you can find her at the yoga studio and playing with her dog, Luna.

Email Deliverability in 2018

I’ve had quite a few discussions recently about email deliverability. Most people seem to be aware of the basics; don’t use giant images, avoid spammy languages, and make sure that you have SPF and DKIM set up when using an email service. While that might have been enough 10 years ago, things get trickier when we talk about email domain reputations.

Email clients determine whether your message is any good based on your reputation. If you have a good reputation, you won’t have any issues getting your message through. If it’s bad, then you’re much more likely to end up in the junk folder. So, what goes into your email domain reputation?

Open Rate

Email services like Google, Yahoo!, and many others keep track of the open rate of emails sent from your system. If you have a very low open rate, then they interpret that to mean that you’re not sending good content. After all, if their users delete your emails before even reading them, they must not care about it very much. While a low open rate isn’t the biggest factor in determining your email deliverability, it can be enough to make a difference.

You can increase your open rate by sending relevant content to smaller segments rather than blasting a generic email to your whole database. People don’t really care about your organization; they care about how your organization can make an impact to them specifically. You can learn more about segmentation here.

Bounces

An email bounces when you try to send it to an invalid email address. Email addresses could be invalid due to them belonging to former employees, the inbox being full, or simply because the email was mistyped or made up. The more bounces you get, the more it affects your reputation. Why?

Bounces indicate that you haven’t validated your email lists recently. While that’s bad for a few reasons, it can be an indicator that you’ve sent emails to a purchased list. Never send emails to a purchased list, even if the selling company promises everyone is validated and opted in!

Unsubscribes

Email marketers everywhere fear the dreaded unsubscribe. When a person opts out of emails, you lose the ability to send them any kind of email communication. That makes your job of engaging and qualifying infinitely harder.

Moreover, a high unsubscribe rate means that people don’t care about the content you’re sending. Like a low open rate, this tells clients they might as well send you to the junk folder. Unlike a low open rate, a high unsubscribe rate can seriously impact your email deliverability.

You can avoid unsubscribes by sending relevant content to smaller segments. You should also make sure that you only send to people who have specifically opted in to your email lists. Just because they signed up for your newsletter doesn’t mean they also wanted special offers. And above all, don’t send emails to purchased lists!

Spam Complaints

Now we’re getting into serious territories. If you’re getting spam complaints, then you’re either sending to people who never opted in, or you’ve made it too difficult to unsubscribe. Either way, not only will spam complaints hurt your deliverability, they can also get you blacklisted. Worst of all, if you did send an email to someone who didn’t opt in, you could face serious fines and penalties per email.

You can protect yourself from spam complaints by making sure you only email people who have opted in to email marketing. Also, make sure you make the unsubscribe options clear and easy to find, and honor all opt outs in a timeline manner. And, like I said before, never send marketing emails to a purchased list!

Spam Traps

Spam traps are email addresses that are specifically set up to catch people sending emails to purchased lists. Organizations will leak these emails to list sellers. No matter what the seller says, spam traps are kept secret, and there’s no way they could vet them all. Even validation services may not protect you as the addresses are technically valid.

The only way they would appear on your email list is if you bought a list. Because of this, sending to a spam trap can impact your email deliverability more than almost anything else on this list. It’s basically a smoking gun proving you sent emails to someone who didn’t opt in. Hopefully we’ve already made this point, but don’t use purchased lists!

The Take Away

If you’re looking at this list and feel intimidated, don’t worry. Just do what you’re supposed to be doing. Send relevant content to segments, and only send emails to people who have opted in to the specific type of communication you are sending. Luckily, Lead Liaison can help you with this. If you’d like to learn more about how we protect our email marketing partners, sign up for a demo today.

calendar sales

How to Book More Sales Meetings

Are you wondering how to book more sales meetings? If you’re reading this, then you’re likely a VP of Sales and having problems with the reps on your team or you’re an individual contributor and looking for the upperhand. In this article, we’ll expose some eye opening statistics and give you one of the key ways you can solve this very problem to start booking more sales meetings.

A few months back I traveled from Texas to Georgia. I was traveling to accompany one of our sales representatives in a meeting with a potential client. When I sat down with the prospect, I asked him what he was hoping to accomplish that day. He answered my question by saying he wanted to see anything and everything in our software. In my mind, I thought this meeting would drag on and on unless I took better control of it. Most sales reps would feel a jolt of electricity in their chair if they heard their prospect say this very same thing. They’d be ready to whip out their box of candy and start handing it out like it was Halloween. Instead of throwing him tootsie rolls and lifesavers (or a full candy bar like those wealthy neighborhoods like to do), I turned the question back around to him. I asked, what is it you’re trying to accomplish in your role. He said, “I want to have more conversations.” Now, that’s helpful. Instead of going off on another dog and pony show that could cover things that didn’t mean much to him, we narrowed down the focus.

This sales rep was no different than the 2.7 million other inside sales representatives in the U.S.  Their main goal is largely to generate interest and set up meetings. Unfortunately, most reps are inefficient at doing so and struggle with their approach. According to SalesWolf, Sales Development Reps (SDR) waste up to 40% of their time looking for someone to call. With the average SDR making 37.2 calls per day, that’s a lot of wasted time. There’s no secret sauce to booking more meetings; however, there’s one thing we wholeheartedly believe in. It’s quality over quantity and structure/process is not an option; it’s a necessity.

I recall a CEO of a company I used to work for saying to our inside sales team, “it’s a numbers game…just do more and it will happen.” While that could be true, sales leadership really never considers the burn out rate of an SDR after running them through the ringer. Bridge Group research sites there’s a minimum of 20% annual turnover in Sales, and up to 34% if you include voluntary and involuntary. To make matters worse, Deloitte found that Millennials are even more likely to leave their job sooner, as 25% said they’ll leave their current job within a year and 44% will leave within two years.

Now, consider the time it takes to ramp up a sales rep. ClearSlide and CSO Insights report that 71% of companies take 6 months or longer to onboard new sales reps; and at all companies it takes 9 months or more. If you do the simple math here, and consider best case scenarios, there’s a window of a year or two when a rep is fully up to speed and still working for your company. Why is turnover so high? Forbes states that sales reps don’t have coaches and mentors, and lack the latest sales tools.

Stop reading this if your company is not willing to spend money on the right sales tools. And stop reading this if you’re not ready to capitalize on the window of opportunity when your rep is ready to go, and still working for you! Why? Because you’re really not ready to have your sales rep book more sales meetings and you’re not open to adopting technology to assist. Some sales rep can be true superstars, but they can only do so much. Insidesales.com finds the average company spends $2,103 per SDR per year ($175 per month) on sales technology (not including CRM). Insidesales.com found the top five adopted sales technologies are, along with their adoption rate:

  1. Social prospecting, 82.5%
  2. List services, 58.5%
  3. Email engagement, 55.3%
  4. Phone, 43.4%
  5. Sales cadences, 37%

Adopting these five core technologies into your sales team’s strategies will without a doubt help them book more meetings. It will also help them spend less time looking for things to do. All five of these approaches can be applied using a single software solution, that takes less than half of the sales technology budget ($175 per month in 2018 according to Insidesales.com). The solution also dramatically cuts down ramp up time so companies can maximize the window in which sales reps are ramped up and employed.

By using systems like Rhythms from Lead Liaison, Cadences from SalesLoft, or Sequences from Outreach.io, sales reps can build a blueprint of their sales plan. The blueprint can contain social touch points, drive email engagement, and schedule phone tasks all while ingesting a list of contacts that you source.

Reps use these systems by mixing offline and online communication over time to form their outreach process. The systems have both manual and automated tasks, working together to move the “suspect” through the prospecting cycle and into the top of the lifecycle funnel. The system keeps track of engagement and creates tasks that reps can work on in a systematic way each day – helping to keep them focused on the job at hand.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution, called Rhythms, that help sales representatives book more sales meetings contact Lead Liaison today.

Sales Enablement

The Importance of Integration in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement – a strategic, collaborative discipline, designed to add value to customer interactions and improve predictable sales results – is a business function that has grown rapidly over the past few years. In fact, when CSO Insights began its annual Sales Enablement Optimization Study in 2013, just 19.3 percent of organisations had a dedicated enablement function or programme, and that figure reached 59.2 percent in 2017.

In the end, sales enablement is about ensuring that salespeople, marketing staff, customer service reps and business leaders all understand how they can help meet customer expectations and maximize the amount of revenue the organization generates. In this article, we look more closely at the role that integration plays in enablement and explain some of the steps organizations can take to align sales, marketing, and customer service.

Setting Shared Objectives

For an enablement strategy to work, it is important to understand that, while different departments will have different individual aims and objectives, the primary objective of the sales organization is to maximize sales effectiveness, help customers and improve sales results. Ultimately, for sales enablement to be successful, the individual departments need to share those objectives and understand the role that they play in helping to achieve them.

This means that sales reps need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to maximize success, the customer service staff needs to adopt best practices to deal with problems quickly and keep customers happy, and the marketing department needs to generate interest in the organization and highlight the company’s merits. Enablement leaders must then ensure all of those things happen, but that departments never lose sight of the core objectives.

“One of the major reasons sales enablement is so challenging is due to interdepartmental misalignment and a lack of ownership for enablement initiatives,” says Alyssa Drury, writing for Seismic. “Marketing plays an integral role… but it is often thought of as a sales responsibility, causing tension between the two departments. This alignment is [also] impossible if marketers aren’t thinking about how they support the sales force.”

Connecting Sales Coaching

While it is far from the whole story, a significant part of sales enablement is sufficiently training and coaching sales staff, so that they can carry out their role to the best of their ability. However, this requires integration, because sales reps need to be taught how to make use of content created by the marketing department and how to make use of CRM software, which links with the customer service department.

For sales leaders to achieve this, it is best to formally align their sales coaching and sales training processes to their sales enablement framework, so that all aspects are covered.

Yet, according to the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, only 11.3 percent of organizations have a dynamic coaching process in place, where their sales coaching efforts are connected to their enablement framework. Nevertheless, when this does occur, average win rates stand at 66.1 percent, compared to the average win rate of 51.8 percent, representing a 27.6 percent improvement.

What this demonstrates quite neatly is that an integrated sales enablement strategy pays off in terms of enhancing sales effectiveness and improving business results. However, it requires leaders within the organization to take the time to connect coaching frameworks to enablement frameworks. Additionally, it is imperative that organisations take the time to equip sales managers with the skills to carry out that coaching.

In addition to coaching, the use of solutions to automate processes for sales staff, like Lead Liaison’s Sales Enablement solution for prospecting, free’s up Reps time to be focussed on the activities that they can really add value to.

Establishing Buyer Personas

Finally, one of the best ways to make sure different departments are integrated with one another and on the same page when it comes to sales enablement is to establish buying personas. Essentially, these are generalised representations of your sales organisation’s customers, and these can be used to teach staff about why customers choose to buy your products, services or solutions and what affects their decision throughout the customer journey.

These buyer personas should be based on real research and the actual customers you attract and want to attract. Once credible buyer personas have been drawn up, these should be shared with all departments, so they can all gain a deeper insight into the different stages of the customer journey and better understand the role that their particular department plays in bringing a customer closer to making the decision to purchase.

“Essentially, a company must establish a buyer persona and then share that persona with all key players in marketing and sales,” explains David Reimherr, a content marketing expert and the founder of Magnificent Marketing, in an article written for Social Media Explorer. “That allows people to understand the stages of where their customers go for answers, what influences them to buy, and so on.”

Moreover, the marketing department and customer service department need to consider how they can help reps to improve their sales effectiveness. This may mean creating higher quality content, which is more likely to appeal to customers, or sharing customer information through CRM software, which could be used to make sales more likely.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales consulting firm, helping organizations to create effective sales enablement strategies. Culturally savvy, she has years of international experience in B2B marketing on behalf of dynamic, world-class enterprises. She likes to share her insights achieving sales effectiveness.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution for Sales Enablement as a strategy, click here.