In a recent conversation with Rick McPartlin, Founder of The Revenue Game, we were discussing the business problem of trade show lead follow-up.  Rick consults at the CEO level on all issues related to revenue generation. His website states:

We’re passionate about working with leaders who are committed to developing a revenue generation focus in their organization.  These leaders are tired of the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of ad hoc marketing efforts, recognize the high cost of sales, and are challenged by the organization’s inability to consistently execute. They’re frustrated at the high cost of generating revenue without knowing what results they’re getting from dollars spent, or they’re not happy with the results.

After our discussion, I asked Rick to share with my readers his thoughts on the trade show lead follow-up game:

Waste is our enemy no matter if it is time, talent, our environment or the resources that have been entrusted to us.  CEO’s always have limited resources, and to waste them through ignorance is grounds for dismissal.

Marketing dollars today can’t be wasted because they can be measured, managed and accounted for as part of an organization’s quest for success.  Historically trade shows are the poster children for wasting those entrusted resources.  If you measure trade shows using the same three outcome metrics we use for everything else which measures if you are getting the right number of the right type (of leads that look like ideal customers) at the right time (the exact number the sales force has time to qualify) it is easy to see how too many trade shows miss on all three every time.

If leads are too many, too fast (can’t get to them fast enough with a quality approach) or just not the right person and company, then not only are you wasting the resources for the program or trade show, but you are wasting future resources by dealing with the wrong type, number and time going forward.  STOP the waste now!

Not All Trade Show Leads Are Equal in Importance

In my opinion, leads generated by a trade show activity MUST be screened and re-qualified before they go to the field.  Otherwise you are wasting precious resources.  The ideal scenario would be to have all your leads reviewed and categorized via some type of lead scoring.  Thus, the field sale people will KNOW that if the receive a hot lead, it needs to acted upon immediately!

A portion of the leads gathered at the show should be:

  1. Thrown away, they were tire kickers.
  2. Placed in a lead nurture process where (depending on their category) they are follow-up by emails, direct mail or phone conversations.
  3. Entered into your CRM system for sales attention.

Each lead type, based on your scoring, should have an accountability path.  A report which is generated on a regular basis can be reviewed by marketing and sales to determine what adjustments need to be made in the future.  The reporting can be an Excel spreadsheet or something more elaborate.

Lead follow-up is truly a game and when you know the winning formula, revenues can soar.