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Maximizing Lead Capture at Trade Shows: Tips and Tricks

Trade shows are a hotbed of opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers, generate leads, and promote their brands. But with so much competition, cutting through the noise and capturing valuable leads can be challenging. But fear not, for we've got you covered with some best practices for maximizing lead capture at trade shows and converting those leads into sales.

Tip 1: Use Multiple Lead Capture Scenarios

One of the most common ways to capture leads at a trade show is by using scanning tools. But don't settle for just badge scanning- why not use multiple scenarios to ensure you capture as many leads as possible? Some options to consider include the following:

  • Lead retrieval apps: A few providers allow you to scan attendee badges and collect contact information. These apps often integrate with your CRM system, making managing and following up with conversion-ready leads easy. The immediate sync will reduce your sales outreach time, which we know increases the chance of closing a deal.
  • QR codes: QR codes are a quick and easy way to capture leads using a smartphone. Put them on your marketing materials, such as brochures or business cards, to make it easy for attendees to connect with you. This scenario is best for leads that aren't conversion-ready and might not want to talk to a sales rep at the booth. They can still get valuable materials and assets from you and join the email marketing list.
  • Business cards: It may seem old-school, but collecting business cards is still reliable for capturing leads. Many trade shows often don't offer API connection to collect their attendee data, so this is the next best option. With a customized lead form, you can take a photo of the business card to collect the contact information and then use the qualification fields as you would from a regular badge scan or manual capture to ensure that the lead can be sorted and prioritized for sales or marketing follow-up.

Tip 2: Capture The Conversation

Scanning tools can capture contact information but don't provide context about the lead or their needs. That's where note-taking comes in handy. Take notes during conversations with attendees to help personalize your follow-up messages and show that you're genuinely interested in their needs. The reps that capture leads in the booth don't always work them after the event. Instead, they get shared with a broader team, and notes are the only way to understand the sales conversation and notable points to address during outreach. Here are some tips:

  • Use a note-taking app: If you own a lead capture app, this should already be included, and it's a great option to ensure that the notes you collect for the lead stay attached once they get imported into the CRM or Marketing Automation Platform. If you don't use a lead capture app, consider using a note-taking app like Evernote or Google Keep to capture and organize your notes. These apps allow you to tag and search for notes later, making finding the information you need easy.
  • Be specific: Don't just note generic information like "interested in our product." Instead, capture specific details about the lead's needs and pain points. This will help you tailor your follow-up messages and demonstrate your understanding of their needs. If you're custom lead form at the event covers all of the vital information (Lead Type, Product Interest, Sales Qualifiers, Next Steps), then your notes should provide the context of any personal/company details that will help the sales team work the deal.

Tip 3: Sort Your Leads

The worst experience we have as a buyer is when a company targets us with the wrong product or at the wrong time. Make this your mantra for trade show lead management. While there are a lot of qualified buyers at trade shows and events (81% actually), some will need more time to be ready to buy. Here are some tips for adequately segmenting your leads:

  • Include sales qualifiers in your custom lead form so that the rep who has the conversation can immediately identify those that are conversion-ready. It will save a lot of time post-event and increase trust in the event leads if sales can see the qualifiers that people met before they start the outreach.
  • Treat the non-sales leads differently and respect their timing. The initial reaction post-event is to try and convert every lead you capture. That's the worst thing you can do. While sales are working on deals with qualified leads, marketing should start engaging with the leads needing more education or more time to decide. If you share valuable content and build their trust in the brand, they will eventually choose to take the next step with sales, which is the best way to increase your chances of a closed deal. 

Tip 4: Follow-Up ASAP

Capturing leads at a trade show is only the first step. You need to follow up quickly and with relevant information to convert those leads into sales. Here are some tips for effective post-event lead nurture:

  • Personalize your messages: Use the notes you took during the event to personalize your follow-up messages. Reference details from your conversation to show that you're paying attention and genuinely interested in their needs.
  • Provide value: Don't just send generic sales pitches. Instead, provide value to the lead by sharing helpful resources, such as guides or case studies, that address their specific pain points.
  • Be persistent: Don't give up after one or two follow-up messages. It often takes multiple touchpoints to convert a lead into a sale, so be persistent and keep nurturing the relationship over time. If you approach the entire relationship with a supportive and helpful tone, it won't overwhelm them if you follow up multiple times. But remember, persistence is good when it's helpful, not forced sales. 

Trade shows are a goldmine of potential leads, but capturing them requires a strategic approach. You can maximize your chances of converting those leads into sales by using multiple capture scenarios, taking notes during conversations, segmenting the leads, and following up appropriately. Now get out there and start capturing those leads!

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