Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. We hear it all the time, but yet, so many times it just doesn’t happen. In the final part of this series, we are going to explore post-show marketing abroad. In other words, follow up!
It doesn’t matter where in the world you are located, the prospect is located or the show was held. Bottom line – if you don’t follow up on your leads obtained at the show, you likely will not make a sale and meet your objectives. Chances are, someone else will get to them first and all the resources your organization invested on exhibiting will net less than desirable ROI.
According to tradeshow industry resources, nearly 80 percent of all tradeshow leads are never followed up on, and 81 percent of all sales happen on or after the fifth contact. That means there are a lot of leads that are NEVER followed up on, just waiting to be sold! How can you help your sales team immediately after the show and throughout the sales process?
The first goal of the marketing team post-show should be to disperse leads to the sales team. You’re likely the owner of the lead scans and, assuming you had a ranking system in place while taking the leads, it should be fairly easy for the sales team to understand who the qualified, key prospects are.
The sales team may not follow up the moment they receive their leads, but you, as part of the marketing department, want to “strike while the iron is hot.” Therefore, have a post-show mailer or email blast ready to go. This can come in a variety of forms, such as an advanced lead system allowing the prospects to pick the literature they want to receive via email, a printed piece or even have a mass email blast.
Pending the region you exhibited in (remember part 2 of this series), maybe do a bit of social media follow up. Post on Facebook, send a tweet on Twitter, post a comment on LinkedIn; all with a link that leads back to your website, an event-related micro site or a blog about the show’s success. Whatever it is though, make sure you have contact information listed, so the prospect always knows how to get in touch with someone at your company.
For those “A” leads, work with the assigned sales team member and have something special planned – a unique, physical mail piece or a special invite to dinner or a lunch. Don’t let the “A” lead get away!
In specific regions that don’t emphasize learning English as a business language, such as Saudi Arabia, Panama, Thailand and Libya, have a local sales rep for that region specifically. Having a local phone number to call during their standard working hours is always a plus, so that local contact is always important even if they do speak English!
Selling in Saudi Arabia for a woman can be an even bigger challenge than just the standard follow up. Keep in mind that while in many parts of the world working with a woman is completely normal and standard, you may get further with men in other parts.
These ideas will get you through that initial contact phase. Let’s consider a personal email and follow up call from your sales team on contacts number 2 and 3.
The momentum of the show wears off and, still, no responses from the leads and prospects to your contact efforts. Questions like ‘How often do I follow up?,’ ‘What is considered overkill?,’ and ‘What else should I try?’ arise.
Send out a mass email to those unresponsive folks with a link to an informational blog or a newsletter, or a reminder snail mail piece that they met your team at the XYZ show with a photo of the exhibit to jog their memory.
Are there still some unresponsive “A” leads? Step up your game! An “A” lead for you is also probably an “A” lead for your competitor. What can you find out about the contact to personalize the effort just a bit more? LinkedIn can be a great resource at this point. I was recently trying to get a meeting with a mountain bike company. I sent them a direct to substrate printed, customized rock. It stood out and got me a call back!
Okay, so maybe they still don’t call you after that fourth try, but your sales reps can make that call and ask if they got the rock, or saw the blog, etc. Contact number 5 has just happened. Hopefully, by now, they talk to you, but, if not, your competitors are probably running into the same issues. Your consistent efforts after the others have dropped away can pay off when the prospect is finally ready to talk!
As the marketing department you most likely need to prove that ROI on the tradeshow to keep your budget, so the more help you give your reps, the more likely it is that you’ll see better numbers.
Unlike my first two parts in this series, no matter where you are in the world, following up on leads is top priority. If you research your leads in general and understand who they are as a company, a culture or a region of the world, and tailor your follow up to them, you’ll be on the right track. Keep in mind the regional notes from parts 1 and 2 and, now, go sell!