You’re Back from the Show. Now What?

6 tips for closing your opportunities post show:

So, you’re back from a trade show, receipts in one hand and a fistful of business cards in the other. Now what? There’s lots to do. Because once any trade show is over the real sales and marketing work is just beginning.  


1) Enter leads into the CRM, ASAP. 

Enter all your leads and notes into your customer relationship management (CRM) system. You do have a CRM, right? And start prioritizing your responses. Leads who are already in your system would obviously be hot, as would anyone who mentioned a specific need or requirement when you met. As with most everything on this list, please start entering your leads promptly. By promptly, we mean in your hotel room at night or on the airplane going home while the conversations are top of mind.

2) Follow up on hot leads immediately.

The hot leads get an immediate follow up (1-2 days after your meeting or when show ends). Depending on the prospect, this could be a phone call, an email or a handwritten note that specifically addresses the prospect’s needs or pain points, as well as how you met, if it’s relevant.  You may be attaching a presentation, a proposal, case study or other content, depending on what was discussed at the show. The keys here are being specific, timely and personal, based on the (hopefully) detailed notes you took. If you can spare the time to make a phone call, those are always best with an email follow up directly after.

3) Follow up on the rest of the leads.

The rest of your less-hot leads deserve prompt, professional follow-up, too. Once again, 1-2 days after your meeting or the show is ideal. While it’s OK to work from a flexible template, it goes without saying that you don’t want to send the same standard, generic or stock email after every show you attend. Instead, follow the advice of thepoint and be sure to always identify the specific show, by name, in the subject line or in the first paragraph, at a minimum. It’s also helpful to personalize each email with the name and photo of the sales person and his or her contact information. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something different here. Remember, lots of aerospace and defense companies look and sound alike. Do everything you can to stand out from the competition.

4) Don’t forget calls-to-action (CTAs).

Thepoint recommends, and we agree, providing prospects with specific, tangible options for engaging with your company, such as “download our free white paper”, “request a personal demo”, or "watch our overview video.” Provide 2-3 options that appeal to a range of prospects at various stages of the buying cycle.

5) Don’t be a stalker.

Keep in touch with your lukewarm leads, but don’t be a stalker. Autopilot recommends sending one email once a week for a month, and them sending them your newsletter or other content you think they might like after that. Or, if you use a marketing automation system, consider designing some simple journeys with regular touchpoints based on buyer behavior.

6) Tally your show ROI.

Ultimately, your trade show attendance should be about results. Once the follow-up process is complete, take a look back at the goals you established before the show and determine how you did in terms of numbers of leads and conversions to sales. This will help you evaluate your process, your ROI and the individual trade show for future attendance.

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