“Lead generation is a fairly core activity to marketing.”
Nothing helps more in lead generation than recognition of a brand, and events go a long way in creating brand awareness. However, if lead generation plays an important role in your line of business, then you must integrate a specific lead generation strategy into the plan for each of your events. Events unlock opportunities; they initiate dialogue for sales people to further define and close. The CEO of Exordium Group, Ronda Farrell, estimates that by simply making use of the essential marketing benefits, you can increase lead generation from your events by 15 to 20%. Some of the questions that can be helpful in embedding effective lead generation in your events are:
- How do sales identify and profile the target prospects from the attendee list? For example: attendee demographics, attendee’s qualification as target market, attendee’s interests etc.
- How can you use an event to foster deeper relationships with your customers and prospects? For example: if you are exhibiting at an event you can use demo areas, your own shows, hosting hospitality events, and landing speaking engagements.
- How do you put in place effective lead capture initiatives and mechanisms? For example: making notes on the back of business cards to be inputted into your data base later, using lead forms, using magnetic strip or barcode readers, employing professional lead coordinators etc.
- How do you measure the success of an event in lead generation? For example: turnout of decision makers, number of leads, number of shortlisted opportunities, outreach to the identified top targets, measuring closed business etc.
- How do you put a mechanism in place to determine the quality of leads? For example: the leads generated can be rated as High, Average, or Low based on various parameters such as, buying authority or influence(?), funds availability to make the purchase(?), defined timeline for purchase(?), level of interest in product or service(?) etc.
- How do you ensure a systematic follow-up of leads and inquiries for development and fulfilment? Value of events comes from your sales team’s ability to follow up.
In order for your lead generation from events to be effective, keep the sales team involved through the process because every touch point with an attendee is an area for potential lead capture. It also ensures that they are fully prepared to engage the prospects and customers before and at the event and to follow through on leads that are generated on the back-end during the event. The key in lead capture is to know what questions to ask. The event setting is different from other face to face selling in that at an event you are likely to have very limited time with each person. Ask only those questions that are required to determine if the person or the deal is a real prospect and keep the wording of the questions brief and direct. Ask questions in the order of importance lest the guest moves on or simply loses interest. If you use a questionnaire, keep the list to a maximum of six to eight questions.
Your Lead Management Program must include an effective methodology for lead capture and order and revenue tracking that spans across the entire lifecycle of an event.
Pre-Event Lead Management: Use mailers with a clear purpose. Create an Events Database. Prior to each event, review with your on-site staff the attendee list against a rating scale relevant to your business. Explain to them the type of lead capture mechanism you plan to use. Get complete profile information on the highly rated attendees and approach them for one-on-one meetings with your executives at the event.
On-Site Lead Management: Ensure a thorough on-site briefing. The success and productivity of an event will depend on the preparedness, competence, and discipline of your on-site team. Prepare and provide your team with brief contact profiles. Use a lead retrieval system on-site.
Post-Event Lead Management: Whether you use technology or do it manually, process the leads in your system within three business days following the event. Make sure your sales staff does call-downs on every single lead, performed quickly after the event and by the right relationship person.
(For help with your event please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)