There is no better way to jumpstart a professional business relationship with a potential client than by meeting them face-to-face, even if it does happen in a virtual environment. Hosting an exhibit at an event, such as a conference or tradeshow, is a proven way to do just that, whether in the form of a physical stand or a virtual event booth.
That said, there is often a disconnect between that initial interaction and following up later on. Sometimes, promising leads end up being lost entirely due to a lack of a reliable way to capture them. In other cases, information might be buried somewhere in a database that, by the time gets found, it is already too late to follow up in a meaningful way.
In order to enjoy the best possible return on investment from the events you’re sponsoring or exhibiting at, you need to take a strategic approach with a view to moving leads through the marketing and sales pipeline with as few barriers as possible. That requires personalization and excellent timing, which are only possible if the key information about your leads is readily accessible. This is why events exhibitors need an effective way to gather and qualify leads and follow-up with them later on – which is where lead retrieval apps come in.
What is Lead Retrieval?
Lead retrieval is the process of capturing and qualifying sales leads collected at an event. A lead retrieval tool needs to collect the data, allow exhibitors to qualify leads and take notes, and then send that information to a database for sales and marketing to follow up with later. Leads themselves include anyone who has expressed an interest in your company and is thusly a potential customer.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that around two-thirds of potential customers who attend a trade show or similar event are never followed up on. Sometimes, exhibitors fail to capture the leads in the first place. The reasons for this vary, but most of them come down to a lack of a unified, strategy-driven initiative for collecting leads and managing them across the sales pipeline. Integrated lead retrieval solutions are designed to solve this problem.
How Does Lead Retrieval Work?
The traditional approach to lead retrieval relies on near-field communication (NFC)- enabled attendee badges. Other options include barcodes, QR codes, or ID numbers. Exhibitors collect these codes using a handheld scanner. Lead retrieval information typically includes the full registration data of the attendee, such as their job title, company name, and contact details. This data is normally collected during registration, with the information to be collected often being predefined by the event organizer, rather than those exhibiting at or sponsoring the event.
Newer lead capture methods typically integrate with event registration and management software to streamline the entire process. This way, they can seamlessly synchronize the data collected during the registration with that which ends up in the leads database belonging to the sales department. These apps often include the ability to browse existing leads, add new ones manually, and even select pre-qualifying questions.
For exhibitors and sponsors, the lead retrieval process broadly comprises four main steps:
- Capture: Exhibitors can instantly capture leads by scanning the attendee’s badge with their smartphone. The most common method is to use NFC-enabled badges or badges with a QR code.
- Qualify: Exhibitors can qualify leads on-site by adding notes to their lead retrieval app, creating and sending custom surveys, or sending personalized content on-demand. Any data collected during the process should be forwarded to sales and marketing.
- Follow-up: The sales and marketing departments should be able to access the lead capture information in real-time by way of fully integrated event management software. That way, they can quickly follow up with sales leads.
- Reporting: Sales, marketing, and any other relevant party can instantly view leads the moment they are captured. With a comprehensive search function and integration with CRM, they should be able to filter leads by job title, company, and other characteristics to help them develop highly targeted sales and marketing plans.
What are the Benefits of Lead Retrieval?
Without a formal lead retrieval solution, it quickly becomes a practical impossibility to collect lead data to drive event revenue and engagement. Instead, exhibitors must manually write everything down as they interact with attendees. Of course, that is hardly practical if you have hundreds or even thousands of attendees visiting your booth during the course of a busy trade show or other event.
Collect Data at Scale
As every modern sales and marketing team knows, the fuel for business success is data. Lead retrieval is about capturing and synchronizing data and making it accessible to those who use it to drive desired business outcomes. Moreover, with lead retrieval at your disposal, you can accurately calculate the return on investment of your event exhibitions. Modern lead retrieval solutions offer a secure and efficient way to collect and manage leads at practically any scale. Event management platforms that incorporate both features, as well as the ability to directly upload captured leads into your CRM suite, can automate the entire process.
Simplify Team Collaboration
Lead retrieval also simplifies collaboration between teams. Since modern event management apps are connected to the cloud, all attendee information is stored in a centralized and readily accessible location for sharing with relevant parties. This is extremely important when moving leads through the sales pipeline since each team or individual responsible for overseeing the next step of the customer journey will have access to the information pertaining to the previous steps. This results in a more personalized engagement characterized by relevant content. By making it easy for each team member to build on the work previously done by their colleagues, businesses can seamlessly move leads through the pipeline to become valuable customers.
Improve Attendee Experience
Lead retrieval solutions are also convenient for attendees, and what’s better for your attendees is also better for business. For example, fewer people carry around business cards these days, so making the exchange of information as unobtrusive and as seamless as possible should be a priority. Since there is no need for exhibitors to manually write down information, attendees who want to share their contact info can do so instantly.
Businesses exhibit at or sponsor events in order to increase their reach and earn more clients, so it stands to reason that they need an easy way to retrieve information from those potential clients. A lead retrieval solution makes that interaction quick and seamless, thereby making it easier for sales and marketing to follow up later.
MeetingPlay + Aventri + eventcore is a hybrid event platform that helps event exhibitors capture leads through both digital and traditional channels. Request your live demonstration today to learn how.