As I discussed in Wednesday’s blog entry, the graphic below shows the dilemma for an exhibit manager when looking at leads generated at trade shows.
Most trade show leads follow this track:
- Lead Capture via a card, badge scanning device, or collection of business cards
- The Exhibit Manager hands over leads to the VP or Director of Sales (using a flash drive or through a lead retrieval provider)
- Leads get entered into the organization’s database, or CRM.
- What happens after the hottest “A” leads are followed up? There’s no system to follow up, nurture, and incubate the other 80% of trade show leads, which won’t buy for a year, two, or sometimes longer.
A Better Solution: Marketing Automation
You can use cloud-based Marketing Automation (MA) systems. This solution automatically follows up, nurtures, and develops 100% of all you’re A, B, and C leads until they qualify themselves as ready to buy. Here’s how it works.
You capture trade show leads at the show like usual, but then you do two things at about the same time.
Each prospect (include current customers too) can receive email or direct mail on a pre- scheduled basis. It would have the all-important “unsubscribe” button at the bottom, but more purposeful are its links to your website that offers something of value to your potential and present clients, like:
- helping prospects to do their job better
- improving their knowledge and skill sets
- reinforcing your value propositions
- helping them save their organizations money….you get the idea.
As prospects click on links in these emails, here is some of what an MA System does beyond any basic email program like Constant Contact, or Vertical Response.
- Track exactly who opens your email (not just how many).
- Document the pages visitors view and the length of their views, thereby quantifying visitors’ interest.
- Define which metrics best identify if your prospects are in a buying mode.
Examples of these metrics include:
+ They clicked through to your site 5 times this quarter.
+ They requested 2 subject-specific white papers.
+ They spent 5+ minutes 3 times on a specific product page.
Your MA system would automatically alert the Sales VP, Director or Manager, and/or the account executive, each with a note that “Now is the right time to contact this prospect.”
So, while your sales team concentrates on closing the usual 15-20% of “A” leads, your MA system automatically (what a great word for a small or mid-size business owner!) nurtures the relationship with the other 80% (B & C leads) until they qualify themselves and graduate to “A” leads.
The Results from Marketing Automation
1. What MA Systems Do:
* Change marketing from hit-or-miss experimentation into a deliberate method of finding and growing leads.
* Increase sales cheaply, more effectively, and dependably than hiring and training sales staff.
* Remind the other 80% of your hard earned prospects of what you do.
* Guard your prospects so your competitors don’t sell them 12 to 24 months from now.
* Connect to your leads without annoying them.
* Insure your sales team doesn’t wrongly disqualify or neglect them.
2. When you launch an MA System,
* 2x to 3x more qualified “A” leads convert into 2x to 3x more sales revenue for you.
* your company lowers sales costs and your marketing spend.
* your profit margins will increase.
What an unbeatable combination!
In my next blog, we will take a look at a variety of MA programs, and how to create and launch effective campaigns with them.
– Michael Hatch