“Research has shown that 80% of the leads dis-qualified by sales, go on to buy a competitor’s product, or service within 24 months.”
Maybe you’re like me — I was an Event Professional before most #EventProfs were even born! During those 30+ years in the meetings and events business, I heard some variation of thses common laments from Exhibit Managers year after year.
1. Lack of control over show leads - After shows and events, Exhibit Managers have little or no control or influence over the leads they generate at shows and events. They spend hours, and weeks preparing for each show, in meetings and coordinating with vendors, the sales and marketing departments, managing logistics, executing pre-show marketing campaigns, and much more. Then once the show is over, they hand over 200 or 300 leads to the VP of Sales, and promptly lose all contact, control or influence over them.
2. Most leads are never followed up - Exhibit Managers know from industry surveys, and anecdotal reports from their sales team and marketing department that 60% to 80% of the leads she works so hard to generate, are not followed up. How demoralizing!
3. Real ROI is impossible in this model – At the end of the year, management calls an Exhibit Manager into the office to detail her new budget requests, or she sits down for an annual performance review. Her director asks, “What is the ROI of all these shows you/we do?” More often than not, she has no way to give them hard data and numbers, because she has no connection with the leads, and “no control” over the follow-up or sales process. Consequently, her budget, future promotion, and even her job can be in jeopardy, because she has few if any answers.
Why 80% ?
Why are 80% of trade show leads not followed up? Here’s a natural sales dynamic, which destroys follow-up on most leads. Each month, sales people live and die by their quota. So when trade show leads come to them, they naturally contact the hottest “A” leads first, and after those, the “B” leads, if they have time. The “C” leads are really low down on the totem pole, getting disqualified almost immediately.
Also, on average, only 15% to 20 % of trade show leads are “A” caliber – ready to buy, with both a budget and a deadline. Then, if the marketing department is doing their job, by the first of the month a fresh batch of leads comes in, and the cycle continues. The “A” leads (15 to 20%) always get followed up first, and the other 80% (B and C leads) get pushed down, aside, and too often and forgotten.
The Problem: Losing (your) sales to your competition
In this scenario, trade show leads 12 to 24 months after a show (from the B & C leads) actually provide more business (maybe even more) than leads in the first 12 months (A leads). This happens because attendees see new products at this year’s show. Then, they put budget requests in for them at the end of the year. So, then they come back the next year – informed, funded, and ready to buy.
With this in mind, companies into this continuous cycle lose 2x to 3x of their potential sales revenue if they don’t follow up and stay in contact with all trade show and event leads until they mature. Indeed, let me re-emphasize the alarming quotation from the Sirius Research Organization at the top of the message: “80% of the leads ignored or dis-qualified by sales, go on to buy a competitor’s product, or service within 24 months.”
So, here’s the dilemma.
Do you want the solution? I will share it tomorrow in my next blog entry.
- Mike Hatch