When Do Event Leads Go Cold?

29 Sep 2014

We know inbound leads go cold in a matter of minutes. But what about other sales leads?

It’s an important question. With such a huge effort (and expense) getting in front of these people, knowing the best time to follow up makes a difference.

How long does it take for the leads you painstakingly gathered from your favourite trade show or customer event to go cold? Talk to companies on the floor and the common wisdom is pretty consistent – a couple of weeks. But the actual answer is not even close to that.

Our research shows that the answer is between one and two days. Optimal engagement starts to plummet after 48 hours. After two weeks, only a minority of visitors actually remember going to the event in any detail, let alone talking to you at your stand.

So, the belief that visitors who have let you scan their badge are happy for you to call them whenever you’re ready is – quite frankly – a load of bollocks. Catch them soon, or be ready to have to warm them up again.

After thousands of dollars of investment in the event, it all sounds pretty dire – but it doesn’t have to be.  There are some smart ways to make this insight work for you. Here are three quick and easy tips:

1. Ensure you have immediate access to your leads

In order to start prospecting the day after the show, you need your prospect list ready. Your sales teams need to know who to call, what’s been talked about and how valuable the prospects are.

If you’re waiting for scanner data to be available, collating business cards or typing in names from pen and paper forms, you need to know every day that passes is weakening your return from the event.

There’s loads of technology out there that can capture leads digitally and have them immediately available. It can be as simple as iPads at your stand or an app on your sales team smartphones. Capture and prioritise your leads easily and you’ll be light years ahead of other exhibitors.

2. Prepare a follow up eDM before the event

Exhibitions, events and trade shows take their toll on you and your team, and the truth is not much gets done the day after. If you’ve done more than one of these, you know – every one crashes after a show. It’s just that intense.

But a follow up doesn’t have to be a call – it just needs to be a touch to remind the prospect of your brand and the conversation you had.

So use your prospect list to send a personalised eDM to buy yourself a couple days of recovery. Smarter companies can even use the eDM to further qualify their leads so they know which ones are worth tackling first.

But don’t build the eDM the day you’re back in the office: build them before you go and get someone to send it out while you’re in recovery.

3. Use fresh legs

I know it’s not always possible but, if you can, pass the baton to another runner for the first few days.

Lead qualification is complicated. But it’s a whole lot easier when you’ve got the energy to run at it at full speed. Use sales staff that weren’t at the event to do next day follow up. It’ll bring fresh enthusiasm, which – trust me – you’re likely to be struggling for the day after the show. Even if it is a temp, just the act of reaching out to verify contact details, buying interest and purchase power will mean that your prospects will be better nurtured, more qualified and closer to sale by the time you’re back on board.

I hope these 3 tips help you see a stronger return from your event-based lead generation.

Bold Discovery undertakes regular research every year across a range of industries. If you want fresh ideas on how to maximise your ROI from event activation, give Bold Discovery a call +03 9005 7330