Events provide wonderful opportunities to spark connections that your sales team can use to build profitable relationships. And while sales teams can be persnickety, they do appreciate it when you hand them warm, qualified leads coming out of your event.
Event marketers and sales need to work together to to make more event connections with the right customers and prospects, identify the warmest leads, and kindle that interest until it grows hot enough to turn into a sale.
Here are five ways to maximize lead qualification at your events:
1. Define your goals ahead of time. Too often, a company will say lead generation is a priority for an event, but it won’t establish a goal. Failing to set a goal makes success evaluation pretty much impossible. As you prepare for your next event, determine how many leads you need to generate, and make a plan with specific action steps to guide your approach and evaluate your success.
2. Distinguish leads from inquiries. Many companies evaluate an event’s impact by the number of names staff members collect. However, not everyone who gives up their info represents a real business opportunity. Some are warm leads; others are just warm bodies.
Track your progress more accurately by distinguishing between inquiries (the raw number of names collected) and actual leads (qualified business opportunities). This makes effectiveness easier to evaluate, and it clarifies who needs a follow-up..
3. Simplify your temperature rating. To prioritize follow-ups, you need to know how warm each lead is. Some are hot — almost ready to buy — while others are lukewarm. They need to be nurtured a bit before they’ll make a purchase. Others are cold, and they’re not even worth your sales team’s time.
Qualification should be straightforward. When someone visits your booth, for example, you want to focus on making a connection — not killing the moment with a long list of questions. A complicated lead qualification process can turn an interaction into an interrogation.
Instead, keep it simple by asking:
How much buying authority or influence does this person have?
How soon is this person likely to make a purchasing decision?
These questions will help you determine which visitors are hot or warm leads, and which ones aren’t leads at all.
4. Calculate revenue opportunity. It takes time and multiple touch points to convert prospects into customers, so how do you evaluate the financial impact of an event? A useful way is to think of an event’s financial impact is in terms of revenue opportunity. Calculating the amount of opportunity created is more honest than trying to get at a true ROI, which would assume that you are making sales right then and there at the event!
Here’s how to get to an opportunity evaluation: Simply multiply the number of warm and hot leads by the average sales price of your product or service. For example, if you capture 100 warm and hot leads at a show and your average customer spends $10,000, report that the revenue opportunity created at the event is $1 million. This calculation helps quantify the financial impact of an event, while leaving the conversion of opportunities to sales to post-event sales activities.
5. Hold the sales team accountable. Companies often expect event marketers to provide leads, but the problem is that salespeople are usually the ones interacting with customers at the event. Hold salespeople accountable for capturing qualified leads by setting goals for each person and rewarding people who exceed their goals.
Generating leads isn’t the only benefit of trade shows and corporate events, but it’s one of the most important ways events can contribute to your company’s sales and marketing strategy. Going in without a strategy for generating and qualifying leads is like trying to start a fire without flint and steel. By following these tips for creating a smart lead qualification process, you can turn up the heat at your next event.To learn more about event measurement, visit our new resource center.
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