If you are like me, you have already attended and/or exhibited at a few trade shows this year with more events right around the corner. You know the drill – hustle to get there, work for leads, get back to the office, then do it all again. Where sales & marketing professionals sometimes drop the ball is when they get back to the office. We get so busy preparing for the next event that we don’t always effectively follow up on the leads we got at the last trade show. That’s where an effective trade show follow up plan saves the day.

Follow Up Waste

The first thing you want to do is get your leads in your inside sales reps hands, right? The tricky part is getting the right leads in their hands at the right time. If you give them a spreadsheet or just dump all the leads into a CRM tool, the following problems will arise:

  • Opportunity waste. Your reps will often spend time cherry picking the leads they think will be easiest to close or represent what they believe will be the biggest wins. This wastes opportunities – there may be great potential clients buried in the list.
  • Time waste. A result of cherry picking is wasted time. However, reps may also waste their time trying to figure out if the leads on the list are actually qualified. There is also the issue of whether or not the person who dropped by the booth is an actual decision maker. The time wasted following up on bad data could mean you lose a great opportunity with another prospect because you didn’t get to him before your competition did.
  • Budget waste. All the wasted time and opportunities ultimately lead to wasted spend. Why participate in trade shows if you don’t see an ROI?

A great recommendation comes from Genie Parker’s March 30th blog post. She recommends instituting a lead qualification team. The lead qualification team will let your sales reps:

  • Save time looking for qualified leads
  • Spend more time selling
  • Be prepared with information for their sales call
  • Close more sales and meet sales quotas
  • Stop wasting time with prospects who had no intention of buying your product or service

Your lead qualification team combined with a queue-based lead management solution ensures that the right leads are called at the right time by the right rep. Companies using queue-based lead management solutions are more productive and efficient than those using list-based CRM solutions:

  • Inside sales teams using a queue-based platform see an average of 8.1 follow up calls on leads before closing them out
  • The average call count for inside sales reps using a queue-based platform is 23 calls per hour.
  • Inside sales teams using a queue-based platform see a decrease of 30% in lead decay rate.

Follow Up Messaging

It’s tempting to start each call or email to trade show leads with a reminder about where you met. Guess what: every other company at the show with whom the prospect even made eye contact will be using the same approach. Instead of getting lost in the blur, treat these leads as if they are all cold calls. What’s the best way to pique the interest during a cold call? Lead with the value for the customer!

Craft personalized and customized sales scripts, emails, and message drops so that the value of your product or service is the highlight. You can reference the prospect’s visit to the show booth, but don’t lead with that. This approach differentiates your business from the other show exhibitors and will be more effective in helping you move the prospect through the funnel.


While the number of leads we got at the last trade show or conference may excite us, it’s important to remember that this metric isn’t the true measure of trade show success. Closing more sales as a result of the follow up is a more valuable key performance indicator to track. Get the most out of your trade show leads with the right lead management platform. Start your VanillaSoft free trial today.