Ask a VP of Marketing at a large-scale trade show why they’re at the event and it won’t be long until you hear the word “leads.”
If you share that mindset, I’m here to tell you you’re doing it wrong.
A lead is just data. First name, last name, email, etc. The top of the funnel goal for your business should never be to collect a bunch of data with business cards or badge scans, it should be to connect with ideal prospects, start a real relationship, and book an actual qualified appointment. Tradeshow “demos” don’t count. You want the real deal, on the books, no distractions, logged in calendars, invites delivered, and saved in CRM.
Prior to last week’s Dreamforce, we personally were doing it wrong at SalesLoft. This was our flow:
- Set a ‘lead quota’ for the event
- Scan badges, collect cards, and bring them all home
- Have reps try to follow up with the people they met (not efficient)
- Hand the second tier leads to SDRs so they could add to a Cadence to call, qualify, and schedule appointments, logging into calendar and saving to CRM
- Recycle the ones (many) who don’t reply.
Here’s how this would unfold:
A prospect visits the booth and shows interest. They give us their contact information and say they’ll reply and take an appointment if we reach out after the show. Reps reach out after the show and the prospects often don’t reply because they are crazy busy, forgetful, and bombarded by all the others who are reaching out post-event.
Our interaction to appointment ratio was super low.
Preparing for Dreamforce 2015, we wanted to spice things up. From Day 1 we had a goal for actual appointments:
Then we interacted with people. We asked them qualification questions. We avoided taking their cards or scanning their badges. We helped them determine whether we could be valuable. And when they said “yes,” we asked them to take out their phone and find a time on the calendar that would work. It required a bit of tradeshow “sales development” finesse, but it worked.
Then we used a new app we built:
SalesLoft Lead Pass is simple.
Open the app on a mobile device (phone or iPad) and select “Get Started.” Behind the scenes, the app knows your lead pass rules and selects the right sales executive. Because it’s synced to all reps’ Google calendars, the app generates the calendar availability of the rep (in this case Anthony).
From here, it’s as simple as selecting the right time with your prospect and booking the meeting. The minute you do that, the following happens behind the scenes:
- Creates calendar event for the AE and Prospect
- Sends invites to both parties including the screen share info and notes
- Goes behind the scenes in Salesforce to create the right event (in our case: Task action: Demo set) and assigns it to the right rep.
Using this method at Dreamforce last week we scheduled 183 appointments.
I’d rather have 183 scheduled appointments than 3,000 names of leads (data). We can get those pretty simply.
Monitor and increase the appointments set to demo complete ratio.
From there, you’ll work on appointments completed => ops created => new customers => upgrade / renewal $
What’s your lead to revenue strategy at large-scale events? Leave a comment below and let us know what’s working, not working, and if this sounds helpful.