Following Up on Trade Show Leads Through Sales and Marketing

Trade Show Lead Follow Up Header

As companies return to in-person trade shows, more and more leads are being generated from these events. Following up on trade show leads is crucial, as these leads often have a higher conversion rate compared to other lead sources.

Keep in mind, cold calling and other marketing efforts have their benefits. However, trade show leads are often more qualified for three reasons:

  1. You know they are interested in the space that your company works in
  2. You have shared an experience that you can reference during follow-up
  3. Some have already met you in person and showed interest in your company

Being able to connect with your prospect through your trade show experience is much easier than calling someone you have no connection with. But how do you successfully follow up with event leads?

Whether you generate leads through an in-person or virtual event, this post will teach you the best strategies for following up on your trade show leads.

Who should follow up on your trade show leads?

The first order of business when following up with these leads is figuring out who should conduct the follow-up. An SDR team is ideal for direct follow-up. 

You may be wondering why your sales reps shouldn’t be the ones to follow up. As great as your sales reps are, they have other responsibilities to fulfill — like closing deals.

On the other hand, a sales development rep’s main responsibility is to put all of their attention on early-stage leads, like ones generated from a trade show.

The benefits of having your SDRs follow up include:

  • One follow-up is never enough. With an SDR’s persistent call cadence, they will provide frequent touchpoints that the sales reps don’t have time for. 

  • SDRs gauge the lead’s interest and see if they meet the criteria to become a sales-qualified lead. This will help not waste the sales rep’s time with unqualified leads.

  • Their main objective is to warm up the prospect, schedule a sales meeting, and introduce them to the sales rep with a warm handoff.

Each of these benefits can be achieved with thorough 1:1 conversations.

Event follow-up through 1:1 conversations

When following up with your trade show leads, SDRs can reach out through phone calls, voicemails, and emails. They’re able to take a one-to-one approach through these communication channels, which personalizes each lead’s interaction with your company. 

Direct follow-up has many advantages over only using automated messages or other mass communication methods. While mass marketing has its advantages too, direct interactions can be more personalized. SDRs can have more insightful conversations where they learn about the prospect’s needs and interest level while fostering a deeper relationship. 

To help you get the most out of these benefits, we’ll dive into the process your SDRs can follow to engage your trade show leads and continue building interest in your solutions.

  1. Tailor your call scripts to the event
  2. Leverage information the lead shared with you at the event
  3. Engage in a meaningful conversation to uncover their needs
  4. Establish a lead rating system, qualification criteria, and call cadence
  5. Schedule the meeting for the closing sales rep
Steps to Engaging Your Trade Show Leads

1. Tailoring your trade show follow-up script

As mentioned earlier, trade show follow-up is an opportunity to connect with leads over a shared experience of the event. Tailoring your SDR call scripts to the event helps you strengthen that connection and warm up these more qualified leads. 

One way to do this is to start off the conversation with an introduction like this:

Hello, this is [name] with [company]. We met at the [event name] trade show — we were the booth handing out sunglasses. I wanted to touch base to see if you’ve looked further into what we offer.

Mentioning that you met at the trade show and reminding them who you are is a great first step to get your foot in the door with your prospect.

2. Leverage information the lead shared with you

Once you’ve established your connection, spend time discussing how your solutions can resolve pain points they may have shared with you at the event. Any insights you gathered while speaking to them at the event can be very useful for personalizing the follow-up conversation.

You can open up this dialogue by saying something like this:

You showed some interest in [product/service]. You also shared you were facing challenges with [pain point]. Would you like to learn how [product/service] can help with this challenge?

Continue the conversation by sharing the benefits that your solution provides. Don’t focus on closing the sale, just focus on how your product or service can solve the problems they are facing.

3. Engage in a meaningful conversation

Learn more about your prospect’s needs and how you can solve them by asking the right questions. Try to avoid conversation killers, like asking yes or no questions. Instead, ask probing questions that open up your prospect and get them talking. 

For example, you can also ask questions to uncover more about their current problem:

How are you currently handling [pain point]? Where do you run into obstacles with your current solution?

Getting the prospect to talk more about their situation will help keep them engaged. It also provides insight that can be used during further SDR follow-up and later on by the closing sales rep.

4. Establish lead follow-up processes for SDRs

Establishing processes like a lead rating system, qualification criteria, and a call cadence will help your SDR team be consistent and persistent in their follow-up. 

A lead rating system lets the rep rate prospects based on their interest level and how close they are to converting to an SQL. This rating helps an SDR prioritize leads and allows everyone in your company to understand where prospects are in the pipeline. 

Lead qualification criteria are the criteria SDRs use to determine whether they are qualified leads or not. Some criteria to look for are if the company is a good fit for your solution and if the contact is a decision maker. Read more about lead qualification and ratings

You should also define a call cadence for SDRs, which tells them how frequently to follow up with certain prospects. To learn more about strategic call cadences, read our blog Sales Call Cadence Best Practices.

5. Schedule the sales meeting

By following up on trade show leads persistently and building genuine interest, you should be able to set more sales appointments and convert more of these leads to sales-qualified. 

But how do you actually set the meeting? There are a few tips to get a commitment from your leads. First off, your SDR should use strong closing language geared towards setting the meeting through every conversion. They should also schedule the meeting while on the call.

It also helps to ensure your SDRs have access to the sales rep’s calendar. That also means they manage the meeting invite, including any rescheduling.

Lastly, your SDRs should join the meeting and perform a warm handoff to introduce the sales rep. As the SDR hands off these leads to your sales reps, they will share any information about the lead to your sales person to help them continue to address the prospect’s needs.

By following this process, you’ll find success in turning those trade show leads into future clients.

Tactics for post-trade show email marketing

Email marketing is another method that can be useful for warming up your trade show leads. 

With its high ROI, email marketing is an effective form of digital marketing. Since email marketing is fully automated, your marketing team can follow up with many leads at once while your SDR team handles the direct conversations. Using both of these tactics at once helps keep your brand top-of-mind, so those leads don’t forget about you after the event.

To help you get the most out of your email marketing, in this section we will go over:

  • How to use email campaigns for follow-up
  • Examples of email campaign content
  • Other useful email marketing features

An email marketing platform is stocked with features and tools that can help you strategically email your trade show leads. One of the most important features is the ability to create email drip campaigns.

Utilizing B2B email drip campaigns

In email marketing, a drip campaign is a series of emails that persuades your readers to engage with your content over time. You choose the frequency of the emails and who receives it.

For example, you can build a drip campaign and only select the leads you received from the trade show to receive said emails. Automated drip campaigns use logic to decide when and if someone receives the next email in the series. You can trigger the next message to send based on if they open or click inside of the previous one.

An email drip campaign is a helpful way to create multiple persistent touchpoints. You can keep contacting your leads without breaking a sweat.

But what kinds of content should you write to engage your readers?

Follow-up content for B2B email campaigns

There are a few ways you can shape your content to ensure your trade show leads are receiving the best content from your automated drip campaigns:

  • Follow up about the event: Just like those 1:1 calls, mentioning that you met at the trade show is the magic phrase to start building a deeper relationship with your leads. 
  • Promote solutions: Share the benefits that come from your solution and how they can improve their business.
  • Offer educational content: These emails can share more relevant information about what your company does, blogs or guides, and other relevant news.
  • Invite them to future events: Let your leads know when your company holds an online webinar or a future trade show that you would love to see them attend.

These 4 types of messaging you can include in your drip campaign are great ways to build off of your trade show momentum.

Other features of your B2B email marketing platform

We recommend getting familiar with other tools in your email marketing platform to help you follow up, such as:

  1. Segmentation: This tool lets you create categories of prospects to send emails to, such as your trade show leads.
  2. Scoring: This tool tracks engagement, such as how prospects interact with your marketing emails and website.
  3. A/B testing: This tool allows you to split your audience to test different variations of an email and determine which performs better.

What platform do you use for your email marketing needs? At EBQ, we use Salesforce Pardot (now called Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) due to its smooth integration with our Salesforce CRM.

To gain more of an understanding of the platform, our B2B Marketer’s Guide to Pardot covers more of the tools and benefits that come with marketing automation. 

Pardot decorative graphic

Now that you know the best ways to follow up with your event leads, it’s time to learn more about getting the most out of your trade show while at the event.

Tips for a successful trade show

Before we dive into tips for a successful trade show, it’s important to remember that not all trade shows are equal. You may attend an event where you are able to obtain a lot of leads, then use the same tactics at a different event and not receive as many leads. 

Don’t get discouraged! It’s rare to have a perfect streak of flawless trade shows. However, the tips in this blog will help you set yourself up for a successful event.

These are the best tactics we’ve found to stand out and land more qualified leads:

  • Have the right employees at your booth: It is important to have someone in a sales capacity who is trained to deliver an elevator pitch attend this event, such as an SDR or sales rep. Other employees that understand clients’ pain points and your services could be there too, such as a product manager or marketing person. No matter who is at your booth, their main goal should be to engage with attendees, help address their issues, and determine the best way to follow up with them.

  • Leave an impression with effective marketing material: Bring collateral to your booth that promotes your message, products, or services. You can learn more about which sales collateral to bring for those in attendance at the event by reading our blog on sales collateral best practices. You can also hand out business cards that have your contact information on it. Quality marketing materials will make it more likely that leads remember you for your solutions, especially when competitors are relying on gimmicks.

  • Gather enough prospect intel: The goal is to get more than just their phone number and email. You should strive to get further information about them, their company, and any needs they have. Pardot even offers a kiosk mode to let prospects fill out a form at your booth, which makes it easier to collect this info. You can learn more by reading our guide on Pardot lead capture forms.

  • Reach out to attendees before the event: If you can gain access to a list of attendees or know someone who will be attending the trade show, you can try reaching out to them beforehand to introduce your company and encourage them to come by the booth. Keep in mind that many attendees will want to keep their schedules open during the show and may offer to “stop by” instead of committing to a firm time for a meeting, so you will still need a sound follow-up strategy for after the event. But pre-event outreach can nonetheless be a great way to let people know to keep an eye out for you and that you’re excited to meet with them.

Each method mentioned above can make the difference between generating leads or not. However, conversion rates still may vary depending on the trade show you attend — which is where strong follow-up comes into play.

The next step for your trade show leads

Following up on your trade show leads is not a one-step process. Remember, you need an effective strategy to follow up on these leads with 1:1 conversations through persistent phone calls, emails, and voicemails.

It’s also important to have the right messaging to use when trying to engage with your leads. Without the right call script and emails tailored to their needs, they won’t progress through the buyer journey’s stages.

If you are looking for help on following up with your trade show leads, our SDRs can help qualify leads, set up meetings, and hand them to your sales rep. Visit our B2B Lead Generation page to learn how we can turn your trade show leads into qualified prospects.

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