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How to Handle Those Hot Virtual Tradeshow Sales Leads


It’s the holy grail of online lead generation – you generate sales leads that pursue you and your company (rather than the other way around).  This holy grail scenario often plays out in B-to-B Virtual Tradeshows.  Some attendees come to the virtual event with approved budget, purchasing authority and a specific need.  As such, they’re shopping around with the various exhibitors to see who offers the solution that best fits their requirements.

These attendees will ask you (or your colleagues) very specific questions, covering technical specifications, product features and pricing.  At the conclusion of their visit, they may ask to be connected to a sales representative from your company.  How better can it get for you as an online marketer?  For this opportunity that fell into your lap – be sure to close the loop (with sales) on this lead or else the happy ending may be told by your competitor.

Here’s a sample chat that’s representative of what I’ve seen in virtual events:

Attendee: Thanks for the information about your products.
Exhibitor: You’re welcome!
Attendee: I’d like to set up a meeting to price out a configuration and discuss a few requirements that the product needs to meet
Exhibitor: Where are you based?
Attendee: New York City
Exhibitor: (a few minutes later) OK, the area sales manager for NYC is Bob Johnson.  His email address is bjohnson@acme.com and his phone number is 212-555-1212.
Attendee: Thanks, I’ll contact him.

Not good enough!  The exhibitor missed out on a golden opportunity here.  Additional steps that I’d recommend:

  1. Copy/paste the transcript of the chat and immediately email it to Bob Johnson
  2. Connect with Bob via email, IM, etc. – letting him know about the hot lead
  3. Update your CRM system (e.g. Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, etc.) with the transcript of the chat and a summary of the sales inquiry
  4. Urge Bob to follow up immediately with the attendee — let the attendee know (during the chat session) that “Bob is ready to take your call right now” – or, “Bob will call you first thing in the morning”
  5. Get Bob to login to the virtual event right now – you already know that there’s one hot lead from his territory – a sales opportunity waiting for Bob to close
  6. Provide your own contact info to the attendee, letting her know that you can be contacted if Bob cannot be reached

Remember, leads in a virtual tradeshow can be very hot.  Handle with care and don’t treat them like hot potatoes.  If you do, then your competitors may be eating your lunch.

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3 Responses to How to Handle Those Hot Virtual Tradeshow Sales Leads

  1. Perry says:

    This is great! I’ve handled education leads, and getting them was never easy. We basically had to move from one school fair to another, create several career assessment, and a lot more. But this will be a good addition to our list of marketing methods, not to mention that it’s very cheap.

  2. dshiao says:

    Thanks for the comment, Perry. For an interesting application in the education space, check out a virtual college fair called College Week Live:

    http://collegeweeklive.com/

  3. Great advice! I’m with InXpo – we take it a step further with the InXpo platform. Our reporting includes a “Lead Generation Report Card” option for sponsors and/or hosts. Based upon criteria determined by what/how the booth sponsor/exhibitor considers to be a hot lead – could be time an attendee spends in the virtual booth, materials viewed or downloaded from the booth, interaction with booth staff, and/or a combination thereof + information from the attendee profile – InXpo can rank that activity and return a report for the sales team to follow up on – better yet, the exhibitors can do this themselves, right from within their online data portal. These reports are all downloadable to XML or CSV and even to a CRM system. It’s a fabulous tool that helps sales teams prioritize opportunity follow-up.

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