In “Generate Sales Leads With Virtual Events,” Chapter 6 is titled “Score and Follow Up with Leads”. This really could have been Chapter 7 – and instead, Chapter 6 could have focused on important steps to consider before scoring. Before you import your virtual event leads into your CRM system, consider these important steps first.
Step #1: Beware of the “Drive-By Viewing”
Someone visited your virtual booth – congratulations! Not so fast. Make sure the booth visit was not a “drive-by viewing”. I define a drive-by viewing as:
- One (and only one) visit to your booth
- “Visit time” of 5 minutes or less
- No engagement with others while in the booth (e.g. group chat, private chat)
- No interaction with booth content (e.g. booth tabs, documents, links, etc.)
I see plenty of drive-by viewings from booth visitors. Some visitors simply want to see which companies are exhibiting at the virtual event. And, some virtual platforms have “previous” and “next” buttons in the virtual booths, which means that drive-by visitors may simply be doing a quick tour of all booths.
Drive-by visitors are not leads – they’re NAMES! My recommendation for drive-by visitors:
- Go ahead and import them into your CRM system
- Schedule a “thanks for visiting” email
- Using simple text links, provide them with a few options (e.g. receive more content, schedule an appointment, etc.)
- Respond accordingly – and, if they do not open the email or respond to the offers, cease communications [for now] and nurture them over the long term
Step #2: Beware of Existing Leads and Business Partners
Your virtual event leads can look like a pile of dominoes. You may not be aware that within that pile of dominoes are existing sales prospects, along with current customers and business partners. When you exhibit at a virtual event, your sales team is inclined to invite current prospects to come visit – and, your existing customers and partners are inclined to stop in to see what’s new.
Warning: LEAD IMPORT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH.
If you don’t manage your leads well, you may import “hot prospects” (who are already in your CRM system) and trigger a follow-up email to them. The result is a turning back of the clock with those prospects – imagine finalizing your purchase decision, only to have one of the potential vendors call on you and ask if you’re in the market for their product!
Personal Story: I attended a virtual trade show and did a “drive-by viewing” through an exhibitor’s booth. I’ve been a long-time subscriber to this exhibitor’s email newsletter and know some of the employees there. My drive-by viewing was done simply to see who was staffing the booth.
A few days later, I received an email from the exhibitor, asking if I’d like more information. This exhibitor probably should have known that I was a long-time subscriber – and, routinely click on the links in their newsletter. Given this, the follow-up should have been more tailored, or skipped entirely. If I was contemplating a purchase decision with this exhibitor, that follow-up email could have cost them my business.
Step #3: Build and Import Engagement Profiles
Virtual event platforms have built-in RFID, which means that all interactions from sales prospects (with your content) are tracked and recorded. The platforms assemble a detailed “engagement profile” for you – the worst thing you can do is throw away that profile when the lead is imported into your CRM system. My guess is that the majority of marketers today do just that.
Instead, create custom fields in your CRM system to capture this data (e.g. number of visits, documents downloaded, transcripts of chats, etc.). The more data, the more informed your sales team. Just like an auto insurer reviews your past driving record and a loan officer reviews your past credit history, your sales team should have the benefit of a prospect’s past engagement data.
Step #4: Curate Leads as You Would Fine Art
You can automate portions of lead management, but you can’t automate the entire process. It’s easy to automate the de-duping process, which ensures that new records are not created in your CRM system when there’s an existing lead record.
However, it’s not as easy to automate the business intelligence that needs to be applied to your leads (e.g. you can’t do AI on your BI). Examples of business intelligence rules:
- Knowing (and spotting) competitors
- Knowing (and spotting) existing business partners
- Knowing (and spotting) industry experts, analysts, media [who should not be followed up with]
- Spotting “creatively submitted” leads, such as “Mick E. Mouse” or “Barack Obama”
Sure, you can automate part of this by filtering on a list of company names, but there are bound to be some leads that slip through the cracks.
For instance, users may have a typo in their company name – or, may list their company differently that what you’ve entered in your filter list. Your leads are the lifeblood of your business, so you should curate them as if they were fine art. This means that manual review will always be a part of the lead management process.
Lead Management is not easy. However, perform these steps before your first virtual event lead hits your CRM system – and you’ll be better off. Your sales team will receive a far higher percentage of qualified leads – and they’ll thank you for that.