If you asked most marketers to name their primary objective at trade shows and corporate events, they'd likely say collecting and qualifying sales leads. In fact, according to "The Marketing Spend Decision," a report released earlier this year by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the most important objective for companies investing in exhibit marketing is lead acquisition. But despite the critical importance of sales leads to the value proposition of face-to-face marketing, many exhibitors report that the collection, qualification, and follow-up processes associated with lead management are all fraught with challenges.
So to help shed some light on lead management, and to provide benchmarks to help you make informed decisions, EXHIBITOR conducted the 2015 Sales Lead Survey. Marketers representing nearly 150 different organizations responded to the survey, and their answers were compared to benchmark data established via our 2010 Sales Lead Survey.
According to the data, it appears exhibitors are getting better at tracking trade show leads as they progress through the sales cycle, and linking those leads to revenue after a purchase has been made. In 2010, for instance, only 28 percent of exhibitors measured and reported the percentage of trade show leads that ultimately resulted in a sale. Today, that figure has grown to 35 percent.
Furthermore, as trade show attendees have become more technologically savvy in the past five years, the medium with which marketers choose to communicate with prospects has changed as well. In 2010, one-fourth of respondents indicated that their primary follow-up with prospects took the form of a printed mailer or literature, but that figure has fallen to a mere 5 percent in 2015. Today, personal and automated emails make up the lion's share of lead follow-up efforts, followed by personal phone calls.
Still, despite the value placed on lead generation, fewer exhibitors are proactively training their staffers on how to qualify attendees. In 2010, 82 percent of respondents claimed they trained staffers on effective lead-qualification techniques, but in 2015, only 67 percent are providing any form of lead-related training for staffers.
Below are excerpts of the statistics culled from the survey, along with respondents' feelings regarding their current lead-retrieval/management processes.