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How do you handle trade show follow-up?

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (, 79% of leads generated at trade shows are not followed-up. This is a statistic you’d want to share with your CEO or CFO, so I’m challenging you to change this for your company.

Here are 3 things you can do to handle trade show follow-up:

1.) Create a closed-loop follow-up system. Once the show closes, who’s responsible for the leads generated at your trade show? The follow-up should be a joint effort between both the sales & marketing teams. Separate leads into categories, such as A, B & C. The A leads, maybe 10% of those generated, should be the priority of sale reps. The B & C leads can be matured by the marketing team through continued communication from your company. You can tailor this system to your needs, but regardless, all information should be tracked in a CRM system.

2.) Customize your lead card and combine it with electronic systems or badge scanners. Have you ever received a business card that said “Call this person on Tuesday.” or “Hot! Hot! Hot!”. A follow-up on this “lead” isn’t much more than a cold call. Therefore, be proactive and customize your lead card, so that booth staffers can gain the proper information for your sales staff. Knowing important information such as the prospect’s personality, buying cycle, pain-points, etc. will dramatically improve lead follow-up effectiveness.

3.) Do something different and stand-out from the crowd. Is it reasonable to think that all leads generated at your show will close into sales? No, probably not. At least not immediately. Take your group of A leads and do something different. If your prospect requested a brochure or catalog, invest in Priority Mail or FedEx overnight. This will capture attention and allow you to track the package, so you can touch-base accordingly. Perhaps you’ve invested in a premium promotional product which you send as a result of viewing a product demo or scheduling a meeting. Regardless your preference, make sure you do something different — how many e-mails or postcards will your prospect get after the show, remember and act upon the call-to-action? Don’t run with the pack, instead stand out from the crowd!

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