The secret to a successful event lies in preparation. Whilst salesmanship and hard work are crucially important, the best sales team in the world won’t be able to save you from poor planning and weak processes.

With this in mind, we’ve developed a formula for lead capture success - a step-by-step process that will help you maximize the return on your event investment and streamline the lead capture process.

At a glance, it looks like this:

  1. Choose the right tools
  2. Ensure the tools are integrated
  3. Prepare your event team
  4. Dig into data This is a simplified chain of events so let’s look at each step in detail.

Step 1: Choose the right tools

You need tools that are reliable and support you in working efficiently. In this spirit, ditch paper-based lead capture forms.

They may be tried and tested but they’re also dangerous. If you’re relying on handwritten notes, you run the risk of losing or forgetting valuable lead data. This may mean that a lead isn’t followed up or converted into a sale.

Transcribing hand-written data post-event is also a time-consuming (not to mention tedious) process. Avoid it if you want to streamline your lead capture process and keep costs down.

An app-based lead capture solution, which allows you to capture data through your phone or tablet, will take admin out of the equation and ensure all lead data is captured and recorded on the show floor.

Step 2: Ensure the tools are integrated

To get maximum value from your lead data you have to act on it as soon as possible. Failure to do so gives your competitors a chance to snatch leads from right under your nose.

You need the capability to assign leads to specific marketing automation workflows, establish automated follow-up emails and notify members of the sales team when their services are required. And you need to do all of this from the show floor.

Step 3: Prepare your event team

Let’s start with the basics - arming your event team with the resources they need to get selling. Brochure-ware and well-thought-through lead capture forms are a must and, if possible, comb the attendee list for potential buyers. Then, start matching salespeople to targets based on their specialism.

Ensure all marketing collateral is available on smartphone and tablet devices so you don’t have to ferry huge quantities of material to, and from, the event but make sure your team can share these assets easily via email. This enables you to save budget whilst ensuring your team is ready to tackle any question a prospect throws at them.

Step 4: Dig into event data

The lead data you capture at events can be a goldmine of valuable insights. It can help you pinpoint your best-performing salespeople and identify when your stand was particularly busy and why. Crucially, it can reveal the return on your event investment and the value of all your hard work.

By crunching the numbers now you can unlock insights that will help you make better decisions about your next event. What’s more, you can ensure you’re squeezing every last drop of value from your current events.

It’s showtime!

So there you have it. Of course, this formula is just a starting point but we hope these steps provide some food for thought next time an event is coming.

For a more detailed study of the science and art of Event Lead Capture, take a look at our new guide: The CMO's Guide to Trade Shows and Events. Discover why events are often the squeaky wheel in the marketing engine and find out what you can do about it.

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