Before: Take Part in Pre-Event PlanningEvery good lead capture strategy starts with planning. When it comes to event lead capture, either you or your event organiser are going to have a wealth of information that you can use. Focused time spent generating ideas on how to capture leads and turn those into prospective customers is rarely time wasted. Before you get started capturing leads, first consider the answers to the following questions:
- How big is the event? Is it virtual, in-person, or hybrid? If it's online, what's the platform (e.g. Zoom). Are there lead capture apps you could integrate into the event if needed?
- Is it just your company at the event, or are there competitors? If there are, how will you score leads and stand out from the rest? Context is everything, and it’s everything all of the time - consider why guests or delegates would want to talk to you, and incorporate this into your plan. Bring business cards (they are still used!) and talk to your sales and marketing departments to make sure you’re highlighting specific details about your company that matter to your audience.
- What type of audience is it? What specific aspects of your offering align with their needs? What kind of conversation would they need to have with your company?
- Who's already in your CRM (customer relationship management software) or CMS (customer management system)? Where relevant, it's always best to check your existing systems to find out if there are previously lost leads attending your event, or already warm leads that might just need a little extra encouragement to convert to customers. An event invite might just be the final push they need.
- Is there a big release or new feature that you can integrate with the event? Could you run publicity beforehand to intrigue potential leads?
- If it's not yourself do you know which member or members of your team will be working closely with key attendees?
- Could you spread the word publicly via email marketing, social networking and other channels to busy up your event lead capture process by engaging wider audiences?
Corporate events have substantial benefits for businesses.When it comes to turning corporate events into lead capture opportunities, you may want to consider two elements. They are the BANT method, and lead capture apps. We delve into both below.
1: The BANT MethodThe BANT method was first created by IBM in the 1950s. BANT is a sales qualification procedure that aids salespeople in identifying qualified leads. The BANT approach is simple to remember, so you can quickly hit on the most important ideas. However, as you’ll see below, the questions are often direct (BANT was invented to save time) so you won't want to come across as pushy or hurried at an event. To avoid coming across pushy or hurried, work with your sales team on each section of the BANT method. Consider how visitor demographics like age, authority, culture and industry might affect how a question is interpreted or answered. BANT stands for:
BudgetBudget is a tentative topic, but it's an important one to qualify leads. You need to know whether or not a lead can afford your product or offering. If they don't have the money set aside for one, you might have a better suited product or service to offer them. Alternatively you could still capture the lead by working something out, like giving them a free 14-day trial, or whatever else works within the context of your product or service. Ask questions that reveal the figure the person would be happy to go to, or probe a ballpark figure by floating budget options, such as from £X amount a month.
Questions to ask include:
- How much would you spend on similar products/services?
- Who is in charge of financial decisions?
- How much money is budgeted for this solution?
AuthorityIs the individual you're talking to authorised to make a decision? If not, how many degrees of separation are they? The person who is at the event has a reason for being there, but they may be there in someone else's place, on someone else's behalf, or with better knowledge in your sector than the decision-maker. Questions like "Would you be making the purchase?" or "Pardon my asking, but who in your company usually makes the decision to invest like this?” should provide you with necessary insight into the decision making process.
Questions to ask include:
- What is your decision-making process?
- How can I help you meet your expectations?
- Who on your team would be using this solution? What are their values? Obstacles?
NeedLearn about their degree of need and then prioritise that over their level of interest - because interest is more fluid than necessity. It'll be a tough go if they don't require your product or service in the first place. When it's time to start a conversation, make a mental note to ask them, "What sort of solution are you looking for?" and "What problems are you attempting to solve?" This should give you the opportunity to either supply information about your benefits or politely suggest that this isn't a good fit.
TimeThe important one. Do they have their hand on the company's credit card or are they merely getting a feel for what's available? Do they have an immediate problem that you can assist them with? If applicable, find out how soon your prospect is looking for a solution, or if they are on strict timelines, show them you can deliver within these timeframes (but only if you can).
Questions to ask can include:
- What does your current process look like?
- Where do you run into hurdles?
- What problems are you trying to solve by looking at solutions like ours? How often do you run into those problems? How much do they bother you on a scale from 1 to 10?
Strategy 2: Lead Capture AppsThough they may not be relevant for all clients or events, lead capture software is trending. Whether lead capture is an app integrated into your existing CRM, or a part of your CRM package, lead capture apps can provide a host of benefits, including more accurate and thorough data capture, increased efficiency, quicker collaboration between teams, and in some cases even pre-qualification of prospects. Always check to ensure the lead capture tools you plan on using are compatible with the environment your event is taking place in (e.g. in an in-person, virtual or hybrid set up). For in-person events alongside a lead capture app, you may need a business card scanning app or perhaps a badge reader that is able to scan attendee badges as well (these can often be supplied by organisers at business to business exhibitions). Both of these pieces of software work by collecting business cards, scanning and sending it to your CRM or CMS, and then delegating it as a Lead or Contact for immediate follow up.
Finally, make time for Event Lead CaptureYou can't capture leads at events if there's no time to do so. Ensure that no matter which type of event you're running, your leads have ample opportunity to talk to people of interest and to find out more details about your company and its offerings. Good business events should be set up so that there are multiple opportunities for you and your team to engage with prospects, make sure you take advantage of these opportunities.
Once you’ve captured your lead, you need to build a relationship.
After: Follow up!The number of leads collected via your CRM or CMS shows becomes absolutely meaningless if you do not follow up after the event, and you'd be surprised how many companies fall short here. Always follow up. One study from the trade show sector found that 80% of leads are never pursued, and another found the average time between lead capture and follow up was 6 days! These figures put the effort of event lead capture to waste. Poor follow up can be down to a lack of coordination, a lack of resources, or something as fundamental as a lack of understanding (ie what to do in the follow up). Make it imperative to outline follow up steps and allocate tasks to your team properly. Remember to:
- Follow up promptly
- Where relevant share lead details with other team members
- Leverage unmatched leads