Lead retrieval has officially been liberated from the tradeshow booth and placed at the fingertips of exhibitors while they are networking, attending conferences or simply eating lunch. The ability to gather leads at any location is the result of companies developing mobile lead retrieval services in the form of smartphone and tablet apps.
This new breed of app allows exhibitors to scan a barcode or QR code on attendee badges or just input the badge ID number to capture a lead. These apps contain the same functions and features as the in-booth devices, but they can dramatically affect the return from a show because of the new opportunities exhibitors have to gain leads.
“An attendee is no longer limited to visiting an exhibitor’s booth to have their badge scanned,” said Michael O’Sullivan, VP of sales and marketing for ExpoTools, a Canada-based company that created the ExpoLeads Mobile app. “Now, if at any time an exhibitor determines that an attendee they are speaking with failed to visit their booth, they can capture the attendee’s information on the spot and not have to rely on the attendee to return to the booth.”
ExpoTools specializes in the design, manufacture and rental of lead retrieval, attendee tracking and surveying equipment.
“Recently, we recognized that the technology was now available to take portable information capture to another level,” said O’Sullivan. “ExpoLeads Mobile was designed to help exhibitors maximize the number of sales leads generated for the event spend.”
This increased ability to get leads into the sales pipeline is good for exhibitors and the industry that supports them.
“It is very important to continue to improve lead retrieval and offer more options for exhibitors because there is not one type of lead retrieval that will be a fit for all exhibitors,” said David Lawton, executive vice president of Convention Data Services (CDS), creators of the X•Press Connect mobile app. “At CDS, we focus on offering a variety of lead retrieval solutions in order to meet the needs of all exhibitors.”
CDS has been providing the tradeshow industry with registration, database management and exhibitor lead retrieval services for more than 25 years.
“Using the X•Press Connect app is a more personal experience than traditional lead retrieval and it is less intrusive,” said Lawton. “Because the app is intuitive and exhibitors are using their own, familiar device, they can focus their attention on communicating with the attendee and building the relationship.”
As with any interaction on the show floor, the first moments can be pivotal for building this relationship.
“The ability for exhibitors to immediately and seamlessly continue the dialogue with the attendee via email and text from their smartphone increases the likelihood that some form of relationship will come out of the initial contact,” said David Flood, VP of business development for Showcare Event Solutions, creators of the Showlead Mobile app. “I can say from experience that some of the contacts made during an evening social or on the shuttle bus can be equally as important as those made on the show floor.”
Showcare has more than 30 years of experience providing registration, housing and lead management solutions to the exhibition industry.
“Providing exhibitors with a concrete, measurable improvement to their return on investment is the ticket to ensuring continued participation,” said Flood. “With Showlead Mobile, exhibitors are considerably more closely connected to the attendees.”
According to Flood, developing a mobile lead retrieval app was the logical next step for Showcare and its adoption by exhibitors has been immediate.
“Not six months following its official launch, Showlead Mobile already represents roughly 20 percent of our lead retrieval unit sales,” said Flood. “Given the feedback that we have had from events thus far, my expectation is to see this figure surpass the 50 percent mark within 18 months.”
To improve the adoption rate, each company put significant resources into making its app easy to use.
“A large amount of testing was completed by potential users prior to releasing ExpoLeads Mobile,” said O’Sullivan. “Our goal was to ensure that all of the functionality was intuitive enough so users could successfully operate the app within a very short amount of time. We feel very strongly that we have created an app that any exhibitor can operate successfully, regardless of their technical capabilities.”
These mobile apps also help exhibitors with the follow-up process.
“Lead data is transmitted to a password protected website in real-time with X•Press Connect,” said Lawton. “This allows the exhibiting company to begin the lead follow-up immediately, whether the staff doing this is physically at the show or back in the home office. In addition, the exhibitor has the option on the app to send an e-mail follow-up to selected leads and schedule an appointment. This begins the follow-up interaction immediately for both the exhibitor and the attendee.”
Return on investment is often the difference-maker when it come to exhibiting at a tradeshow. With these new lead retrieval apps, exhibitors have a much bigger opportunity to prove the value of their spend.
“In my opinion, mobile lead retrieval is far and away the biggest advancement the lead retrieval industry has had in the past decade,” said Flood.