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Making sense of lead retrieval solutions

Selecting the right lead retrieval solution for your tradeshow and event marketing program is an important decision.

Ultimately, you have two choices: 1) You can rent lead devices from the show floor, or 2) Purchase a universal solution that can be utilized across all your events. Following are some tips to take into consideration before determining your company’s lead retrieval solution.

While renting from the show floor might be convenient, it’s difficult to discern exactly what you are getting, and it’s unlikely you will get consistent devices from show to show. Tracking, reporting and routing your leads to sales can be time-consuming and perplexing, and achieving consistency is difficult, if not impossible. Ultimately, a comprehensive solution that provides qualification survey capabilities and is CRM-compatible makes the most sense. But even universal solutions vary, so you must ensure that your solution has the capabilities that best fit your needs.

Roger Lewis, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Alliance Tech
Roger Lewis, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Alliance Tech

When considering a universal solution, it’s important that your lead retrieval offering have an easily-downloadable app that can be effectively utilized across all of your events. This is the most practical choice because it is easy to set up and configure while also providing you the ability to use your own hardware. Using a universal solution allows you to have the data for all of your events available in one place and can be used in many ways to measure and report comparatively or singularly on your events.

Your lead retrieval app should support multiple badge types, including 1D/2D barcodes, QR codes and RF technology, because you never know what type of badge the show will provide. For shows that do not utilize badges, having a solution that can also capture and transcribe business cards is the best way to go.

Next, consider a system that provides lead collection across multiple platforms. Best-in-class lead retrieval solutions will work on and with multiple devices including tablets, minis, phablets and phones. The days of storing contacts and data on the collection device are long gone, so be sure you can store it in the cloud. Cloud data storage makes it possible to upload data to a remote server immediately or on-demand, multiplying the number of ways it can be displayed and analyzed.

Synchronization is another essential component of your universal solution. For example, if you have multiple sales reps in your booth and they are utilizing devices in different areas of the booth, it’s important they are aware of leads already scanned from other parts of the booth, in real time.

Internet access in convention centers can be expensive and intermittent, so consider a lead retrieval solution that can function with or without the Internet. The most advanced systems will auto-update or synchronize as soon as a hotspot is detected, removing the need for an additional step to activate the data download or upload.

The qualifying lead questions you ask your prospects are extremely important, so select a solution that offers customizable surveys and ideally features branching logic. The most sophisticated systems not only guide users through a series of questions, they also employ branching logic so that the questions in the series change based on the users’ previous answers. They are also designed to accommodate the most widely used response types: text, single select, multiple select and voice recorded comments.

Some lead systems take users beyond the collection of data and into the scoring of leads. Lead scoring tools available through lead retrieval applications help companies identify prospects who are ready to buy.

Data collection functionality is only one part of the lead retrieval solution that is available. You must also be able to integrate your lead data directly into your CRM/MAT system like Salesforce, Eloqua or Marketo, so your sales team can follow up immediately. You can automatically push your leads to CRMs for all events, providing reliable data that you can use to accurately measure ROI. The ability to report automatically allows you to do a detailed analysis to determine key prospects and their likelihood to purchase. The quality of the reports (an Excel spread sheet vs. an analytics dashboard) are key differentiators among solutions, and these data visualization tools can save you a significant amount of time.

At the end of the day, you and your executive management team must identify which shows provide the best ROI and ROO each year. Typically, you should strive to obtain 12 to 20 leads for every dollar of opportunity you’re putting into the pipeline. Selecting the right lead retrieval solution will give you better qualified leads, help you close deals faster and provide you with the best cross-event analytics available today.

Roger Lewis is executive vice president of sales and marketing at Alliance Tech.


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