It’s likely that many of us will travel to conferences or exhibits at some point next year. Such events attract sales professionals and buyers alike, often within the same vertical or in a similar role. The convention pond will be stocked with networking opportunities and the fish will be jumping! You’re sure to meet a lot of folks and forge connections with many of them.
Yet attending and networking at conferences and the like is just the start. Take these events seriously by having a process in place so that once the conference has ended you have a foundation for getting the best return on the investment you made in attending or exhibiting at the event.
Below are tips on how to proceed when you’re back at the office with a bunch of leads.
Use Your CRM Wisely
Be strategic in entering the leads into your CRM. A best practice is to mark them as coming from a unique lead source. By segmenting leads this way, you’ll be able to more easily identify them later. Use a naming convention that includes the lead source. For example, “2016 SEMA Show.” Then it’s clear to everyone on your team that the connection was generated at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Also, while you’re still at the event, or shortly thereafter, flag the hottest prospects so that you’ll be able to easily identify them and follow up. In the process, be sure to take a moment in between conversations to take good notes so that you don’t miss any great leads when you return.
Don’t Go It Alone
Partner with your colleagues on the marketing team in order to segment your leads and from there devise an email nurturing workflow for the new contacts you’ve amassed. Don’t be careless and throw all the leads into one generic bucket. Send a personal email to individuals you formed a relationship with at the convention—use this as a way to pick up where your in-person conversation left off. Be sure to include the conference name in your email subject line. In the body of the email, politely recap the specifics of what you’d spoken about at the conference.
As a follow-up to the email nurturing workflow you helped the marketing team execute, make a plan to call your leads to schedule discovery meetings. We can’t think of a better opportunity for “cold” calling a prospect you share something in common with—you both attended the same conference; that’s a great inroad for making a connection with a lead. Note, too, that you’ll get a lot of mileage out of doing a little research on your prospects before you reach out to them.
Last but not at all least, connect with your leads on LinkedIn, and follow them on other forms of social media. You might not get to engage in business with your leads right away, but you should still send them a personalized LinkedIn connection request. Then you can both stay current with each other. The upshot is, what happens at the conference should definitely not stay at the conference!