After all that planning and preparation, ProMat 2017 has come and gone. Now that the show is over, it’s time to start working all those leads. Do you have a strategy?
For most companies, it’s understood that you need a pre-show, during-show and post-show plan; but in the real world, executing that post-show plan is easier said than done. Why? Just because we spent the week in Chicago meeting and greeting old friends, current customers and prospects at our booths doesn’t mean that the demands of our daily jobs stopped. Instead, we all received a ton of phone calls and emails, and fell a bit further behind on our to-do lists.
For too many companies, pre-show planning falls to marketing, but during-show and post-show activity is the responsibility of sales. This is a mistake. Certainly, sales has to get on the phone and start connecting with the hottest leads right away; but phone calls alone just won’t cut it. Marketing needs a seat at the post-show table.
At Site-Seeker, we are heavily involved with marketing automation (a.k.a lead nurturing) and have earned partnerships and certifications with some of the industry’s most effective marketing platforms including Hubspot, Pardot and SharpSpring. This experience, and our work over the past 14 years, tells us that an integrated marketing strategy focused on delivering relevant on-message content both digitally and non-digitally work best.
What do I mean? Hopefully, well before the show, you worked to define your buyer personas and documented their information needs as they move through the buying process.
Automation Steps to Follow:
- Upload your lists: With this work done, your first post-show step should be to upload your lead list into your CRM, which should be integrated with your marketing automation platform.
- Segment your list: Next, segment your list by product, persona, stage in the buying process (priority), sales rep who is responsible, territory and any other attributes particular to your business. This is a really important step and one that should be taken seriously. List management is critical.
- Develop simple workflows: Third, develop workflows consisting of prewritten emails, phone calls, mailers, social activity, article generation, etc. As users engage with sales reps on the phone or with your digital and non-digital content, your workflows should include decision trees with endpoints and redirects. The trick is to keep your workflows straightforward. I always prefer simple and quick over perfect and slow. In the B2B world and specifically in the material handling industry, there’s room for a little forgiveness and it’s the company that gets in front of the prospect quickly with a clear message that wins.
- Negotiate service level agreements (SLA’s) between sales and marketing: Both sales and marketing need to be on the same page as to who tackles which tasks. For sales, it’s embarrassing to receive a call or email from a prospect and for the rep not to know that the email went out or even its content. Likewise, if marketing is pushing out content that is not relevant or contradicts the message sales has been delivering, then you’re likely to lose opportunities.
- Develop a long-term communication plan: Despite the best efforts and plan, the majority of prospects you met at the show aren’t ready to buy just yet. While the post-show plan for many companies consists of a series of phone calls and an email or two over a two-month period, it’s the companies that stay the course and continue to communicate over the long haul that will get the biggest return on their show investment.
ProMat and MODEX are a bit unique with their every-other-year schedule and there is a large percentage of people that attend both. At the same time, I bet there is a significant group that only attends one or the other. That means the leads you met in April of 2017 should be courted for up to two years with your messaging in March 2018 and March 2019, reminding them of their visit to your ProMat booth in 2017.
In closing, a friend and material handler told me a few years back that when it’s all said and done, his company spends about $1000 per square foot to attend ProMat or MODEX. That’s a lot of money and I can tell you based on the number of booths I’ve visited over the years and the lack of follow up I’ve received, not many companies have a very good post-show plan.
If you’d like help maximizing your ProMat 2017 ROI and developing your post-show plan, let me know.