Improve your lead data, better monitor your exhibit’s performance, and help your sales reps crush it on post-event follow-up.
When sponsoring a booth at a trade show or conference, you have dozens, if not hundreds, of conversations with potential customers. You give product demos, answer questions, and ideally record information about these conversations so that in the weeks to come you can follow up with leads and hopefully close some deals. Unfortunately, many companies lack the processes and tools to achieve the ROI they want from the shows they attend. Our company faced similar challenges in the past.
For example, we’ve attended several Salesforce events over the years, which besides being super fun and informative, are also one of the best places to meet prospective customers. In the past, we had a hard time taking full advantage of the business opportunities at these shows, in large part, because of our note-taking system. When we’d talk to potential clients, we’d collect business cards, jot down notes, and collect lead data with badge scanners. On the surface, badge scanners seemed like a good note-taking solution, but we’ve often been dissatisfied with the results when analyzing the lead records afterward. Plus, our team would voice valid concerns about the devices being hard to type on, the conversations being too complex to capture in the simply configured picklists on the device, etc.
Our experience at Dreamforce 2016, Salesforce’s premier annual event, inspired us to pursue a better system for recording conversations with potential customers. While our team did a great job of using their skills and experience to engage in meaningful conversations, they understandably struggled to capture enough quality information on those interactions because they were using manual tools like pen and paper. This resulted in them returning back to the office after the event with less-than-helpful notes for follow-up.
“Your trade show leads aren’t “cold” leads. But if you don’t have good notes in your CRM system about the conversations you had with people at the event, then your post-event outreach will be as if you’re cold calling. Zero context, zero value-add for the customer.”
Knowing we could do better, we designed a new, smart system for Dreamforce 2017 that leveraged multiple Salesforce-based tools and led to outstanding results. Here’s how we did it.
The Importance of Preparation
At Dreamforce 2017, our company sponsored two booths on opposite ends of the expo hall, where 15+ people gave demos and conversed with potential clients. Having two booths meant twice the staff, twice the amount of conversations, and presumably twice the leads. Before the event, we mapped out the new processes and technologies we would need to capitalize on the foot traffic at the show. Here’s what our setup looked like:
All staffers were equipped with iPads that contained the following apps:
- Youreka – Our Salesforce-native data collection application. We showed demos and collected trade show notes with Youreka.
- Salesforce1 (Salesforce Mobile App) – This gave the team access to our performance dashboards in real time.
- Dreamforce Badge Scanners – We used these to quickly capture the contact information of the people we spoke with (more on this later).
We defined the various talk tracks, demo flows, and qualifying questions that we wanted our team to follow. Here are a few examples:
- “What is their time frame for solving their problem?”
- “Do they have a budget for this project?”
- “Which specific products or services are they most interested in?”
- “What did they like most about the demo?”
We then took all these qualifying questions and put them into a Youreka form (a.k.a. a form template). The idea was that when a rep spoke with a prospect at the event, they could record their conversation notes in the Youreka form. Before the event, we trained our staff on how to use the Youreka trade show notes form and even role-played with one another to make the notes-capturing process second nature.
Along with our pre-event training, we also made the conversations easier to have by utilizing Youreka’s branching logic feature. Obviously, with so many different types of prospects at the event, we knew that conversations could go in a thousand different directions. But Youreka’s branching logic kept the conversations focused and meaningful by only presenting our staffers with questions that made sense for the prospect with whom they were speaking. This helped us cut down on unnecessary pre-event training exercises and ensured our staff asked the right questions at the right time.
Get Youreka forms app on the Salesforce AppExchange
The New Strategy in Action
On the morning of the show, the expo doors opened, and conversations started happening. And just like we trained, all of our saff members began using the Youreka forms to take notes during their conversations. Here’s a simple flow of a typical engagement:
This was the simplest flow, but things got really fancy when we started using the Youreka notes template to automate processes after the form was saved. Here are a few examples:
- We provided reps with a section on the form that let them mark if they had a technical issue with one of our demos. When the booth staff submitted the notes (again, creating a Salesforce record that we could configure workflow automation from), the form immediately sent an email to our development team back in Annapolis so they could remediate ASAP.
- The form also let us book meetings with prospects instantly. If the prospect was hot and wanted to meet at a certain time and place in the future, we entered the meeting information into the form. When our booth staff saved the form, the lead record was created, and the prospect instantly received an email with a calendar invite from the rep (this played a big role in us being able to proactively fill our calendars in the weeks after the show).
Real-Time Analytics at the Trade Show
Every time we gave a demo and submitted a notes form at the event, a record was created in the system. We were then able to build dashboards based off of these newly created records to keep score in real time. Here are just a few components from that dashboard:
Not only did this data help us keep score in real time, but it also helps us plan for future shows. We now have historical data that tells us what times of day the booths were the busiest and how many demos we gave each day of the event. Ultimately, this will help us more efficiently staff our booths and set realistic performance goals for our teams. No more guessing.
Having access to real-time reporting meant that anyone on our team could use our event dashboards and reports to measure their performance. These are just a few of the resulting benefits:
- Our senior management team could see how our booth was performing at any given time, no matter where they were. Moreover, our sales and marketing ops team (a.k.a. me) didn’t have to spend time constantly slicing data and reporting results back to our CEO – all he had to do was refresh the dashboard.
- Our booth staff constantly kept score. After a few hours, it was almost a game to see who could perform the best at the show. When our team members weren’t giving demos and talking to customers, they were quickly opening up the dashboards to check the scoreboard. We even made bets and generated little competitions to see who could do better. Here are a few dashboard components that fed this type of fun:
Our VP of Marketing presented a challenge to both booths – whichever booth gave more demos over the course of the event would be able to decide on a song that he would sing acapella in front of our entire company at the holiday party. He didn’t disappoint.
- The last major benefit of having the entire event tracked in real-time was it provided us with fantastic coaching opportunities. Within just a few hours, we could see which reps were most effective during their demos. Because the event was four days long, we could meet as a team after Day 1, identify the most effective reps, and have them share tips with the group. Similarly, if we saw a booth staffer struggling, we could work with them one-on-one to identify their specific challenges and get them up to speed. Without these sort of metrics, we would have never been able to improve on the fly.
Ultimately, the team did a great job of using the tools we put in place. They took fantastic notes and competed against one another to push toward our overall performance goals. And we had a lot of fun doing it.
Best Post-Event Follow-Up We’ve Ever Had
Post-event activities can sometimes be rough and often look like this:
- Download leads from the event scanners in the form of a CSV.
- Clean and modify the data to fit within the parameters of your lead/contact object in the system.
- Maybe you ask individual booth staffers to input personalized notes into your CRM system after the fact, even though they should be spending their time following up with prospects.
For us, post-event was a piece of cake. Youreka put the leads in the system during the event and populated fields on each record, so the data was already available to us. This meant that when the reps walked into the office on the Monday morning after the event, they had complete – and prioritized – lead lists waiting for them, which enabled them to hit the ground running.
And again, it wasn’t just that they had leads in the system to start calling on. They had fully contextualized notes for each person we spoke to during the event. Because we were able to follow up so quickly, and with personalized content, people remembered us. They were receptive to our messaging, impressed by the timely follow-up, and quick to set up follow-up meetings.
Our new trade show note-taking process and mobile, Salesforce-native toolset have changed the way we engage with potential customers at expos, improved the way our executives monitor trade show performance, and completely optimized the way our sales reps follow up with leads and close deals after the event.
Use Youreka at Your Next Trade Show
If any of this made you think about your own business, you should consider trying out Youreka for yourself. If you’re interested in streamlining your data collection process and standardizing the way your Salesforce users engage with customers, Youreka might be the solution for you.
- Watch informative Youreka videos.
- Visit the Youreka AppExchange listing, where you can Test Drive the app (a sample Trade Show Notes template and dashboard are waiting for you there).
- Install the Youreka app on the AppExchange – and try the app using your organization’s data with a 30-day free trial.
- Visit the Synaptic AP website to learn more about our Salesforce consulting services.
About the Author
Patrick Dennis is a certified Salesforce admin and the Manager of Marketing and Sales Operations at Synaptic AP.