The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 09, 2012 • Issue 12:04:01
Don't let hot leads slip away
||I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through - then follow through.|
- Sir Walter Scott
The art of follow through is often what separates the record breakers from the ordinary sales pack. Simply put, having a program for clinching qualified tradeshow leads greatly increases your odds of landing new merchant accounts.
Do you have a follow-up plan for handling sales leads from the Electronic Transactions Association's Annual Meeting & Expo or from the regional acquirers shows you may have already attended or plan to attend this year? If your answer is no, you're not alone. Tradeshow industry experts estimated up to 80 percent of all tradeshow leads are not followed up. And the Sales Lead Management Association found 58 percent of the companies it surveyed did not qualify their sales leads.
While these statistics are staggering, they represent businesses in general. Because sales are so integral to what ISOs and merchant level salespeople do, many payment professionals likely fit into the 20 percent who follow up on leads and are among the 42 percent who qualify leads for their sales teams. However, according to The Trade Show Bureau, 43 percent of exhibitors that issue post-show lead fulfillment materials fail to send out information until after prospects have made a final buying decision.
Effective pursuit of tradeshow leads
The following six tips on managing tradeshow leads can help ensure this does not happen to you.
- Be sure all company reps attending tradeshows, as well as support personnel in the office, buy into the lead follow-up program and know what their roles are in making it a success.
- Create a lead scorecard that can be used by attendees to score prospects, based on sales-driven criteria, to mark which products and services prospects are interested in and to record any follow-up actions promised by sales reps at the show. Be sure attendees take these scorecards with them to their appointed shows.
Scoring prospects can be as simple as a 1, 2, 3 rating, with 1 indicating interest in buying now, 2 showing future buyers, and 3 representing no interest or involvement in buying.
Other criteria for the first two categories should include whether the prospect is a decision maker, the size of their company, plus any details which might match prospects with future scheduled product releases.
- Instruct tradeshow attendees to transfer lead scorecard information electronically (or via a shipping service if electronic transmission - email, fax, website form or cloud-based service - is not available) to designated office personnel for processing.
- Send a prepared email message to all qualified leads within 48 hours of each show. Separate messages can be created based on scorecard indicators with the requisite product and agreement information prepared in advance for attachment or mailing, as desired.
- Prioritize follow-up calls based on scorecard data and the queries received from your initial post-show email campaign. And continue to feed your short- and long-term lead prospects according to plan.
- After each tradeshow, schedule a meeting with all stakeholders in your office to assess the show based on the quality of leads generated and overall response to your company's offerings. This will help determine what areas need adjustment and whether the show merits repeating.
The secret to managing all sales leads is swift and appropriate follow-up. In time, your well orchestrated follow-up system will net more sales and allow fewer leads to slip away.
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