PC and Pocket PC Lead Retrieval with Integration into Sales Management Systems
By Corbin Ball
This is the fifth in this week’s blog series on new and interesting meetings technologies. I am covering the winner and the four finalists of the EIBTM 2006 Worldwide Watch for Technology Innovation (WWTW --see the first blog for this week – September 24 - for more details).
On average only 20% of tradeshow leads are followed up on. After all of the investment in booth rental/setup, in shipping, in time away from the office, in promotion… and only 20% of the leads collected at a show are contacted after the show!!!
The problem here lies not with the exhibitor. I believe the key problem is with the inconsistent methods used for data collection. There are about six major tradeshow registration companies that provide lead retrieval for about 90% of all the tradeshows in the U.S. – most with different methods of lead retrieval – bar codes of different types, magnetic stripes, RFID (radio frequency identification) systems and more.
Although there have been efforts to be able to export the lead data collected from these different systems into exhibitors databases, the reality is that there is not a consistent method to do so.
When lead data management becomes a difficult task, it doesn’t get done. That is the reason why there is such a low percentage of follow up.
Validar Corporation (www.modernmindsoftware.com), a finalist in the WWTW’06 award focuses on this issue.
Validar has mapped many of the tradeshow lead systems in use today so that they can be consistently scanned using their system. The benefit is that the same system can be used from show to show regardless of the registration providers. They have integrated the system into a suite of PC and Pocket PC tools to help exhibitors rank and categorize leads.
Although there are other companies providing these services, Validar stands out in that it has automated many of the steps. Leads can be loaded directly into salesforce.com or other CRM application directly from the show floor, and several return on investment (ROI) tools have been added to analyze and improve tradeshow sales effectiveness.
This application helps to digitize the business process and saves time/effort for tradeshow lead management.
When the huge investment in the tradeshow is considered, a small additional investment to manage and improve the lead response is probably well worth it.