Trade shows are an important aspect of bringing products to market. Most marketing teams have some presence at industry trade shows or conferences to promote products directly to customers, participate in panel discussions, meet with analysts, and gain an in-depth view of the overall state of their specific industry. Trade shows are prime opportunities to hear of new products, learn about end-user perspectives and, most importantly, engage new prospective customers. Although these events can generate a high number of leads and facilitate numerous in-person interactions, the value of trade shows can be rather ambiguous.
Teams may quantify the value of a trade show by the net number of new contacts added to the database or the number of demos conducted in the booth. These metrics are helpful but do not capture how or whether these activities will materialize into actual deals. In this sense, these trade show activities are of minimal value until the leads generated are engaged through follow-up efforts beyond the trade show environment. By engaging leads after the trade show, marketing teams can accurately score leads and segment them in a structured manner that will guide these leads through the customer journey.
One way to improve your trade show follow-up communication is with conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Conversational AI can be both educational and transaction focused, while also gathering data about leads that will add to customer profiles.
One of the most popular types of conversational AI is an AI sales assistant. When paired with post-trade-show data, a sales assistant can be powerful. AI can improve your post-trade-show communication through persistent follow-up, enriched lead data, and automation.
Many leads generated during a trade show are not ready for a sales conversation. Traditionally, this means that when sales people reach out to these contacts, the conversations do not progress to the next stage in the sales process, and the leads often fall out of the sales-and-marketing funnel altogether.
Leads that do not immediately shift to the responsibility of the sales team will remain engaged by the AI assistant long after the trade show is over. An AI sales assistant will continue to follow up with a lead until sales readiness is apparent, and only then will the sales team need to engage.
Enriched lead data
AI-enabled sales assistants can continue to nurture and qualify trade show leads that aren’t yet sales ready to further segment these future customers. Conversational AI tools can continue to probe prospective customers with questions about their preferences, timing, and even budget. This data will then populate your customer relationship management (CRM) system and feed into lead scoring and audience segmentation heuristics, which will help marketing and sales prioritize engagement. When leads are ready to be engaged by a salesperson, all of this data will readily be available in the CRM system to help sales reps have a productive conversation—one that hopefully culminates in a new customer relationship.
Often, post-trade-show follow-up and data-analysis efforts can be disruptive to sales and marketing teams. AI-powered automation helps your sales and marketing teams carry out these important activities. AI tools automatically handle leads from a trade show by initiating and following through on communication sequences that pick up where the trade show conversation ended. With AI, your sales and marketing teams no longer need to spend their valuable time handling cumbersome lists or revisiting contacts to conduct scoring exercises. Instead, an AI sales assistant seamlessly engages your new leads and uses their responses to determine next actions.
Trade shows provide unique opportunities to educate customers and update the industry on your solution’s features. As you leverage trade shows to engage with as many prospects and customers as possible, you may end up with a high volume of data and will seek ways to follow up with these contacts. This follow-up effort is extremely important, as the value of your trade show interactions is only materialized after the event. Introducing conversational AI into your follow-up strategy not only helps you reach each lead, but it also prevents leads from falling out of the marketing or sales funnel and enriches the data in your CRM. Conversational AI brings efficiency to your follow-up processes and gives your teams the time and space to do what they do best—engage customers and win new relationships.