Sales people love expos. They bring potential customers right to you and sometimes you hit gold with an immediate sales opportunity coming straight out of an expo. Realistically though, you get a lot of interest, a lot of contacts and a lot of work for your sales people to follow up on over the coming weeks and months, trying to convert interest into business. Unfortunately, this means you miss out on valuable expo ROI.

What a lot of businesses fail to do is correctly nurture and categorise these expo leads into the right phase of a buying cycle. Most leads you receive will only be in the awareness phase of a buying cycle. They were sent along to the expo to see what was happening in the industry, or what new products are being launched or introduced into a market.

They will then go back to their respective businesses and begin their internal process of how the myriad of solutions at the expo might benefit their business. It might be months or over a year before a solution they saw at an expo will come to be part of their business. The problem with leads like this is that internal sales people often let these leads slip because they aren’t hot and able to produce business (and commission!) in the short term.

Traditional sales processes of businesses have your sales people calling the expo leads and trying to book a meeting to discuss opportunities. Those who agree to a meeting are given priority in the sales persons mind and those who decline are generally left to the monthly check-in and courtesy call cycle.

This fails to recognise that these leads might be looking at your website and actively looking for information around what you provide without wanting to engage with one of your sales people. Where do they go? To your website and your social properties. If you can recognise and action this, you can turn what would traditionally be seen as a cold lead into a warm lead and then nurture them into a customer.

How Inbound Marketing can help with your Expo ROI

This is where inbound marketing principles come into play. Expo leads who are genuinely interested in your business and the products you offer will follow up with you after the expo by visiting your website and trying to gather more information to see if it is a good fit for them. If you do not have the content or the ability to recognise this, you are missing out on quality leads that you can potentially turn into customers further down the line.

By having simple concepts like blog posts with strong call-to-actions for newsletter sign-ups, gated eBook content, video demonstrations of your product and customer reviews on your website you can link website activity back to expo attendance and understand where each expo lead is within your buying cycle.

Further, by implementing these concepts, you can learn more about your prospects and what they interact with. The next time you see them at an expo or event, you can focus your discussion around the content and questions they have been looking at answers for.

By empowering the consumer to be in control you are recognising the shift from the old-school model of product-centric marketing and sales and embracing the new and effective model of customer-centric marketing and sales. This will benefit both your sales people and your business and prove the expo ROI you are after.

For an example of a website that effectively implements some of these principles check out: Australian Ethical Investment