I’ve been crafting nurture sequences (manual and automated) for about 10 years and most of the principles in that skill apply to the use of AI in following up after tradeshows. AI has been around a long time – it’s just more easily accessible now with Chatgpt being the buzz word of 2023.
There are 3 key areas to get right in using AI and automating some of your follow-up.
One of the BIG downfalls of following up is that it is not done with purpose and regularly enough.
People tend to give up after 1 or 2 follow up attempts.
According to Tradeshowlabs.com, it takes approximately 3.5 sales calls to close a lead generated at a trade show.
Yet, I’ve regularly heard people say to me – that trade show was no good for me, we didn’t get any leads. When I inquired further – I discovered if they didn’t get a RFP at the show, the just sent one email after the show. Then gave up.
Utilizing AI helps to put a process in place that makes follow-up for sales teams easier to get done and therefore more effective… maximizing ROI on tradeshows and events.
“What mediums do I use to follow up effectively?” This is a common question I am asked. The obvious ones are email, phone and LinkedIn – which I covered in my communication with you on November 15th.
In utilizing AI, consider using Text Messages –
The use of text messaging is a little controversial – “it’s too intrusive” I hear a lot of people saying. That is why getting the message tone and content right in a text is key.
Once you have people’s permission – it is quite acceptable to send a quick text within 24 hours of meeting them to say thank you for meeting with you and you’ll be in touch with further follow-up. That capability can be set up before you even meet them and activated while at the show.
The data you collected on the trade show stand will help you to personalize your message.
AI makes the process of identifying potential clients more efficient. Leads can be scored using AI based on factors such as;
AI – along with the team on the stand, can help score leads generated at trade shows and events. This helps to get the follow-up right.
What is Frustrating about Follow-Up?
What frustrates most salespeople I feel is that not everyone is ready to buy straight away.
Many are there to research – so you have to meet them where they are.
Attending trade shows is believed to be helpful by 79% of the attendees in making purchase decisions. (Source Tradeshowlabs.com)
You have to tailor your follow up to what level of buyer readiness they are at.
Automation is perfect for this.
Designing an experience for those people you have met at a trade show but who are not ready to buy yet, is a crucial next step.
“74% of consumers are more likely to buy later after seeing a produce or service at a trade show.” (source tradeshowlab.com)
Focus on designing an experience or journey to bring potential customers further along the sales funnel to the point where they are ready to have an interaction with your sales team.
Content plays a key part in that experience.
Content that is right for them.
You need to segment your clients into what they are most interested in… conferences, incentives, association business, event tech or solving a specific problem such as getting more people to their event.
Sequence out 4-5 different follow up experiences they will have with you within the first 4 months of meeting with you. Ensure it is of value to them.
This is an example of a lead nurture sequence for someone who isn’t ready to buy now:
All of this can be created before a tradeshow and used over and over again after other events and sales calls so you don’t have to recreate the wheel each time.
AI can help with all of that so that a lead you met this year will think of you when they are ready to buy in 6 months, 1 year or 2 years from now.
You can also use the database you created at the trade show to help you find more potential buyers like them. This capability within social media is a marketeers dream.
Creating the Content:
When it comes to creating content, this is where tech plays an important part in assisting with the consistent delivery of content and re-purposing it. The aim is to automate as much of the process as possible – thereby having a repeatable, consistent system to ensure it gets done.
Content can be created sporadically (when ever time permits!) and risk delivering limited results. This is what I did for years until I realized systems work best.
There is an abundance of tech systems to help you create a predictable flow of useful content, delivered at a consistent time and place. The best kind is when your client is waiting for it and anxious to consume it.
An example of the steps involved in creating and delivering a consistent content strategy is this:
If your medium of choice is a podcast – this can be re-purposed in multiple ways.
Track what content is getting the most views. This is a potential topic for creating a weightier piece of content such as a webinar or report.
Then turn this into a lead magnet – a means of sharing valuable content and knowledge in exchange for contact information to build up a database of people you can meet at the next tradeshow or when arranging sales calls.
You want to know who is interested in your topic so you can engage them – get them into your lead nurture funnel and design an experience to open up a conversation with them.
Those who are mastering their sales pipeline next year will be the winners in a tougher marketplace.
My very best to you. Ciara