Capturing data at an exhibition is really important. Don’t just hand out your information hoping that people will contact you after the show! Visitors will have a bag full of information and are unlikely to go through it when they return to their office. If you do hand information out be sure to record who you gave it to so you can follow up with them after the show.

So, what are the best data capture methods? You will need to decide if you just want to capture names or if you want more information based on the conversations you have had. Most shows will offer some sort of badge scanner for a fee (which can sometimes be quite expensive), these provide a fast and easy way to capture trade show data and is sent to you in an electronic format so it is easy to import into your CRM.

The good old fashioned paper and clipboard method works for us! We try and collect business cards for speed but if not just take minimal contact info and use this opportunity to get their consent to send information, ask some questions and make a few notes about your conversation so that when you follow up you can be very personal in your approach. You will need to make sure your team write clearly so that no information is lost though. This method also requires manual data entry but with more information, you need to decide if this valuable information is worth the time spent.

Capturing Data

If you have web access you could use a web-based form that you may already have on your website that integrates with your CRM. Alternatively, there are a number of online apps if you search on Google best lead capture apps. These are a great option as they can link with your marketing automation and are easy to integrate into your CRM.

A key consideration when capturing data is CRM integration, you need to think what data you need to capture and how it will appear on your database and in what fields. The ideal situation is to automate this so there is no manual process.

We have covered the tools available to capture data but you also need to think about motivating staff to capture leads.

How can I set lead targets and manage them?

Staff should be clear about objectives and targets: for the day, the exhibition and even beyond the show. Targets will depend upon your exhibition objectives. For example, if you are attending a show to take orders, your targets may be geared around a number of orders per person per day and so on.

Encourage staff to exceed these targets by offering incentives for different categories i.e. the person who achieves the highest number of leads in a shift, the highest number of leads per team, the overall show best for an individual or team etc

Keep targets straightforward, easy to measure and realistic to achieve.

For example, estimate how many leads per hour stand staff can realistically generate

4 leads per person per hour
Times this figure by the number of hours in the day and then times by the number of people on the stand

4 leads x 8 hours x 5 people
This gives the daily team targets 160 leads per day

Finally – times by the number of days and get an overall lead target for the show

160 leads x 3 day show
TOTAL: = 480 leads for the show

Stand Literature

The objective of your show may determine the way you use literature on your exhibition stand. If the event is essentially a sales exercise then the general rule is; do not give out any substantial literature on the day. The reasons for this are:

    • Literature collected by visitors on the day will just go into the ‘show bag’ and it will get lost amongst everything else
    • Your literature will make a much greater impact if it is sent out after the show and lands on the prospect’s desk the day after
    • Sending out literature after the event also gives you a good opportunity to follow up with a call within a few days.

However, opportunities may be missed if you have absolutely nothing to give away on the day. You could take supplies of flyers, samples or giveaways instead. Consider printing a flyer or ‘short-form’ brochure especially for your events and if you are exhibiting abroad then you may need to have copies printed in different languages.