We at CSG Creative have known for years that tradeshows are the most productive and cost-effective way for suppliers to reach qualified customers and begin partnerships that will grow their business.

And yet, many companies still struggle over whether or not to exhibit at shows. Why? Because some companies don’t collect the right kind of data or measure the post-show results so that they can make an informed decision.

Marketingprofs.com has written an excellent article that can help you, Know Where You Stand After a Tradeshow.

You should read the entire article to get all the details, but here are some highlights:

First, collect the right data while you’re onsite. Talk to your staff in advance to decide what your goals are and what kind of data you want. Then decide how to collect it. Do you have a fishbowl or a digital lead retrieval system? Decide before you go and make sure your onsite staff have the tools they need.

What’s the biggest mistake most companies make? Not following up. This really flabbergasts me. (Yes, I just said flabbergast — it’s kind of a fun word that’s acceptable to say in public. But I digress.) Why would you spend all that time and money to meet potential customers and then not utilize those leads? A great start that’s easy to do is to send a quick email out to your leads after the show and thank them for visiting your booth. You may find some really hot leads just from that one communication—saving you time and money searching for new business.

Once you’ve sorted through the data you’ve collected and sent out that immediate communication, share those leads with your sales team, and set up a system to track those leads. Several months down the road when you are thinking of returning to that show, you can measure how many of those leads converted to actual sales. Then you can go back to the show and maintain strong relationships with the attendees who have now become your customers.

So, to sum it up…

Invest in a great booth. Set goals and plan on how you’ll collect and measure the data. Send your brightest team members to the show. Follow up! See the profits roll in. Get a bigger booth for the next show.

Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/5076/knowing-where-you-stand-after-a-tradeshow#ixzz1OE7iY49I