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MARKETING MATTERS FROM AFS CAST TIP


How to Follow Up on Leads After a Show H


RICHARD JEFFERSON, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, AFS (SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS)


ow do you follow up on leads you’ve garnered at a trade show?


On the show fl oor at Metalcasting


Congress 2017 in Milwaukee, I met several people who described how their companies combine sales and market- ing tasks. When it comes answering the question above, it’s just good to be aware of the diff erences, as well as the overlap of those two areas. Whether you’re in marketing or


sales, it’s about the buyer’s journey, or if you prefer, the marketing funnel. You can identify the steps of the journey for the sake of analysis, but in practice, all the phases of the funnel are interlocking pieces in the marketing/sales process. When I think about follow-up after


a show like Metalcasting Congress, I ask myself: what kind of follow-up connects with me? Does the follow-up focus on what I want, or does it seem to focus on the quota demands of the person pitching me? As an altruisti- cally inclined person, I’d like them to meet their goals. But if the pitch person doesn’t have something I really need (and have budget for), I am not going to bite. Regarding your leads from Met-


alcasting Congress and other shows, how do you prepare for a “what’s-in-it- for-them” follow-up? T ere are three legs to your trade


show strategy stool: planning, execut- ing, and follow up. Your stool is only as sound as the weakest leg. When the weakest leg fails, you fi nd your follow- up has plopped on the ground. Let’s go upstream from follow-up


for just a moment. Follow-up fl ows from your eff ective execution of your show marketing and sales plan, and execution fl ows from planning. Here, I like to quote President Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Plan like crazy, but be fl exible when


you see opportunities. Missing and op- portunity because you felt compelled to


stick to your plan is, in a word, nuts. We’ll talk more about planning an- other time. For argument’s sake, let us assume that your planning for 2017 be- gan almost immediately after CastExpo in 2016. Results? A brilliant, splendidly organized, highly targeted and effi cient plan. T e best you’ve ever done. Let us also assume that your show


experience this year was superior. As an exhibitor, your booth presence was as good as it gets. You visited face-to-face with your best customers who came to the Congress because you invited them. Your booth activity set you up perfectly for follow-up after the show. Will your follow-up be the weak leg


that collapses? Or will it be the fi nal stage of your strategy to get that pre- cious ROI for your booth display and booth space dollars? Assume the contact information


you collected is accurate, and you can segment those contacts into distinct categories so your messaging is in the category of “what’s-in-it-for-them.” •


in attendance at Congress. What’s your personal connection to the prospect? We know for certain it’s not an email that looks like an impersonal mass emailing that will never be as eff ective as a personal message. Never. T ere


is much, much more to say about follow-up. To follow my own advice and be brief, here’s an ex- ample of an excellent follow-up note. I share this from Salesbuzz.com, with my tailoring for Metalcasting Congress: “Hi (PROSPECT’S NAME) this


Richard Jefferson


Brand new customer prospects— people you met for the fi rst time


• Repeat customers who need to feel the love.


• Others, including colleagues in the business, friends, well-wishers, and sales people. Not all these groups need follow up


messages from you, but those in the fi rst two bullets certainly do. How do you personalize and con-


nect in a follow-up communication? You don’t want to be profusely


verbose, but you do want to ensure you quickly identify yourself, and what was memorable about your conversa- tion at the show. A reminder of what you talked about, or even a photo or a video from your booth can help jog the prospect’s memory. Focus on a common touch point. Be brief and vivid when reminding the prospect of your conver- sation. Personalize as much as you can. To some, this will sound unneces-


sary. But remember, there were more than 200 exhibitors and close to 2,200


is (YOUR NAME) with (YOUR COMPANY NAME). T anks again for visiting our booth at the (MET- ALCASTING CONGRESS). We’re the ones that show (NAME OF YOUR SERVICE OR PRODUCT) that (WHAT’S-IN-IT-FOR-THEM EXPLANATION). “ (T e template can be found at:


www.salesbuzz.com/how-not-to-fol- low-up-on-trade-show-leads/) T at note is only a start to your


follow-up. One marketing pro who works for an AFS Corporate Member pointed out that sales and marketing teams are all in this together. You need to review leads together, and coordi- nate “immediate follow-up, staying in contact, and what forms of follow-up contact might be appropriate … use your resources.” Do you what you must to keep the


conversation going. Focus on “what’s- in-it-for-them.” Trade shows are a major marketing


budget item. All three legs of the stool need to carry their share of the weight. Follow-up is just as important as plan- ning and execution. If you have success stories from your Congress follow-up, we’d love to hear from you.


May 2017 MODERN CASTING | 57


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