How to avoid losing tradeshow leads?


Tradeshows and conferences are the #1 acquisition channel for most small MedTechs, and yet, most exhibitors struggle to get visitors to the next steps.

Why is it so?

In this article, we explore the vastly different experiences of the exhibitor and visitor, and why some leads vanish after seeming so interested at the show.

How to avoid losing tradeshow leads

Tradeshows are still the best way to acquire leads in many industries such as MedTech and this is likely to remain the same for at least a decade in traditional industries such as healthcare.

Given the cost of exhibiting at large events, failing to close leads can be very frustrating for exhibitors. We’ve heard this sentence hundreds of times,

Visitors are excited when we meet them at conferences, but we have a hard time getting them to the next step.

Where do you lose most of the interested leads from the event?

Most likely on your website.

Hard to believe? Not really if you walk a few steps in the shoes of the tradeshow visitor. Let’s start with your first interaction in the booth.

Booth visit from your perspective

You had an amazing and thoughtful conversation with a distributor from a key market. This conversation is about your product like every conversation you had during the tradeshow. This product is your passion, your baby, and your living.

Booth visit from their perspective

They had an amazing and thoughtful conversation with a manufacturer, one of the dozens of such conversations they had that day. This conversation is about a product that can change the world, one of the dozens of such products they’ve seen that day. They’ve never heard of such a product, and they will need to know more.

While you shared a moment, the experience varies greatly and the following steps will vary accordingly.

The tradeshow finishes a few days later, they get on an international plane to be in the office the next Monday and debrief the show. At this point, they remember that your product exists and that it was interesting; your entire pitch and your ability to articulate all the information is 95% erased from their brain.
So what do they do?

They visit your website, but they have 50 other websites to visit from the event. They also need to catch up with the work that they did not do the week before, so they might spend a generous 4 minutes trying to see the value for their company. Unfortunately, your website may not be designed to hook or convert visitors as most MedTech websites are. So your business card gets tossed in the “not interesting” pile. You can probably fight this by doing proactive follow-ups, but as a tradeshow visitor myself, I have a confession to make:
Business cards from the “not interesting” pile are rarely moved to the other pile because a salesperson tells you that their product is worth it.

Let’s say that you made quite an impression and that your offer did make it to the interesting pile.

Unless you are dealing only with small customers, you will have to convince other members of the senior management who will do their homework before getting a presentation from you. To do this, you’ll be relying on two things: the booth visitor that you pitched 2-3 weeks ago, material that might never be open, and your website.

If you’ve paid attention to your website analytics, visits increase drastically after conferences, and they do so for more than a few days. This is your offer being analyzed, discussed, torn apart, and in too many cases, misunderstood. That is where a lot of tradeshow leads vanish. Even if you are in a traditional industry that relies a lot on face-to-face, your website should be built to convert visitors, starting broad and hooking them early, and guiding them toward the next steps.

The future is digital, but the transition has started. It is pivotal that your digital marketing (such as your website) and your traditional marketing (such as tradeshows) be part of a seamless customer journey.

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