How to help your sales team adopt modern lead capture tools at events

Do you struggle to get your sales team to successfully adopt new tools and technology to use at events? You’re not alone.

Sales teams often have their own methods for capturing leads and categorising them for follow-up, and are hesitant to add new technology into that process. While some companies may have added an element of technology or digitisation (such as hiring badge scanners, so they receive a spreadsheet of leads by email after the event), for the most part, lead capture at events remains a largely manual process.

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Six tips to help your sales team adopt modern lead capture tools at trade shows

Modern lead capture tools offer an opportunity to create a more joined-up event experience, and help to break down the silos that commonly form between events, marketing and sales teams. Here are six steps to help your events team adopt a new lead capture tool:

1) Explain the benefits

For big companies, it’s common for event reps to collect leads at trade shows, and then pass over all those details to another team – business development reps, marketing teams, or telesales reps.

In these situations, it’s essential to explain how using this new tool will help the rest of the organisation. While your reps may feel like they’re being forced to change the way they work, it’s not personal – the benefits outweigh the challenge of switching.

Will a modern lead capture tool remove two days of admin after every show? Cut your follow-up time in half? Or simply mean you have fewer mistakes in your lead data, so you’re not throwing out 30% of your leads each time? Whatever the biggest benefit – make sure your team knows.

2) Have an internal champion

You’ll likely find there’s someone in the team who just ‘gets it’. If you’re adopting a digital lead capture tool, this will likely be someone who’s kept up-to-date with changing technology trends and developments, and who has been frustrated by the largely manual lead capture processes that companies normally rely on at events – such as using paper forms or collecting and typing up people’s business cards.

An internal champion will make it easier to provide training, and help boost adoption of your new tool, as they can support colleagues who may be struggling to make the switch, and encourage the whole team to adopt best practices.

3) Offer regular training

The worst thing you could do would be to provide a whole-team training session when you purchase your modern lead capture solution, and then assume the team remembers everything when they use it at their event – whether it’s one week or six months later.

While you want to get everyone excited and familiar with the new tool when you first make the purchase, remember to plan in several ‘refresher’ training sessions in the run-up to your first event using it. Some suppliers may offer to come in and provide a training session, to help your team learn the best practices of using the tool, as well as some handy tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible to use on a busy stand.

And it’s not just the first event where you should be providing training. If you exhibit at lots of events, and your lead capture tool is something your team will use several times a week, they’ll pick it up really quickly. But if you’re only exhibiting once a quarter, you may want to run a training session before each event, to give everyone a chance to re-familiarise themselves with your new lead capture tool before using it in a live trade show environment.

4) Supplement training with plenty of information

As well as providing plenty of hands-on training, consider putting together a handbook or walkthrough document, that your reps can refer to at any point. If anyone’s struggled to get to grips with the new tool during your first training session, they may not want to ask for help. In this case, a written or video guide can be extremely valuable.

Your sales team will be able to refer to this information at any time, and on an individual basis, which will help them feel empowered to answer their own questions and solve their own challenges, rather than having to rely on their colleagues or a customer success manager for help. You may want to have a quick ‘top tips’ or ‘things to remember’ document, to share with the team just before each event.

5) Use incentives to drive adoption

A little competition goes a long way. Whether you want to put your sales team in direct competition with one another by rewarding the person who collects the most hot leads, or to encourage collaboration by offering dinner or drinks if the team passes a set number of leads in the day, both approaches can encourage your reps to use your new tool.

6) Keep the momentum

Report back to your sales team as soon as you possibly can. Some lead capture tools provide you with visibility into the total number of leads collected – by individuals, and by the team as a whole. When you get to the lunch break on the first day, or at the end of the event, try and have these numbers to hand, so you can let everyone know how the first session or day as gone.

At previous events, it might have taken weeks to get all your lead data into your CRM, but with a modern tool that integrates with your existing systems, you can have data almost immediately. Seeing their efforts reflected in real numbers can help boost or continue the momentum.
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