Event badge scanners: What are they good for? Absolutely…

exhibitor scanning an event badge with a a badge scanner

How many events do you exhibit at where badge scanners are your primary method of collecting attendee details?

Badge scanners used to be at the cutting-edge of event tech: reps on the trade show floor no longer finished each day with reams of paper, hastily-scribbled contact details, and piles of business cards to try and match up with the conversations they had. Instead, they could use a handy scanner to scan barcodes on the badges of everyone they spoke with, to capture their details in a quick and unobtrusive way.

Perfect, right?

Well, until you get the data back from the event…

The problem with event badge scanners

Consider the data you got back from the badge scanner after your last trade show. Chances are, it came over several days after the event, and when you opened up the file the data was full of holes: missing fields, mis-typed names, and fake, generic or personal email addresses.

Your reps can spend hours trying to tidy up this data, weeding out duplicates and unusable entries, and attempting to recall who from this list of names they had particularly engaging conversations with at the event. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and faced with rows and rows of names, this is all forgotten, so inevitably your company sends out a simple, generic follow-up message:

“Hey Brian, great to meet you at the event a couple of weeks ago. Hope you enjoyed learning about our company, let me know if there’s anything I can help you with going forward.”

After all the hard work your reps put in at the event, surely they deserve better follow-up than that?

Unfortunately, if you’re relying on badge scanners as your primary method of event lead capture, it’s hard to do anything differently. You can’t follow-up any sooner, as you need to wait for the event organiser to send over YOUR data. And you can’t personalise your message further, as you lack any context around the conversations you had and the people you met.

Event badge scanners in action

This week I visited a large trade show in London. One company I spoke with had hired a couple of badge scanners to use for the duration of the event – adding several hundreds of pounds onto their events cost.

However, this didn’t do what they needed it to, so they were supplementing badge scanning with a notepad and pen, where they scribbled down additional notes or reminders about conversations they’d had with attendees.

For these guys, it was clear: when it comes to capturing leads at an event, context is king. If they’d just used their badge scanner, all they’d come away with was a list of names.

So, what are event badge scanners good for?

Badge scanners are really good at one thing: scanning badges. If you previously relied on pen and paper to capture people’s contact details at events, they represent a step forward in terms of how quickly and easily you collect that information.

Using event badge scanners may be simple while you’re at the event, but when it comes to the follow-up activity, they lack the context and additional information to be of use to your inside sales team. Without any extra context, all of the badges you’ve scanned are equal, regardless of whether they’re Event Qualified Leads or bad fit contacts.

Is there a better way to do event lead capture?

If you’ve been using badge scanners to capture leads at events, chances are you don’t want to go back to relying on pen and paper: that would be a more time-consuming and arduous process for your team on the show-floor.

So what’s the alternative for busy teams who still want to be able to scan badges and business cards, but also want to be able to add context and comments to these contact details, to help qualify leads for follow-up?

An Event Lead Capture solution like Akkroo provides a way to join-up your events team’s activity on the show-floor with your CRM and Marketing Automation systems, for speedy and personal follow-up conversations.

You can still scan badges and business cards to capture the contact details of the person you’re talking with. Additionally, you can customise your lead capture forms so you collect all the relevant information your sales team need to personalise their follow-up messages, and to capture explicit opt-in consent to ensure compliance with the new requirements set-out under the GDPR.

Wondering how the GDPR will impact capturing leads at events? Click play to watch the latest episode of The Big Event.

Want to know more about how badge scanners are affecting your lead capture at events? Read our guide.