In 2018, Huber Engineered Woods worked with 3D Exhibits to create a custom trade show lead collection system. "We knew we'd nailed it when we saw the results—double the leads!" says Stephanie Rupert, event marketing specialist at Huber Engineered Woods. "It was a proud moment for our team."

And not only has Huber doubled its lead count, streamlined operations, reduced costs, and integrated seamlessly with CRM. "The system has paid for itself.    We use it at all of our tradeshows, and we can use it at our private events too," says Ruppert.

Huber decided it was time to implement a better trade show lead capture system in 2017. Up until then, Huber had rented its lead retrieval equipment from whoever the official vendor was at every trade show they attended. "We were frustrated with having to deal with multiple companies and having data we'd have to manipulate and reclassify to enter into our CRM," says Ruppert.

Ruppert reports that not only is her new, custom lead collection application more effective, it provides cost savings. After creating the app, the system    paid for itself in two years and now saves the company anywhere from 10-15K annually. "Taking control over our lead gen has delivered better results    and provided a cost savings," she says.

Related: Learn how Huber's custom lead gen system contributed to Huber's Tracy Collins being named an EXHIBITOR All-Star.

Ruppert offers the following eight suggestions to other trade show marketers who are considering custom lead gen systems:

  • Every staffer should have their own device. Prior to implementing its own system, costs prohibited Huber from ordering a device for  every staffer. That resulted in awkward sharing—and attendees walking away without being scanned. Ruppert says that giving every staffer their own device eliminated unnecessary time searching for a device and resulted in better conversations with show attendees. "It's more authentic  and natural when every staffer has their own device. No one has to interrupt the conversation to tell the customer they're speaking with, 'Wait one minute, let me go get a scanner,'" says Ruppert.
  • Seamless upload of leads into CRM. Seamless upload of tradeshow lead data means you'll be able to track what happens to each lead—and over time, calculate the amount of sales that are attached to those leads. "Developing a custom system enabled us to collect data in the format we wanted and in the format that worked best with our existing CRM system," says Ruppert.

  • Limit the amount of questions you ask attendees. Huber has narrowed down the survey questions to only the most critical pieces of  information that will provide valuable ROI for the company. Questions regarding intended follow up and product usage, for example. The goal is to keep the survey questions to a minimum to enhance the attendee experience, while ensuring our data is streamlined across all events.
  • No more duplicates. Huber used to have to de-dupe its data by hand. With its new system, if an attendee visits the booth a second or third time, the system brings up the existing capture and notes. "The rep can see what the previous conversation was and jump back in. And when we get back to the office, we can see the total conversation," says Ruppert.
  • Get the eLit option. Ruppert likes this feature because it enables attendees to select the information they want, and have it delivered right to their inbox—immediately. This option also minimizes Huber's paper footprint at its tradeshows.
  • Integrate flexibility into your custom lead gen system. One of Ruppert's favorite features is her lead gen system's flexibility. "We  have a module where we can add show-specific promotions to the survey on a per show basis," she says. Checking a box on the lead form indicates  a contact's interest in the promotion or whether they will receive a post-show giveaway—and automatically activates the appropriate post-show communication.
  • Use the system beyond data collection. The Huber team watches its data closely, monitoring the change in lead count/program performance   improvement year-over-year. The team also digs in deeper to look for changes in the overall audience at a show. "We check to see if there has been any year-to-year change in the attendee demographic. For instance, is the show still delivering the same percentage of attendees who fit our target audience profile?" says Ruppert. Huber's custom lead gen system allows for better data tracking, which in turn only helps improve their event program  overall.
  • Leverage your data to demonstrate your program's value to management. "Our lead gen data helps us tell management the total story of our tradeshow results," says Ruppert. The Huber team's post-show reports include lead counts, breakdowns by attendee purchasing authority, data  on product interest, and more.

Are you planning to upgrade your trade show lead generation/collection? Read our article on what a custom lead gen system can accomplish. Or, if you'd like some help, we'd be happy to set up a free 30-minute consultation. Email Stephanie Coupland (scoupland (at) 3DExhibits (dot) com), and she'll connect you with one of our 3D Exhibits trade show lead collection technology experts.

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