Ever wonder how much you spend managing leads collected from Trade Shows?

A case study of Validar eating its own dog food at Dreamforce 09.

Validar just returned from exhibiting at Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual Users Conference in which we generated 148 leads in three days.  This event is the biggest gathering in the world of Salesforce.com users which is a target market for us.  Salesforce.com users can leverage Validar Lead Import with our Lead Capture product suite to get the complete marketing picture which includes the elusive ROI calculation.   Overall it was an absolutely great show with excellent content and smart people attending.  The downside for us, it was very expensive to be there!  We need to close some business to justify the expense which means we need to be smart with regards to how we manage our leads.

As expected, we qualified leads at capture, which was essentially asking some questions and associating the responses to those leads.    Depending on how the questions were answered, we associated respondents in to three simple categories:

1)      “Sales Ready” – I have a need and request sales follow-up post event.

2)      “Incubation” – Our Company can benefit but it’s not the right time to talk OR  I am not the right person.  Put me on your mailing list or send me an email and I will refer to the correct person.

3)      “Trinket Seeker” – We were giving away a Kindle.  These folks wanted to win the Kindle and desired no follow-up.  This is a great way for attendees to control how they will be treated post event.

1)       Here is a graphical view of our data:

Dreamforce chart

Validar has a direct sales model, made up of both inside and outside sales teams.   Inside sales is responsible for incubation and nurturing of existing leads that are not quite ready to purchase.   Outside sales is responsible for following up on “Sales Ready’ leads.  The day after Dreamforce all Sales Ready leads were in outside sales hands, the Incubation leads were handed over to Inside Sales and the Trinket seekers will be treated as requested, no follow up.

Validar’s focus will be on the 45 “Sales Ready” leads.  We need to convert 15% of these in order to meet our revenue goals.  All indicators are positive with the campaign already showing a pipeline that exceeds our revenue goal.

Now, compare this to the large percentage of exhibitors at Dreamforce who were simply scanning as many leads as they could.  An exhibitor we spoke to had a lead scan quota (roughly 24X larger than our actual scanned leads) that they were trying to meet.  In these cases, every lead they captured is uncategorized and will need to be treated as “Sales Ready”.  This creates a tremendous waste of valuable time and money chasing bad data.  Also, most of the folks that were scanned will unwillingly be receiving calls and emails inquiring about products and services that they are not interested in.  Sales typically will try 6 to 8 times to determine a leads validity. That is a lot of effort chasing bad data even if you use a valuable incubation engine.   I have been in this scenario and hate it!  Sales, Attendees, and Marketing all get frustrated.   One last thing–it will take conservatively a month for these companies to identify the true Sales Ready Leads even with an incubation engine, which by this time have already reduced in number by simple lead decay.  How many of your Sales Ready leads are still Sales Ready four weeks after the event?   With a conservative 10% lead decay rate  reduction I would find 40 opportunities versus the 45 we had immediately after the event.

Assuming Validar would have captured leads in this manner at Dreamforce, (Forcing Sales to treat all 148 leads as if they were Sales Ready) how much money would have we wasted chasing bad data and lost through standard lead decay?  Validar has built a model that identifies this figure.

This model takes into account the following metrics in its calculations:

  • Fully Burdened wages of our inside and direct sales reps.
  • Step by step process and time associated with manually processing and distributing all leads to sales versus Validar’s automation.
  • Step by step process of nurturing all 148 leads.
  • Average sales price.
  • Average close rates for “Sales Ready” and “Incubation” leads.

With these metrics in mind, Validar saved $4,710 by identifying “Sales Ready” at capture and automating the process of posting this activity to Sales and the associating Campaign within Salesforce.com.  We are also conservatively projecting an increase in expected units sold for this show from 6.5 to 8.17 based upon reduced lead decay in lead follow up.  This represents $67,000 in increased opportunity and sales provided we can close.  All indicators are in alignment already with regards to our ability to meet these projections.  Woo Hoo!

Dreamforce GAP

We’re a small company that exhibits at very few shows.  Imagine the impact qualifying leads at capture can have for a large program.  Call us if you want to model out one of your shows.  You’ll be amazed at the opportunity to reduce cost and increase revenue.