Post authored by Siobhan Connellan, Director, Exhibitor Services Operations at Experient
Many exhibitors find themselves in a quandary as they fine-tune and activate their trade show strategy.
Diminishing budgets, rising costs, logistics and travel complexities, managing staffing, and keeping up to speed on the latest compliance regulations are just a few challenges that are top of mind for exhibitors today.
Amid this flurry of challenges, there are also the inevitable surprises; things you didn’t anticipate, but that disrupt your otherwise carefully crafted trade show plans.
Managing exhibits isn’t for the faint of heart. And as if that wasn’t enough, along comes General Protection Data Regulation (more infamously known as GDPR).
Legal departments and exhibit managers are working ’round the clock to find ways to communicate with potential customers without violating GDPR. Failure to comply with GDPR guidelines puts organizations at risk of incurring hefty fines.
Everyone Take a Breath, Especially Regarding GDPR
The point of GDPR is to allow individuals to control who contacts them and how. That’s not the worst thing in the world, right? In fact, it’s an important goal, but in our litigation-phobic society, often our first reactions are fear and panic.The point of GDPR is to allow individuals to control who contacts them and how. That’s not the worst thing in the world, right? In fact, it’s an important goal, but in our litigation-phobic society, often our first reactions are fear… Click To Tweet
But don’t freak out just yet: let’s hit the pause button, give this a bit more thought, and allow cooler and wiser heads prevail.
If you’re an exhibit manager, now would be a good time to give your trade show lead capture plan a closer look, breaking it down into a series of manageable steps. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- How do I obtain and record consent to collect attendee data?
- Is the show organizer helping me to do this faster and better?
- How hard/easy is it for others in our organization to check if the prospect has given consent?
- What questions should I be asking to assess if my lead retrieval system is GDPR compliant?
- How might I enhance/extend our communication plan (after the show), yet still stay compliant?
Those are the conversations we’re having with both show organizers and exhibitors. The answers vary from one to the next, with less and less “one-size-fits-all” decisions happening. Crafting a smart, capable, and compliant lead strategy requires a bit more attention and nuance, coupled with tapping the right experts, at the right time, and in the right way.
As of this writing, there are no official GDPR Certifications in place, so don’t let others that advertise as such fool you. With that said, it doesn’t preclude you from using any number of systems to collect sales leads. It’s still legal to ask for and receive contact information from a prospect, but you’ll need to ask a few more qualifying questions.
Updating Your Lead Collection Strategy
Nobody wants unsolicited spam hitting their inbox, especially soon after they return from a trade show. Isn’t it far better to engage prospects who want to know more about your products and services? Wouldn’t this be a salesperson’s dream outcome, where they’re following up on warm leads from buyers who welcome their outreach?
GDPR tees up this better scenario and then some. Sure, you still need to find a way to ask for and record consent from these prospects, but once they grant permission, the odds of converting these leads into closed business increases sharply.
It’s best to find a lead retrieval system that allows you to ask qualifying questions and record answers. It’s also important to check in periodically with these prospects to gauge their interest in renewing this consent. Treat your prospects with white-glove consideration from start to finish and in time, you’ll be richly rewarded.Treat your prospects with white-glove consideration from start to finish and in time, you’ll be richly rewarded. Click To Tweet
What other challenges are you tackling around lead capture at trade shows? What new steps are you taking to ensure that you’re compliant, yet diligent in following up on leads?