Planning and Logistics


Published on Aug 15, 2017 4:28:21 PM


How do you collect leads .png 

An Interesting Resemblance:

[Did you know that the length of hummingbird is about 3.5" which happens to be the same the same length of standard business card.

Did you know that the hummingbirds are full grown when they leave the nest. Did you also know that 81% of the trade show attendees have purchasing power.]


So, WE polled 635 EXHBIITORS in 2017 asking them how they collect their trade show leads

37% said they collect attendees’ business cards.

26% said they rented a lead machine at the show.

10% said they use an iPad, tablet or laptop to manage their leads, and

18% said they bring their own paper lead card and write down the information.

Only 8% of participants said they use direct database entry as a method to collect their leads.

In this article, we will analyze each one of these main lead management tools and also profile some of the best lead management apps on the market.


Collecting Business Cards

Although the most popular option in our poll, many lead generation professionals see problems with this method. According to Barry Siskind, President of the International Training and Management Company, there are a number of problems with this:

1. The back of a business card is small and therefore restricts the amount of information you can record. It also means that without a formal recording tool, business card leads are inconsistent from one to the next. This puts your salespeople or dealers and reps at a disadvantage when they follow up because they know very little about the contact before they make the call.

2. Many companies print on both sides of their business card. If you had planned to write information on the business card, you are now stuck.

3. Many companies use electronic business cards. Now you are really stuck.

4. Many cultures take great pride in their business cards and it might be a personal offense to write on the back.


Rent a Lead Machine

Lead machine rental was the tool of choice for 26% of those that responded to our poll. There are several types of lead machines available to rent from desktop models, PC-based, mobile devices (not cell phones), and mobile phone apps. Each one has its own advantages:

1. Desktop Lead Machines have a simple drop and record design and a 100% badge read rate. They are small in size and very lightweight. Exporting data can be done with a simple USB download

2. PC-Based Lead Machines automatically transfer the data to the exhibitor’s laptop, where you can automatically qualify leads with any lead management software (as well as edit the information). You can also create extensive lists and add unlimited notes to each record.

3. Mobile devices are lightweight, handheld devices that are similar to a cell phone. No electricity is required and you can capture leads from anywhere on the show floor (or outside the show hall if you meet a prospect at dinner or at an event).

4. Cell phone app’s are very popular today and like a mobile device, you can capture leads anywhere by simply entering a badge number or email address. Most apps also have custom options that allow you to create new fields and do custom exports.

Use an iPad, Tablet or Laptop

10% of trade show lead gatherers are using new technology like iPads, tablets and laptops.
As you can imagine, there are several key benefits to using electronics (and the apps that you can download on them):

Instant data collection

Effortless lead retrieval

Create surveys

Showcase product videos and photos

Interactive games and giveaways

Demonstrate new electronic products

Provide product and sales information that is relevant


Top iPad, Tablet, Laptop and Cell Phone Apps

CompuLEAD SmartCompuSystems’ approach involves products and services that work together to form a single ecosystem that connects show organizers, exhibitors and attendees throughout the show cycle. They offer a suite of products to develop qualified leads and turn those qualified leads into sales.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.


iLeads — Integrates with etouches registration module to receive relevant attendee information in real time. All registrant lists are continuously updated, eliminating the time required for manual upload of registration files. Exhibitors can see on-site registration data appear on the screen when a badge is scanned.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.


ExperientSWAP — An end-to-end event management company, Experient’s EventBit solution captures richer data about what guests are doing while they’re at your event. You get better data faster. EventBit delivers actionable insights and behavioral data that proves ROI to your organization.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play. — Scan business cards, capture visitor details digitally, add tags, pictures and comments. Send instant follow-up emails with documents, links and photos.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.


Boomset Event Software Solutions — Lead retrieval and mobile CRM. However, you can set up Boomset features to create a custom check-in experience for your guests. Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play. — With no internet required, you can capture your lead anywhere you go… in the lobby… at the hotel… everywhere!  iCapture takes text recognition to the next level by sending your business card image to a real person that transcribes and verifies your card data for you.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.


LeadWizard — Exhibitors save money and add customized qualification to each lead. Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.


Zuant — Qualify tradeshow leads with custom questionnaires in a comprehensive range of formats. Integrate with Eloqua and Salesforce via easy Drag and Drop Cloud Connectors.  Free download, available at iTunes and Google Play.



Paper Lead Cards

18% of respondents said that they use lead cards at their trade shows.

A lead card is pre-printed piece of paper with sections to record contact info, answers to qualifying questions, and a notes section where you can record follow-up items and other relevant comments. They are usually printed on half a sheet to a full sheet of 8 ½” x 11” paper. To see an example lead card, click here.


Direct Database Entry

8% of respondents said that they use a direct database entry method to collect their leads.

The advantages of using this method are that leads are available instantly to your field sales force and there are no mistakes from bad handwriting. Plus, you can get faster reporting of results.

The negatives include training staffers to enter the data correctly and gathering enough information from the attendee (especially data you can get from scanning a badge at the show).

With this type of solution booth staffers use laptops or iPads and the Internet to enter leads directly into your company’s CRM database in real time.

Train your booth staffers with the versatile technology of lead collection, however, always have the option to collect business cards from those big C-suites, who are often reluctant to go through the time consuming process of lead qualification.




Extracts of this content has been taken from


About the Author

Matt has been with the Skyline lead generation and customer engagement team for close to 15 years. He manages several campaigns in areas that involve database marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and website marketing. He is also a marketing automation administrator working on several email campaigns for Skyline's live seminars, webinars and product announcements.


Topics: Art and Science of Lead Generation, Trade Show Marketing, Measuring Trade Show Results