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Tradeshow lead retrieval: capture more and increase ROI

Tradeshow lead retrieval is key to hitting the main goal of B2B events – generating more business for your exhibitors and sponsors.

This is locked away in the form of thousands of buyers participating in the show. To open up this potential, lead retrieval technology provides an efficient way to scan, track and follow up prospects.

This tradeshow lead retrieval guide will arm you with everything you need to know about lead retrieval at in-person exhibitions.

You will understand the importance of lead retrieval and knowing what to look for, to getting started and contacting your prospects through tradeshow lead retrieval apps. You will learn what’s needed to generate new business and drive revenue.

Here’s what we will cover:

Exhibitor ROI – a continuing challenge for eventprofs

Exhibitor ROI ranks as the most important challenge for organisers as in-person events return in full flow. Findings from ExpoPlatform’s Event Tech Returns to Live survey revealed that as many as 66% of event professionals considered getting good ROI as their priority.

Caruna Bauer, CEO of IMEX, who contributed to the research, said: “As an organiser, it’s our rebooking rate that tells the biggest story. Exhibitors are mindful, particularly when budgets are tight—they don’t tend to participate in shows that don’t offer a proven return on time and investment.”

Quality leads are the top indicator of ROI for tradeshow exhibitors. Tools like lead retrieval technology play a big role in facilitating the seamless execution of contactless lead capture at in-person shows. Let’s understand in detail how this happens.

What is lead retrieval for events?

what is lead retrieval at events

Lead retrieval is the process of collecting and tracking contact information from event attendees to convert them into leads for business growth.

This info is captured through a handheld device or a software application. It allows organisers to quickly access the attendee’s information after the show and makes it easier to follow up with marketing materials or reach out to them for future events.

Companies often exhibit at a number of tradeshows and conferences around the year to increase their target customers and maximise profits.

Lead retrieval at these shows can be done manually by exchanging business cards or having visitors fill out a form and submit to a booth representative.

With advances in event technology, solutions like lead retrieval apps have become increasingly popular. They have features like badge scanning, lead scoring, data import and lead management that allow a quick follow-up after the show concludes.

How can you use tradeshow leads to improve your product?

To improve your product, you need to understand what your potential customers want. The best way to do this is to collect data from them directly. Tradeshow lead retrieval is one of the most efficient and effective ways to collect this data.

At a tradeshow, you have the opportunity to meet with potential customers face-to-face. This gives you the chance to collect details about their needs and wants directly from them. You can then use this data to improve your product to better meet their needs.

Lead retrieval also allows you to collect data about your potential customers’ buying habits. This data can be used to improve your sales and marketing strategies. Understanding how your potential customers make purchasing decisions helps you sell more effectively to them.

What are the challenges involved with tradeshow leads?

challenges with trade show leads

When planning for a tradeshow, it’s important to understand the different lead challenges that come with the territory. Here are some common issues:

  • Some leads are more qualified than others. It’s important to prioritise and follow up in a timely manner.
  • Overwhelming crowds at in-person shows can make it difficult to track booth visitors, especially when manual processes are used.
  • Absence of lead retrieval solutions can turn red-hot leads cold very quickly.
  • Separate the wheat from the chaff – identify the real prospects and eliminate spam.
  • Prove the value of tradeshows to exhibitors for repeat business and to ensure successful future events.

How does lead retrieval differ from lead capture?

lead capture vs lead retrieval

Lead capture is the process of collecting information from potential customers – such as their name, job title, email address and company details to build a database of leads.

This is done to get more details about their needs and preferences. Meanwhile, lead retrieval is the process of getting information about leads who have already been captured.

This information can include the lead’s contact information and the actions they have taken – like expressing interest in a product or service or filling out a demo request form.

Lead retrieval is important because it allows you to track leads and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. By tracking leads, you can determine which marketing channels are generating the most leads and which ones need improvement.

You can also keep a tab on how many leads are converting into customers and measure the ROI as well as improve marketing campaigns.

Benefits of tradeshow lead retrieval solutions

mobile app lead retrieval

Attendees at tradeshows are often inundated with marketing messages and offers. The competition for their attention is fierce.

This means it has become increasingly difficult to get them to sign up for your event or contact you when they are done attending the show.

Tradeshow lead retrieval solutions offer exhibitors the opportunity to manage leads more efficiently and increase their number of qualified leads. Here are some benefits:

1. Save time and effort: Collect contact information from attendees with ease and then quickly export that information into a usable format. This saves you a lot of time and hassle in trying to gather contacts manually.

2. Greater accuracy: With lead retrieval, you can be sure that you’re collecting accurate information from potential leads. This is important for follow-up purposes.

3. Improve future events: Lead retrieval solutions can help you track who attended your booth and how they interacted with your staff and materials. This can be used to optimise your future tradeshow strategy.

4. Boost sales: Increase chances of finding qualified leads, close deals quickly and generate business growth.

5. Simplify team collaboration: A lead retrieval app is integrated with event management solutions. All the attendee info is stored in a centralised database that can be accessed by different teams. This helps leads move smoothly through the work pipeline.

6. Measure results: Lead retrieval solutions help get a better understanding of the event data – visitor interactions at booths, conversions, cost per acquisition and more. This allows organisers to show prospective exhibitors and sponsors tangible evidence that exhibiting is worth their time and money.

Using lead retrieval technology at tradeshows

A lead retrieval solution like ExpoPlatform tracks attendee engagement behaviour at a tradeshow to drive further action.

For example, an attendee is scanned at a particular booth, interacts with an online exhibitor profile, or views and favourites a product.

Using data analytics and lead scoring, exhibitors can evaluate these leads and make quick decisions for their future plans. These lead retrieval apps also work offline so you can still scan badges even if the venue has Wifi issues.

For example, the QR code itself has information: First name, last name, job title, ID number – this can be shared and stored locally without the need of a connection.

Once a connection is available, more details like contact email and phone number become available. The cost of using lead retrieval services can vary across different event tech providers.

Some like ExpoPlatform offer it as a complementary service with their mobile app and online platform solutions. Organisers can even charge this service to exhibitors and increase monetisation opportunities.

How badge scanning and lead retrieval work at live events

Let’s understand how lead retrieval technology works with a walkthrough of the ExpoPlatform app:

How badge scanning works at in-person shows

Badge scanning is a key feature of the event app. Badges displayed on the app can be used for various purposes like accessing the venue and for exhibitors to capture the leads.

The exhibitor scanning the badge can navigate to the Badge Scanning section in the app.  They can then view all the badges scanned by them in chronological order. The scan icon at the bottom right opens the phone camera to read the QR code.

Once the barcode is scanned, an exhibitor can add extra information to the lead if required. This can include details like:

  • Type of lead (potential partner, potential client, supplier, other)
  • Rating (1-3)
  • Client (Yes/No)
  • Contacted (Yes/No)
  • Which products they are interested in

how to scan badges


How to export leads

Once the badges have been scanned, you need to export these leads. It’s done in the following ways:

Users can export their leads by simply hitting Export in the mobile event app. This triggers an email to the user, with the leads attached.

You can customise the email template to suit your brand and messaging.

badge scan report

The downloaded file includes core user profile information, including email address and phone number, and the timestamp. Other information included:

  • Scanner’s Rating,
  • Notes added at the time of the scan
  • Products they are interested in
  • If it’s a new or existing lead

Real-time lead scoring dashboard

Get a bird’s eye view of all your leads and their interactions with your assets including ads, product pages, content etc.

The tool tracks all interactions a visitor has with an exhibitor through the event management platform. The following data points are collected and shared in real-time: if a user is scanned on a stand, visits an online profile, favourites a profile, views products, favourites products.

This information is shared in the exhibitors dashboard in real-time so they can take prompt action on these leads.

export through exhibitor's dashboard

Exporting leads through the exhibitor dashboard

On hitting export, the lead file is downloaded to the user’s laptop. This file combines scans from all Team Members’ scans and has an additional field ‘Lead Owner’. This makes it easy for the exhibitor to allocate leads out to individuals.

Omnichannel lead retrieval intelligence

Omnichannel Lead Intelligence collects all attendee interactions – whether online or in-person – into one single dashboard to provide them with a higher volume of prospects.

It means an exhibitor’s view of their ROI is no longer limited to people they scan at the event and has been proven to triple the number of leads gathered.

It is an essential component to Smart Events – allowing participants to swap contact details, scan QR codes and process sales leads generated at a tradeshow or conference.

All customer touchpoints across web and mobile app should be combined for exhibitors into a single, real-time dashboard to demonstrate the full ROI of the event.

Heather Holst-Knudsen, CEO of H2K Partners, told how this is one area that is increasingly important for an event organiser to offer.

She said: “That to me, has an exponential dollar figure premium that I can absolutely see anyone who actually wants to generate the best ROI from the event, because it’s also their responsibility and now you’re giving them the tools to do so.”

Read this guide for more on how omnichannel lead intelligence does just that.


Tradeshows provide a valuable opportunity to get in front of new customers and make connections with potential partners.

But the cost of exhibiting can quickly add up and your vendors may not get the ROI they were hoping for.

A good lead retrieval solution allows them to quickly and easily retrieve the contact information of any visitor who shows interest in their products or services. While there are many lead retrieval solutions available, it’s important to do your research and find the one that best suits your business goals and budget.

Learn how ExpoPlatform can help you maximise the ROI at your tradeshows.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.