Why pay to exhibit, then not follow up the leads?

Using a lead scanner helps

Of the 38 percent that did follow up, only half (19 percent) responded with a personalised email, whilst the remaining half (19 percent) simply added the visitor’s details to a mailing list. Seven of the stands visited totally ignored the visitor – despite her standing on the stand for around five minutes. Having a scanner seemed to help – of the companies that scanned the visitor's badge, 50 percent followed up.

The research was conducted by RefTech – a leading supplier of event technology.

Many are not getting the basics right

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer, RefTech said:
"Our research shows that exhibitors still aren't getting the basics right. There are so many tech products being promoted to help exhibition organisers and exhibitors, but they need to concentrate on the basics – simply to follow up on leads generated from attending. This research is not in isolation; it echoes results from past research we have conducted at events and personal experience too. Recently I visited a stand at a tech exhibition and was genuinely interested in placing an order for an expensive piece of tech, but the sales person didn't follow up so I ended up purchasing it from a competitor instead."

Zero Phone Calls

"This has also highlighted that companies have an over reliance on email – not one of the exhibitors who responded did so with a phone call. Are we all now too busy to follow up a customer lead with a simple phone call or are we too cautious because a call may seem like an intrusion? Exhibiting companies should at least ask a visitor how they would like to be followed up; making a simple call could enable companies to stand out from the competition. It was interesting to see that half of the companies who hired scanners did actually follow up – but that could be because having a scanner was part of a fuller lead follow up process. But this figure also means that despite investing in technology specifically designed to capture leads, half of the companies did not use it properly. I'm saddened by this but not surprised. Why would a company pay thousands to exhibit and then not react to the leads generated from the activity – it's madness."


RefTech created a fake event management company, with website and business cards and a fake RFP for an international event. RefTech then visited 106 stands belonging to a range of suppliers, destinations and venues looking for help to help create this event. The visitor approached exhibiting personnel, explained the event brief, left a business card and/or asked for her badge to be scanned and requested that more information be sent to her after the exhibition.

Key Facts:

exhibitors visited
exhibitors followed up (38%)
personal emails received (19%)
personalised emails received
phone calls received
exhibitors approached the RefTech visitor whilst she was walking the hall