How to Increase B2B Event Lead Generation in 2024

Picture this: You’ve just opened up registrations for your event and they’re pouring in. You’re happy everything is working out well for you.

But there’s a dark twist.

The attendees at your event aren’t converting to leads! 

There can be many reasons why your event lead generation strategies haven’t fulfilled your lead gen dreams. In this blog, we’ll talk about how you can increase event leads and make the most out of your physical and online trade shows.

How Can You Boost Event Lead Generation?

To capture leads at events, you have to start from the beginning and devise a stellar B2B lead gen strategy. Pre-event lead capture strategies, in-event activities, and post-event follow-ups are all important to boost your lead numbers. 

Generating and qualifying event leads is an important part of your event planning process whether you’re hosting online or physically. Here are some important B2B lead generation ideas and tips to keep in mind for event organizers and exhibitors looking for in-person or virtual event lead generation. 

Pre-Event Lead Generation Tips for Exhibitors

pre-event marketing campaign for event lead generation

Event exhibitors at any trade show want to maximize event leads and make the most of their efforts. However, most forget that they need to start putting in work much before the event begins for effective live event lead generation. Here are some pre-event tips that will benefit trade show exhibitors in capturing the most leads:

1. Create a Pre-Event Marketing Campaign

You can plan drip email campaigns to keep your prospects engaged even after registering for the event. Moreover, you can also send emails to potential prospects so they register and show up at your trade show. Use your social media channels to let potential leads know you’re going to be at the event and build their interest.  

Bonus Tip: Send emails from your sales rep accounts to make them more personalized for your prospects. Prospects who show up will be delighted to meet the reps and will already have a connection with them through the prior emails. 

2. Prep Sales Reps

Your sales team is your frontline warriors – the cavalry! You need to make sure that they have all the necessary resources they require to walk into battle. It is best to create training modules for your sales reps well in advance and prep them to tackle all on-ground activities efficiently. They should have marketing collateral on hand, ample knowledge about the products and services they’re selling, and should be prepared to answer all questions. The more prepped your sales team is, the more chances you have to increase leads.

3. Focus on Clear Messaging

Creating the right messaging for your sales team is also very important before the event whether they’re looking for virtual event leads or in-person lead capture. They should understand what the pain points of their potential customers are to help them see how their product solves their issues. The clearer your messaging is, the more convincing your case will sound.

4. Leverage Event Tech

Your sales team can work more efficiently if they use event technology that helps them streamline their processes. Event tech like online meeting schedulers, chat queue options, event mobile apps, and lead capture apps can be fantastic tools to create efficient, fast, and effective real time lead generation, lead capture, and qualification processes.

lead capture app for event lead generation

5. Create an Event Lead Capture SOP 

Sales teams can often need help with how to generate leads at an event. You can’t send them in without an SOP. There should be a process they can follow whenever they engage with a potential customer. This could include a well-prepared elevator pitch, methods of lead capture they should use, taking notes, marking the leads according to their potential, and lead follow-up methods. 

Pre-Event Lead Generation Tips for Event Organizers

If you’re an event organizer, you also need to make some pre-event arrangements to make sure exhibitors can make the most of your event. Event lead generation isn’t all about how exhibitors approach their potential customers. It’s also very important that event organizers understand their exhibitors’ target audiences. It is your responsibility to connect like-minded people by promoting your event to the right target attendees and exhibitors. Here are some more tips to keep in mind:

1. Plan Your Event Marketing Strategy

Marketing your event before it launches is a sure-shot way to make potential leads show up at the event. You can do lots to attract more registrations and then help them convert to leads. Create a stellar event landing page to streamline the registration process and use social media to boost engagement at your event. Email marketing can also help with lead generation in B2B marketing by attracting more attendees and exhibitors.  

2. Create Engaging Webinars

host engaging webinars for event lead generation

Webinars and live sessions are not only important for sharing information but they can be great ways for virtual conference lead capture as well! You can plan an engaging and informational webinar for all potential attendees before your event. People who attend the webinar can get a special discount to register for the event.

Moreover, you can use the webinar registration data to find potential leads for your event. Send them specialized messages or a special gift to make sure they don’t miss out on attending your event.

3. Use Polls and Surveys

During your pre-event activities, polls, and surveys can help you gauge the overall impression of your event on exhibitors and event attendees. Run polls for potential leads and ask them how they feel about the event session lineup, ask for suggestions on what they’d like to see more of, and how likely are they to register for the event. You can use social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook to do a little research and finetune your event plans accordingly.   

7 Strategies for Efficient Lead Generation and Qualification at Events

When your sales team is at the event, they need to ensure they don’t waste any time and resources over cold leads. Instead, they should be able to identify the most urgent and hot leads and focus on convincing them to take a demo and move things forward. 

Here are some more strategies for event lead generation for event exhibitors and organizers:

1. Score Leads Onsite

It is best to score leads right after you talk to them. After the event, you’ll know exactly where the prospect stands. You can create a system that’s easier for you to remember. For example, you can rate each lead out of 10 and prioritize follow-ups accordingly. The higher the rating, the more interested a lead seems to be in your product at the event.

2. Take Notes

Lead qualification can be a tougher process than lead generation at times, especially if your sales reps didn’t add any lead context. Many times, the event sales rep and the account executive who gets in touch with the prospect after the event will be different people. Therefore, it is best practice for sales reps to take notes for each lead they capture at the event. It can help anyone else who is following up with the prospect later.

3. Use Sales Enablement Tools

Video content like product demos or brochures with key points about the product can be great tools for event lead capture. Many times, what can’t be demoed through a plain conversation can be shown in a video. Sales reps should always have marketing and sales enablement resources on hand to use at any event. They can help prospects get a better idea about the services and, if it’s physical collateral, they can even take it with them for referencing later.

4. Deliver Relevant Content

Most of the attendees at your event aren’t there to immediately buy a product. They are more likely interested in a panel discussion or a live speaker session that lured them to the event. So, it is important to make sure that they are getting relevant content that aligns perfectly with their interests. All you need to do is provide value to your attendees first and then go from there.

5. Analyze Event Performance

event reporting

After the event is over, you should take your time to analyze how the event performed, knowing what worked and what didn’t. Take into consideration everything you and your sales reps experienced and noticed at the event as well as engagement statistics. This can be a great way to debrief post-event and ensure your sales team is even more prepared for upcoming events.

6. Follow-up with Event Leads

This one goes without saying but following up with a lead after the event is over is crucial so your virtual lead generation efforts don’t go to waste. Also, remember that a follow-up delayed is a follow-up denied! Make sure you get back in touch with your event leads within a few days of the event while the memory of the conversation they had with you is still intact. 

A follow-up can be equally important as the event itself and you should have a clear action plan for it. Send prospects additional resources, links for your company website, and any more relevant information that you can.

7. Have a Plan B

So, your prospect didn’t show up at the event. Now what?

A good sales rep will always have a plan B for when prospects are playing hard to get. You should always have contingency plans in place if that happens. Try to get on a call with them, email them to know that they were missed, and send them a link to a session they missed at the event that would’ve been beneficial for them.   

8 Ways Events Help Increase B2B Lead Generation

Whether you host online or onsite, the purpose for hosting trade shows remains constant:

  • Marketing your business and its offerings
  • Generating leads for conversion

Hosting events is one of the most significant ways to boost your B2B event lead generation. They can bring your target audience together and provide a way to not only attract customers but also build a community.

Lead generation with virtual events and onsite events doesn’t need to be too difficult. But if you’re still wondering how to generate B2B leads with events effectively, here is an overview.

1. Generate Massive Reach

Hosting online and onsite events can accommodate a much wider audience by removing all geographical restraints. People who can attend onsite can make the journey to the actual venue. Important stakeholders who could not have attended the event for in-person interactions can easily log in online. You can go beyond your local audience to potentially a global one which can skyrocket your business. This way, you can ensure a bigger and more diverse event attendance and naturally, a larger pool of lead prospects.

2. Shorten the Sales Cycle

Trade shows are one of the best lead generation tactics B2B event marketers can leverage. At a trade show, visitors explore your service, look at demonstrations, and can close deals right there. Therefore, this significantly accelerates the sales funnel. Otherwise, the whole process can take weeks. By registering for the event, visitors also pre-qualify themselves long before the event takes place. So, attending your event can take the place of a first sales call — moving prospects through your sales funnel faster.

3. Double as a Marketing Channel & E-Commerce Platform

The dynamic nature of a hybrid event opens up quite a few options. If you’re looking for a wider audience and a higher volume of content downloading and sharing, you can set up an event with both online and onsite features. This widens the net you cast and catapults chances of lead generation.

Alternatively, you can charge a small admission fee for access to specific content like presentations or live webinars. This can bring in additional revenue whilst bringing some exclusivity to your event. Offering VIP access can work well in your favor if it resonates with your corporate values and the target audience you are looking to attract.

It’s obvious that you can seamlessly market and position your products to relevant audiences. What tops this is that, if required, you can integrate an e-commerce engine enabling visitors to buy products there and then which allows you to generate revenue in a short amount of time.

4. Events Can Humanize Your Brand

Generating leads and converting them to sales can be a lot easier if your potential audience can resonate with your brand image. Relating to a brand or an organization’s ethos can be a lot easier by attending an event they’re hosting. Therefore, events are the key to humanizing your brand and creating real-life experiences for your potential leads. You can host trade shows, conferences, or even customer dinners to make the experience more personalized for your audiences and create a stronger connection with them. 

5. Deliver Information through Interactive Content

People love real-time communication and this also applies to their professional interactions. According to The Social Habit and Jay Baer, 32% of users who have ever interacted with a brand on social expect a reply in 30 minutes or less. Therefore, live videos, tweets, and webcasts are becoming increasingly popular.

Events are designed for such interactions through onsite company rep presence, social sharing, on-demand webinars, live onsite presentations and Q&A sessions, and multiple networking options like chat, networking lounges, onsite meetings, etc.

In the case of B2B virtual events, webinars themselves are great opportunities to develop leads as you can share freebies (like e-books) with visitors to warm them up and then position benefits in an environment with very few distractions.

Events can help you increase your company’s reach and loop in more participants from around the world. . In addition, they build a lead nurturing environment. Thus, someone is always available to answer a prospect’s query. People are more likely to engage with you if you take the guesswork out of the process and lead generation events help you achieve this.

6. Enable Data-Driven Tracking To Increase B2B Lead Generation

Post-event reports can shed a lot of light on the event’s performance. They pinpoint statistics like:

  • Number of attendees
  • Content views & download volume
  • Number of interactions
  • Volume and value of transactions performed
  • The number of applications dropped

These figures can be used to uncover crucial insights. They can help in improving content for the next event and even your B2B marketing strategies by showing you what worked and what didn’t. For instance, you can identify where participation spiked in your webinars, which booth was visited the most, or how many onsite attendees checked in through the app. This way, you can develop related content to keep participants tuned in during your next event.

These figures help gauge both the quantity and quality of leads generated. A data-driven approach based on visitors’ level of engagement in the event can be monumental in determining the sales stage that they lie in. This eases the lead qualification process and maximizes event ROI.

7. Events Can Make Lasting Connections

An event is not a one-time affair. The leads you generate here can be lifetime connections. You can qualify the leads in a much more efficient way through onsite trade shows by making a real-life connection with the prospects. Faces are much easier to remember than names and that can make all the difference in the world for your sales pitch. 

There are benefits of going virtual too: your engagement does not have to end with the event. You can keep the doors to the virtual event open for days after its scheduled time has passed. This allows your content to be available for consumption, storing, and sharing for much longer. Even if your reps are not available to immediately answer the queries generated by latecomers, you’ve still left the door open for an additional stream of prospects to access your event and reach out for a transaction.

Furthermore, you retain the contact information of prospects and registrants even after the event and can keep the doors of communication always open. Later, you can send educational or promotional material to them and help close the deal. 

8. Events Boost Word of Mouth Marketing

It can be easy to count the number of likes on a post you made online or the total number of users who opened your email. However, social media or other marketing mediums can hardly tell you the true impact of your collateral and the perception of your customers. This is where events can help! 

Most events with lead generation activities are mediums to connect with your prospects in an online or onsite environment. They can greatly help your sales team to truly understand their customers and make decisions accordingly. Moreover, by hosting an event, you can get your customers to start talking about your products and services online. While a paid campaign can help you attract leads, an event can help you make those leads ambassadors for your business.   

Event Tech Can Help Streamline Lead Generation Processes

With events, the options for lead generation and lead nurturing are endless. If you clearly present the message you wish to portray and match this message to your event and audience, you stand a very high chance of turning attendees into valuable prospects.

If you’re hosting an event to capture leads, you should consider taking advantage of an event management platform with a lead capture app. Event management platforms have features like event registration and ticketing tools, analytics tools, and lead capture apps that can help improve the lead generation process for your sales team. They can add a layer of efficiency to your event planning and ensure that your sales team has everything they need to capture more leads. 

How to Increase B2B Event Lead Generation in 2024

Syeda Hamna Hassan

Hamna is a Senior Content Marketer at vFairs. She has over 6 years of experience writing content for SaaS, IT, and telecommunications industries. She is a storyteller, content marketing expert, and loves to write about the changing trends in the events industry. When not writing, she's over analyzing every FC Barcelona game.

Host Your Virtual, Hybrid & In-person Event

Our responsive project managers provide end-to-end event support to help you host incredible experiences for your audience.