Tray.io blog on automation and integration

Strengthen sales outreach with trade show insights delivered automatically to Your CRM

Loren Robeck Tray.io author profile image
By Loren Robeck

Marketing operations and revenue ops experts: Learn how to automatically upload a list of trade show notes directly into your marketing automation platform and CRM, enabling sales to deliver more seamless and personalized follow-ups that drive better conversion rates. Trade shows and conferences offer a unique opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with a high volume of prospects in a short time. However, gaps in your follow-up process can create headaches and delays when processing leads.

A surprising 76% of sales professionals treat trade show lead follow-ups as cold calls, suggesting that the qualifying and relationship building at conferences isn’t surviving the marketing-sales handoff. However, the situation isn’t as surprising when you consider that the majority of trade show exhibitors are barely capturing any notes on a given lead.

Trade show automation 1 Most exhibitors only record a lead’s contact information and level of interest during a trade show. Source: CEIR

You’d think a sales team would want to ensure the highest possible chance to win every deal by carefully including any notes pertaining to a deal - especially a face-to-face meeting at a relevant event - in their CRM. Unfortunately, recording this kind of intel in CRM is easier said than done. A common reason why trade show intel doesn’t regularly make its way into CRM is the lack of custom fields. Because most operations teams don’t have a way to seamlessly create, populate, or manage custom fields in CRM, they may end up doing a lot of manual copy-pasting. In many cases, exhibitors record just contact information and a general gauge of interest and leave it at that.

However, operations professionals are closing the gap to ensure that warm trade show leads receive warm follow-up by using automation. They’re using new automation technology to not only surface trade show insights directly to sales, but also encourage exhibitors to collect more information on leads, all while maximizing the ROI of resource-intensive events.

Using the power of a General Automation Platform (GAP), your revenue operations team can easily create an automated workflow that uploads insights from trade shows into your CRM. GAPs combine the ability to seamlessly integrate any apps in your revenue stack at the API level with the ability to orchestrate multi-step processes across your CRM and other apps - all with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface.

When revenue operations teams combine automated trade show follow-up with workflows for automated lead list uploads and enrichment, they can ensure their investment in trade shows achieves its maximum impact across their revenue funnel. As a bonus, their events team won’t have to go through the manual process of adding scattered notes to hundreds of leads ever again.

What information should you capture at a trade show?

Before we dive into the walkthrough, let’s take a look at some of the details we can capture at trade shows and how these details can prompt more-effective follow-ups. Here at Tray.io, we typically record the following:

  • Contact details of lead - This includes contact name and email.
  • Name of booth staff - We typically identify the team member who had the conversation to close the loop on warm introductions..
  • Conversation details - Here, we’ll capture as many details as possible, including but not limited to: industry, role, pain points, tech stack, team structure, and any interest in particular products and use cases.
  • Priority - In addition to conversation details, we ask our booth staff to note how hot a lead is. This judgement factors in their level of interest to help sales better prioritize follow-ups.

Armed with this information, our reps can send personalized follow-ups that build on the relationships made during a trade show. Instead of following up with a message like:

“Thanks for stopping by our booth at ABC Tradeshow! I'd love to connect to learn more about your needs and share how our company can help you.”

You can send a message that stands out and conveys genuine interest in a partnership, like:

“I understand you stopped by our booth at ABC Tradeshow and spoke to my colleagues X and Y. They shared with me that you're interested in XX and are currently facing challenges with YY. It would be great to show you how our company can help.”

Walkthrough: How to automatically add tradeshow notes to your CRM contacts

For this walkthrough, we’ve separated our workflow into three stages:

  1. Form trigger and CSV parsing - First, we use a custom form to capture a CSV of trade show notes. Then, we parse our CSV to determine the size of our list. Note: Using our custom form trigger, we could capture other file formats, including Google Sheets.
  2. Loop emails and determine record type - Then, we loop through each note and determine if the associated CRM record is a lead or contact. In this case, we’ll be using Salesforce, though a GAP
  3. Add the notes and send an alert - Finally, we add the notes to our CRM and alert the account owner via Slack. The alert ensures that these updates don’t slip through the cracks.

Stage 1: Form trigger and CSV parsing

Trade show automation 2 The form trigger generates a web form to capture our CSV of trade show notes.

To ensure that our workflow is accessible to any team member tasked with uploading notes from trade shows, we use the Tray Platform to create and host a web form. It captures the information we need to update records in our CRM. Our form includes two fields:

  • CSV file - This field captures our list of leads and notes. We can easily pull this information from a conference lead scanning app, or create another workflow which pulls from these apps automatically. Reducing the amount of manual data entry here can actually encourage booth staff to take more detailed notes, as more content won’t result in greater hassle later on.
  • Note title - This field correlates to the custom field title in our CRM, which helps us specify conversations by event.

When an end-user submits this form, it alerts our workflow that we have a new list of notes to add and kicks off the additional logic.

Trade show automation 3 Our workflow extracts and formats our CSV from the web form.

Import CSV - Once we’ve received a CSV from our web form, our workflow imports the list to begin processing leads.

Count & get CSV - This stage kicks off a string of CSV helpers used to count the number of rows and pull the notes from each row in our sheet. These helpers provide us context for our loop helper, which we will use to parse each row individually in our next stage.

Stage 2: Loop emails and determine record type

Trade show automation 4 Our loop helper allows us to parse every record individually to determine its type.

Loop rows - Now that we have all of the information we need from our sheet, we use a loop helper to apply the following logic to each unique record:

  • Match record in Salesforce - Here we take each of the emails supplied in our sheet and confirm that it matches with a record in our CRM. In this case, we use our Salesforce connector to make the association.
  • Lead or contact? - Once we’ve identified a matching record in our CRM, we use two Boolean (true/false) statements to check if the record is a lead or contact. These Booleans route our records to two different sets of actions, to ensure the workflow adds our trade show notes correctly.

Stage 3: Add the notes and send an alert

Trade show automation 5 Once we’ve determined the CRM record type, our workflow uploads the trade show notes and sends an alert to the owner.

Add note - Our workflow now appends each note to a custom field, using the ‘note title’ supplied from our initial form, separating with a line break if there are previous notes. Since our workflow takes our in-depth trade show conversation notes and populates them into CRM custom fields, our sales teams can use this intel to send personalized follow-ups with a stronger chance of converting leads into sales opportunities, or to accelerate deals that are already active opportunities.

Send alert - Finally, we identify the account owner and send an alert via our internal messaging tool. It details the account information and any new notes to ensure that these valuable insights don’t go unnoticed.

Integrate and automate across your revenue tech stack

You should now have a better idea of how to use automation to close gaps in trade show follow-up to drive more ROI from trade shows. Learn how to streamline more revenue processes and drive more conversions with a GAP by signing up for one of our weekly group demos.