I just had a brief conversation with our prospecting team who are currently working on qualifying leads for a well-known technology company. The leads come through from events and trade shows the company regularly participates in and the team was notified that a bunch of leads from a more recent trade show have been added to their CRM and these would be a priority over the previous events that have been uploaded earlier. This was a good call for the simple reason: - the sooner a lead is contacted and qualified after it's been generated, the higher the chances of a positive response.
On the other side of the spectrum, e have commonly seen and had to follow up and qualify leads generated from a past trade show or seminar which have been sitting in the CRM for a few weeks to months without being called or contacted once during this time. That is not a good lead and data management practice by any standard. It's a complete no no! Its been carefully studied and generally agreed on by B2B marketers that the ideal response time for an inbound web lead is within the first few hours and 24-48 hours is considered the maximum response time before the chances of a positive response starts diminishing. So why should it be too much different for trade show leads or leads generated from other channels?
To think about it practically, unlike web leads there will have to be a gap between the time when the lights go out at the tradeshow and the leads have to be sorted and uploaded into the CRM or lead management system before they get tranfered to the qualification stage. That rules out qualifying them within the first hour or the first couple of hours perhaps. Nevertheless, its important to get those newly generated leads from events into the system and qualified as soon as possible and definitely not weeks and months later!
A good percentage of the leads generated from older events failed to even recollect why they were there, what they were interested in and a few wouldn't remember the the event itself! When the objective of such events is to generate leads, no matter how exhausting the trade show was and how much you want to put your feet up at the end of the day, don't rest until you get those leads passed on to those who are responsible for the next steps or all that hard work (and costs) won't yield as much as they could have. Build this practice into your team and it will count for something.