Akkroo: Delivering ROI through Event Lead Capture
Exhibiting is a key part of the B2B marketing mix. However, standardized lead capture and follow-up processes are notoriously challenging for most organizations.
Most events these days offer lead scanning technology, but there is no consistency from event to event. Some smaller events may not even have badge scanners, requiring organizations to fall back on the tried-and-true method of business card collection, or physical lead cards for attendees to fill in.
Even when you are able to get badge scan data close to real-time, getting it formatted to upload into a CRM and/or marketing automation system can be time consuming. If you have to do data entry, that delays the process even further. By the time the leads are in the system, the prime window of opportunity for further contact may already have passed.
London-based Akkroo claims to bridge the gap between the physical nature of events and an organization’s marketing automation and CRM workflows. Akkroo provides what co-founder Chris Wickson describes as a universal, customizable lead capture solution that can integrate with your existing systems, automating processes and improving your time-to-follow-up.
“Akkroo is an extension of marketing automation and CRM for events,” he said. “We integrate into those systems via the API so that a sales rep on the trade show floor can be gathering event-qualified leads that can be routed straight through to Salesforce, or to Eloqua, or to another marketing automation tool.”
Customers use their own devices – tablets or phones – rather than renting badge scanners. They can still quickly scan badges, but can also generate and capture their own qualifying information and route it to wherever it needs to go within their organization, all through the Akkroo app.
For U.S.-based events, badge scanning is ingrained in the way that events are run and exhibitors capture leads. Therefore, Akkroo needs to work with all the different registration and lead retrieval providers.
Luckily, the technology market has started to shift towards more open models. Most registration and badging companies now make application programming interfaces (APIs) available. When a customer is exhibiting at an event, Akkroo will either already have a connector built for the relevant provider, or will reach out to them and request to purchase an API key.
Aila Brookins is a marketing event manager who is responsible for Accela’s presence at more than thirty trade shows a year. She also manages Accela’s annual conference and other hosted events. Brookins said that the Akkroo app has saved her sanity with regards to trade show leads.
“Akkroo provides everything we need to capture all important sales leads at every conference. It takes a picture of the business card and then transcribes it, eliminating misspelled names and missing phone numbers,” Brookins explained.
A lead generation strategy should tie back to overall marketing and sales goals. If the goal is to close deals, measuring events on qualified leads and future results is a better fit than basing success on simply a high volume of scans.
“Some of our customers have been using Akkroo for two or three years continuously, and for the first time ever they can show ROI on events,” Wickson said.
He continued, “They can go into Salesforce right now and run a report on the campaign ID for a particular trade show after six months and see who they met, where those people are in the pipeline, and revenue can be attributed to that specific show.”
That sounds like a classic definition of closed-loop lead management – the holy grail for most corporate enterprises.
One area of concern around lead capture is the GDPR, which is scheduled to take effect on May 25, 2018, and will fundamentally change the way data is collected. There are still some grey areas around express consent vs. implied consent where third parties are concerned.
Wickson said that many of Akkroo’s customers are taking complete responsibility for gathering the documented consent that they need as part of their interactions on the show floor. That way, they can be very clear about what information they are collecting and how they intend to use it. That also gives them everything that they need in the event of an audit: the exact verbiage, when and where the interaction took place.
Akkroo has customers in the U.S. and Europe, including SAP, IBM, Sony, PayPal, NewBalance, Mercedes-Benz, Intel, American Express, and Hologic.
For more information on Akkroo, go HERE.