CRM on the Tradeshow Floor

By Heather Baldwin

What if you could return to the office after your next trade show and put a face with the name of every prospect you met on the show floor? What if you could remember key details of your conversation when you called to follow up? Imagine knowing, before you ever picked up the phone to follow up, what level of interest the visitor to your booth had in your product or service. Think that kind of information can help build great customer relationships? You bet, and it’s being made possible by a start-up company called Closer Communications, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based enterprise that designs wireless CRM systems for the tradeshow and exposition industry.

Here’s how it works. Exhibitors download Closer’s software wirelessly to a Pocket PC and attendees are handed a proprietary badge at the registration booth. Whenever that badge comes within range of a booth, typically six to 10 feet, the PDA registers the person’s presence and instantly reveals a host of data, including the person’s name, position, company, photo and a predictive score of the attendee’s likelihood to buy the exhibitor’s product. After talking to the prospect, exhibitors can take their own free-form notes and assign their own scores, if they choose. Because the information is stored in a wireless PDA it can be saved rapidly to the Internet, enabling someone at the office to download the information and send out the right brochures and data sheets so they are waiting for the attendee when he or she arrives back at the office. Talk about fast, personal service!

“Over time, we envision all the information being sent directly into a company’s CRM system. That’s the ultimate goal,” says Rob Sama, president and cofounder of Closer Communications. Other plans include adding a capability to alert exhibitors when a very important attendee has walked into the booth so that person isn’t ignored in all the activity of a busy booth. For now, however, Closer Communications is focused on proving its platform and getting the word out about its product.

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