What is Lead Retrieval & How does it work?

Event organizers are constantly on the lookout to provide benefits to your exhibitors and attendees. Juggling many different tasks, they need to ensure that both groups are happy, meet their objectives, and maximize their return on investment (ROI). Companies, on the other hand, need to ensure that the investment made can be recouped by signing on additional clients in the future. Lead retrieval technology is a crucial part of this. This article helps you understand what lead retrieval is, how it works, and what the benefits are.

Ready? Ready.

What is a lead?

Companies exhibiting at your show have a variety of objectives. It may be for brand awareness or to meet existing clients, partners or resellers. But the ultimate goal of every company is to generate new business.  And a lead is basically someone, an individual or a company, who expressed an interest in hearing more about the company’s products or services. It’s then the marketing and sales teams’ job to ensure these contacts are followed up on.

Here’s the shocking truth though:

According to a recent report, 70% of sales captured at a show are never followed up on.

The reasons for that are:

  1. Not enough man power
  2. Difficulty in qualifying leads
  3. Misplacement of business cards

And that’s where lead retrieval solutions come into play.

What is lead retrieval?

During a show or conference, a company can expect to meet from hundreds, if not thousands of people, many of whom may fit perfectly into their ideal customer profile. Although, you’ll find the odd fishbowl with business cards here and there, it’s shear impossible to accurately capture lead information and not miss anything.

But not capturing the information of the people interested in hearing from you can mean lost business in the future.

Lead retrieval solutions are basically a method for capturing and processing leads generated at an event. They can easily connect to a database containing the attendee’s profile captured during event registration.

The event data captured can then be used for marketing automation and lead nurturing to guarantee a smooth follow up.

What solutions for lead retrieval are available to organizers?

Organizers have different options available to them. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages and further down we explain how to choose the right one for your event.

The options available are basically:

Lead Retrieval via Mobile App

BYO – bring your own device is becoming increasingly popular amongst exhibitors. In today’s age, the most common lead retrieval solution is the mobile phone.

Exhibitors download the app from iTunes or Google Play for free. When the exhibitor then purchases the app from the lead retrieval provider, they’re emailed a license code and password to be able to use the app and enter the leads portal for download.

Typically, the lead retrieval app provider integrates with various event registration software tools that seamlessly sync the data from the registration.

But even if not, the event organizer will email the lead retrieval provider the data for upload into their system. The same goes for on-site registrants.

How exhibitors can capture leads through the mobile app?

Using a lead retrieval mobile app exhibitors can capture lead details by either scanning the QR Code / Barcode on the badge or entering the badge ID manually.

The app then automatically relates the number with the attendee information available on the database.

Most lead retrieval apps also include the functionality to browse existing leads, add leads to own device, select pre-qualifying questions or attach text notes and comments to each record.

Lead Retrieval via Handheld Scanner

The simplest and hassle-free solution are hand-held scanners to scan badge bar codes. They are lightweight and make gathering leads at events quick and efficient.

The lead scanners can easily be ordered online and picked up at the registration desk.

Typically, these tiny devices scan the leads in a small file and the data can be uploaded to the portal where exhibitors have access to the next day.

Lead Retrieval via iPhone Sled

There are also in-between solutions available which give organizers the best of both worlds.

Hassle-free scanning and all the features and functions of a mobile lead retrieval app.

what is lead retrieval

What are the benefits of lead retrieval solutions for organizers?

Lead retrieval solutions help organizers get access to all leads collected at the event and can therefore provide useful event data and insights. It allows organizers to show prospective exhibitors and sponsors tangible evidence that exhibiting is worth their time and money.

Additionally, lead retrieval solutions help exhibitors gather the information more quickly and accurately and allow for faster follow-up or nurturing. This also makes the exhibitor’s team happy as less stress, less hassle and more fruitful engagement.

What are the benefits of lead retrieval solutions for attendees?

Convenience is key.

Less and less people carry business cards and as an event organizer you want to make the exchange of information as seamless and unobtrusive as possible.

For events, speed is important and attendees often have a busy schedule.

Lead retrieval through scanners or apps take seconds and there’s no need for exhibitors to scribble down information and potentially risk losing that information.

How to select the best lead retrieval solution?

Unfortunately, there is not one-size-fits all. Factors to consider are:

  • Booth size and layouts
    A couple of lead scanners might be fine for 3 x 3 meter booth with 2 staff onsite. But what if the company has this ginormous booth with several sections? Will the staff be able to capture leads without a long and awkward walk around the booth?
  • Number of expected leads
    What about the number of leads you expect during the event? More leads doesn’t necessarily mean more devices. But, if you’re expecting 1,000 leads you better have the bandwith to handle that volume.
  • Event Culture
    Often there are social hours after the event where vendors meet potential buyers casually. It’s kind of awkward carrying a lead scanner with you and a mobile app might be the better choice here.
  • Staff Experience
    It’s also a question of how experienced the company’s staff is with engaging and qualifying prospects in a busy booth. The less experience present, the easier the lead retrieval process must be if you want it to be efficient and capture as many leads as possible


The most sophisticated lead retrieval system in the world is useless if exhibitors don’t have a follow-up strategy in place. Tools and technology can help enhance the overall event experience, but most crucial is what exhibitors do with the data once back at the office.

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