Types of events

6 Trade Show Lead Capture Tools for Easier Lead Retrieval

Trade shows are a huge portion of the events industry: In 2012, there are more than 284,000 conventions, conferences, and tradeshows in the U.S., according to a study by the Convention Industry Council. Those events attracted more than 87 million attendees!

Managing these trade shows is a beast of a task. The good news, though, is that the tech solutions for these shows has become expansive.

That’s especially true when thinking about lead capture. Lead retrieval technology provide substantial ROI for companies that are investing in trade shows.

Hotel asset management

Lead capture vs. lead retrieval

Depending on your event goals, you might want one or both of these areas covered at your next tradeshow.

In a nutshell, lead retrieval is the act of searching and finding lead data that’s been provided before the event. Lead retrieval tools rely on scanning smart badges (or other advanced event tech wearables). After scanning, the tech shows you information from a database, such as qualification scores and any other requested attendee info.

On the other hand, lead capture includes adding brand new leads to your database. Most lead capture tools include the same features as lead retrieval tools. But on top of that, they also typically have business card scanning (along with other bells and whistles) for qualifying leads on the spot. 

Most trade show lead retrieval tools and trade show lead capture tools can do the following: 

  • Analyze event traffic based on date and time of day to highlight your peak lead capture performance hours. 
  • Provide lead capture data. You can turn those leads into sales and use the data to prove the ROI of an event. 
  • Establish a uniform system for capturing, organizating, and storaging of trade show leads. This way, teams can use the data at multiple events in many different locations. 

All that being said, it’s worth noting the distinction. Some tools do only one of these things, while others offer both services. It can get confusing ” especially because some brands don’t spell it out for you. That’s why it’s good to know the difference when you’re shopping around. 

Now without further ado, let’s take a look at the 6 best technologies for easier trade show lead capture.

Streamline group business lead capture & save time

Get Started Free

The 6 best technologies for easier trade show lead capture & retrieval.

1. Cvent LeadCapture

Cvent Lead Capture Tool

Exhibitors and attendees are the two most important groups at your trade shows. And they’re the key to making your events profitable. Building relationships with them is a challenge every event professional faces. But it doesn’t have to be. Help exhibitors track who they met with and follow up on new opportunities with LeadCapture.

LeadCapture integrates all of Cvent’s onsite solutions, including its CrowdCompass event mobile app, OnArrival, for event check-in and badging, and SocialWall for leveraging social media onsite.

Main Benefits:

  • Manually qualify leads while scanning badges
  • Use a star system to rate the lead on the spot
  • Take notes on what services they’re interested in, how they’d like to be contacted, and any other important info you need

How it Works: LeadCapture is a mobile app that links up to your Cvent account so you can share data between programs. If you want to add badge and business card scanning, the app integrates with other lead capturing tools. Anyone on your team can download it onto a personal device (either Android or iOS).

2. Social Tables

Social Tables Lead Capture Software

Social Tables is known for being the leading event management software used by planners and properties to create more than one million successful events. Experience the best of to-scale diagramming, 3D rendering, guest seating, anytime-anywhere collaboration, and mobile guest check-in.

Main Benefits: 

  • Add trade show lead capture to your website or trade show-specific landing page
  • Choose your own criteria for lead scoring and the platform will automatically score your leads accordingly
  • The Check-In App has features like customizable guest labels, easy-to-use search filters, automatic guest list vs. check-in percentage calculations displayed at the bottom, and guest check out 

How it Works: Social Tables Sales & Catering CRM software is a group management software with an app for onsite lead capturing that syncs with your established account. Just sign into your account, and update your lead scoring criteria. Then, check out reports for critical insights into your group business sales funnel.

3. iCapture

iCapture Lead Capture Tool Capabilities

iCapture is one of the easiest ways to morph a mobile device into a lead generating machine. The platform’s endless trade show services (see above) give users an all-inclusive experience when working the conference floor. iCapture is best known for its world-class badge scanning technology. Say goodbye to lost leads of the past!

Main Benefits:

  • Their niche is small business
  • You get the option to score leads yourself or have their system do it for you
  • Users like the fact that they can link lead data to their Salesforce account (one of the many mainstream CRM and sales software integrations they offer)
  • It works offline, which is a huge plus for event venues with less-than-stellar Wi-Fi 

How it Works: iCapture partners with leading badge providers. That means your team can use the app on their phones at every event ” without having to mess with scanner rentals. This is a definite perk for companies that engage in multiple trade shows a year.

iCapture can scan traditional 2-D barcode badges, QR code and RFID. When you use the app you’ll follow three steps for each badge: scan, check which product or service to follow up with them about, then complete your entry. If you sync iCapture with Salesforce, you’ll get a confirmation that the information successfully saved.

4. CompuSystems

The true veteran of our list, CompuSystems has been a leader in the lead management scene since 1976. They’re there to help you when you inevitably think to yourself, But what do I do with this lead information now? This brand is all about successfully leveraging lead data, and the way they collect this info couldn’t be easier.

Main Benefits:

  • The app allows you to forward electronic marketing materials to the contact as soon as you connect
  • You can qualify leads using surveys and action codes
  • The rental tablet comes preloaded with the app and is just easier to use due to its size

How it Works: Like the other tools on this list, the CompuSystems app lets you scan attendee badges. Better yet, it gives you insight into each contact’s event interaction history. That means you won’t send the same person the same documents every time they interact with your booth. Instead, you can communicate with them based on your previous interactions. It also means you can follow up correctly, no matter where the event takes place or who’s scanning badges. Of course, the app can also capture business card info and marketing/sales software integrations. 

5. Attendify

Attendify Event App

Forget the way you used to capture trade show leads ” Attendify is here to break the mold. With Attendify, you’ll learn to understand the behavioral data behind event attendees and prospects you interact with. Not to mention, we hold the personal opinion that it has the sleekest design available. Attendify is both a lead retrieval AND lead capture tool, the perfect hybrid for marketers who need both. 

Main Benefits: 

  • It’s socially enabled (and claims to be the only product on the market currently offering this feature), which means you can capture leads onsite and online simultaneously during the course of your event 
  • Scan badges on your mobile device and view them through the app as well as the desktop portal
  • Sponsor and exhibitor performance is trackable thanks to real time leaderboards

How it Works: Attendify is an app/website combo that lets clients use the devices they already own. You have to be an Attendify customer to use these features, but once you sign up, you can turn on lead retrieval in the app. They say the setup process only takes a few minutes, so if you can quickly prepare your team before doors open. For venue managers, you have the option to use lead retrieval through their revenue share program or by purchasing pre-paid licenses for exhibitors.  

6. vCapture by Validar


Compatible with PC, Mac, and mobile, Validar specializes in “universal lead capture,” a fully-customizable solution that can work as a direct extension of your current CRM.

Main Benefits:

  • There are four program tiers, ranging from Quick to Global, the details of which aren’t clearly defined on their website but strongly imply that customers can pick an option that works best for their company size or projected trade show traffic
  • It’s an iOS-compatible product that can be used with any personal Apple device including phones and tablets
  • vCapture has one goal: to standardize and automate your lead capturing system as simply as possible

How it Works: Multiple device use, Salesforce integration, and smartphone compatibility are also offered through vCapture. They emphasize their ability to rank, categorize, and label leads. Plus, users say it was super easy to learn – just download the app, follow the set up instructions, link your Salesforce account, and you’re pretty much good to go. Right now it can only capture leads through business card scanning but you can also access all of Validar’s other great software features. 

Now You’re Ready to Capture More Trade Show Leads

You’re not going to stumble into an easier trade show lead retrieval process, but these technologies listed above are surely a step in the right direction. Your events (and ROI) will thank you later.

Up next, get ideas for the best trade show exhibit booths, and ensure your event WiFi is ready for trade shows

Have some thoughts or experience with any members of our list? Let us know on Twitter @socialtables.

Manage group business with everything in its place

Get a Free Demo

Still have questions about lead capture?

What is lead capture?

Lead capture refers to the process saving a person’s contact information in hopes to continue a sales conversation with them, and convert them from a potential lead into a paying customer.

How do you capture leads in events?

Lean on a great event technology lead capture tool to simplify the process of capturing leads at events. This will also have the added benefit of being more accurate and trackable than collecting business cards.

How do I get emails from trade show?

You should have a way for visitors to your booth to effortlessly share their information with you. This is best accomplished with a great lead capture tool, but you can also have tablets or laptops out where visitors can input information.