Exhibiting at tradeshows is a common tactic in B2B marketing plans and comes with two guaranteed inevitabilities. The first is that tradeshows are expensive to participate in. Booth space, booth design and setup, signage and collateral, not to mention the time and attention required from a large team of people adds up. The second is that it’s hard to predict your pay-off for attending.
Offline marketing measurement has traditionally been a continuous challenge for marketers. A recent survey1 found that almost 50% of organizations don’t measure the ROI of their tradeshow activity. However, with the right strategy and tools, you can get a clear picture on how your participation is contributing to your organization’s bottom line.
To better measure and understand your tradeshow ROI, here are five things you should do:
1. Determine whether or not an exhibit space is really right for you.
Just because the conference has an exhibit hall, doesn’t mean exhibiting is the right approach for your organization. If you have never attended the conference consider simply registering as an attendee to get the full conference experience. Send your top sales rep to attend the sessions, networking events and walk the show floor to get a sense for whether or not the demographic profile for attendees aligns with the prospectus. Guide him or her to find every opportunity to meet people and network, and collect business cards for lead generation to create an opportunity for post event follow-up. You can leverage point #3 below to monitor potential traction for the event and new revenue potential.
2. Set up clear goals for the show.
Once you’ve decided to exhibit at an event, it’s critical to establish what goals you are trying to achieve. Are you looking to simply drive brand awareness for a rebranding initiative you just launched or are you seeking to drive lead generation and create upsell opportunities for new products and services your clients will benefit from? Regardless of your goal, plan to make it simple, “We want to meet X number of customers” or “Generate 50 leads from C-level titles at target prospect companies.” And don’t forget to communicate this goal to the staff participating in the event so they know what they’re working toward.
3. Record and tag your leads and customer conversations in your CRM.
Oftentimes, average time to close can be lengthy in the B2B world with sales cycles averaging 12-18 months in some cases., Leverage your CRM software to setup special tags and group leads for each tradeshow you attend to better follow and monitor the results of your participation. You will have a sound understanding of the average show value, average lead value per show, and the overall impact it’s having on your pipeline with net new revenue generation from existing and new customers.
4. Look to determine ROI based on your average time to close.
As mentioned above, average time to close can vary for each B2B organization. Don’t monitor your CRM daily. In fact, it’s recommended that you check in at the 3 and 12-month post event point to track and monitor the number of deals resulting from your participation.
5. Track expenses against new revenue.
Just because you generated some revenue from an event doesn’t mean you’ve yielded a positive return. To truly understand the value you received from the event, you need to calculate all of your expenses against the business you have won. To make this easy, there are some great calculators out there today. One I particularly like is Handshake’s Tradeshow ROI Calculator2. Check it out.
Like all marketing tactics in your plan, understanding ROI for show participation is critical to ensuring that you spend your marketing budget wisely and focus your plan on high impact tactics that are sure to contribute to revenue generation. If you have questions about the value of your company’s tradeshow participation, get in touch with us.