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How to Demonstrate the Sales Value of Trade Shows

by Gwen Parsons 27. November 2012 22:39

Study after study shows that companies believe trade shows are an important part of their annual marketing plan. However, while companies are gradually beginning to invest more in marketing, they still want to know the results from that investment. After organizing a compelling trade show booth and promotion campaign marketers return from the event.  Then the time comes to demonstrate the value of their participation in trade shows and events.  This often leads marketers to express frustration.

 At Exhibitor2011 there were more than 20 sessions on trade show measurement and demonstrating ROI – something we help you do in our brochure on successful exhibiting. In fact, it’s one of the most popular topics at the annual conference. So I asked colleague and workshop presenter, Susan Brauer of Brauer Consulting Group.

Susan reports that workshop attendees often jump to wanting to measure their ROI without having any kind of closed-loop lead system in place. They describe some of the obstacles to measuring ROI as

  • Lack of accountability for reporting if marketers organize and promote the show and leads are turned over to sales

  • Insufficient time to collect and compile the information

  • Internal system silos that make it difficult to link sales recorded in accounting with leads recorded in a database

  • Lead times for actual sales are longer than can be reasonably tracked

Susan teaches that the purpose of the trade show is to accelerate the sales process. She believes the bigger issue is that exhibitors don’t understand what can and can’t be measured so helps them set measurable goals that move the sales process forward.

Leads are sales opportunities and we've provided tips on how to convert those leads to sales after a trade show. Most, if not all, exhibitors tabulate the number of contacts they make at the show. However, quantity is one data point. Drill down further to uncover key indicators that reveal the show’s impact on future sales. Some clues might include:

  • Number of visitors that received a product demonstration

  • Number of companies that indicated a desire to meet with your sales team or were ranked hot by booth staff

  • Number of potential new partners you met

  • Number of companies you met for the first time

  • Number of customers that acknowledged plans to renew their contract

Build upon a baseline from your past show to formulate goals for your next show. Then be sure you have methods in place to record the results and compare them to the goal.

You can also find some additional tips by downloading our Successful Exhibiting Guide in our Resources area.

What frustrates you about trade show and event measurement?  

 

 

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