Friday, September 02, 2011

 

How to more accurately measure trade show ROI

I'm a broken record about defining what success looks like up-front for any sales or marketing effort, and trade shows are no different. But trade shows, especially for B2B sellers, are more complicated because very little happens (or at least is monetized) right away.

To more completely and accurately measure the business value and sales impact of your next trade show, define and measure success at three critical post-event milestones.

1. Immediately after the show
When you walk back into the office, what can you measure? How will you immediately know if the show was a success? Your likely measures for this include leads (or names) captured, meetings held, briefings or demos completed, etc. Define these measures up front and drive your strategy and execution accordingly.

2. 30 days after the show
A month after the event, you should have at minimum qualified all of the leads you captured and placed them in the appropriate stage in your pipeline. Many of the leads may go right into a nurture track. Some will require further qualification, and others may be actively engaged on a short path to purchase. But ideally, after a few weeks of working the immediate product of the event, you have a sense for what pipeline expectations should be in the next few months.

3. Six months after the show
Depending on your average sales cycle length, this is the milestone at which you should start to expect closed business, booked sales and revenue recognition directly from the event. There will still be leads you're nurturing, but six months should be enough time to see closed business and a solid pipeline of expected new sales in the subsequent six-month period.

Ideally, you establish goals for these three milestones not only before the event, but before you commit the resources in the first place. Because if the goals don't add up to enough business to justify the event, save your time and money for something else.

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