Trade Show Metrics to Track Your Success

Trade Show Metrics

When you attend a trade show, how do you know whether it was worth the investment? Exhibiting at a trade show typically involves a financial investment. This is why it’s important to have some way to measure your success. After all, don’t you want to know if your investment is worthwhile? In this article, we’ll discuss a handful of metrics that you can use to measure your overall trade show success and gauge whether you’re on the right track.

Trade Show Metric #1: Contacts, Leads, and Qualified Leads

Trade Show Metrics Leads

This is arguably one of the most important trade show metrics you will measure. You’re going to meet a ton of new people at every trade show you attend. Of those people you meet, some are potentially new networking contacts, some will be leads, and some will be qualified leads. Every contact is helpful, but not all translate into potential sales.

Tracking Leads

In order to successfully track your leads, you need to define what constitutes a lead and a qualified lead.

Leads are nothing more than people or organizations that have engaged with your business. They might become a customer in the future, but they might not. You really don’t have any data to predict which course of action is more likely.

Qualified leads, on the other hand, are different. They’re individuals or businesses whom you’ve vetted. A qualified lead is ready to buy and you likely consider them a potential client or customer.

Any leads are useful, but the more qualified leads you can generate at a trade show, the higher your possible ROI. Before each event, you should determine what your goals are in terms of contacts, leads, and qualified leads.

Trade Show Metric #2: Booth Visits

This simple trade show metric is the number of visitors who enter your booth. While this metric isn’t useful on its own since not every visitor becomes a lead and not every lead becomes a qualified lead. However, it’s still valuable to know how many visitors you attract. It’s a gauge of your visibility at the show. It can also help you determine whether you’re targeting the correct demographic.

Let’s say your foot traffic is sky-high, but you’re struggling to generate enough qualified leads. This is likely because your demographic criteria are too broad. This is a major problem because if most of your booth visitors are not likely to become customers, your team wastes time they could spend nurturing real leads. YOu may not get the ideal return on objectives, but if you prioritize foot traffic, without setting a goal for the number of qualified leads you hope to generate.

How to Calculate Booth Visits

The most basic, yet accurate passive method is to use RFID technology that tracks each unique visitor. The primary alternative method is to have a member of your team use a click counter, After the show, you’ll want to compare the number of booth visits with the leads and qualified leads you collected. Doing so will help you determine how well you’re doing in terms of attracting the segment you’re interested in.

Trade Show Metric #3: Conversion Rate

Trade Show Metrics Conversion Rate

If you attend trade shows to make sales or identify new clients, then you definitely want to track your conversion rate. This metric measures the proportion of qualified leads that convert. It’s most useful as a way to evaluate your lead-gathering methods. The higher your conversion rate, the better your system is at identifying qualified leads.

As with other certain trade show metrics, you can’t calculate this one right after the event. In some cases, you can’t even accurately determine your conversion rate until after your next sales cycle is complete.

How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate

Your close rate is the total number of sales divided by the number of qualified leads. You then multiply the quotient by 100 to express it as a percentage.

Trade Show Metric #4: Cost Savings

Attending trade shows has direct and obvious benefits regarding leads and sales. However, there are subtle indirect benefits too. One of these nuanced benefits is cost savings, which is a quantified value of what you save by attending a show. For example, by gathering leads at a trade show, you are able to save lots of time on sales calls or save money on customer lists. While a trade show display costs a decent chunk of change, you save money on travel since you connect with tons of prospects and customers in one place. Furthermore, you can accomplish things at a trade show, such as recruiting new staff or connecting with new suppliers. This means that you don’t need to spend extra time or money on these tasks during normal business hours. If you’re getting high-cost savings, the trade show is like an intelligent resource utilization.

How to Calculate Cost Savings

It’s not really possible to accurately calculate cost savings. However, keeping track of where you’re saving money at each trade show you attend as an exhibitor is worthwhile. It’s all part of the big picture that supports your trade show ROI.

Trade Show Metric #5: Cost Per Lead (CPL)/Cost Per Qualified Lead (CPQL)

Trade Show Metrics Cost Per Lead

CPL measures the cost of generating individual sales leads. However, since CPL doesn’t provide a means of determining the quality of leads, CPQL can step in and fill the gap.

How to Calculate CPL/CPQL

You calculate both CPL and CPQL the same way. However, you use slightly different data sets. You divide the total costs for exhibiting at a trade show by the number of leads or qualified leads to find your CPL or CPQL.

Trade Show Metric #6: Return on Investment (ROI)

Trade Show Metrics Return On Investment

ROI is one of the most important trade show metrics. However, it’s also one of the most difficult to calculate with any sort of accuracy. Your trade show ROI measures the direct return on your trade show activity, relative to what it costs to exhibit. Your ROI is most valuable when your trade show goals relate directly to sales or revenue.

How to Calculate ROI

The calculation for ROI is simple. First, you take the total revenue and subtract total costs. You then divide the difference by total costs. Finally, you multiply the quotient by 100 to express the final value as a percentage. If your ROI is positive, then you’ve earned a positive return on your investment. If it’s a negative value, it means the event was a net financial loss.

While the actual ROI value is easy to calculate, measuring trade show ROI isn’t so simple. For instance, some forms of revenue aren’t easy to quantify, such as brand recognition, social media buzz, and industry clout. These sorts of things are not included in the ROI calculation since it’s impossible to assign a value to them. However, increased brand awareness or social media engagement may lead directly to increased revenue.

The more important wrinkle is that ROI for a trade show is typically tied in some way to sales. The longer your sales cycle, the more difficult it is to pin down the first touch that led to each sale. Calculating your trade show ROI will be easier if you expect trade shows to generate most of your sales. However, linking individual sales to trade shows will be more challenging if you originate sales via multiple avenues.

Trade Show Metric #7: Estimated Revenue

Trade Show Metrics Estimated Revenue

Any sort of revenue is difficult to measure immediately after a show for the same reasons that ROI is hard to calculate. Thankfully, there’s always estimated revenue to act as an educated placeholder. This calculation allows you to rely on past trade show averages as a basis for calculating the revenue for your current event.

How to Calculate Estimated Revenue

Estimate revenue is total leads, multiplied by close rate, multiplied by the average value of a conversion. This figure allows you to approximate the revenue you can expect from leads in your funnel, well before you have confirmed sales numbers.

Trade Show Metric #8: Project Business Value (PBV)

Trade Show Metrics Projected Business Value

PBV is similar to ROI, so it’s a helpful metric to employ when you’re waiting on concrete sales figures to calculate your ROI. PBV projects the overall value you gain from a trade show. It’s especially helpful when your firm follows a long sales cycle., or where upselling impacts your revenue stream or long-term goal(s) in a major way.

How to Calculate PBV

You need three data sets to calculate PBV:

  • Number of qualified leads (QL): the total number of qualified leads from the event
  • Average historical close rate (CR): the percentage of qualified leads who converted
  • Added business value (BV): the average difference in value between event sales and non-event sales

To find PBV, you need to multiply QL*CR*BV. The final figure is the value generated by the event that you wouldn’t have created if you hadn’t attended the event.

Monitoring Trade Show Metrics Helps You Plan a Successful Trade Show Exhibition

Exhibiting at trade shows generates a ton of data: booth visits, leads, etc. The more popular your display, the more visits, leads, and data you generate. What you need to know is whether attending trade show events is a worthwhile investment. If you select and track a handful of key trade show metrics for success, you can quickly convert your trade show data into actionable information that helps you calculate your trade show success and improve your performance at future events.

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