Practical guide to measuring the return on investment from a trade show

How to measure return on investment 

Vous envisagez d’exposer sur SOLUTRANS ? Mais connaissez-vous l’impact du nombre de visiteurs et des contacts générés sur votre chiffre d’affaires ? But do you know what impact the number of visitors and sales leads has on your turnover? Find out how to estimate the returns from this marketing tool by measuring the ROI of a trade show. 

Just like all your marketing and sales activities, your presence at a trade show must be measured in order to work out its contribution to the turnover of your company. This participation is an investment in terms of time and money which you must recoup and justify by evaluating the sales opportunities that it has led to.

Trade show Return On Investment (ROI): what do we measure?

To measure the return on investment of a trade event like an exhibition, apply a straightforward method by simply recording the following information on the day(s) of the show:

  • Footfall on your stand
  • Quantity of contacts generated
  • Quality of these contacts: what type of profile did these people have? Were they new buyers or people you already knew?

Establishing the quality of contacts generated at a trade show helps to distinguish between ordinary contacts and potential leads (the most qualified contacts) which you can then work on further after the show.

Contacts vs. qualified leads

A sales lead is a high-quality contact who bears the promise of commercial opportunities. To get to know your contacts better, draw up a grid and qualify them from the most mature to the least mature.

To put together this classification grid, ask yourself the right questions:

  • Does your contact have a qualified project in the short term? 
  • Does their project seem coherent?
  • Are they a top decision maker?
  • How much turnover might this project represent? 

So now you’ve listed and classified the contacts you made at your trade show. Naturally, not all the opportunities you’ve identified will immediately lead to orders … Depending on your sector and average order amounts, the sales cycle may be long, and conversion rates may vary! Contacts will generally only reap fruit following further contact. There are nevertheless other ways of gauging the commercial success of a trade show.

It is estimated that an average of €10 return on investment is generated by €1 invested in a trade show by a B2B company. This marketing approach therefore offers distinctly attractive profitability!
Source : Event Data Book - Unimev 2018

Keys to measuring the ROI of a trade show 

You must be familiar with the ‘old-fashioned’ method consisting of collecting business cards and subsequently analysing the contacts by writing down what you discussed. Nowadays, the digital method has become more commonplace. But no need to worry, this doesn’t affect how you deal with your contacts, but instead offers ways of being more efficient and giving structure to how you organise the contacts you have collected, in particular through the use of mobile apps. 

In this domain, some trade shows offer tools to help you save time. Your sales people simply download an application onto their mobile device beforehand and then quickly and easily capture the details from visitors’ registration forms. They can also add specific information about their leads.

Take advantage of the visibility of media coverage 

Publicising your event is a good way of making the most of an investment, since good media coverage provides you with visibility towards a qualified target audience. Don’t forget to post any media coverage on your social media accounts and dedicate a page to them on your website at the end of the event.

SOLUTRANS Press Office

Two tips to make a difference 

Follow up your sales prospection over the long term 

To make the most out of the leads from your trade show, enter these specific contacts in your CRM solution or marketing automation program. This step will help you reconstitute the journeys of your potential customers, and therefore know more about them and be able to develop them using your conventional marketing and sales tools. 

Measuring the ROI of a trade show is not an exact science… but it remains an essential step to estimate its contribution to turnover. Just like sowing a seed and only harvesting the fruit much later, a trade show can help to generate visibility and contacts on site, which it is then your task to convert in the following weeks and months. To make sure you don’t leave anything out in measuring the benefits of this media, there’s no magic wand – the main thing is to plan well in advance!

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