Updated: Jan 8
Most of the companies go to trade shows and believe that the the fact of simple being there is enough. As you can imagine, your presence alone won’t do the trick and won’t turn your trade show attendance into success. A huge part of success is setting yourself clear goals and having the right mindset. Ask yourself beforehand what it actually is that you want to achieve there. What are your trade show goals? Do you want to generate more sales or do you just want to raise awareness for your brand? Or what is your definition of trade show success? It is definitely a good idea to take some time, sit down on a table with a piece of paper and go through all these questions. Don’t hurry while you’re doing that. Maybe make yourself a cup of your favourite tea or coffee and think it through. Once you have everything in black and white, it will be much easier to baby step towards your goals.
But how do you know that you’re on the right way to achieve them? Now you should do what academics and scientists do. Make your goals measurable. Set the right metrics! Everything which you can measure, will become achievable and real. In the following article, you’ll get to know the 11 most important categories and their metrics to express your success with numbers. Most of the metrics might be already familiar to you, but I promise, you’ll find some new ones on the way while reading this article. Keep on reading!
“If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.”
– Robert Heinlein
The early bird catches the worm
In the following figure, you’ll see our trade show timeline. It shall give you a quick overview of the journey you’re about to start. When you’re reading this article, you’re probably at the beginning of your journey. The first steps are to book the booth at the trade show and set your metrics. I put on purpose the metrics setting phase at the beginning, so you will know your goals from the scratch on and that is also the topic we want to focus on now. The other phases will be explained in our other blog articles. Check out 5 rules to trade show success and 5 steps to write kick ass outbound emails too!
1) Generated Sales
Generating more sales through visiting a trade show is one of the more obvious goals. The character of these metrics has a more post-event approach. Sealing deals and generating is the outcome of a successful trade show strategy and undeniable on of the most important metrics. At the same time, these metrics are necessary to calculate the ROI and to evaluate in the end if the attendance justifies the costs incurred.
Metrics: Sales Generated, Number of Orders, Sales per Rep, Orders per Rep, Total Cost of Attendance, Return on Investment (ROI), # of pipeline influenced, # of opportunities created,
2) Developed Prospects
These numbers are the ones which enter at the top of our sales funnel originating from marketing efforts. For example, these metrics could be the number of the pre scheduled meetings from our outbound campaigns or the number of new leads generated during the trade show. We want to keep these metrics high, so the sales team has a good chance to convert some of the new leads in the end of the funnel.
Metrics: MARKETING # of meetings, # of new leads generated, # of leads influenced
3) Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is measured with multiple metrics. It’s basically all the buzz you create around your brand, product or company in the media. It ranges from the number of the booth visitors, press releases to social media interactions. To increase these numbers, all marketing techniques can be applied. Go nuts on your options and create that brand awareness!
Metrics: Booth Visits, Number of Media Contacts Created, Media Performance Post Show, Website & Social Performance
Metrics: mentions on social media, # of posts and % of engagement (shares, likes, re-posts), booked appointments as a result of these activities, press releases sent and published.
4) Search for New Trends
Expand your horizon and keep an eye open for new trends. A good way to detect them, is to look at what your competitors are doing. Walk around and have a stroll at the trade show. You’ll discover one or two new things you could possibly work on in the future. Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer!
Metrics: # of trends and insights noted down to be discussed later, keeping a show diary or competitor records up to date, # of ideas.
5) Educate and Speak about your Brand
Sign up as a speaker! Don’t be shy and speak about current topics in your industry. It’s also a good way to discuss existing problems and highlight your product as possible solution. Don’t sound like a salesperson, stay objective and provide value. Engage with your audience and they will consider you as an expert in your field. Who doesn’t want to do business with top notch experts?
Metrics: booked speeches and presentations, views of presentations online, # of people in the audience, presentation downloads.
6) Differentiate Yourself
Difference and uniqueness is the new black! People get tired from walking around the whole day, give them a nice experience at your booth. Take your time, don’t always do the same pitch and have a demo version of your product ready to be shown. Don’t hurry and offer them a hot drink or a glass of water. Be different to your competitors by using your booth’s ambience and your undivided attention as a competitive advantage. And of course never leave your booth empty (you wouldn’t be able to do so anyways, after using our outreach techniques).
Metrics: make a mind map and write down all the competitive advantages your brand / product has compared to your competitors. This way you can focus more on your core competences.
7) Invite Influencers and the Press
Invite press people and influencer, make sure your team is aware of them coming, give them a friendly and unique experience, don’t treat them like business opportunities, just inform them about product
Metrics: press distribution entries added, future opportunities arranged, number of mentions in press, articles, social media or blogs.
8) Be Social
Representing your brand and engaging with potential customers doesn’t end when you leave your booth. It’s quite the opposite! Always try to engage with other people. That could be during lunch break, at kick-off parties, during happy hour at the end of the trade show’s day, or even when you go for a smoke or go to the toilet (I’m not encouraging inappropriate behaviour here, keep your distance haha).
Metrics: new contacts added to CRM, #business cards
9) Team Building Exercise
Trade shows are a good way to test if the individuals of your team are a good fit for your company. Especially when you’re going to an extensive trade show (4 or more days, like the NAB 2020). If you’re spending so much time together, you’ll get a better taste of what your employees are really made of. Assign them leading roles, so you can see how they behave in stressful situations. Also, sharing this experience with people from your company, will bring you closer together. This could have a beneficial impact on your employee’s performance in the company after the show.
Metrics: take personal notes
10) Follow Up
Following up with the people you’ve met at the trade show is actually the most important thing to trade show success. I can’t stress enough how important that is. The following quote sums it up quite accurately.
“Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.”
- Michelle Moore
Metrics: followed up leads, qualified leads, leads not reached out to
11) Trade Show’s Return On Investment (Event ROI)
The last metrics are quite mathematical and it helps if you’re good with numbers. These metrics can only be calculated after the trade show. The most important question here is: did the event cover its own costs? Or did it contribute to profitability and more sales? These question arise if you wanna know if the trade show was an overall success for your company or just expenses.
In conclusion, trade shows are not always fun and games. You also have to think about expressing your goals in metrics or numbers. Doing so, it will help you to make your trade show experience more measurable and comparable (maybe to previous trade shows). Also, it helps you to track your process throughout the way. Don’t get lost in numbers and may the ROI be with you!
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