Do The Math!
By Melena Henzel, manager convention & meetings
One of the most comprehensive
illustrations of the mechanics of mea-
suring trade show value is contained in
the article “How to Measure the Value
of a Trade Show Program,” by Ed Jones
March 2005;
Jones breaks down the measurement
strategy into four parts: 1) revenue
generated, 2) cost savings, 3) custom-
er-relationship management, and 4)
promotion impact at the show.
Unless your business actually closes
deals (or sells directly) on the show
floor, revenue can be difficult to quan-
tify. You need to be able to track the
success of the leads gathered on the
show floor. Measuring the revenue
from leads converted to sales requires
careful planning and execution before,
during, and after the show.
One of the most important things
to do before the show is to meet with
your sales staff and determine what
defines a qualified lead. What do they
need to know about new prospects and
what would motivate them to followup
on a lead? You then need to decide
how those leads will be gathered. Will
you be using a lead-retrieval tracking
product or designing a lead-retrieval
form that address the needs of your
sales staff, or offering a giveaway at
your booth that requires completion of
an entry form (paper or electronic) that
gathers pertinent information, or per-
haps a combination of methods?
You need to determine what meth-
od will work best for your company
and remember that a business card
with notes scribbled on the back is
not a lead form. With a lead process in
place, how many leads can you hope to
generate at your booth? You can check
your previous results from shows to get
an average expected number of leads.
Armed with your lead information,
you can estimate potential sales reve-
nue from your trade show presence.
Jones provides a method for making
a reasonably accurate estimate of the
revenue generated from a show. You’ll
need to factor in the average number
of show leads, company’s sales close
rate, and an average value of sale or
contract (you should be able to get the
sales items from your company’s sales
manager). The formula for calculating
the estimated revenue is as follows:
Leads X Close Rate X Average Value
of Sale = Estimated Revenue.
Example: 50 Leads X 25% Close Rate X
$1,000 Average Sale = $12,500.
What does it cost your company to
put one of your executives together
with a decision maker from a qualified
prospect or customer’s company? At a
trade show, an executive can meet with
several customers in a day, many more
than if they were making infield sales
calls. This time with customers can be
quantified; the savings in both actual
and opportunity costs can be factored
into cost savings. Remember to include
the cost of meeting space, if you ar-
range for a function room adjacent to
the show floor.
Several steps occur in the buying
and selling process, and each step has
a cost associated with it. A well-orches-
trated meeting at a show can move the
customer through several stages of the
buying process, saving time and money
for both you and your customer (addi-
(continued on pg. 48)
or exhibitors, the measure of trade show success is
often based on opinions instead of facts. Many years
ago, I worked for a computer firm whose president
decided how the company fared at a particular trade show
by what he felt when he was on the floor. “I just didn’t feel
it,” he’d say, and we all knew we’d have to argue to keep
the profitable show on our calendar. Conversely, he would
love a show simply because of the location or the friends
he would meet there. Fortunately, there are ways to better
evaluate the value of trade show participation.
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