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Determining Trade Show Success – Tip #1

Your last trade show was a grand success, or was it? Your team designed an exhibit that drew people’s attention and your sales team had the opportunity to engaged the target audience with productive conversations. Everything felt so right as you left the exhibit hall!

Now you are back at your desk and are faced with evaluating a show’s performance by what the event contributes to the financial success of your company. How do you do that? First, you will need a well-developed program plan that involves both your sales team’s participation in following up on leads, and a defined measurement program that collects data and provides layers of analysis to confirm the net financial contribution of the event.

The discussion below explains an approach that can be used to ensure your sales team follows up on the leads you received. In an upcoming blog, you will learn the next step in the process: Why Develop a Measurement Program – Tip #2.

Lead follow-up

Ask participants to commit to a specific “next step.” Sales and marketing should work together to define this action. If there is not a clear, specific next step, then there will not be a commitment path for a follow-up to take place.

Move the target with human contact or automated interaction. For example, consider a qualified visitor (as you would define “qualified” that Sales agrees with) at a construction show who completes a “test drive” in an equipment simulator. That experience must ultimately result in a visit to a dealer, as they are the only ones who can actually sell equipment.

Offer an associated “concierge program.” Let participants touch and try the product. Create a web-based package that would steer the prospect with motivating benefits in hand, such as a specified discount, preferred financing and/or free optional add-on equipment. Getting the prospect to enter the program would be the next step at the event. Once enrolled, tracking “goal conversions” identified with each step the prospect takes provides the results measurement.

Incentive programs

Given that sales people are competitive, putting a contest in place to reward those that follow-up in a timely manner could result in some friendly competition and an extra boost for those willing to work hard and fast.

Tracking is necessary

No one likes to play big brother, but accountability typically plays a major role in success. With today’s CRM systems it is possible to track the number of times a lead is nurtured and the effectiveness of a sales approach. Understanding how leads are distributed to sales team members and how they will be tracked should be made clear in pre-show meetings.

The concept of commitment, both from the attendee and the exhibitor, is critical to moving the prospect into the sales cycle and eventually reaping the trade show ROI your program deserves. Contact Exhibitus to learn more about the benefits and process of following up with show attendees, as well as how your activities can feed into a Value for Investment model.