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How Do You Measure the Effectiveness of a Tradeshow and Streamline Your Sales Process?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tradeshows ranked in the top five lead generation strategies. They give you the opportunity to talk to customers on a 1:1 basis. That gives the chance to build rapport, solve problems, and sell solutions.

Yet it’s easy to lose track of how many sales you’re making. When a booth isn’t handled properly, it isn’t as effective as it could be. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to reverse that.

We’re not ignoring the COVID-shaped elephant in the room. Many tradeshows have been canceled, but we have no doubts they’ll be back. You’ll be able to use these tips when they do.

There are also virtual versions available, so these tips work if you take part in an online tradeshow.

So how can you measure the effectiveness of your booth? Read on to learn more.

Establish Your Goals

Before you go any further, you need to know your goals. Without them, you have no way of knowing if you’re successful or not.

Example goals might be:

  • Run 500 demos,
  • Sign up 400 people for software trials,
  • Gather 300 email addresses,
  • Give at least one talk to 20+ people,
  • Speak on a panel,
  • Get 100 people from demos to book a consult, or
  • Make 200 ‘on the day’ sales.

Now you have something to aim for. This then dictates the strategies you use. You need to do those things that lead towards these goals.

You’ll be able to measure your effectiveness and be laser-focused in what you do at your booth.

Understand the Metrics You’re Using to Measure Success

There are two types of metrics you can measure both during and after a tradeshow. Both of them indicate effectiveness, but only one of them shows your sales rate.

What you measure should always be tied to your goals. 

Awareness Metrics

First, you have the ‘awareness’ metrics, sometimes known as ‘vanity metrics’. This includes likes on your Facebook page, tweets about your stand, or Instagram photos of your booth.

None of these things directly translate into sales. True, some customers might tweet about you and buy from you. It’s not a given though.

It’s still important to measure them. Say your booth gets more social media mentions than anyone else at the tradeshow. That shows your trade show display garnered attention.

These metrics also show how potential customers see your brand. They measure engagement, if not outright sales.

Sales Metrics

Second, you have your sales metrics. These give a tangible picture of your booth’s performance and they’re related to your tradeshow goals.

In simple terms, you need to know three things. How many leads did you collect? Which of those leads became opportunities? How many opportunities did you convert into customers?

You can measure, among other things:

  • how many meetings you schedule during the tradeshow,
  • how many people from demos booked further appointments,
  • how many sales you make during those meetings,
  • how many people attended your talks and booked demos,
  • the size of the deals made,
  • the number of leads you gather, and
  • how long the meetings take.

Measuring the performance of your booth team is key. You can assign different roles to the team, depending on their strengths.

Know the Difference Between ‘Lead’ and ‘Opportunity’

A lead is a potential customer. With tradeshows, you gather these in two main ways. They might give you their email address when they visit your booth. Or they sign up on your website after the show.

They give you a good insight into the effectiveness of your booth. After all, it’s engaging enough to get them to hand over their email address.

By contrast, an opportunity is a lead who has shown interest in whatever you sell.

This could be a subscriber who books a meeting at the tradeshow. It might be someone who books a sales call. They haven’t bought anything yet, but they’ve shown more interest than a lead.

Track how many people become leads due to your booth. Then measure how many of those leads then confirm interest in what you sell. The higher the number, the more effective your booth.

You should also measure how many opportunities then become customers. If you have a high lead generation rate, but a low conversion rate to customers, you know there is a hole in your funnel at that point.

Track Which Tradeshow Visitors Hit Your Website

Taking the details of visitors to your booth is an obvious way to follow up and close sales. Yet you may have other visitors who come to your booth but never speak to you.

Perhaps they’re undecided about what they want. They may be gathering further information before they choose an option.

You can still track which of these mystery visitors go on to check you out online. It’s a great way to measure how effective your booth is.

Set up a customized landing page on your website. In your CRM software, set it to flag anyone who signs up from that page. Now your sales team have extra leads to follow up.

Put the URL of that page on your marketing literature for the trade show. Now you can see how many people visit the page and then go on to sign up. 

This Even Works For Virtual Events

As we mentioned in the introduction, we know COVID-19 is still a factor in holding tradeshows. 

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research predicted a loss to the U.S. economy of between $14 and 22 billion thanks to COVID cancellations.

Yet they also predicted a full industry recovery in 2021. So consider this a temporary setback and focus on online events for now.

This custom landing page tactic also works very well for virtual tradeshows. You can use a new landing page for each tradeshow. That way, you can also track which tradeshows are the most effective.

What’s the Return on Investment?

It can be tempting to work out a figure for your return on investment. It’s also easy to calculate.

Divide the number of sales generated by your total investment. This will give you your return on investment.

This is a simplistic way to look at your tradeshow presence. We’d argue it’s too simple.

Remember, your presence at a tradeshow doesn’t only bring in sales now. It also generates awareness of your brand.

Visitors to your booth may not need your products right now. Yet if you capture them as leads and nurture them, they’ll come to you when they’re ready to buy.

This is harder to measure, but it’s also not a set of metrics to ignore. That’s why so-called vanity metrics do have a place in your marketing.

Yet analyze these metrics after you’ve looked at your goals. Hitting your goals is more of a priority than getting social media mentions.

Your Tradeshow Booth Can Be Your Best Asset

Whether you’re planning for 2021 or using a virtual tradeshow format, your booth is your best marketing asset. It works at the center of a coherent marketing strategy.

Start with your goals and choose a marketing strategy that will help you hit them.

Use metric tracking to see which leads become customers. Funnel those leads into your sales process for better conversion rates.

Finally, measure the growth of your brand awareness on social media. This can guide your social media marketing efforts. Invite your followers to your next event!

Keen to improve your own trade show display? Contact us today to start planning a booth your visitors won’t forget.


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