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How To Measure Trade Show Success in 2024: Pipeline Impact

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The real tool to measure your trade show success in 2024: pipeline impact!

Trade shows will always be a crucial strategy in any marketing plan. But when it comes to measuring the success of these events, well, the process can be complex even when it feels simple. While ROI and ROE (Return on Experience) are some of the most common metrics used to measure “success”, they often fail to capture the full scope of a trade show’s impact on the sales pipeline.

That’s why we recommend focusing on “pipeline impact” which provides a much more holistic view and actionable measure of success for your trade shows. (Something we all need amidst inflation and rising costs.)


Introduction to Pipeline Impact in Event Marketing

What is pipeline impact? Pipeline impact at it’s simplest measures how your trade show and event portfolio impacts your sales pipeline. Pretty simple, right? But instead of just measuring the immediate sales that result from your exhibiting efforts, pipeline impact gives you a big-picture view of how these events drive long-term growth for your pipeline. Pipeline impact considers new deals, speeds up existing ones, and revives old customer relationships. When you’re capable of grasping these details, event marketers can better understand the real value of their efforts. 


Net New Deals: The Cornerstone of Trade Show Success

New deals are often considered the best indicator of a successful event. When new, never-before-reached prospects engage with your brand at a trade show and enter your sales pipeline, it means you’ve done something right, and this becomes a tangible data point to demonstrate ROI.

Why Net New Deals Matter

  1. Brand Exposure: Trade shows provide a visual, hands-on platform for introducing your brand to new audiences.
  2. Lead Generation: Events are fertile ground to reap from. Attendees are going with the express purpose of purchasing products now or in the future and you have unfiltered access to capture these leads.
  3. Market Expansion: Breaking into new markets (geographical or vertical) for your service or product gets way easier because of the exposure that trade shows provide.


Deal Acceleration: The Role of Touchpoints in the Buyer’s Journey

Every business needs new leads to function, but capitalizing on existing leads and accelerating them down the pipeline can boost your sales efficiency. Trade shows accomplish this because they present the most unique of opportunities for real-life, meaningful interactions with your prospects that can translate to closing deals faster and easier.

How Deal Acceleration Works

  1. Quality Interactions: Face-to-face meetings allow for deeper conversations between your sales team and prospects where you can address pain points, and clarify any uncertainties.
  2. Trust Building: Interpersonal interactions just foster a greater sense of trust for your business. This is a factor that can’t be overlooked or understated.
  3. Immediate Feedback: Instant, real-time feedback from prospects– that is tracked and communicated to the right team after the show ie: deal tagging, we’ll talk about this more later– can help tailor your approach to potential clients in the future.


Deal Tagging: Understanding the Nuances of Event Interactions

As we said above, deal tagging is all about how you record the interactions between your sales team manning the trade show booth and your prospects. Not all interactions are created equal and a good plan for the way you go about deal tagging will help track and analyze every touchpoint a lead has with your brand. (Here’s our 10 tips on how to do this!)

So, no matter the interaction, whether it’s a chat, an email, or a social media engagement, the data your team collects becomes invaluable for understanding your customers and measuring your pipeline impact. However, it also helps you identify which touchpoints are actually working for your trade show strategy, and which you might need to adjust. Getting good insight and then being able to fine-tune those insights into a full-fledged strategy for your future marketing efforts will unequivocally drive better sales outcomes.

The Importance of Deal Tagging

  1. Holistic View: Deal tagging provides a comprehensive moment-to-moment overview of how trade shows ultimately contribute to the sales process by breaking each interaction down into digestible chunks and watching how those interactions play out in the sales pipeline.
  2. Data-Driven Decisions: Deal tagging helps in making informed decisions regarding future event investments because it tells you what’s working, and what’s just wasting time and money.
  3. Performance Metrics: Deal tagging offers intense insights into which types of interactions (booth visits, dinners, workshops) have been most effective and are likely to continue being effective in the future.


Customer Resurgence: Igniting Existing Relationships at Events

Trade shows get the perceived rep that they only exist for new prospects to discover, but that’s not true. They also offer a chance to rekindle relationships with existing customers, and even sometimes past customers. Good, helpful interactions can lead to upselling, cross-selling, increased customer loyalty, and sometimes a return to your product or service.

Benefits of Customer Resurgence

  1. Rekindled Relationships: Face-to-face meetings, especially when personal information is kept up to date, can revive dormant customer relationships that could be flourishing.
  2. Upselling Opportunities: Trade shows offer your team the chance to discover new needs that your customers may have and offer additional solutions to their problems.
  3. Customer Loyalty: Valuing your customer’s loyalty with special perks or private dinners at a trade show can strengthen existing relationships with them and can result in better customer retention rates.


Embracing Pipeline Impact for Measuring Trade Show Success

Measuring the success of your trade shows through the lens of pipeline impact might be a new method for you, but it offers a comprehensive and strategic approach to event marketing. By focusing on net new deals, deal acceleration, deal tagging, and customer resurgence, businesses can better understand the real and present value that these events bring to their sales pipeline.

As you prepare for your next trade show, consider evaluating your success through these specific metrics. Doing so will provide a clearer picture of your event’s ROI and help you make data-driven decisions that enhance your overall marketing strategy.


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