Historically, conferences and trade shows have sometimes been seen as paid vacations, which translates to big dips in productivity and a pitiful ROI. The golden days of “corporate tourism” are gone. They have been replaced with a whole new realm of trade show KPIs that hold sales teams accountable for their time at events. In the wake of data-driven culture and the development of CRM technology, measuring trade show success has become much easier.
Whether you’re just getting started in trade show success measurement or you’re seeking new tactics, we’ve compiled six essential sales KPIs to measure sales performance at conferences and trade shows.
1. Number of Prospects at the Event
This is considered the starting point for trade show sales KPIs, as it is unfair and inefficient to give blanket targets to every sales team member you send to the event. Some team members may have 25+ prospects attending while the others may have none and have to rely on converting booth traffic, which is a potentially much harder job.
There are multiple ways to obtain the number of prospects:
Purchase a sponsorship or exhibition space and acquire the full or partial attendee list from the organizer
Manually review postings on social media and other resources
Use SummitSync’s lists of predicted attendees
Once you’ve obtained the list, it’s crucial to run this list against your CRM to find matches and the owner of that contact. This will help you make smarter decisions about who attends every event (someone with 50 prospects should attend before someone with 4) and acquire the first sales KPI: the total number of prospective companies and total unique prospects per team member attending.
Just like every sales team member has different quotas for the quarter based on their experience and average deal size, they need to have custom KPIs for conferences and trade shows. Start by researching the size of their known universe, or how many of their owned accounts and contacts will be attending the event.
2. Number of Pre-Show Reach Outs
Once each individual has their list of accounts–owned or delegated–that are attending the event, the next measurement is the number of pre-show reach outs each person completes. If Tina has 43 assigned prospects for the event, then Tina is expected to send a minimum of 43 emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages–whatever is appropriate to get the prospect’s attention and get the coveted one-to-one meeting.
A recent salesforce study shows it takes 6–8 touches to “generate a viable sales lead” so sending one lousy email won’t do the trick. Team members may have contact with some of their prospects already, but in order to increase the chances of securing or netting new one-to-one meetings, they will have to reach out more than once.
3. Prospect to Meeting Ratio
Knowing each team member’s prospect to meeting ratio is a preventative measure as well as an accountability check. As the event approaches, team members should have meetings scheduled with a healthy number of prospects. If not, then this is an opportunity to reevaluate their sales strategy. Otherwise, they might be slacking on execution and their ticket may be up for grabs. Either way, measuring this before the event will help you correct the issue in time to still score more meetings rather than waiting until the end of the show to evaluate results.
4. Completed Meetings
You know by now how chaotic conferences and trade shows can be. However, that does not excuse a missed meeting. If you give a prospect the opportunity to flake on the meeting, chances are they will. Once someone on the team lands a meeting it is imperative they keep it. Team members should send a confirmation email with their phone number a few days before the event starts. On the day of, they should send prospects a text, email, or even an Uber ride to make sure they get to the meeting.
While we assume your sales team abides by the honor system, we’ve seen sales teams call up their friends and “book a meeting” to boost their meeting count. We recommend using the SummitSync platform to help track meetings from pre- to post-event. The calendar integration makes it easy to see which sales reps have meetings and if they took place, and what is the ROI on the event.
5. New Prospects
In addition to tending to their list of scheduled prospects, team members should also be expected to meet with new prospects.
Not all prospects are serendipitous, there’s a lot of preparation that can be done to identify potential new prospects who are going to an event. We suggest going through the attendee list and divvying up potential new prospects between team members. Team members should have the following research prepared before the event:
What parties will prospects be attending or sponsoring
Where prospects will be stationed (at a booth or public mini-event)
Basic information about them, including interests, job title, etc.
What they look like (so you can identify them)
Make sure each team member is there shaking the right person’s hand rather than relying on serendipity. If your sales team isn’t going to do individual reach out to new prospects, at least run a digital advertising campaign on Twitter, LinkedIn, or another channel to try to grab their attention. Take advantage of the event app for close to show or during the event reach out for these types of connections.
6. Follow up with Meetings and New Prospects
Follow up makes all that work before and during the show mean something. Make a conscious effort to see all team members make it to the finish line:
Set a deadline for team members to input and tag all information from the meetings and new prospects gathered during the event to be entered into the CRM.
Practice what you preach and check back in periodically (depending on your sales cycle) with the status and revenue opportunity from the leads generated from the show.
Run multiple reports, especially if you have tools to automate the process. This will help you nail down a more accurate ROI.
(Shameless plug: SummitSync’s meeting automation platform will text sales reps after their meetings to confirm they took place, and they will send a link so the rep can enter their meeting notes. Their meeting notes will then be automatically logged in both the SummitSync platform AND Salesforce.)
Make Trade Show Sales Measurement Yours
Your sales team is busy, especially if you’re sponsoring or attending dozens of events every year. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to add more accountability, you can create a system that suits your pace. With measuring, you have to start somewhere–though we suggest starting with how many leads were generated from the event (the end funnel).
Is your team preparing for the next trade show? Check out these pre-trade show marketing tips.