How to Measure the 5 Key Metrics that Actually Prove Event ROI

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

By SummitSync


In 2016, the average marketing budget was 12% of overall company revenue.

CMO’s and other executives decide how to allocate that budget to accomplish their goals.

And marketing leaders who are fully, or in-part responsible for P&L, get budgets that are 20% higher on average.

Who wouldn’t want a bigger budget?

Which is why we’re seeing larger and larger investments to measure sales and marketing performance. Marketing and sales leaders are also investing in various tools to boost their team’s’ productivity like this list of fifty sales productivity tools.

But, quantifying event marketing budgets can still be incredibly elusive, time-consuming, and tedious. The issue is two-fold: not knowing what to measure when it comes to events and not knowing which tools can help measure and maximize their event investments.

Knowing What to Measure for Event ROI

This one really stumped us: > # *“The top 5 metrics marketers feel are best for quantifying event value are: new referrals and introductions; quality and quantity of leads; deal closure; value of sales; and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Yet, only 34% use those 5 metrics to assess trade show and event ROI.”*

All of the top five metrics marketer’s believe are best for quantifying event value are speaking to the dollars that events can generate for attendees.

But only 34% of surveyed marketers are actually using these metrics to analyze return on event (ROE)?

Dollars matter.

ROI matters.

And being able to track these things matters.

Marketing executives are investing in analyzing their digital media spend so much so, that billions of dollars are in jeopardy unless Facebook, Twitter, and Google can enhance transparency and provide more analytics behind their value.

So why isn’t this same level of transparency and analysis being demanded for event marketing spend? The top five metrics all point to wanting to be able to measure the spend yet marketers aren’t investing in the technology to do this.

So What Metrics are Marketers Using to Calculate and Prove Event ROI?

56% of Directors of Marketing view exhibiting positioning on the sales floor as most important to maximize ROO (return on objectives)/ROI.


70% of marketers say that the most common metric to judge event ROI is the amount of media exposure generated.

To us, both of these are kind of like saying impressions alone are the most important digital marketing metric to prove event ROI.

We know that the key drivers of event ROI are exactly what the Marketing Chart’s survey respondents reported: new referrals and introductions; quality and quantity of leads; deal closure; value of sales; and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

So, How do we Start Measuring What Matters?

There are a variety of tools marketing teams can implement in their technology stacks to begin to not only measure but maximize these five key metrics and prove event ROI.

1. New Referrals

New referrals at events can come in two different ways: before and during the event.

Before the event, teams usually rely on digital methods to book meetings at the event. This includes things like posting on social media both on their company and personal profiles, email marketing to their prospects, leads, and clients that usually feature a Calendly link or a landing page with a form.

If you’re looking for other ways to get new referrals before the event, here’s our blog on how to book better meetings at B2B events.

During the event, most new referrals will come from booth traffic or at networking events and parties. Some events provide technology to easily share contact details like Braindates at Cannes, but teams can come prepared so they don’t have to rely on each individual event’s technology. Good old fashioned business cards still go a long way as well. Teams can use some great business card scanners like Microsoft’s Office Lens available on both the App Store and Google Play or, if they’re too busy learning, networking, and having meetings, they can wait until after the event.

All new referrals, whether acquired before or after the event, should be immediately added into your CRM to ensure tracking throughout their journey (and to prove event ROI). A process that requires a reliant internal process, or technologies that auto sync this data for quality control.

2. Quality and Quantity of Leads

Again, the quality and quantity of leads can come before and during the event.

Before an event, teams are using the same kinds of methods as with new referrals. However, there are some ways they can make sure these meetings are both high in quality and quantity.

To us at SummitSync, this is the quality and quantity of meetings teams can have at events is the number one driver of event ROI.

We’re brewing up some great things in an amazing partnership with a leader in artificial intelligence and machine learning to help sales and marketing teams know:

  1. Which conferences they should attend based on the relevancy of the other attendees to their business

  2. Who they should meet with while at the event

We’re really excited for this because there is a major signal versus noise problem at events, and we’re aiming to help teams solve this.

Teams can also use LinkedIn, Charlie App, or a robust contact data provider to research the relevance of the meeting, discover other decision makers, and prep with some facts about the company.

We also help teams track their meetings at events by integrating with top CRM software like Salesforce. That means sales reps don’t have to manually enter meeting data into their CRM, and with some companies sending hundreds of employees to a major conference, this saves teams a ton of time.

At the event, teams are mostly meeting people through foot traffic and at the networking parties. Quality control on the people you meet at the event is a bit harder but make sure the team is prepared to ask simple, qualifying questions to every attendee they meet. Whether you think the person is a good fit, be sure to follow up with them after the event. You never know what the relationship could blossom into.

3. Closing Deals and Paying Bills

The only way to drive event ROI is to close more deals both during and after the event, and there are a ton of tools to help teams measure and maximize the deals generated from events.

Obviously the most important tool for closing deals is your CRM. Whether you’re using Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or any other software, your team must enter every meeting they had at the event, every new contact they acquired and all relevant information. Some business card scanners integrate with CRMs, but this can be a tedious, manual process.

If your team books their meetings through SummitSync’s platform, we automatically enter all meeting details directly into your CRM. This saves teams tons of times and ensures every meeting is making its way back into your data.

Other tools that are useful for following up are digital gifting platforms like Thnks, which lets teams easily send gifts to their leads, prospects, and clients throughout their customer journey.

Your CRM will not only help you close more deals, but it will help you measure the ROI of the event by attributing revenue to offline meetings. Without this information, teams are not making full data-driven decisions on which events they should invest in.

4. Value of Sales

How can teams use technology to increase the value of each sale? We believe that the best technology to boost the value of sales is used before the event or meeting is ever set.

Knowing which of your prospects and clients are attending every event is critical in enhancing the value of each sale. But, figuring out who is attending an event can be tricky, especially if the event doesn’t hand out the attendee list. There are a couple tools teams can use to figure out who is attending. One of them is downloading the event app early and discovering all of the attendees there.

Another option, which we’re really excited for, is that partnership we talked about earlier. We’re excited to be able to predict who is attending every event so teams will know who they should meet with. By knowing this, they will be able to predict the value of the sale and discuss possible ways to upsell a current client or promote a deal for people who sign up at the event.

Analyzing the value of each sale is also done through your CRM.

Have you noticed the trend that CRMs are pretty much the most important tool sales and marketing teams have to really measure event marketing budgets?

5. Upsell and Cross-sell Opportunities

Very similar to the “Value of Sales”, this focuses on the ability to find out which of your current clients are attending events. This is when teams bust out their marketing automation platforms and send all of their current clients an email asking if they’re attending the event.

But, once again, it’s a shotgun approach to booking meetings. Send out as many email meeting invites and hope that some of them hit. Marketing automation platforms are great, don’t get us wrong. But, the rise of account-based marketing is here and using this shotgun tactic could leave teams in the dust.

But, without the attendee list is there really a way of knowing which clients are attending without asking them?

Well, you could tediously make your way through their accounts on social media and see if they’ve posted anything. Or, you could use SummitSync’s technology that helps you know who is attending every event and make personalized connections with them.

It’s like asking if you’d rather have a shotgun or a laser.

To measure the upsell and cross-sell opportunities at events, it all comes down to your CRM.

What’s Next for Measuring Event ROI?

As event marketing budgets continue to increase year over year, so does the importance of being able to measure and maximize the return on this spend. There are dozens on individual technologies that can really help teams prove event ROI.

Maintaining your CRM will lead to overall better measurement of event ROI on the things that really matter at events: new referrals and introductions; quality and quantity of leads; deal closure; value of sales; and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

SummitSync’s technology sits right below your CRM in event marketing technology stacks. Sure, some other technologies really help with a single factor of quantifying event ROI, but our meeting automation platform helps measure and maximize every one of those key five metrics that really quantify an event’s value.

Interested in learning more about our technology and how it can help your team at every event you attend and sponsor? You can learn more right here.

We appreciate your 👏👏👏.

Free Ebook: Drive More Revenue at Conferences and Trade Shows

Learn how to book more and better meetings with the right prospects, so you can close more sales at the show and maximize your event ROI.