666 – number of the trade show beast
In the Book of Revelation, the number 666 is associated with the Beast, the devil. Bruce Dickinson popularized the concept in 1982.
In trade shows, however, the number 666 could be the key to success and data-driven decisions!
Let’s review together the three “6” that will change forever your ability to manage post-trade show decisions.
You already know your event planning should start AT LEAST 6 months before the show.
But did you know your post-event tracking should ALSO last at least 6 months?
You had your pre-event meetings, your first-day pep-talk, your last day congratulations speech and, if you know your stuff, your post-event debrief. If you had all that, you are definitely on the right path!
But there are two more meetings you should hold: one after three months and another after 6 months.
However great you did at the show, you certainly did not sign many contracts. Exhibitions are usually for building new relationships or strengthening existing ones – it rarely leads to instant business. Your deals will most certainly be signed during the weeks or months following the event.
Assuming that you have prepared your show correctly, you must have set individual targets for your team members. These two meetings will help you tracking these targets, evaluate your team’s efficiency and identify your actual level of success!
“Hold on… you talk of targets. What targets?”
There are 6 measurements necessary to estimate your event’s success. These 6 data-points need time to evaluate, but once you have them, you know EXACTLY whether you should go to the same event again next time.
You may think you could have finalized this one even before the event, but you would be wrong. You still have expenses that will occur during (lunch, taxi, drinks, etc.) and after (logistics, shipment, cleaning, etc.) the event. It is then important to track your expenses until a few weeks after the event.
Your measurement is then to compare total expenses and initial budget – did you overspend?
Trade shows are (mostly) for lead capture. A good way to motivate your team and track their efficiency is to give them targets in terms of lead capture. How many should each staff collect? 10? 100? 666?
Give them each a fixed number based on their experience and review that number post show! Even better – attach a reward to this number to encourage them to give all they got!
You won’t be able to evaluate this number immediately after the show – it may take a few weeks for you to convert prospects into customers. This is why the 3 and 6 months review meetings are so important!
Same as with the leads, give individual targets to your team and review progress post-show .
Here things are getting interesting!
The other measurements before were all leading to this one. How much gross revenue did you generate?
Set a target BEFORE the show and review it after. If you hit that number, then you know you did well!
Cost per lead
This one is really interesting. Even if you feel like you did great at an event, your cost per lead tells you what REALLY happened !
To get it is simple: take your total amount of expenses and divide it by the number of leads collected.
Cost per Lead = total expenses / number of leads captured
Now that you get this number, compare it to the cost of one lead captured with Google Adwords or cold calling. It will give you a good indication of the efficiency of your show.
Keep in mind that a cost per lead is meaningless without a conversion rate : it may be MUCH cheaper to generate leads through Google Adwords but do you convert these leads? And do they generate the same level of revenue? All leads are not equal, so consider all data before jumping into conclusions.
That is the Holy Grail. Using the number 666 to get it may not always be the best option, but here it works. ROI is actually a complicated calculation. For the sake of simplicity, and because trade shows can be extremely complex, we use a simplified version:
100% ROI simply means you covered your expenses.
Actually, not really. Remember, we use “gross revenue”, not “profit”. Proper ROI calculation should consider profit, but since it would make it way more complex to calculate, you need to give yourself some buffer.
Define what a “good” ROI means for your company, based on your usual margin, and see whether you reach it.
All these targets and numbers may be a bit difficult to track. Luckily, myfairtool does it automatically for you!
That being said, it does not mean the booth manager does it all! He has to involve multiple people and departments. 6, to be precise.
CEO / Business Owner
The CEO must be involved regularly: we suggest a monthly “catch-up” meeting during the preparation period, a weekly one during the month before the show, a debrief session post-event, and three additional meetings at one, three and 6 months post-show.
Report on progress, spending and targets. The best way to earn your freedom is to show you’re fully in control.
The sales team does not need to participate in every single meeting – make sure they know about the event early on, involve them in the final discussion one month before the show and give them their individual targets two weeks before it starts. Be transparent: objectives, reasons to join the fair, expectations, focus, etc.
They will, however, need to be part of all the post-event meetings: debrief, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months.
Have them join every single preparation meeting as well as the debrief session. There is no need, however, to keep them involved in the post-event meetings, except if they had specific targets that require tracking.
It is important that your product team faces customers and prospects, understand their problems and see how they use the product. They will return to the office with a much better understanding of your market.