While most sales and marketing activities are easy to accurately track and measure, this isn't always the case with events. When it comes to measuring the success of exhibiting at trade shows and events, it can be difficult to do. Hands up if you dread getting back in the office, and someone asking 'how did your team get on at the trade show?' Here are four different ways to answer that dreaded question.

'It felt like a good event'

So, you know your last email newsletter got a 7.3% click through rate, and your latest batch of Adwords generated 70 new demos for your sales team.

And yet when it comes to assessing the performance of the last trade show you exhibited at, we still see companies relying on nothing more than their gut feeling, or verbal reports from the team who were on their stand or booth.

Do you really want to sit down with your boss to feed-back on the success of your last event, and have nothing better to say than, 'the sales team said it went well'?

'We spoke to 100 people'

If you're able to count the number of people you spoke with at your trade show stand, this is a good start.

At the very least, you're starting to track numbers, and beginning to measure the performance of your events. However, simply counting numbers of contacts is a very unsophisticated metric to track - and doesn't really tell you anything about the success of the event in terms of generating value for your business. All it tells you is how chatty your sales team were on the day!

'We collected 100 leads. 40 were MQLs and 10 were SQLs'

Now, you're collecting contacts from the show, and also starting to qualify them, and assess how good a fit they are for your business. When it comes to event qualified leads, quality beats quantity, every time. You want qualified, engaged leads, rather than faceless contacts.

For one of our customers, the number of SQLs generated is the key metric they use to measure event performance. It gives them a quick insight as to how successful their event was, without having to wait for a full sales cycle to pass to see how many event leads turn into paying customers.

'The trade show generated this much new revenue'

This is an event marketer's dream: being able to directly attribute revenue and calculate return on investment from every show you exhibit at. To have real numbers to share at the quarterly meeting.

There are several things you need for this to be possible: a sophisticated system in place such as a CRM, to keep all your event leads in one place, and the ability to attribute each lead to a specific event.

It's not possible to attribute revenue straight away. Unless you're a transactional-based business, capable of selling direct from your trade show stand, you'll need to wait for your leads to be nurtured through the full sales process, before you can report on revenue generated and calculate your return on investment.

While you may need a speedier measure of success to share with your team, it's essential to track your revenue from events, so you can properly report on your performance.

Now you can report on event success

In the past, it's been difficult to accurately measure event success and calculate return on investment. But with all the tools and technology available, now there's no excuse. It's easier than ever to get all your event qualified leads into your CRM quickly and efficiently, so you can track the progress of your leads through the sales funnel.

It's time to take a data-driven approach to your events - and to do that you need to properly measure the success of each event you go to. Download our guide to find out how you can measure event success.

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