Business Development

How to Measure Your Trade Show’s Success

How To Measure Your Trade Show’s Success

Goal setting is a crucial step on the path to success. When planning your marketing strategy, Return on Investment (ROI) is one of the most important goal-setting tools for comparing each ideas effectiveness. When it comes to trade shows, it is important highlight how many leads were generated and what those leads are worth to your business.

So how do you go about calculating ROI for your trade show. What aspects should you focus on? The calculation can involve both the leads and orders taken. Read on for a couple of good methods for calculating the success of your next conference.

Measuring ROI

When should you measure ROI?

It’s a question which every marketing manager needs to have an answer to. Depending on when you measure the trade show return on investment, you should detect that it changes over time.

Measuring the ROI too early after the trade show might not give detailed information. The same case applies when you measure the ROI too late after the show. Your competitors might have already attracted your leads.

So, when’s the ideal time to measure the ROI?

You should use your sales cycle. That is after you’ve closed a sales cycle. Therefore, after reaching 150% of your sales cycle, you should measure the trade show’s ROI. However, after suppressing 300%, the data you gain might be tainted. The reason being that the leads you’d generated might have moved on to other organizations.

How to Measure ROI

Most organizations use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of the trade shows. They include:

  • The number of leads and accounts
  • The number of new leads and accounts
  • The number of customer meetings
  • The number of qualified leads
  • The number of opportunities
  • The number of won opportunities
  • Total income from won opportunities
  • Total amount spent

To further elaborate on this, the number of leads and accounts will include everyone who you met at the trade show. They will both represent individuals and companies who you got to interact with. For the number of new leads and new accounts, you’ll have to look at the CRM system. All the new entrants will highlight the success of the trade show. However, if the entrants are lower than 50% of your total clients, this might not be the best trade show yet. Likewise, for the qualified leads, it involves everyone who met the company’s qualification criteria. The higher the number (10% average), the more the probability of real business. The won opportunities, on the other hand, involve the closed deals. They are rare, but they indicate the hard work of your staff. They’ll also show the value of the business in the show. The sum of these opportunities will give you the total income. Afterward, you can total up the entire expenditure since it will be used in calculating ROI.

Calculating ROI

There are two ways to calculate the trade show return on investment. They are:

  • Conservative ROI
  • Liberal ROI

Conservative ROI

It’s the easiest as well as the quickest method of calculating ROI. It includes only the figures attained from the total amount spent on the show and the total income from won opportunities. That is:

[Total income from won opportunities][Total expense] = [Conservative ROI]

For example, if the total income from the won opportunities was $900k and the total expense adds up to $500k, then the conservative ROI equals: $900,000 – $500,000 = $400,000



Liberal ROI

Liberal ROI is the most accurate representation of the trade show return on investment. With this method, you need to collect more data on the trends of the sales made by your leads over time. It doesn’t have to be immediate. After so doing, you can calculate the conversion rate. Here’s how: if your company has an average deal size of $60k and every 1 out of 6 qualified leads is a won deal, the conversion rate will be 20%. Therefore, the value of the qualified lead will be $10k. That is:

(1 Won Deals / 6 Qualified Leads) x $60,000 Average Deal Size = $10,000 Value per Qualified Lead

If the history of the qualified leads ends up being 1 in every 10, then their total should be $10,000. Meaning that each lead is worth $1,000. Through this method, you can get the liberal ROI. Here’s the equation:

{Estimated Value of [Number of Accounts], [Number of New Accounts], [Number of Leads], [Number of New Leads], [Number of Opportunities], [Number of Customer Meetings], [Number of Qualified Leads]} + [Total Income from Won Opportunities] – [Total Expenses] = [Liberal ROI]



Final Take

After calculating the ROI, you can determine whether the trade show was a success or not. You also learn more about the generated leads. By calculating the trade show return on investment, especially through the liberal method, you can rest assured that nothing was left out. Unlike using the conservative method. This analysis should give you insight on how to attract and retain clients as well as your ideal clients.


About Ryan Schortmann

Ryan Schortmann is the Founder and Managing Partner at Display Pros, where he works to help businesses of all sizes make an impact with their customers by providing quality trade show and retail displays at affordable prices. A graduate from New England College, Ryan holds a degree in Business and Computer Science. When not hard at work at various marketing roles, he enjoys cooking, travel, and gaming.

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