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There are many ways to measure your impact at a tradeshow. However, research suggests that very few companies measure the tradeshow results that have a direct impact on funding and strategy!

It seems to be the practice and desire of most companies to attract large crowds and make the best impression they can at tradeshows. They take steps to make as big a splash as they think they can afford. They may build a new exhibit, hire booth entertainment, launch a new product or campaign—and, frequently, walk away from a show elated because of the high number of visitors who filed through their space.

Though impressive, are encounters with many attendees truly helping to grow business? Ask yourself, do you really know where you stand after a tradeshow?

What Is Your Data Telling You?

When done correctly, tradeshows are undoubtedly one of the most productive, cost-effective ways to reach qualified prospects and generate sales. To know where you stand after a show, you need to collect information—the right information—to properly measure your success.

Many companies swipe attendee badges, collecting a long list of names they then consider to be leads. But, experience suggests that these names alone are far from being qualified prospects. Not because they don't have potential to bring in sales, but, in general, because show-provided lead systems give only the most basic contact information—name, company, job title, address, phone number, fax number, and email address.

Put your lead system through a filter by identifying information that will be of value in the follow-up process. For the best results, go directly to your sales managers and your marketing team to better understand what they need to qualify the opportunity. They might suggest qualifiers such as the following:

  • Familiarity with your company and its products or services
  • Current supplier or current competitor products, decision process, and company decision-makers
  • Budget for purchase sales cycle and timeframe for purchase
  • Next action step

You can make your lead retrieval as robust as you'd like. The important thing is that you invest the time to focus on information that will be important to converting leads into sales. Gathering specific, qualitative data on the prospects who visit your booth will provide invaluable insight into your post-show analysis and future show strategies.

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image of Rob Murphy

Rob Murphy is the former chief marketing officer of MC2, a global exhibit and event marketing company. Check out the eConnections Digest blog and find MC2 on Twitter (@MC2experience_ and @MC2_FastTrak) and Facebook.