Practical guide to measuring the return on investment of a B2B exhibition

Have you recently exhibited at a trade fair or are you planning to do so? But do you know the impact of the number of visitors and contacts generated on your turnover? Find out how to estimate the impact of this marketing tool by measuring the ROI of a B2B exhibition.

How to measure your return on investment?

Like all your marketing and sales actions, your presence at a trade fair must be measured in order to estimate its contribution to your company's turnover. This presence is an investment of time and money that you must amortize and legitimize, by evaluating the commercial opportunities offered downstream.

ROI of a trade fair: what do you measure?

To measure the return on investment of a professional event such as a trade show, apply a simple methodology by recording the following elements on the day:

  • Attendance at the stand
  • Quantity of contacts generated
  • Quality of these contacts: what was the profile of these people? Were they new actors or already known contacts?

Determining the quality of the contacts generated at a B2B trade show makes it possible to sort out simple contacts and potential leads (more qualified contacts) that can be exploited downstream.

Contacts vs. qualified leads

A lead (or commercial lead) is a qualitative contact that presents commercial opportunities. To get to know your contacts better, create a grid to qualify them from the most mature to the least mature.

To make this classification grid, ask yourself the right questions:

  • Does your contact have a qualified short-term project?
  • Is his project coherent?
  • Is it a top decision-maker?
  • What is the estimated potential turnover?

Have you ranked the contacts from your B2B fair? Obviously, not all the opportunities identified will generate orders immediately... Depending on the sector and the average basket, the sales cycle can be long and the conversion rates can vary! Contacts are usually only made afterwards. However, there are other ways of measuring the commercial success of a B2B exhibition.

On average, it is estimated that there is a return on investment of €10 for every €1 invested when a B2B company participates in a trade show. This means that this marketing tool is more than profitable!

Source: Event Data Book - Unimev 2018

The keys to measuring the ROI of a B2B exhibition

You are probably familiar with the "traditional" method, which consists of collecting business cards and then analysing the contacts by writing down the nature of the exchanges. Today, the digitalized method is more widespread. Rest assured, it does not revolutionise the processing of contacts, but rather proposes to increase efficiency and systematise the classification of the contacts collected, based in particular on mobile applications.

Some B2B fairs offer time-saving tools. Sales representatives install an application on a smartphone before the show and can quickly compile information from visitors' registration forms. They can also add notes and specific information about leads with a few clicks.

Take advantage of the visibility of press coverage

Media coverage of your event is a way to maximise your investment, as good press coverage gives you visibility to a qualified target audience. Don't forget to do a press review via your social networks and a dedicated page on your website at the end of the event.

The 2 tips that make the difference

Invite a journalist to visit your stand to demonstrate the new products or services on offer.

Take advantage of the trade fair's press service to maximise your chances of being quoted in a communication from the trade fair and benefit from the event's spin-offs!

Follow up on long-term prospecting work

In order to better process the leads from your B2B trade fair, integrate these specific contacts into your CRM or marketing automation tool. This action will allow you to reconstruct the path of your potential customers and therefore to get to know them better and work with them using your traditional marketing and sales tools.

Measuring the ROI of a B2B trade fair is not an exact science... but it remains an essential practice for estimating its contribution to turnover. A bit like a seed that is planted and whose fruit is only harvested later, a trade show allows you to create visibility and contacts on the day, which you then have to transform. To make sure that you don't miss out on any of the benefits of this event, there is no magic wand: you need to be well prepared beforehand !

Prepare your exhibition in 4 steps