5 things to look for in a trade show lead capture app

How to Accurately Measure Trade Show ROI

Measuring trade show ROI can be hard when your data isn’t up to snuff.

Data makes the marketing world go ‘round, especially when it comes to determining whether you spent your time productively at your last show. Whether you’re measuring return on objective or return on investment, it’s not just about the number of leads you gather at an event. It’s about the value of those leads, as well.

In short: are they Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)?

Average ROI for Trade Shows

When it comes to average ROI for trade shows, how does your team measure up? To answer that question, we need to ask another question, first. How many Marketing Qualified Leads–that is, sales-ready leads–are you generating?

If you need a yardstick, consider this: our event marketing research indicates companies with average trade show performance generate 1 MQL for every 7 people engaged in trade show booth. Teams that outperform the average net 2 to 3 MQLs per 7 leads captured. 

Measuring Event ROI

As we said earlier, the total number of leads generated matters. But the idea that trade show success should hinge on this, or even the total number of MQLs, is outdated – especially when it comes to measuring event ROI.

Knowing how to quickly assess MQLs generated at events is a skill worth having. But we recommend taking it further by focusing on the amount of pipeline generated in addition to your team’s performance against average companies. MQLs with higher readiness to buy are extremely valuable and can shed light on the customer journey, offering you better data for future use.

Trade Show ROI Metrics to Consider

Before you start crunching numbers, let’s gather that high-quality data. 

There are a few trade show ROI metrics we recommend understanding and knowing ahead of your next event. Getting an accurate count of MQLs (and their final conversion) is essential. Along with MQLs generated at your last event, you’ll need data about your average deal size (or a range) to calculate your return on investment accurately post-event

Here are the five most important metrics to know about your events:

  1. Number of qualified leads captured
  2. Percent of leads that qualified to MQL
  3. Percent of MQLs that converted to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)
  4. Percent of closed-won leads
  5. Total revenue sourced from the event

How to Measure Event ROI

The simplest way to measure event ROI is with our handy trade show ROI calculator. It can show you how many sales ready leads you should generate based on information you likely already have on hand.

Remember, return on investment looks different for every business. What matters most isn’t the number of leads you’re capturing or even walking away with, but how sales-ready those leads are. Again, numbers are only numbers – what really matters is what you do with the data you collect.

Improve Your Trade Show ROI

Business card and badge scanners have been the status quo at trade shows for years (and maybe even decades). But capturing this data is rarely the same as capturing a qualified lead.

To really drive deals and revenue from events, trade show teams must ensure they’re capturing qualified leads. And the work doesn’t end there – after the show, every business should have processes in place to ensure qualified leads make it to sales teams for follow-up. 

Focusing on sales qualification in your trade show booth (as well as properly segmenting your leads) can offer quick, useful insight into event performance. It’ll also help you develop a reasonable benchmark for your return on investment calculations in the future. 

Next Steps for Your Future Events

Gone are the days when badges scanned or leads generated were the kings of trade show ROI. Today, we know that lead quality, pipeline generation, and time spent wisely – that is, time spent following up with sales-ready leads – matter far more. 

At iCapture, we developed the Capture, Sort, Deliver™ framework to help deliver data that tells a story. At the “Sort” step, we use the data captured by booth teams in the “Capture” step to identify MQLs and accurately sort the leads after trade shows. When that data shines, it’s easier to know which leads are worth following up with–as well as how to follow up with them.

We know that qualified leads don’t stay hot for long. That’s why capturing sales-ready leads is only one small piece of the puzzle – and why we place so much importance on follow-up processes after the show. Our app can support your booth team by not just gathering data from future events, but doing more with that data to bolster your strategy: improving lead generation, informing segmentation, strengthening your follow-up protocol, and of course, measuring ROI.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the ROI of an event calculated?

At the most basic level, event ROI is calculated with the following formula:

(Revenue - Investment) / Investment

We’ve learned there’s more to ROI than numbers alone. You can use our event ROI calculator to get an idea of how you’re performing, or you can contact us to learn how our app can help your team gather high-quality, sales-qualified leads.

What’s a good ROI for an event?

The short answer: it depends. The long answer: if you’re comparing your success against other companies’ performances at trade shows and events, the average is 1 MQL for every 7 people engaged at trade show booths; or 14% of leads captured. Teams that outperform the average net 2 to 3 MQLs per 7 leads captured.

How do you measure event success?

Good questions, but first, we have one for you: what does success look like for you? Is it sheer number of leads generated? Is it the number of MQLs generated? Is it face-to-face conversations? Read more about our 5 most important metrics for trade shows above.

How do you maximize ROI in an event?

Simply put, ensure you’re spending your time wisely. Make sure your booth conversations are capturing the data that really matters. (To that end, ensure your lead form has all the right fields.) This will help you not just capture leads, but capture more sales-ready leads that are further down the pipeline and ready to hear from your sales team. Just make sure there is a follow-up process for those leads.

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