As an event meeting services professional, you know how important it is to attend professional development industry events and trade shows. However, you also are aware how hard it is to measure the results of your attendance at a 3-day show in Vegas vs. staying in the office making sales calls and attending to your existing client base. Here are some ways to start to measure ROI to help you build your case to management.
According to Investopedia, Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measurement used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. To calculate ROI, the benefit of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is a percentage or ratio.
Here is an example. Let’s say it cost you $3,000 to attend a two-day trade show. This includes travel, registration costs, rental car, meals, and opportunity costs (because after all, you aren’t in the office). Then let’s say, as result of attending that conference, you close $15,000 worth of business. The calculation would be ROI = ($15,000 – $3,000)/$3,000 = 4 or 400 percent. Which means, for every dollar you spent on the meeting, event, or conference, you sold $4 worth of services or products.
This is obviously the simple way of looking at the hard dollars and cents. But what about other factors? Here are some other things to take into consideration:
- How much does it cost your organization to identify a prospect? Remember your target market will be at the conference, versus doing a direct mail campaign where little to no individuals will read your message.
- It is always easier to sell and follow-up if you meet face-to-face. You now have a reason to follow-up with that prospect versus just your standard cold call.
- Be very concise on why you want to attend the conference. It is important to come up with 5 things that you will gain by attending this meeting that you can’t get back at the office. You need to do the following:
- Study the agenda and know exactly what sessions you are going to attend
- How many clients are you going to interact with?
- How many prospects are you going to meet?
- How many suppliers, such as event audio visual rental firms, are you going to meet?
- What about the speakers? How are you going to interact with them?
- Create a detailed schedule and share it with your management team. Let them know what your schedule is going to be including sessions, networking events, and when they can expect you to return emails and telephone calls. It is important that you are still available to the office, even is it only for 30 minutes per day.
- After the conference, make a listing of all the people you met and how you are going to follow up with them. Send an updated listing monthly to your management team. Nothing is worse than gathering a bunch of business cards at an event and letting them gather dust in your desk drawer. Show a follow up plan and categorize the people you met in the areas that make sense. Follow through and if a sale ensues, it will make it much easier to justify the event the next time.