For so many companies, events exist in a vacuum. They invest a lot of time into planning and exhibiting at events, but very little measuring the ROI they get from each one.
When all of your company’s sales and marketing activities are trackable and measurable, why aren’t events being held to the same standard? If you’re not measuring the success of your events, how do you identify which are worth attending, and which are a waste of your team’s valuable time and energy?
Today we’re looking at why it’s traditionally been so difficult to measure the return on investment of your events activities – and why that no longer needs to be the case.
Why is it so hard to measure the return on investment for events?
Traditionally, when companies exhibited at events it would look like this:
You’d start by booking your booth or space at the event. Then when the event rolls around, your team spend two or three days working hard to collect leads for your business. They return victorious – with pockets full of business cards, and bags bulging with paper forms, ready to be added onto your system. These forms land on the desk of one poor marketing assistant, who spends hours painstakingly wading through pages of data, trying to read scribbled handwriting and match business cards to paper forms.
Or, if you’ve paid extra to hire a badge scanner at the event, they spend ages – we’ve heard it can take anything from three days to a couple of weeks – waiting to get the badge scan data back from the event organiser. And when it eventually arrives, you discover the data is full of holes – missing, mistyped or generic email addresses, and no context about the conversations your reps had with each person.
All of this data then gets shoe-horned into your CRM, with fields matched up imprecisely. None of this gets attributed properly – either to your sales reps, or to a specific event. So if any of your leads from the event progress to a paying customer for your business, it’s impossible to know where they came from.
So, what do you need to be able to calculate ROI of events?
Marketing and sales activities are becoming increasingly data-driven – so it makes sense that you apply the same data thinking to your events, too.
There are two key things you need, in order to be able to track and measure event ROI:
1) A way to get your leads into your CRM – quickly and easily
The longer your leads remain on paper, the more chance there is for them to get lost, filed into the wrong pile, or forgotten about altogether.
In an ideal world, you would have a system set-up where you collect a lead at an event or trade show digitally, and it’s automatically routed through to your CRM or marketing automation system. This means nothing gets lost, and you cut out any time spent waiting for leads to manually be entered into your systems.
2) Lead attribution
As well as simply routing the leads from your events into your CRM, it’s essential that they are properly attributed to each particular event.
Whether you do this by sorting leads from different events into different lists, or having a contact field you can filter by, this is essential for being able to measure event ROI. This way, if any leads progress to customers, you can directly attribute that revenue to your attendance at that event.
Bring events in from the cold
Do you know how much revenue your company generates from all the events you exhibit at? It’s time to stop talking about the success of each event in terms of how it ‘felt’, or whether you had any good conversations.
Events need to be brought in-line with the rest of your sales and marketing activities, and held to the same standards of accountability. It’s time to modernise your events, and use an event lead capture process that can integrate directly with your CRM and marketing automation systems – so you can report on real revenue generated from events.