The Big Event Podcast: Post Trade Show Reporting

In the latest instalment of the Big Event podcast, Dan Currin, Head of Customer Success at Akkroo, joins Stefan Cordery, Marketing Manager to discuss reporting after a trade show.

When a show comes to an end, you often need to make quick decisions on whether to book again for next year, so you can secure the best possible space. Often, organisations make these decisions based on nothing more than asking their reps on the stand whether the event went well. Click To Tweet

Wouldn’t it make better business sense if you could make a decision based on real data, rather than someone’s gut feel? Clear KPIs are crucial to analysing the success of a show, and making an informed decision about whether or not to re-book.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How forward-thinking event teams make data-driven decisions on events
  • The key success indicators to look for after a trade show
  • Real-world examples of the questions our customers ask post-event, to evaluate its success

Watch the recording below.

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Read the transcript

S: Hello. Welcome to The Big Event brought to you by Akkroo. I’m Stefan from Akkroo and joining me today is Dan.

D: Yep. My name is Dan and I look after the Customer Success team here at Akkroo – so making customers successful at events.

S: Excellent. And the reason we’re here today is Dan and I were having a conversation recently and thought it was podcast worthy, so maybe it’d be good if you could kick off Dan and just give a bit of insight of what we’re talking about and we’ll go from there.

D: No pressure. It’s definitely worthy. So recently we’ve been speaking to customers about how they get an event report together immediately after an event. So we’re not talking about whether an event had a bigger ROI because that’s very hard to figure out straight after an event. It’s more how they can put a report together to their powers that be, to show that it was either a successful event or not successful.

S: Okay. And you described it as like a snapshot, didn’t you of those things people can look at straight away after an event.

D: Yeah, exactly. And this kind of came about just from conversations with lots of different customers where they were saying often – and you’ll be familiar with this stuff from your event days – is they’ll have to make a decision sometimes on the last day of the show cause they’d been pressurised by the trade show organiser, or sometimes weeks or a month afterwards, which makes it very difficult to make a call. Did you find that?

S: Yeah, definitely. A big event at the Excel in London that I was involved in, those last two, three hours of the last day at the show, the organisers are out on the show floor touting for business, asking for that booking. And you’ve just got to go on gut feeling or ask the sales team, you know, how did it go, what do you think? And then all of a sudden you’ve just signed for another year and you leave the hall. And it’s like, okay, was that the right decision?

D: Yeah. And that’s the bit that we’re having lots of conversations on. So I suppose the key areas we’ve been talking about so far is just asking people: okay, what would be helpful, what are the numbers that can maybe back a decision, so it’d be data driven rather than gut feel. I was speaking to a customer just the other day where they were saying, we’ll go through the sales reps one by one before we make a call. This is literally on the last day of the show. And they’ll go, okay, what was your decision? What’s your opinion? What’s your opinion? And like you said, it’s often anecdotal and gut feel.

S: How many salespeople?

D: I think it was 10 at that particular show. So it’s a real straw poll.

S: Yeah. I wonder how that would work if um, they asked them all at the same time versus one to one. If there’d be like a kind of a consensus or…

D: Influencing each other probably.

S: Yeah. But again, you know, some people will have a good show. others have a bad show.

D: Yeah.

S: Alright. So maybe what are some examples of those, those things that your customers are looking for after an event?

D: Yeah, so I think the thing that came out top was knowing the number between new leads and existing customers that they’d met. So still tracking who they’d met in those two categories, so they’re still capturing the leads, but knowing which ones were new and which ones are existing, is incredibly helpful because they can then make a call on the show. Is this a new business show or is this a combination, or actually are we just seeing existing customers and just make a call on it based on that.

S: Okay.

D: So yeah, that probably came out top of their list.

S: I suppose that is important, isn’t it? If you’re upfront with the event, you’re looking for new business versus your existing customers. It’s good to work out whether that event is right.

D: Yeah. And I think in reality there’s some very big shows where… you used to attend ISE didn’t you? Shows where you kind of have to be there.

S: Yeah.

D: So the balance of new and existing is important to you, but actually sometimes you just have to attend that show. So it’s understanding that I suppose.

S: Definitely. I wrote an article recently, I know you’ve seen it on LinkedIn-

D: I haven’t read it… I’m joking!

S: But that was about saying no to a trade show because as a marketing manager, CMO or whoever it is who’s responsible for events… To be able to say no to an event, it feels a bit uncomfortable, for that exact reason you just said there. You know, some of these events you kind of go there to be seen. And someone actually commented on that article and said that they’d heard that argument of, well maybe the numbers weren’t there, but what would our customers think if we weren’t at that event.

D: Yeah, so that was probably the biggest one that came out top. The next one probably below that was what people were interested in. So if you’ve got a small or long product line, you want to know which particular area of interest because that does give you some indication of how the leads are going to then continue down the pipeline and who they’re going to be routed to. So that was probably the second biggest and then in the same vein is understanding whether it was a hot lead, a warm lead or a cold lead.

S: Yeah.

D: That’s not always in that language. It could be like the type of follow-up is very specific to each customer, but in essence it’s that lead score. And that one I certainly felt is quite a powerful one because quite often it’s the sales rep who is taking the majority of the leads and if they’re scoring a lead hot, then they’ve got a good indicator of potentially how that could go in the rest of the pipeline. You can refer back to it and say, okay, our sales team said there were 50 hot leads from this show and then you should see some action further down the pipeline.

S: Yeah, definitely. I remember you saying that, you know, talking of pipeline that pressure to rebook a show, you can’t wait for a typical sales cycle length to rely on that. Okay. Well they’re a marketing qualified lead, they’re a sales qualified lead. Have they come through to opportunity yet? Yes, no, you can’t wait 60, 90 days to make that decision, which makes these kinds of indicators really, really important.

D: Yeah. And we have customers where the sales cycle can be anywhere from three months to two years and so when you’ve got to make a call on a show, like we were saying earlier, it’s very difficult, if you’re going to have to wait for the pipeline to see how… and you can’t wait that long. That’s the reality.

S: Yeah. Two years. That is incredible. What industry?

D: Um, so like pharmaceutical and biotech, some of the sales cycles are that long and we’ve got… in the farming space. Quite different. But there’s some big machinery and they cost millions of pounds, so yeah, anything where there’s many decision makers and the price point’s high, often some of those sales cycles are very long.

S: Yeah, I mean even for us it’s quite long and we’ve got a lot of enterprise clients and we’re selling a solution but we’re still, you know, upwards of 90 days. So yeah.

D: And then one kind of vital and really leading into that hot, warm and cold is the total lead count. Obviously it’s an important one. But it was interesting that the hot, warm, cold, generally most people want to know that one more than the total just because it gives you a good indication of whether you’ll get some business out of it.

S: I suppose comparing that to another marketing activity, it’s like you’ve just sent out your big email campaign, ‘oh we got 5,000 opens’, like a vanity metric almost, but it’s what goes on after that, that is like the really important stuff.

D: Yeah. I suppose the last few, really, out of that group, and one that I didn’t really see coming. A lot of customers will capture the country.

S: Okay.

D: Often to be able to route that lead correctly to make sure it goes through the right salesperson in the right country, so we can deal with it correctly. An offshoot of that, which some customers have found is if… say you’re at an event in France and majority of the leads are from France because it’s in that country, but some sometimes what they’ll notice is okay, we had quite a few people, as an example, probably a bad example, from Belgium, very, very close, but they come over from Belgium and they don’t do any shows in Belgium.

S: Right.

D: So they notice a pattern of, okay, we’re getting a good amount of leads coming from a different country. Perhaps we should look at shows in that country. So country, as well as being able to see where the leads are going, is also quite important in terms of opportunities.

S: So it’s kind of strategic information as well for that department that’s looking after events. Where do we go next? Where do we expand, where do we contract.

D: Exactly. So this snapshot is more for, okay, where are the leads going to go? And then the interesting bit then is, okay, if we’ve got an anomaly, should we look at what the shows we could do potentially in those countries? That was not what I was expecting to hear, but it was interesting.

S: Yeah, it’s odd. I wasn’t really expecting that either. But okay. Are there any other ones at all? These kind of key indicators…

D: There’s a boring one.

S: Okay!?

D: I kind of hate to go over it again, but the GDPR topic. We are seeing people actually look at the number of opt-ins.

S: Yeah.

D: So I mean you could argue that if you’ve taken a lead at the show without an opt-in, which none of our customers are doing, but obviously if you’re scanning or the rest of it then you could say that some people would say that’s an opt-in… but we are seeing people actually look at the number of opt ins because if somebody – there’s no reason for them to do this, really, if you’ve had a long conversation with someone on the stand – if they have opted out, then that’s important because you can’t really follow up with them. So it’s not large numbers generally, but if you’ve got any opt-outs then they need to kind of categorise that because they can’t really follow up with them effectively. And that’s a recent thing since Mays kicked in.

S: Yeah, I mean a very valid reason, but not the other sexy numbers.

D: Yeah, the numbers aren’t high but it’s obviously important still.

S: And if you can track it, you know, why not. But that’s the good thing about solutions like Akkroo.

Alright. Well, unless you’ve got anything else… I think that covered quite a lot, actually, because it is an important thing, you know. It’s going to an event, or a number of events, and relying on gut feeling versus actually being able to look at actual facts and go this event we need to go back to and having the confidence to go into that organiser’s office and go yep, we’ll go bigger. Or just being able to rebook. That’s a really, really good thing versus making the wrong decision and not exhibiting in Belgium because everyone’s going over.

Alright, well thanks for joining us today. Dan, I’m going wrap it up there.

We’ve got a great resources page on our site at www.akkroo.com/resources, so check that out. That’s got all the podcasts we’ve shot, whitepapers, guides, and really helpful information around trade shows and events.

Make sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time on The Big Event. See ya!

D: Thanks very much!


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