How Exhibitors Calculate ROO
What are my customers looking for? What do they need? These are core questions that all exhibition, trade show, and expo businesses must explore on a regular basis. This is fundamentally one of the best ways for exhibition organizers to gain a competitive advantage in their space. By providing exhibitors with the best chance to produce a return on the opportunities created at their show, organizers position themselves as a leader and as a show that should not be missed. But, how will Exhibitors calculate ROO?
Shows increase sales in two ways: increasing booth sales and providing rich experiences that influence exhibitors to renew – and purchase additional services – for the next event. So, how do you actually make those things happen?
"Where Did We Get This Lead?"
Let’s say an exhibitor attends a show and attracts a new lead. The information for that potential client is thrown in a database. The initial capture at the show becomes one touch among many. Nine months later, perhaps an RFP or new opportunity is created, and six months after that the final sale is made. It’s been over a year and a half now so is that lead still a result of the show?
Using a traditional model of calculating and measuring ROI is not something that works well for exhibitors. The results of an event should be considered more as a ROO, “Return On Opportunity”. This means calculating what specific initial opportunities were created at a show. What kinds of contacts were made, how do those to compare to similar ones in the past, what opportunities could spring from these engagements, and what is the estimated amount of revenue they could generate?
Some don’t like this model of calculating ROO (or the term in general), but there is a common call among exhibitors to look at how returns are calculated for their sponsorships and participations in shows. Many businesses have long sales cycles, so this means that the only way to tell if a show was a success or not in the short term is by looking at the leads that are produced and comparing them against historical data. This is why so many exhibitors are now beginning to focus on lead quality, and why show demographics are more important than ever.
Exhibitors Are Flipping the Sales Funnel
Exhibitors used to be really interested in those large attendee databases and previous show attendance numbers. Volume is good, right? Kind of. Exhibitors are realizing that the best ROO is coming from certain types of leads. When exhibitors calculate ROO, they aren’t really overly concerned with the quantity of leads produced, they want leads that they can compare against historical ones that have panned out favorably. This means certain job titles, businesses, and people.
Having a show that attracts these favorable audiences is actually becoming more important to exhibitors than just attending a big, healthy show. Exhibitors are flipping their sales funnels. It no longer makes a lot of sense for them to measure massive volume at the top only to drive down their leads into a small bucket of individuals that can help them calculate ROO.
Exhibitors are becoming increasingly focused on pre-targeting. Pre-targeting is the idea of highlighting specific individuals and businesses prior to a show. If this is where the greatest ROO already is, why not single them out, right? Shows that enable this to happen by equipping exhibitors with the information and tools to do this will become heroes in this industry.
It’s imperative that shows understand the science of exhibiting the way it exists today. Too many shows are relying on legacy methods and systems to make this shift, and will ultimately be left in the dust. Helping exhibitors flip their funnel, pre-target, and engage top contacts will help make exhibition organizers stand out.
Presenting the Right Information
Knowing who the attendees are and being able to align exhibitors with their slated prospects prior to the event will benefit everyone’s experience. This also gives that exhibitor more exposure and makes it easier for them to communicate and connect with their prospects. If the attendees are given the proper tools to help navigate the show floor and lead them to the right exhibitors, the process of making these connections will speed up and the value of the show increases (both for the exhibitor and the attendee).
This information that is collected and presented to the exhibitors also comes around full circle as a benefit to the organizer. This is why we talk about unifying a CRM system with the event floor, the exhibition sales teams can then effectively sell the spaces based on event history, previous needs, etc. In essence, what this is really doing is creating a sales process that is designed to grow revenue. With immediate access to a previous a relationship that’s already been built, the sales team can better cater their offerings to what was utilized in the past, and what might help an exhibitor produce greater ROO in the future.
The wrap up
I understand that throwing the concept of ROI out and replacing it with measuring the effectiveness of opportunities is something new. If this subject interests you, I highly suggest downloading our e-book, Hacking The Exhibition Bottom Line.