I’m sure all of us have asked this question at some point. On one hand conferences are these great platforms to get the word out and network, but on the other, they are these very expensive and time consuming affair. We recently took part in the small business expo (attended by more than 15,000 attendees) and were wondering the same question right up to the end. Below are some thoughts on this great conundrum.
Conferences use a large amount of our most valuable resources: time and money. And without clear metrics, it can be hard to identify the value created. But by clearly tracking the ROI on each conference, deciding whether or not to attend is no longer a guessing game. Rather, it becomes a decision based on historical performance and projected return.
At Eulerity, we take the resources invested and subsequently the ROI generated from conferences / expos very seriously. A 3 step approach highlighted below can also help you:
1. Understanding True Costs:
When estimating the true cost of a conference, it is important to consider all direct and indirect expenses. In addition to the cost of registration and sponsorship (if applicable), logistics and marketing cost, please also consider the opportunity cost of preparation time. Knowing the number of hours we need to place against a particular conference helps us in two ways. First, we can better gauge if the conference is currently worth our time or if the hours are better served elsewhere. Second, if we place a dollar value against our hours worked (based on compensation and output), and multiply it by the number used in preparation, we can attribute a real cost to preparation.
2. Measure On-site Metrics:
To measure the success of a conference, keep track of every lead/meeting held during the conference, whether they were scheduled or spontaneous. Please also make special note if the meetings were with new contacts as they might be more valuable than following up with older ones. Then compare the actual number of opportunities secured with the estimated number. This metric helps tighten up the booking process with each additional conference, ensuring our pre-conference efforts are not wasted. Additionally, by tracking these meetings in a CRM, we can determine what type of interactions return greater yields. Finally, tracking meeting lifecycles allows us to understand the average number of interactions it takes to convert a prospect into a client. It may seem like a lot of work to track these meetings, but the insight you’ll gain into conference performance is incredibly powerful.
3. Estimate Intrinsic Value:
To estimate the value of your conference attendance, it is important to attribute some financial value to your desired success (it can be as tangible as a signed NDA or $XXX in sales over a Y time period from leads generated/followed up in the conference). For example, work backwards from the number of NDAs it generally takes to close a deal, to assign a dollar value to that NDA. Or sometimes it’s as simple as the money generated from a sale.
By tracking data such as number of meetings held, how many times you achieved your success metric, or the number of new contacts you gained from each conference, you will soon have the historical data to inform your future conference decisions. You will have a better understanding of the number of meetings you need to book, the types of attendees you need to meet with, and whether or not you should even attend the conference/expo. Finally, it’s a way to hold the company’s employees- and yourself- accountable for the time spent away from the desk.
CEO — LNRD by Eulerity Inc.