Key Performance Indicators don’t you just love them! The game where your boss provides you with demanding targets and some “challenges” to rise to.
Hmm. Challenges, now this whole KPI’s thing almost sounds like fun…. but don’t be fooled. It won’t be fun sitting in your review meeting if you haven’t made those all important measures. So let’s get that sorted.
First, back to fun. Enjoy the challenge rather than be worried by it. Looking at things positively is the key to success when approaching demanding tasks, including those that involve meeting KPI’s related to trade show participation.
The typical KPI threesome: Make money: Raise image: Increase client spend
KPI’s are described in many forms but, generally they often mean the three things in the heading above. As described above they are all vague objectives. Step 1, get clarity on what they actually mean. What specifically is the measure of success for each objective?
Making money directly from a trade show is not the normal course of things. Most companies will exhibit in order to start the conversations that will lead to sales in the short, medium and long-term. So the task of “making money” needs to be approached with this in mind.
However, there are events where orders are placed and pro-forma invoices are issued. If this is a possibility for your business, discuss what is a realistic target for sales of this kind and where they are likely to come from. Don’t walk out of your KPI objectives meeting without this clarification.
If this is new to you, make notes about the type of companies most likely to buy and a description of the level of buyer that has the authority to agree purchases. Also, note the typical value of orders that could be expected from them. If you have been given a financial target, a specific revenue number to hit for at-show sales, you will then know how many on-stand sales, you and your team will need to achieve. Armed with this information, put together a plan to attract those buyers. For ideas on this, read on.
Insist on the same qualification for lead targets
Lead gathering at trade shows is perhaps the best understood reason for exhibiting. Leads or contact conversations, are a route to closing sales sometime in the future; the short term future, the medium and the long term future.
If your company hasn’t gathered and sorted leads in this way before, now is the time to start. The conversations that you and your stand team have with show visitors should lead to grading your leads by urgency level. Why? Because straight after the show or even during it, your company needs to be re-contacting those visitors seeking to place orders in the immediate short-term. So, have your lead follow-up materials ready before you go to the show.
There are three things your boss will be impressed about in your KPI review meeting, actually possibly four. First the number of leads that you and your team collected. Hopefully you beat the target that was “agreed” and even if you didn’t the next points will work in your favour.
Secondly, he or she will be impressed when you present your Lead Breakdown Report. This shows how many leads were taken at the show each day. It should also report how many leads fell into each category i.e. short-term purchasing interest; medium and long-term or whatever grading system you wish to apply.
Third…. Presenting your Sales To Date Report. This might be hard for you to do depending on the size and complexity of the company that you work for. In my experience though, hard usually means that people give-up too easily to track orders, especially where they are relying on another department to give them information. Like Finance for instance. Or, they say;
It’s too hard to track, we have so many orders coming in, it’s just too much work…
If you want to get promoted; if you want to start really making progress in any role, you are going to need to do the extra work. Think I’m making too much of this? Believe me, I’ve heard comments like the one above, many times. Bottom line; it won’t impress your boss and it won’t help your career progression.
Grading your leads makes tracking sales easier to do because you have time frames to work with. These time frames and the companies within them can be flagged-up to nominated sales people. If your company uses a CRM system, individual prospect businesses can be flagged and tracked and you can produce monthly reports for your boss to show current sales status with your show sales leads.
Doing this manually is harder, but again, it can be done.
KPI’s: The 4th thing
The 4th thing that your boss will be impressed about is, all of the things that you did to attract people to your stand at the show. These were the tactics you used to make and beat your lead target.
Here are just some of the things that you did;
- You contacted current and past clients and let them know that your company was exhibiting
- Then, you gave clients excellent reasons to visit your stand at the show including a special offer for deals signed at the event
- The email signatures of all sales and admin people in your company were changed to promote your presence at the show and your stand number
- Your company website carried a promotional post about your participation in the show and what visitors could expect to see on your stand
- Email invitations were sent to all businesses that had recently contacted your business for a quote
- You used social media before, during and after the show to create awareness of your presence; your business and product range
- Issued press releases to the trade media highlighted that your company’s technical team would be present at the show
- You organised some striking graphics that really worked in improving your small stand’s visibility amongst many other stands
- Show attendees who visited your stand and were qualified as realistic sales prospects, were each given a quality and useful branded promotional item to help remind them of your business
- This was really successful when the sales team mentioned the promotional item in their follow-up sales calls
- You put together a really effective stand team, who used a structured approach when talking to visitors
- The short on-stand survey that you put together has produced some interesting findings on how your business or products are perceived/rated/liked/disregarded….
- You provisionally booked a bigger stand for the next show
- That list of things that you would do differently next time, is impressive and it shows a business brain at work
Did you achieve your KPI’s?
Did you make money? Yes, and you can show how, where and when money was made or is likely to be, through your sales report.
Did you raise the image or the profile of your company? Yes, you achieved that too. Those strong graphics, all of that pre-show promotion, the new followers on social and spikes on your website all show how this was achieved. As do the stories in the trade press and the new names that have been added to your sales database.
What about increasing client spend?
The work that you did on contacting current and past clients will pay off if you provided excellent reasons for those clients to see you at the show. Offering at-show discount deals and incentives was helpful. Re-connecting to update clients on range improvements and modifications also paid off. Yes, you have some additional orders already in place or agreed, as shown in your Sales Report. But, you also know when the next phase of purchasing within each company that visited your stand is going to take place. So, the sales team will be ready to contact prospective clients ahead of those times. That’s listed in your Report too.
Approach your event-related KPI challenges in a professional and positive manner and they will hold no fear for you. Plus, you’ll get to impress your boss into the process, which can only be a very good thing for your career prospects.