Trade shows create unique and unparalleled opportunities for any business. However, it can be a daunting task to convince the individuals in Finance or Accounting that the one-time expense is worth the investment. It is important to have the finance team’s support for a trade shows exhibit campaign. Since Finance departments make decisions based on ratios and figures, here are some figures to use that will show the financial value of exhibiting at a trade show.
- # of leads generated/cost of show attendance = Cost per Lead – This will help show the cost effectiveness of being at the show, which will help alleviate the concerns about spending the initial capital investment. If you can, use historical data from last year’s appearance, or an appearance at a similar show.
- # of sales from leads generated/# of leads generated = Lead to Sale Conversion Ratio – Since sales are the source of incoming revenue, tracking sales from a trade show exhibit is essential to justify any spending on a show to finance. The easiest way to keep track of this is through the use of a database. All leads should be entered into the database and the actions taken to move the lead to a sale should be documented in the database as well.
- # of existing clients attending/# of attendees= % of attendees who are existing clients – Finance knows the cost of gaining a new customer is much higher than retaining established clients. Showing your colleagues in Finance this ratio reiterates the value of the show not just for growth, but also for maintaining current market share.
- (Gain from Show-Cost of Show)/Cost of Show= Return on Show Attendance– Return On Investment (ROI) is a very common financial formula used when deciding on which projects should be funded. By showing a positive ROI, not only will finance appreciate that it is one less equation to solve, but will also give a sense of security that the investment is worth pursuing.
- Cost of show/# of contacts made= Cost per Contact – This is helpful in evaluating trade shows against other forms of marketing, especially sales calls.
The key to justifying your trade show expenses to the Finance department is to make sure that you have adequate facts and figures that show how exhibiting at a trade show is cost-effective and impacts the company’s bottom line positively.