A Lesson in Maximizing Trade Show ROI from Great Bakers


What is there to learn about trade show ROI from great bakers? The answer: ratios. For example:

Maximizing Trade Show ROIBread = 5 parts flour : 3 parts water
Cookies = 3 parts flour : 2 parts fat : 1 part sugar

The beauty of understanding baking from the perspective of ratios versus recipes is that it opens the baker up to a world of exploration and a higher likelihood of success.

At MEET, we like to use this baking analogy when making the case for maximizing trade show ROI. In fact, we like the analogy so much, we’ve designed two cookbooks for our clients: The Sales Management Cookbook and the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook. Here’s a preview of how they work.

The Sales Management Cookbook

MEET’s Sales Management Cookbook is a great tool for establishing baselines for your existing marketing and sales strategy. Through simple calculations, the Cookbook empowers Managers with key data points such as the average value of a customer, and the ratio of suspects and prospects to new customers.

Critical Definitions:

  • Prospect – has a need, money, and is urgent
  • Customer – someone who pays you money

For example: to understand the average value of a customer, take your total revenue for the most recent 12-month period and divide it by the number of customers you invoices. No need to over-complicate it—it’s just that simple.

To figure out the ratio of how many suspects are needed to deliver a new customer, you’ll need a variety of inputs from within a discrete-time period, including:

  • # of suspects engaged (for example people who approached your booth at a trade show)
  • # of suspects qualified as prospects
  • # of prospects who agreed to a first meeting
  • # of proposals submitted
  • # of contracts signed
  • # of 1st orders

From there you’ll be able to determine how many suspects were needed to deliver a new customer. You’ll then be able to use this benchmark data to inform your sales and marketing strategy with knowledge-based decisions around where investments are needed.

(For a visual, step-by-step demonstration of how we did these calculations and others, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics and ROI, Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results or feel free to reach out and we’ll send you a sample.)

The Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook

Maximizing Trade Show ROI What makes the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook unique is not simply the math but the science. In measuring for trade show results, it’s critical that you understand two things:

  • The variety of functions in and outside the booth that contribute to trade show ROI.
  • The target of your marketing strategy, which is roughly 1% of trade show attendees, i.e. quality/quantity. Remember, prospects have to have a need, money, and urgency.

For more on MEET’s approach to trade show staffing in and outside the booth, check out this post. For more on narrowing your target prospect, check out this post.

Understanding the science behind trade show ROI strategy will dictate where and how you measure success. Our Cookbook will help you break down your strategy into a series of activities, goals for each of those activities, and how to incorporate basic data inputs from your Sales Cookbook, e.g. average revenue per customer.

For a quick tutorial of how to calculate trade show ROI using this tool, we recommend that you tune into our recent webinar or set up a call. We’re happy to walk you through it.

What do MEET Cookbooks spit out? Management gold.

Your Cookbook results may indicate that each member of your booth team needs to find one new, qualified prospect every 15 minutes to meet your trade show ROI goals. The beauty of having a clearly defined objective like this is that it makes the work more rewarding, easier to manage and incentivize.

Boiling down the practice of marketing to a numerical science opens the doors to a world of results-driven innovation. What’s amazing is how many scaling companies operate without the slightest idea of how their marketing investments are helping (or hindering) to achieve their goals.

Cookbook tools have the ability to inform every aspect of your marketing and sales strategies—from goal-setting and event selection to staffing and management. So throw on an apron and get baking.

To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.


MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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