Ion Exhibits


Trade Show and Event Lead Sales - A Progress Report

Posted By Kevin Fett
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Leaders representing the country’s fastest growing private companies in the country recently convened at the INC 5000 conference in Phoenix. I was one of them. It’s a great opportunity to network, and share insights, with owners of a wide variety of businesses. During one conversation with a fellow conferee, I was asked whether exhibitors are doing a better job of moving leads into the sales funnel. Great question! 

                       Lead Sales Funnel

The sales funnel is often illustrated as the process companies undertake to sell their products to customers.



Trade show and event lead sales require a disciplined approach to capturing and evaluating opportunities. John Pavek, CMO of Exhibitor Media Group, offered this “Measurement is crucial to justifying trade shows and events in today’s business climate. It’s a key reason why we have more than 20 education sessions devoted to the topic in the Measurement and Analytics track at the EXHIBITORLIVE conference.”

Next I went in search of data that might answer the question and here’s what I found:

  • 84% of respondents use performance metrics to evaluate the outcome of exhibiting. Source: CEIR 2019 Head of Marketing Insights Part 4
  • 59% of respondents track trade show and event leads as they progress through the sales cycle. Source: Exhibitor Magazine Sales Lead Survey
  • 35% of respondents measure and report the percentage of leads that convert to a sale as part of a trade show or event’s value. Source: Exhibitor Magazine Sales Lead Survey
  • 33% of respondents are optimistic about their trade show program based on enhanced lead tracking and fulfillment. Source: Exhibitor Magazine 2019 Economic Outlook Survey
  • Over half of those who assess actual sales revenue to the cost of exhibiting say B2B exhibitions perform best. Source: CEIR 2019 Head of Marketing Insights Part 4
  • Among all exhibitors, on average, one out of five leads will convert to sales. Source: CEIR Exhibitor ROI and Performance Metrics Practices

Another industry colleague shared that in his conversations with a number of exhibit industry professionals over the last year, he felt many companies are still struggling with it.

Many of our clients at Ion Exhibits tell us they are doing a better job of capturing, qualifying and following up on leads to move them into the sales funnel, but they continue to seek improvements to their internal processes.

What’s your experience either as an exhibitor or advisor to exhibitor clients?