Getting maximum ROI out of your sales conference

By Robert Van Arlen

Senior Advisory Group

It’s the little things that make a great conference. Companies find budgets of a few thousand to several million dollars for conferences in hopes to get a return on investment. As an individual that gets to participate in conferences weekly, I’m beginning to notice a few important things that can make or break the success of the conference.

I always say, begin with the end in mind. What is your ROI and what are your outcomes? A number of conference planners are focused on all of the non-outcomes of the meeting. These outcomes are important and do link directly to an ROI.

The question I always ask is what percent of increase in revenue or even more specifically, what is the amount of increase you would like to achieve by investing in this meeting? This is a different conversation that should sync with an overall plan or objective.

Understanding the answer to this question takes the pressure away from the budget question. The expense is an investment not an expense.

I recently completed a conference whereas the client invested several thousands of dollars per person. The conservative percent of increase desired was 15 percent over prior year. The client understands by achieving this objective it will allow them the opportunity to move forward on other initiatives that can bring additional growth in the company.

Once they determine what they felt they could get as a return, they comfortably move forward in establishing a budget for everything. Everything selected including the content was based upon the achievement of the ROI.

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