There are many ways to measure the success of a conference or event. There are quantitative ways: the number of butts in seats, interactions on social media, and the conversion of attendees into buyers or subscribers. Then, there are more abstract measurements: What was it like? How did people feel about it? What did it do?

A conference is a great way to build your brand and generate sales. But just because you’re trying to sell a product doesn’t mean the conversion to sales or total sales are the only metrics you should be hitting. Even if your event rejoices in data and quantitative thinking, it’s sometimes best to focus less on the numbers and remember why you’re doing it.

After working with conferences, here are three core steps I recommend:

1. Remember the “why” behind your event. In the craziness of marketing an event, you can lose sight of the original idea that led you to creating it. Why are you spending all your time, money, heart, and soul on this event?

It’s a bit like remembering your childhood self when you’re faced with an important life decision. Conjuring up the original set of dreams and goals you had when you were innocent to the restrictions of the adult world, a world ruled by “shoulds” and “should nots,” can keep you in touch with what you really want (and help you avoid being misled by others).

Take some time to consider why you’re organizing this event. Then, do the same for the many possible “whys” of your audience. Why is your audience choosing to attend your event? What is their urgency? Your core values and purpose should be present in this event and align with those of your audience.

2. Encourage your employees to attend events. You need your employees to be on the ground floor with prospective customers to hear what they have to say about the product or service.

We ask all of our employees to attend our events so they can step back from their job descriptions to experience what the audience experiences. If they understand what future customers need, they’ll be better equipped to grow with the company and better serve current customers.

3. Track as much as possible. While numbers and figures shouldn’t be your main focus, tracking every aspect of your event and your audience’s experience can help you make sense of your qualitative metrics to evaluate success. Keep your paperwork organized, ask lots of questions, and listen intently to the attendees before, during, and after the event. Roll out as many polls and surveys as you dare so you can get comprehensive feedback. Lastly, ask specific people to give you written feedback. You may find a quote or testimony that speaks to your next big deal.

Numbers can be helpful. They frame the value that your event brings to others by helping you measure success against your assumptions and contributing to your understanding of ROI.

However, you must have the confidence to take your eyes off the spreadsheets for a moment. The primary measurement for business owners should be this: How much do you love what you do? If you have beautiful financial statements and fat margins but hate what you’re doing, you don’t have the means to contribute anything to yourself, your employees, or your customers. The same can be said for your event attendees. It doesn’t matter if you had 50 or 1,000 butts in seats; if they hated it, then it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money.