By now, we are nearing the end of the processes of “selling” your meetings management. By following the above steps, the initial sale should be complete and you should focus your attention on selling the company to use the program and gain adoption.
If executive buy-in is the most difficult piece of implementing a meetings management program, company adoption, or change management, is the most difficult, and most important, piece for program success. A strong communication plan, both at the initial rollout and at regular consistent interviews, is necessary. Be sure to think about all the different stakeholders and how they best receive information.
At Estee Lauder, their communication strategy centers on quarterly lunch and learn meetings. Meetings and event stakeholders are invited to regularly occurring meetings where the team presents anything new in the program along with results from the last quarter. The meetings provide stakeholders with the opportunity to ask questions of the meetings management team and ensure everyone is on the same page.
An often overlooked piece of the communication plan is personal communication. Sometimes gaining program mass adoption out of the gate is not an effective strategy. You may have to work person by person or department by department to demonstrate your value.
This is what happened for Autodesk in working to get their sales and marketing organizations to source the event contracts through the meetings management department. Rather than force a policy on the divisions, the meetings management group asked the sales team to let them review one of their event venue contracts. The group was able to identify all the areas where their sourcing and negotiating expertise would have helped to reduce the total costs. When the sales department realized their missed savings opportunities, they quickly converted to use of the meetings management group.
To help with internal buy-in, consider enlisting help from other resources to guide you through the process and further support your program. When Estee Lauder first implemented their meetings program, they received a lot of support from their hotelier partners. The hotel partners were able to help the meetings management team identify the people within the company that were sending RFPs and signing event contracts with their properties. In some instances, the more strategic hotel partners were also able to quantify total company spend with their brand to better solidify their meeting spend estimates.
If you need help with your communication strategy, check out our communication template + our Meetings Starter Kit.
This post is part of a series on strategic meetings management. To see other blogs in the series, click here.
This content was originally posted on blog.cvent.com in 2014.