Business conferences and events provide myriad benefits to individuals and businesses looking to gain a professional advantage. These events are a goldmine of valuable information and potential business partnerships, offering industry insights and trends, expert tips and tricks, and numerous networking opportunities. Offering and gathering information is one of the main objectives for B2B event organisers and marketers running events.
However, when attending events, all the positives from your event experience, such as your takeaways from different speaker sessions and networking with interesting people can come to nought if you don’t convert these productive encounters into actionable results.
After the event has wrapped up, you need to determine the best course of action to gain the most out of your experience. Here are three simple steps to get you on your way to mining that data:
Step #1 Follow-up, quickly!
During the event, you network with different people, collect their business cards, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, and identify your potential clients and suitable working partners.
Pro Tip: Check whether the meeting or conference you are attending has a dedicated event app with attendee networking and lead capture capability — collecting contact details becomes much easier.
However, once all the relevant contacts have been collated, what next?
Make sure you follow up with every person you connected with within a week (preferably within 24 hours) after the event is over. It can be as simple as dropping an email or making an informal phone call to, eventually, set up a meeting to further explore business opportunities.
Even if you don’t get a positive response right away, be patient. Invest some time to research into the company and after around a week, send an email highlighting the business opportunities you can offer. If you feel the opportunity warrants it, a brief presentation could be called for or, if you’re feeling creative, a slick introductory video could also do the job.
Step #2 Set realistic goals, keep track
After attending an event, you are filled with enthusiasm — one of the speakers has convinced you of a very effective strategy that will work wonders for your firm. It’s time to channel your energy and newfound knowledge into concrete action and come up with a business case that demonstrates the effectiveness of your new strategic plan. But before you rush off and get started, consider a few things…
Is your strategy feasible based on extensive planning and research, or are you setting the bar too high and creating unrealistic expectations? For instance, let’s say you hear at a conference that keeping video content at the forefront of your business is a sure-fire way to reach the apex. You decide to go full throttle, informing your digital and content teams that they will need to produce at least 3 videos a week that you will release across all your digital channels to attract a broader audience.
Now, producing well-researched quality video content takes a considerable amount of time and can be costly. To make sure your video content strategy works out, you will have to assess your team’s capabilities, their time, the tools they would require, and the number of projects they have already been assigned and your budget. Once this is sorted out, you can create a strategy that is practical and secures long-term success!
To make sure your plans works, it is recommended you track and review them regularly. This will help you identify gaps, collect feedback and implement the necessary improvements. Ultimately, a successful business strategy for your firm will ensure you get the go-ahead by the senior management to attend more events in the future (if, of course, you choose to give the event you attended any of the credit for your brilliance!)
Step #3 Be patient with the transition
With new tactics, strategies and methodologies in your bag, you are keen to transform your business for the better. However, it is entirely possible that the level of energy and enthusiasm you have could significantly vary from that of your team. If you are overly zealous in implementing a process that is entirely different from the existing one, it could alienate or frustrate your team. That’s why it is important that the new initiatives be phased in a smooth and structured manner, with all your employees on board. Nothing will hurt the morale of your team more than you just strutting into the office, armed with several presentations and making a grand announcement like:
“We need to write longer blog posts on a daily basis!”
“Our sales strategy needs a complete revamp!”
“Let’s overhaul our social media marketing programme!”
Before implementing any process, think about its long-term viability, consult your peers, and do your research. Remember, even slow progress is still progress. Taking one step at a time and providing regular updates to your team is key so that they gradually adjust in their new roles.
Leveraging event experiences to create more value is critical not only for the attendees but also for event organisers. As an organiser, how do you define the event ROI for your meetings and conferences? Download Cvent’s Essential Guide to Event ROI and learn all about putting ROI in the forefront of your planning process!