Customer meetings are the lifeblood of enterprises to grow pipeline and revenue. These are B2B engagements with qualified prospects or existing customers. Sales and marketing organizations develop programs to increase the number of these B2B engagements. Events, trade shows, conferences, roadshows are a few examples of big investments to achieve business objectives. Increasing the quality and number of B2B meetings in these environments and making the process efficient and effective has a big impact on ROI as they drive more pipeline, advancing deals, and shorten the sales cycle. Many enterprises are prioritizing more B2B customer meetings over other metrics to measure results.
The purpose of each B2B meeting will vary based on various factors such as business objectives, informational needs, and the position of the prospect in the sales cycle. Based on this, the type of meeting that is planned, such as product demos, booth tours, off-site meetings, etc.will also vary.
We had previously touched upon the different types of B2B meetings at events but in this blog, we will first cover the most common type of meeting that is scheduled regularly at large events, described as a “general meeting”.
What are General Meetings?
A general meeting is scheduled with customers, prospects, company executives, or subject matter experts. These kinds of B2B meetings can have different impacts – sales advancement, building relationships, exchange of plans & ideas, and/or providing support.
Examples of situations that call for general customer meetings are as follows:
- Imagine a prospect at an event that is interested in the product/service being offered. Rather than just capturing the contact as a lead for a future phone call, scheduling a meeting with an expert or executive during the event can not only help the prospect gauge the product better but also gives the sales or business executive a chance to convert them to a qualified opportunity by discussing their pain points and product benefits.
- Another example is when an existing customer requires an in-depth discussion of a new product or is experiencing issues, then a meeting can be scheduled with a product expert or support team to provide relevant information about that product and help enhance customer trust.
These types of meetings can be scheduled in advance or as walk-in meetings at events. The biggest challenge with general B2B meetings, as is the case with other meetings at events (which can run into hundreds or even thousands) is the process required to schedule, manage, and analyze numerous meetings with a manual spreadsheet-based approach. At an event when time is limited and logistics are challenging this can result in chaos unless the meeting manager or coordinator is equipped to deal with multiple changes in the schedule, people and locations. Most attendees participate in multiple meetings which can limit flexibility and availability.
To avoid errors that are usually a result of manual management tools such as spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls, enterprises are relying on scheduling software called Meeting Automation Platforms (MAP). It simplifies the management of all aspects of scheduling multiple meetings with many attendees at different meeting rooms, reduces no-shows, eliminates double bookings, and much more.
Tips for General Meetings
- In the case of pre-scheduled meetings, outreach must be started at least a couple of months in advance so that more meetings that benefit a business can be arranged. Meeting managers must be prepared to schedule and manage ad-hoc sessions on-site at the event for walk-ins as well.
- Developing a list of executives or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who are attending the meeting, whether pre-scheduled or ad hoc, will aid in flawless execution and avoid last-minute challenges.
- Having a system of collecting and sharing the business opportunity info would help the right executive or SME to come better prepared and result in a better and more useful conversion.
In the buyer’s journey, when qualified prospects and customers consider specific vendors, show interest and want to be educated about a vendor and its offering, B2B meetings of various kinds are in play before a purchase decision is made. Although events have the highest concentration of these strategic business meetings, such engagements are also scheduled at EBCs, roadshows, sessions, lab tours, and much more. Leveraging a Meeting Automation Platform enables enterprises to schedule, manage, and analyze all B2B engagements easily and drive business to grow faster.