Imagine standing in front of a conference room having just pitched your company to a prospective customer—only to realize you’ve lost their interest. That’s not only an opportunity lost, but also time wasted you won’t be getting back.
What went wrong? More likely than not, you can blame poor meeting scheduling management.
Bad meetings happen, but a successful meeting doesn’t just organize itself. There’s a lot of work that goes into scheduling engagements at B2B events, which is why it’s key to simplify the process.
Let’s explore the nuances of effective meeting management, including what it means, why it’s important and how you can use automation to book better meetings that energize ROI.
What is meeting management at B2B events?
Meeting management is the process of coordinating, scheduling and executing effective meetings that drive business growth, sales pipeline, customer engagements and other valuable B2B outcomes. It includes all stages of the workflow: before, during and after a trade show or conference.
Why is this important to B2B sales? Because meetings are where relationships are fostered and deals get made. An effective meeting is one that brings together the right participants (your team members and prospects) for a specifically defined purpose or topic of interest (like nurturing or closing a deal).
However, many businesses struggle when it comes to scheduling and managing quality meetings, especially at events. Exhibitions, trade shows and conferences have a high frequency of executive, expert and sales meetings, which are complicated to book efficiently. It’s estimated that U.S. organizations waste nearly $400 billion annually on bad meetings. Research also shows that:
- 44% of respondents said poorly organized meetings are a waste of time.
- 31% said that unnecessary attendees sidetracked their meetings.
- 26% report client relationships suffered due to inefficient processes.
So, what does effective meeting scheduling actually look like?
The four P’s of meeting management
In simple terms, a productive meeting is a successful meeting. As a rule of thumb, managers should keep the following concepts in mind when scheduling B2B engagements:
- Purpose: The first thing you should pin down is the meeting’s purpose. What is the objective? What is the topic of interest? Are you furthering your pipeline or are you closing the deal? With a clear goal, you can work toward actionable outcomes and stay on task.
- People: Ensure you have the right participants in the room, both on your team and theirs. Do you have the right subject matter expert for the topic? The last thing you want is to schedule a meeting with attendees who don’t belong or can’t influence the purchase decision.
- Product: A productive meeting has to generate results by the end of it. Think of “product” as the tool by which you’ll reach that outcome—the engagement type (such as an executive meeting, a booth tour or executive session) you’ll use to further your objective.
- Process: Similar to a meeting agenda, your process should outline the structure of the engagement and how you’ll schedule more high-quality meetings throughout the event.
These points work in harmony to keep your B2B meetings on track while also leading to more positive business results.
5 steps in the meeting management process
Now that you’ve understood the importance of managing meetings, let’s look at how that process should work in practice.
- Determine meeting attendees: Make sure that key decision-makers, subject matter experts (SMEs) or executives are in the meeting room. If one of their senior leaders is requesting the engagement, it’s best to include one of your own. Ensure that SMEs are mapped to the right topics and sessions so that their expertise is relevant to the task at hand.
- Book a meeting room: Attendees have packed schedules and don’t want to wait around for a room to become available. Reserve space well in advance and ensure it has all the technological capabilities suited to the meeting type and format.
- Document the meeting and transcribe notes into meeting minutes: Keep a record of what’s decided during the meeting, including action items and next steps. Share meeting notes with attendees so that everyone’s on the same page.
- Schedule follow-ups if necessary: It’s estimated that just 2% of sales close after the first meeting, so it’s likely you’ll need to book future meetings to chase down leads and seal the deal. Establish a post-event engagement plan to convert the customer at a later point.
- Review analytics and optimize future meetings: If you have robust meeting management software, you can capture key information during the meeting, such as meeting duration, potential deal size or room utilization. Analyzing these data points can help you book better meetings that produce positive results.
Streamline management and scheduling with meeting automation
Meeting managers too often struggle to book impactful meetings at B2B events. Why? The workflow is incredibly complex with many moving parts. Among its many components, here’s a non-exhaustive look at some of the most significant:
- Emailing attendees.
- Booking a room.
- Checking time zones.
- Syncing calendars.
- Sharing agendas.
- Confirming inbound requests.
- Checking availability.
- Changing locations.
- Updating CRMs.
Most managers don’t realize there’s a better way to juggle these tasks than a spreadsheet or basic scheduling tool. Of course, we’re talking about meeting scheduling automation.
With an automated scheduling software like Jifflenow’s eEvent, you can streamline your meeting management process from start to finish. Jifflenow’s robust platform allows you to manage B2B meetings based on engagement type, topics of interest, resource alignment and more.
Map topics to the right experts and executives and integrate scheduling with their internal calendars for finding their availability. Choose to automate or manually approve meetings based on your parameters, simplify rescheduling and integrate seamlessly with your CRM.
By automating the meeting management and scheduling workflow, you can book more meetings, drive pipeline and supercharge event ROI—all with one comprehensive tool.
Want to learn more about eEvent? Book a demo to start better scheduling B2B meetings today.