Organizing flawless meetings is far from impossible. Nevertheless, it takes careful planning and execution. In our previous blog, we talked about the importance of pre-meeting surveys, meeting agendas, and their role in crafting perfect meetings. In this blog, we look at one of the most important aspects that meeting managers should touch upon – the right attendees.
According to recent studies, having the right attendees and decision-makers present can strengthen customer relationships, foster collaborations, and drastically shorten sales cycles. On the other hand, the unavailability of the right personnel to take the conversation forward can result in redundant conversations that often turn over little to no productivity.
In this blog, we’d like to bring your attention to meeting attendees that we think you should have in order to foster productive conversations. For convenience, let’s break them down into two broad categories – external attendees (those from the customer’s team) and internal attendees (from the presenter’s team).
In most cases, it is difficult to control who from the customer’s team attends the meeting. However, it is important to assess their interests and intent in order to anticipate their requirements.
To simplify things, external attendees can be broken down into three main personas – users, influencers, and decision-makers.
- Users: Those personas who are most likely to utilize the product/service being offered.
- Influencer: Those personas that work closely with users and/or are impacted by the use of the product/service. They influence the purchase decision.
- Decision-maker: Those personas that have the purchasing power and are most likely to make the decision to buy.
While creating meeting invites, it is important to take time to evaluate the seniority level and persona of the meeting attendee in order to be prepared for the meeting. It is also important to match the customer attendee by level. For example, a customer CMO or CFO needs to be met by a C-suite executive at the very least.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the three main categories of internal attendees that you need to have present in order to get the most out of the meeting.
Marketing and sales
Marketing and sales personnel represent the extremes of the buyer’s journey. Participants from the marketing team are responsible for setting the tone, driving the discussion forward, and setting the context for more detailed meetings. They have the responsibility to deliver the value proposition efficiently in order to instill a sense of interest and intrigue, enticing them to learn more about the product/service being offered. They are best suited for a variety of meeting types – customer engagements, prospect meetings, walk-ins, booth tours, etc. Once the context is set, marketing nurtures these leads and passes them on to sales for closure. As simple as this seems, there are a number of activities that take place before this transition takes place.
Sales members are responsible for ensuring that a large number of leads actually convert to opportunities and revenue. Overall, efficient meetings make their jobs easier simply because if nurtured correctly, customers have all of the information they need before they make a sales decision.
Subject Matter Experts
Subject Matter Experts are solely present to participate in conversations of a technical nature. They are most often reeled in based on the meeting requestor’s expressed interests. Since they have a deep and thorough understanding of a particular subject, their time is highly valued and hence are only included in those conversations that absolutely require their participation.
Involving SMEs in a meeting will provide customers and prospects with a deeper understanding of product use cases and how they can help achieve business goals. They often aid in the clarification of queries and help establish the placement of the product/service within the customer’s current ecosystem.
As the most influential members of a company, C-level executives are the most valuable people to have in meetings. These executives participate in meetings mainly during the advanced stages of discussions in order to help close deals. The presence of an executive usually creates a feeling of trust and can help build rapport. Although executives mainly meet with other executives, sometimes their presence in a meeting can also be necessary if a prospect or customer that has a significant impact on the company’s revenue requires their expertise.
Ensuring the right attendees present for meetings is not as simple as it seems since a number of these team members work on a tight schedule. This task can be particularly cumbersome because it requires meeting managers to shuffle between calendar apps and spreadsheets. Not only can this cause scheduling errors, time-zone mismatches, and no-shows, but can, on the whole result in an unnecessary loss of revenue and resources.
Using a Meeting Automation Platform (MAP) can simplify these tasks significantly. Requestors can schedule meetings based on what is important to them – executive availability, venue (meeting rooms) or time slots. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and is available to attend the meeting. What’s more? Last-minute changes can be seamlessly accommodated and communicated in real-time.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our #PerfectMeetings series where we talk about parking lots and Q&A sessions.
To learn more about meeting automation at events and briefing centers, click on the link below.