According to several event marketing studies, the four most common metrics for defining success at events include the amount of exposure generated, social media buzz, brand awareness, and the number of leads captured sans qualification. While these measures may provide some sense of potential business, trying to present a convincing business case with them to CMOs and CROs is far from sufficient. But business executives recognize the value of key engagements to advance business.
What are strategic meetings
Strategic meetings are defined as business-to-business engagements between executives, subject matter experts and their target audiences such as prospects, customers, press, analysts, suppliers, investors, etc. that result in sales, partnerships, business development, influence, and investments. No B2B enterprise can grow without engaging in strategic meetings.
Why strategic meetings cannot be replaced
Business processes across industries and geographies have been revolutionized by the advent of technological breakthroughs like telephone, email, and e-calendars, smartphones, etc.. Despite these advances, no major sales deals, partnerships or projects are closed without the use of business to business meetings somewhere during the engagement cycle. In many cases, multiple, multi-level meetings are required for advancing the engagements to success. Why? Because strategic meetings are fundamental to facilitating trust, confidence, validation, value, relationship-building, informed decision-making, and much more, to reach desired outcomes for all involved parties.
The fast adoption of video conferencing demonstrates that innovative new technologies have a role to play, specifically in enabling visual engagements between the parties and consequently speeding up the process of achieving end goals. Just as hiring for key positions requires a face-to-face meeting with candidates for identifying the best fit, it is difficult to make progress in business-to-business relationships without face-to-face meetings. And the truth is, enterprises that have discovered innovative ways to increase the numbers of strategic B2B meetings have enjoyed more successful outcomes.
The imperatives for big ticket marketing investments
So consider the opportunities provided by events, roadshows and briefing centers, which are major marketing investments that connect B2B products or services with a targeted audience – this setting is ideal for strategic meetings. Unfortunately, most of these end up generating a large number of worthless leads or are underutilized assets. It is a well-understood fact that more than 95% of leads from events do not convert into real business value. This is where strategic B2B meetings come to bat, as they can be pre-scheduled with prospects or customers, assuming special significance when the representatives of an enterprise (CXOs, Subject Matter Experts) are involved in key discussions. Meeting planners and briefing center professionals recognize the value of increasing the number of business interactions to deliver ROI for such large budget items. But they, along with sales teams, are also aware that trying to increase the number of meaningful strategic interactions is both difficult and frustrating. It is the process of scheduling, hosting and analyzing data about these meetings that becomes cumbersome. Imagine the dependency on numerous email requests and use of complex spreadsheets, especially when managing hundreds or thousands of meetings per 4- or 5- day conference.
The quantity and quality of meetings are paramount, however, without such engagements, the value of events and briefing centers will be continually questioned during the budgeting process. Moreover, if they do not appear to contribute expected results, executives and sales will not participate, and event and briefing center professionals will continue to have a tough time justifying the investment every year. Therefore, the resulting options are to either cancel events entirely and concentrate on other avenues or better yet, apply innovation that maximizes ROI with strategic B2B customer meetings.
A disruptive technology for increasing strategic meetings
This problem, or more aptly, this opportunity, is now being addressed by a disruptive solution. Just as Salesforce revolutionized sales with cloud-based CRM, many large enterprises are using new automation tools to increase the quality and quantity of strategic meetings and in turn accelerate their business growth. This follows the simple formula that more strategic meetings will advance deals faster and therefore contribute increased revenue. They are the life of any enterprise. As this transformative approach gains traction, a metric like revenue generated per meeting can help to set measurable targets for event teams.