There is indisputable evidence behind the value of in-person meetings. One report from ASAE called “The Value of Face-to-Face Meetings” highlighted several reinforcing statistics. For instance, in a 2012 survey of business travelers conducted by Wakefield Research, 96% said that face time is the most important part of developing and maintaining strong relationships.
The trade show industry is all about meeting people and making connections. If the connections made at events are the single most important asset to anyone involved – show organizer, exhibitor, sponsor, and attendee – then it would seem to me that protecting that asset should be utmost priority.
So, what is the best way to protect your greatest trade show asset – your relationships? You need event CRM.
More than “good” CRM software
No doubt, most business people know the value of a good customer relationship management (CRM) software. The CRM model was designed to build and protect personal connections in a streamlined way. Good CRM software will foster communication and productivity by organizing, automating, and synchronizing cross-functional activities like sales, marketing, and customer service.
There are plenty of good, generic systems out there, but look carefully as most are built to work for any industry and therefore may require extensive customization to meet your needs. The good news is that purpose-built CRM systems do exist.
The event CRM difference
Broad purpose CRM software typically takes into account a single customer base and makes close assumptions about how most organizations function in order to appease a wide variety of software customers. However, successful trade show management hinges on nailing the details, especially the personal details of each one of your customers. As a result, the biggest difference between event-specific CRM software and general purpose CRM software lies in the details.
Event CRM software takes into account the very unique nuances that exist when it comes to managing relationships in an industry built around relationships. As a show organizer, you have multiple audiences to please. If you’re part of an association, you have an existing member base to add to that list.
You need to increase the likelihood of recurring attendance and sponsorships (and, thus, recurring revenues) by tracking and marketing to attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors in the appropriate manner. This is best done out of a system that understands the differences in audience and process that you face and offers list management and templates that were built specifically for the events industry. In a CRM software system made for events, your important legal and financial documents are stored securely and with consideration for accessibility by other software users internally.
Your industry was made for connections. Now, consider the impact of having technology that was made for the “connection” industry.”