Many organizations use multiple task based software systems (customer relationship management (CRM), event management, registration, etc.) and spreadsheets in order to manage their organization’s trade shows, expos & events. While everyone knows that multiple systems decrease efficiency, an even bigger challenge can be the potential for increased errors.
1) The typo.
Did you know that average data entry errors hover between 3-5%? That means every time a customer’s data has to be entered, there’s up to a 5% that something will be wrong. Multiply that by the number of systems you’re using to track customer and event details and you can see where a little typo in one system can make a big difference.
2) The $1 - $10 - $100 rule.
This conservative rule states that it cost your organization about a dollar to correct a mistake at the point of entry, $10 to correct mistakes in batch form, and $100 if the data entry error is never caught – think make good offers, customer disappointment, and the cost of losing an unsatisfied customer. Now think about the point above – there’s a 3-5% chance that an error will get made each time you have to enter data into multiple systems. See how those errors are now add up to big costs?
3) Lost in translation.
When you have one system developed by one company for your CRM and sales software, and another from another company for your exhibition management, and a third system for invoices, they’re all developed by different teams using different computer languages. Those differences can mean that some detail will get lost in translation – even if you have application programming interfaces (APIs) in place. And, if any of those API connected systems get updated, that API will need to be adjusted as well – taking additional time and money.
4) More systems, more money.
Unless you’re in the IT department, this is probably not a line item you see in your event budget. Each system you use for managing customer and event data has ongoing costs associated with them. Licensing fees, maintenance fees, training and support fees, customer service fees. Reducing the number of systems you use reduces the dollars that have to be spent on duplicate services from different providers. Plus, it gives your staff one single point of contact so they spend less time tracking down answers and more time helping clients.
5) Customization costs.
There are a lot of general-purpose software providers out there – especially on the customer relationship management and financial sides of business. However those systems are usually made for companies that sell traditional products and services. Once you start talking to these software providers about having their product customized to serve the events industry, the price can skyrocket. Plus, once you have those customizations made, you can’t take advantage of upgrades made to the software until you can afford to have your custom product upgraded. Software purpose-built for events takes the business logic behind events into account, so everything you need to support events is built in and available right out of the box. No need for delayed implementation while the software is customized – and no extra funding needed to have customizations developed.