Learn more about safe Venue reopening solutions to help you prepare.

skip to main content
Event crm why one size does not fit all
4 Min Read

Event CRM: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

If you’ve been around a TV anytime in the past year, you’ve probably seen one of several commercials in AT&T’s It’s Not Complicated campaign. If you haven’t seen any,

in which they discuss why something that is better is…better. I’m not here to endorse AT&T (although I do enjoy their commercials), but I think they make a nice simple point. “Better” can mean a lot in business. Even a kid could tell you this.

When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) software for exhibition organizers, I would dare to say that it is obviously better to have software that provides better data than it is to have software that provides data of lesser quality. Would you agree or disagree?

I’m also going to go out on a limb and make a second claim: In order to get better data, CRM software that was purpose-built to capture that data for people in your industry is going to be of better quality than general purpose CRM software.

How does event CRM provide better quality data?


I’m glad you asked. In fact, the truly game-changing thing about CRM that was built for the events industry is that it was built to help answer the questions exhibition and trade show organizers have about their exhibitors and sponsors. Answers they need in order to obtain the right data to make solid business decisions. Questions like:

  • Exactly which show(s) did this exhibitor exhibit at?
  • What size booth space did they need?
  • Where did they reside in the floor plan?

When you have answers to these questions, you experience more up-sell opportunities. You identify when a customer hasn’t returned, and you have information that can help you understand why. If you’re looking at a customer profile in your CRM system, you want to know everything about their participation in the event so you can make the most of that relationship. It’s that simple.

One size of CRM software does not fit all

When deciding which CRM software to use to manage your events business, there are three main categories of software to investigate: general purpose CRM, fully custom event CRM, and event CRM that can be configured to your specific business.

Here’s the basic difference:

  • General purpose CRM software: These providers often have a lot of history managing sales relationships for a broad audience, which is great – if you are looking to manage relationships with a broad audience. But, you’re not. You are in the events industry. You want to manage relationships with exhibitors and sponsors. You want to get answers related to your events. In order to make a general purpose CRM work for your events business, you might have to change your business to be more general. Something tells me you don’t think of your business as “general.”
  • Fully custom CRM software: Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? You get to take a software platform and make it exactly what you want! Sorry if this is a wake-up call, but too much customization can be a nightmare. In many cases, the more you customize software and take it away from its root configuration, the more likely you are to experience compromises in your workflows and issues that are complicated for the software provider to service. That often costs a lot more time and money than you want to invest to get the results you need.
  • Configurable event CRM software: This is the sweet spot. You want CRM software that was built with an understanding of the needs many exhibition organizers have, but you want to be able to configure fields and workflows to suit your specific business. Your business is about fostering connections, and you need to do everything you can to preserve your connections. You deserve to have software that understands how important the connections are to your success and helps you nurture those relationships.

There are a lot of CRM software choices, but consider the importance of using a system that was designed with you in mind. One that fits your business. Better quality data comes from CRM that helps you ask the right questions. And, better quality data helps you make decisions that are, well…better. It’s really just that simple.

What do you think? I would enjoy talking more with you about it, so don’t hesitate to email me. rob.hamlin@ungerboeck.com