Trish King, Director of Events at Wrike, provides some tips for how technology and automation can smooth the event planning process.
Sales conversations are increasingly virtual, so the few times a year that reps get to meet with prospects or buyers are priceless.
The volume of events has increased in recent years, and so has the importance of face-to-face meetings and exchanges with key buyers. This has kept events relevant, despite their cost.
This means that it’s even more critical for event marketers to get it right, from the strategy to the message to the booth. Rapid collaboration is essential, which means it’s time for event marketers to toss out the antiquated three-ring binders of yesteryears and adopt these new habits for planning and executing flawless, impactful events today and tomorrow.
- Step away from the spreadsheets
Now that we have solid alternatives, it’s safe to say that spreadsheets are painful, ineffective, and over-complicated.
Alternatives include project management tools with mobile apps that can be used to plan the event before it begins, and to access all of the information you’ll need while onsite. These apps sync back to the cloud so nothing gets lost, and you can use them to keep in touch with your peers at the office in real time – something you just can’t do with spreadsheets.
- Start using cloud solutions
The best thing about a cloud-based system is that there is a single source of truth where anyone can find anything they need.
This means no more instances of people using an outdated version of a document or missing an email or not adhering to more recent updates. It’s a place where files, decisions, contracts, and conversations are all organized together and available to anyone on your team. If you change a deadline, or update a document, everyone can see it.
That means fewer meetings and less time spent disseminating new information to team members. A single source of truth ensures everyone is on the same page in real time.
- Let technology help you delegate
When you’re the one in charge, it’s hard to delegate. If someone messes up, it’s still your fault.
But it doesn’t have to be. Collaborative work management software lets you assign work to contributors on your team and easily monitor the status of every task. You can even automate asking team members for updates. And the whole system is transparent, so everyone can see what is on everyone’s task list. This takes the onus off the one in charge.
- Stop trawling through email threads
Email isn’t great for long running conversations. By comparison, if you bring your vendors into your cloud ecosystem, you can have threaded conversations that include all files and recent updates. Creating a dedicated thread for each set of tasks significantly minimises the time you spend searching for information.
- Automate your deadlines
Event marketing campaigns revolve around hard deadlines. Event dates can’t be adjusted, so you need to make sure you’re tracking them with a high degree of precision. But soft dates do crop up in the process and these often require mental calculations to figure out how it affects the rest of the schedule.
Nowadays, there are tools that can help you automate these calculations. You can manage unexpected schedule changes, knowing you’re not derailing the entire event. Automation allows you to change one date and the computer will do the dirty work of figuring out the rest.
- Create templates for success
Tools based in the cloud allow you to use learnings from previous shows (both positive and negative) to create a working template for the next event. This will help you optimize your work – not just manage it - as the volume and cost of your events grows.
It’s time for event marketers to ditch the binder and embrace modern conveniences. Cloud software is not something to be afraid of: It will only help you improve event planning from start to finish.